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Can I claim for care and assistance following an injury?

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There are two forms of compensation that you can recover if you have been injured as a result of an accident. The first is your injuries, also called “general damages”. The second is your out-of-pocket expenses, which are known as “special damages”.

One item of special damages that is often claimed, is for the care and assistance provided by friends, family members and professional carers as a result of the accident. This blog focuses on how you present a claim for any reasonable care and assistance that was provided to you following the accident. This is care that may be provided by friends or family members to help nurse you back to health or to help carry out the normal household chores that you would normally have been responsible for, but are unable to do because of your injuries.

What is classed as care and assistance?

Care and assistance is where a family member or friend helped you with any personal care and domestic tasks that you used to do but have not been able to do because of your injuries.  For example:

Personal care and assistance

  • Help with getting in and out of bed/shower/bath
  • Help with getting dressed and undressed
  • Help with washing, drying and brushing your hair
  • Help with other personal hygiene tasks

Domestic care and assistance

  • Help with doing essential shopping
  • Help with cooking and preparing any meals
  • Help with housework/chores – e.g. cleaning, laundry, ironing etc.
  • Help with gardening
  • Walking your dog/taking care of any pets
  • DIY tasks which you would normally have done
  • Driving you to medical appointments

There are many other things which can fall under the umbrella of household assistance, but the amount of care that can be included as part of the claim has to be considered reasonable and proportionate to your injury and must supported by medical evidence. We will seek expert evidence to confirm that any care received was reasonably required as a result of your specific injury. The care or assistance must also be help that is over and above what your family/friends would normally do to help you. 

It would be difficult to reasonably claim for care and assistance for 24 hours per day (unless you had suffered catastrophic injuries where your medical evidence supported this level of care) because at some point during that 24-hour period, you and your carer would be sleeping, or your carer might be at work. There will also be episodes of “down time” when they are simply relaxing, and not actively doing something to help you. Additionally, as you start to recover from your injury, naturally your need for reliance upon someone else to help you will reduce over time, until you are back to your pre-injury levels of activity. One example of reasonable care and assistance would be if the family member/friend providing the care had to help you with getting showered and dressed in the morning and then help you with getting undressed in the evening due to, for example, you having a cast on one of your arms. 

What other ‘special damages’ can be claimed?

Your out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident could also include your loss of earnings whilst you have been off work, any travel expenses for attending medical appointments in relation to your injuries, medical expenses (for example prescription charges, cost of over-the-counter medication, treatment costs), travel expenses incurred in attending medical appointments, any equipment to help you recover from your injuries and any other miscellaneous losses. This would be put together with the compensation recovered for your injury and these losses will form part of your compensation package.

If you have been injured it is worth remembering that you can potentially claim for any care and assistance that has been provided to you. It is always worthwhile keeping a diary of how your injury is progressing, who is helping you whilst you are recovering and what the type of assistance they are providing for you during this period. This would be helpful not only for you to refer back to, but could also prove extremely helpful to any solicitor that is helping you with pursuing your personal injury claim.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and have been injured to the extent that you have needed help with household tasks or personal care, please contact us on 0161 696 6235 to discuss whether you may be able to seek compensation.

By Stephanie Greenhalgh, paralegal