An individual injured in a motor vehicle accident has a personal injury claim and can receive compensation for their damages. There are two types of compensatory damages: pecuniary and non-pecuniary. Pecuniary damages have a quantifiable monetary amount whereas non-pecuniary damages do not have a quantifiable monetary amount. But what about a loss of housekeeping capacity? Is it a pecuniary damage or part of the non-pecuniary damages?
Non-pecuniary damages include a claim for compensation of pain and suffering with loss of enjoyment you have endured due to the accident. Pecuniary damages include multiple heads of damages. A past wage loss claim is to receive compensation for the income losses you have suffered since the accident. A future loss of earning capacity claim is to receive compensation for opportunities lost to earn income in the future due to ongoing injuries and pain symptoms. A special damages claim is to receive compensation for out of pocket expenses such as payment for prescriptions. A future cost of care claim is to receive compensation for recommended future treatments and medical procedures.
It is surprisingly complicated to determine where diminished housekeeping capacity falls when trying to calculate pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages:
- If you pay for housekeeping services, that would be a special damage;
- If you need to pay for future housekeeping services, that would be under future care;
- If family members perform housekeeping chores for you, that could be an in trust claim;
- If you were, are or will be unable to perform housekeeping, but it just went undone (i.e. no one did it for money or otherwise), it would either be a loss of housekeeping capacity or a factor in non-pecuniary damages.
Luckily, recent case law has been clarifying when you can claim loss of housekeeping capacity as a separate head of damages (as a pecuniary damage) and when it is factored into non-pecuniary damages.
In Kim v. Lin, 2018 BCCA 77, Honourable Chief Justice Bauman opined that a loss of housekeeping capacity can be compensated as a pecuniary damages award when the individual has suffered a true loss. This means they are unable to perform household chores and duties like they did prior to the accident. He further opined that the value of this pecuniary damage should be determined by looking at things such as cost of hiring replacement services and tying the value to the actual loss of capacity.
In a recent case, Hinagpis v. Adaza III, 2019 BCSC 880, the plaintiff had sustained permanent injuries resulting in vocational and domestic impairment. Honourable Madame Justice Donegan took a similar approach as Honourable Chief Justice Bauman in her assessment. She assessed diminished housekeeping capacity as pecuniary damages due to a true loss of capacity which she found existed due to the individual’s loss of capacity to do household chores and duties that would have been valuable to the individual and the family. She looked at the cost of replacement services and tied the award to actual loss of capacity.
Our legal team at Simpson, Thomas & Associates is experienced in representing individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents and advocating on their behalf to get them the best compensation possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please call us at (604) 262-0457 to schedule a complimentary consultation.