Serious injuries that cause lasting, and in some cases lifetime effects, not only impact the injured person, but spouses and other loved ones who become caregivers for the injured person. An injury to a loved one can dramatically change a person’s life.
Time previously spent enjoying the company of the other person can be quickly replaced assisting with daily tasks related to personal care and housekeeping.
STATUTORY ACCIDENT BENEFITS COVERAGE AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
While there are no caregiver benefits per se in Alberta’s mandatory automobile insurance provisions, you may be able to recover professional nursing costs if you have a section B no-fault automobile accident benefits claim, where total combined medical payments are maximized at $50,000.
TYPES OF TORT COMPENSATION FOR CAREGIVERS
For family or friends who become caregivers for an injured person, compensation is available in a wide-range of ways. The law recognizes several forms of damages, such as, but not limited to, the cost of past and future care and loss of past and future income.
COST OF PAST AND FUTURE CARE
The legal system can be a lengthy process, and a matter may not end up fully settled in court until years after the accident. Damages for cost of past care compensate the injured victim for the cost of hiring caregiver services from the time of the injury until the matter is settled, either by way of negotiation or through a trial.
Cost of future care compensates the injured victim for caregiver services provided from the time the matter is settled until it is presumed the injured person will be well again. In very serious cases, the cost of care will be incurred for the remainder of the injured person’s life. Our experienced lawyers can assist with expert witnesses that can project the cost of future care, considering rising costs of living, to ensure the compensation you receive will sufficiently cover your expenses.
LOSS OF PAST AND FUTURE INCOME FOR A CAREGIVER
While the loss of past and future income of the injured victim is a primary concern, a claim may be available for the time a family member spends caring for a loved one who has been injured. The time spent caring for the family member may lower the income a caregiver is able to receive. If provided, loss of past income compensates for damages up to the time of settlement or trial and loss of future income compensates for income that will be lost after the matter is resolved.
In A.T-B. v. Mah, 2012 ABQB 777, for example, an Edmonton obstetrician and gynecologist was found to have provided negligent care of a pregnant mother, resulting in her child suffering having a period of reduced oxygen supply that then caused a permanent and severe brain injury. The child’s nervous system injuries resulted in quadriplegic spasticity and severe developmental delays, which require her to be cared for her entire life.
At the time the daughter was born, the mother had completed a Master’s degree in psychology and was entering a PhD program. Because of her daughter’s injuries, the mother’s education was delayed and her work was limited.
Both parents initially advanced claims for general and pecuniary general damages, but only the mother’s claim for a loss of earnings was pursed at trial. The trial judge awarded $119,669 in loss of past-income and further damages for the mother’s future lost income. This was over and above the loss of income for the child, who would never be employable.
LOSS OF CONSORTIUM AND OTHER FORMS OF DAMAGES
Loss of consortium damages provide compensation for the change in life causes by an injury to a spouse. The Tort-Feasors Act of Alberta RSA. 2000, c. T-5 establishes these damages to compensate a married spouse for the changes in his or her social life when a loved one is injured.
Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Act, RSA 2000 c. W-15 also allows spouses and children to receive compensation in certain circumstances, while the claim is still open.
Canadian law recognizes other forms of damages, including loss of a permanent interdependent relationship and in-trust claims. Our lawyers offer a free consultation to assess your claim and help you determine what damages you may be entitled to.
In Forsberg v. Naidoo, 2011 ABQB 252, the plaintiff, Mr. Forsberg, a successful dairy farmer, suspected he contracted meningitis and went to the Leduc Hospital for assistance. The treating physician, Dr. Naidoo, ordered some tests but did not order any treatment. Due to Dr. Naidoo’s negligence, Mr. Forsberg fell into a coma within a few hours and his blood supply was interrupted, causing him to lose his right forearm and part of his left hand.
The matter took over 10 years from the time of Mr. Forsberg’s illness until the trial was concluded. The judge awarded Mr. Forsberg significant amount of damages for his lost income and the cost of his care and the judge also recognized significant amounts of care were provided by Mr. Forsberg’s wife. In addition to awarding her compensation for hospital travel, parking, meal and lodging costs, the judge found Mrs. Forsberg provided 13,780 hours of care and ordered compensation for her of $215,794.80. Mrs. Forsberg was also awarded $25,000 for loss of consortium due to the change of her social life with her husband.
CONTACT BRAITHWAITE BOYLE FOR A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN EDMONTON, CALGARY, OR RED DEER, ALBERTA
If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury, contact our law firm in Edmonton, Calgary or Red Deer. Our lawyers can help you document the care being provided and assess how much is reasonable for your claim and is likely to be compensated. Contact us for your free consultation at 1-800-661-4902.