I was very independent until I had a road accident last year. Since then, I have needed a lot of help from my husband and mother with tasks around the house like cleaning and ironing. They also take me to appointments and run errands as well as go shopping, all tasks which I could have done myself before the accident. I feel bad that they are giving of their time voluntarily and would it be possible for me to claim for them in my accident claim? Do they have to claim separately if they can claim at all?
The good news is that you can claim for the care and assistance you receive from family or friends. Obviously, you have to prove the existence of a need for services, but once you do the Court will provide reasonable recompense to you for the carer or carers. This is defined as the reasonable value of gratuitous services rendered to you by way of voluntary care by a member of your family. Obviously, you can still seek outside professional help and that will be paid for, but most Claimants find their finances are so stretched by their inability to work and function normally that they cannot afford professional care. They have to rely on family. The Court of Appeal has emphasised that compensation will only be given for services/care “beyond the call of duty”. If a partner or spouse was already doing the shopping then you cannot claim for them doing the same amount of shopping after the accident. If, however, they are providing care “distinctly beyond that which is part of the ordinary regime of family life” they will be compensated.
There is, however, one sting in the tail. There are sometimes situations where the person who caused the accident is the family member of the victim. This would be in a case where, for example, the daughter was a front seat passenger who was injured because her mother drove the car negligently, causing a collision. In those circumstances, the mother will no doubt care for her daughter after the accident, but she cannot receive compensation for doing so because she caused the accident in the first place.
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