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Monetising the care your family provides. 

Now that we’ve calculated the biggest head of damage, we can move onto the second biggest – care.

And don’t worry, this one’s easier.

Victims of medical negligence will often find themselves relying on relatives, partners, and other persons for care and assistance.

As opposed to commercially paid or hired help, this type of care is referred to as ‘gratuitous’ – or, free of charge.

Gratuitous care simply refers to the services provided by family members to assist in the day-to-day care of a medical negligence victim.

But, the addition of this care can often have a heavy impact on the providers, taking time out of their social lives, work, and other day-to-day duties.

To compensate for this, the court offers an award for gratuitous care services.

This award is calculated with reference to the market (or commercial) cost of the services, with the extent of coverage stretching far and wide across common duties such as:

Day-to-day duties;
  • Mowing;
  • Dishes;
  • Mopping and vacuuming;
  • Changing sheets;
  • Washing and cleaning;
  • Groceries;
  • Transport;
  • Other domestic chores.
Personal duties;
  • Ability to maintain personal hygiene;
  • Going to the bathroom;
  • Taking medication;
  • Errands such as banking;
  • And other personal duties.
Home and maintenance duties; 
  • Clearing gutters;
  • Washing external and internal walls;
  • Home repairs;
  • General maintenance – light bulbs, fixing gates, etc.

Before we jump in, we wanted to cover off some important limitations, or criteria, that apply to gratuitous care payouts.

EXAMPLE: JESS

Jess experienced birth trauma as a result of her midwife’s negligence. Brett, her husband, now has to take care of day-to-day domestic duties - finishing work early to make sure dinner is cooked, taking time out of his day to provide the necessary care for their newborn baby where Jess normally would.

On top of this, he’s driving her to and from her appointments, helping her buy medication, and running her errands for her.

In this situation, the court would provide an award for gratuitous care to pay for Brett’s time. The amount is based on the commercial price for these services – in other words, what would be the cost of hiring someone commercially to do this?

We’ll continue this in the next section, but what we first need to consider is whether or not Brett is actually eligible to claim for these services. Let’s cover off some of the limitations first.

LIMITATION 1: REQUIREMENTS

LIMITATION 2: ELIGIBLE PROVIDERS

LIMITATION 3: FINANCIAL AWARD CAP

Now that you’ve checked your eligibility for gratuitous care, let’s
jump into calculating it.

Want to fast track the process with our free interactive workbook?

  • Printable or accessible as an interactive PDF
  • Complete with examples, information, hints & tips, and space to write
  • 1 download for our entire 5-part online series - that means 1 download between you and your key to compensation


Quantifying your Future Gratuitous Care

Quantifying the future costs can often come with greater room for disagreement because, once again, you’re predicting the future.

Despite this, we’re going to do it before past care because it can often have a larger outcome - and we’re keeping that $150,000 in mind.

To predict the future as accurately as possible, you’ll need to have evidence from a range of
medical professionals. They with their recommended care services and their expectations for
how long you’ll require these services.

We recommend you get one (or multiple) of these assessments before starting this section. If
that’s not possible, then not to worry! Do your best to predict.

EXAMPLE: SASHA

Jess’ obstetrician might recommend 12 weeks of bed rest, six months of part-time postnatal care for the baby, three more ultrasounds in different towns, and 6 GP visits.

From this, an occupational therapist would be able to decipher what tasks Jess will and won’t be able to do, how often they will need to be done, and for what time frame.

This might be 5 hours per week for cleaning and outdoor maintenance until the end of Jess’ life.

Future Economic Loss

To start your calculation, you will need to:

STEP 1: REQUIRED TASKS

STEP 2: FOR HOW LONG

STEP 3: commercial cost

STEP 4: 5% MULTIPLIER

STEP 5: THE FINAL CALCULATION

You should note this number on your own Schedule of Damages table to keep track of where you’re at. 

Now that we’ve covered your future care costs, lets take a look at your past care.

Want to fast track the process with our free interactive workbook?

  • Printable or accessible as an interactive PDF
  • Complete with examples, information, hints & tips, and space to write
  • 1 download for our entire 5-part online series - that means 1 download between you and your key to compensation

Quantifying your Past Gratuitous Care

Now that we’ve quantified your future care costs – the significant costs – we can start quantifying the care you’ve already received.

And doing that isn’t too hard.

step 1: care received

step 2: COMMERCIAL costs


Putting it all together.

Now you can add this to your schedule of damages.

It’s recommended, at this point, to add up your damages so far to see if you’ve reached the $150,000 quantum threshold.

Below is Jess's example:

By doing this, you can check if you can surpass the remainder of this workbook and start working out how you’re going to hold your doctor accountable.

If you haven’t passed the threshold yet, don’t worry.

We’re about to take on our third most significant head of damage (from a quantum perspective) – monetising your future pain and suffering.

Next article: What is pain and suffering and how is it calculated?


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