$80,000 for loss of housekeeping capacity

As a brief summary to this case, this decision is an excellent case to review. It relates to both past and future loss of housekeeping capacity. 

What is important is to pay attention to how the Court analyzed every segment of the claim based on the Plaintiff’s limitations, which improved over time, although not fully. Although the Plaintiff experienced some improvement over time, and she was able to push past her pain, the Court accepted that her limitations would be permanent based on the medical evidence produced.

During the course of this litigation, the Plaintiff moves into a smaller home, a basement suite, which was a factor considered by the Court in reducing the amount of hours required to assist the Plaintiff with her her daily housekeeping chores, thereby reducing the compensation for this time period.

Finally, the Court looked at the Plaintiff’s life expectancy and concluded that an award of loss of housekeeping capacity for the duration of the Plaintiff’ life, expected to be 38.4 years, was reasonable, awarding a total of $80,000 under this head of damage.

This is an excellent case. It also outlines a pattern of how to manage and present this specific type of claim.  You will certainly want to put much focus on the details of the Plaintiff’s limitations, and of course, the evidence that is produced, medical evidence, and the witnesses that are called to support the theory of the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff in this case was successful in seeking an award of damages totalling: $491,953.59. The decision is referenced as Broomfield v. Lof, 2019 BCSC 1155

An issue that often comes up when dealing with a loss of housekeeping claim is whether the Defendant should compensate the Plaintiff for housekeeping performed by family members.  The Plaintiff in this case referenced a decision that is worth noting:

Amini v. Mondragaon, 2014 BCSC 1590 where Justice Greyell said at para. 138 that it is well recognized that damages for loss of housekeeping capacity may be awarded even if housekeeping services are gratuitously replaced by a family member.

The Plaintiff’s claim was stated to be 4 hours of housekeeping at $25. per hour, per week totalling $5,200 per year. The claim is for the duration of the Plaintiff’s life, estimated to be 38.4 years. The present value calculator brings this loss to $137,491.12.  The Plaintiff was awarded:  $80,000

Facts presented on behalf of the Plaintiff

  • the plaintiff was a fastidious housekeeper prior to the accident.
  • Witnesses called that confirmed this evidence were:
    • Neighbour
    • boyfriend
    • mother
    • long-time friend.
  • The Plaintiff relied on other people to assist her 30 hours per week during her initial recovery.
  • Assistance required for the following activities:
    • driving her to and from doctors’ appointments;
    • driving to and from lawyers’ appointments;
    • walking her dog;
    • grocery shopping; and
    • housekeeping services.
  • Assistance was required for 26 weeks post collision
  • housekeeping service requirements decreased to 20 hours per week for the next 26 weeks, 15 hours for year two, and five hours per week from January 7, 2016 to the date of trial. Her total past lost of domestic capacity equals $71,000 if a mathematical calculation is done.

Defendant’s Arguments

  • the facts as presented by the Plaintiff are a gross exaggeration
  • Plaintiff lives in a one bedroom apartment
  • The limitations were “moderate”
  • These limitations were simply a “discomfort or mild limitation period”

Medical Experts Opinion

  • The Plaintiff’s limitations are permanent
  • She will need assistance with housekeeping duties
  • The extent of the assistance varies amongst the experts
  • The Court agrees that two hours’ assistance per week is reasonable

The Court’s Comments

  • The Plaintiff stated that she is able to push through the pain
  • The Defendant takes the position that the Plaintiff has not established a sufficient ground for loss of future housekeeping capacity
  • The Plaintiff was incapacitaged for the first 26 weeks (agree)
  • Plaintiff could not do the following daily activities
    • drive nor walk her dog
    • could not unload the dishwasher
    • Do her laundry
    • Take care of her condo
    • Go grocery shopping
  • The Court accepted a loss of 25 hours per week for 26 weeks based on the evidence.

The Court relied on Amini v Mondragaon, 2014 BCSC 1590, para. 198 and Hrnic v Bero Investments Ltd., 2018 BCSC 1880, that $25 per hour is a reasonable hourly rate for housekeeping services which accords with my own experience.
Total awarded:  $16,250. For housekeeping services provided by others.

  • Plaintiff’s depression was worse
  • Had low energy and could not vacuum or mop
  • She could do some chores, such as load and unload dishwasher
  • Friends and parents helped her during this time.
  • Her boyfriend assisted with chores and shopping

Total awarded during this time 5 hours per week at $25. For 26 weeks – $3,250.

  • From 12 months post collision to current the Plaintiff has now increased her pain tolerance
  • Depression has improved
  • Living in a one-bedroom basement (less in size)
  • Court states reasonable to awrd 2 hours per week cleaning services and once every six month an additional 6 hours for deeper cleaning services for windows, cupboards, walls and baseboards
  • Awards $500 for 20 hours of assistance for the move also

Total: 19,500 for the past award

Future housekeeping award

  • $3,000 per year for the Plaintiff’s life expectancy of 38.4 years

The Court’s calculation is based on:

According to the Law and Equity Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 253, s. 56(2)(b) and Reg. 352/81, 2.0% must be used to calculate future losses (other than income). Section 56 (2)(b) stipulates that the discount rate is deemed to be the future difference between the investment rate of interest and the rate of general price inflation.

The Court’s Conclusion

The appropriate multiplier is therefore 26.4406. I award future loss of housekeeping capacity award of $80,000.

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