What are Valuable Services?
Regardless of the type of injury you have sustained, it can have a large impact on your life. Injuries are first and foremost painful and limiting, but this can have far-reaching consequences. Not only could you be prevented from effectively performing your job, but you may also be unable to perform activities you are typically responsible for at home. These household responsibilities fall into the category of “Valuable Services”. Valuable Services are a recognizes damage in a personal injury claim and should be considered in every case.
Loss of Valuable Services
Loss of Valuable Services is a head of damage that looks at the informal household duties each person performs in their day-to-day life to maintain their home, property, and family. If your accident has impacted your ability to perform those activities, you can make a claim to be compensated for the cost of hiring someone to perform those services.
Consider the activities you typically performed in the household before your injury. Were you typically responsible for cleaning? How about laundry, mowing the lawn, or small household repairs? Many of these tasks become difficult to perform when you are injured.
How has the performance of household chores changed since your injury occurred? Typically one of three things happen:
Help from Friends and Family
Typically friends and family end up performing additional work to make up for the decreased ability of loved ones to do so when they are injured. This shift in responsibility is compensated under Quantum Meruit. Learn more about Quantum Meruit in this blog post.
Hiring External Labour to Help
If you have hired someone else to perform these essential tasks for you, this cost can often add up. Your household now has additional expenses due to your injury. This cost is quantified under Loss of Valuable Services, and eligible for compensation.
Household Tasks are Neglected
Sometimes, without compensation, households are unable to pay the cost of hiring someone to fill the gaps that are created when a family member is injured, and so the tasks don’t get done. If this is the case, this is an unsustainable loss. Just like in cases where someone has previously been hired, you would also be eligible to recover the costs of hiring someone to perform the tasks.
Compensation for Valuable Services
Recovery under the head of loss of valuable services can sometimes be substantial. It is valuable to take the time to consider all of the ways your injury has affected your lifestyle.
In our experience, most injury claimants undervalue their valuable services. We find that many clients fail to consider tasks around the home in other seasons, or fail to recognize the true extent of their limitations. Our firm always recommends to our clients that they speak with their family and friends about changes in their live following the accident. We often recieved reports from clients that they failed to consider various tasks or that they forgot to mention the substantial contributions made by others.
Calculating Valuable Services Loss
There is limited guidance available to assist in the quantification of valuable serivices loss. Generally, the two methods of calculation are based on the evidence gathered to support the loss theory. If expert evidence has not been obtained throughout the course of a claim, damages for valuable services loss are lower and considered based on case law.
Readers are directed to this blog post on Warnell v Cumby, a recent decision on Loss of Valuable Services. This decision will help you learn how much your loss of valuable services may be worth.
At NOVA Injury Law, we often obtain expert evidence on the issue of valuable services. We obtain expert evidence to specifically quantify the true extent of valuable services because the case law, in our view, does not adequately compensate plaintiff’s for their losses.
If you have concerns about tasks at home now or in the future, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to obtain an opinion.
Speak to a Lawyer about Valuable Services Loss
Jeff Mitchell is the Principal Lawyer and Founder of NOVA Injury Law. Jeff has dedicated his practice to the area of personal injury, accident, and disability benefits law. Contact 1.800.262.8104 or [email protected] to arrange for a free case review today.