Claiming Care in Your Injury Claim

If you have suffered an injury and are making a claim for compensation – either through workers’ compensation or because of another personal injury – you may not realise that you are able to claim the costs of care on top of other expenses, including medical treatment and rehabilitation in addition to seeking regular income payments if you are unable to work due to the injury.

When claiming compensation for work carried out in a caring capacity, there are two types of care which are most likely to be considered: paid care and gratuitous care.

What is paid care?

Paid care is relatively straightforward. It typically involves paying a nurse or other medical professional to attend to your home for medical and personal care, or a professional service to take care of domestic duties, such as cleaning or home maintenance.

It is important to note that paid care can only be claimed if the expense is new, i.e. this care has only been required since the injured person’s accident. In cases where some care or domestic duties were being provided prior to the accident, only the gap between the previous services and the additional services/hours due to the person’s injury may be claimed. For example, if you previously had a cleaner visit your home once a fortnight but have had to increase their visits to once a week since being injured, you can only claim the additional visits, not those which were already regularly occurring.

You may make a claim for future paid care after the past paid care claim has been set out and only if you will require that care in the future as an ongoing result of the injury.

What is gratuitous care?

Gratuitous services are those which are not paid services and are provided to an injured person in their home by their family member or their friend.  

Claims cannot be made for care which simply involves love or support. The carer must be completing necessary duties at home which, had the injured person been able to complete, they would be undertaking themselves. This includes cooking, cleaning, home maintenance and shopping.

For gratuitous care to be claimed, the services must be provided at a rate of at least six hours per week, for a minimum of six months and the compensation may be sought in the amount of current commercial rates. If care was not provided during the injured person’s claim period then compensation for those occasions cannot be sought.

It is recommended that claimants keep thorough records of the number of hours of gratuitous care provided and the tasks undertaken in order to create a strong and accurate claim.

What domestic duties are reasonable when claiming compensation for home care?

Typical duties such as cleaning, cooking and shopping for provisions are considered reasonable, but it is unlikely that extra duties such as pet care will be covered. Time spent by a carer cleaning up after pets, vacuuming pet hair and walking dogs may be compensated if it can be established that there was a need for these actions to be taken due to the owner being incapacitated from their injury.

How do I prove that I have received care?

It is imperative that you keep a copy of all receipts and other relevant records (such as the types of tasks undertaken and who by) whether your claim is for gratuitous or paid care, or a combination of both.

Any services that were provided prior to you sustaining the injuries cannot be claimed. You may only make a claim for services based on current commercial rates, particularly where gratuitous care is concerned.

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