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Attendant Care Further Narrowed
7
April
2014
  • When someone gets into a car accident, one of the benefits they have immediately available to them is attendant care.  The attendant care benefit provides someone taking care of a car accident victim reasonable compensation for their time and efforts in helping the injured person on the path to his/her recovery.  The type of services an attendant or aide provides will depend on the physical limitations faced by the injured individual.The services required may range from personal grooming, such as helping the injured person wash their face, comb their hair, or clip their toe-nails, to helping the injured person get dressed, feeding them, and even assisting with the use of the bathroom, if needed.

    If you are hurt in a car, and someone you know, who isn’t a professional, attends to your daily livings needs, that person may have a hard time seeking compensation from the insurance company.  Prior to 2010, insurance companies more openly recognized a family member’s contribution to assisting their loved ones in the healing process.  Such help was compensated by way of a weekly attendant care benefit, and personal injury lawyers had limited difficulty in obtaining this benefit for their clients.

    Post-2010, the changes in the Statutory Accident Benefit Scheme sought to limit the range of situations where family members would be compensated for their efforts.  Most importantly, the concept of economic loss was introduced into the legislative scheme.  Economic loss required that the family member have some sort of a pecuniary loss when taking care of their loved ones.

    This economic loss was most often proved by lost income, time off work, or potentially time off school.  However, it was not clear if the economic loss sustained needed to correlate, 1 for 1, with the amount of the benefit being claimed.

    For example, if a family member claimed a monthly benefit of $1000, it wasn’t clear if their earnings had to also drop by $1000 for the months being claimed.  Injury lawyers brought this question to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2013, where it was ruled that the loss did not need to be 1 for 1.  Although this seemed like a victory for accident victims, and the personal injury lawyers representing them, legislated changes were again introduced in February 2014, which now require the loss to be 1 for 1.  It remains to be seen how the courts will interpret these new changes to the legal landscape that people injured in a car accident now face.

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