What do you think of when you think of bringing a personal injury claim? Compensation for injuries? Lost earnings? Did you know that there is an aspect of a personal injury claim that you may not realise can be claimed for as part of your losses following the accident? Did you know that you may be able to submit a claim for any reasonable care and assistance that was provided for you following your accident? It doesn’t matter if you haven’t specifically employed someone to nurse you back to health, or someone to carry out the normal household chores that you would do - this care can be provided by friends or family members.
What do we mean by care and assistance?
What we mean by care and assistance is where a family member of friend helped you with any personal care and domestic chores that you used to do but couldn’t because of the accident during your recovery. For example:
- Getting in and out of bed/shower/bath
- Getting dressed and undressed
- Help with washing and brushing hair
- Help with personal hygiene
- Help with cooking and preparing of meals
- Help with housework – cleaning, laundry
- Help with gardening
- Help doing essential shopping
- Driving to medical appointments
- Walking the dog/taking care of pets
There are other things which fall under the umbrella of household assistance but the amount of care that can be claimed has to be considered proportionate to your injury, reasonable and supported by medical evidence in order for defendants to consider it acceptable. It must also be care that is over and above what your family/friends would normally do to help you.
For example, it would not reasonable to claim for 24 hours care and assistance (unless you had suffered catastrophic injuries where medical evidence supported this level of care) because for part of that 24 hour period, you and your carer would be asleep, or your carer would likely have other things to do, or simply “down time” when they were relaxing. An example of reasonable care and assistance would be if your family member/friend had to help you get showered and dressed in the morning and then undressed in the evening, due to (for example) you suffering a fracture to your arm.
A claim for care and assistance forms part of what are called “special damages” which are out of pocket expenses. These expenses could also include loss of earnings, travel expenses to necessary medical appointments, medical expenses and other miscellaneous losses. Together with the compensation recovered for your injury these losses will form part of your compensation package.
Remember if you have been injured and you are making a claim then you may be able to claim for care and assistance and it is always worthwhile keeping a diary of how your injury is progressing or making a note of who is helping you whilst you recover and what types of things they are doing for you. This would be helpful, not only for you to refer back to but could prove invaluable to any solicitor helping you to pursue your personal injury claim.
If you have suffered an accident, and have needed help whilst recovering from your injuries, then please contact our specialist personal injury solicitors who could help to bring a claim on your behalf, and advise you on claiming reasonable care and assistance.
By Stephanie Greenhalgh, personal injury team