Court awards plaintiff $418,000 for loss of housekeeping capacity

Personal Injury Blog

In what may be one of the largest awards to date in BC for loss of housekeeping capacity, the court in Kim v. Lin, 2016 BCSC 2405 awarded a 36 year-old plaintiff $418,000 in loss of past and future housekeeping capacity.  The plaintiff in Kim suffered soft tissue injuries as well as psychiatric and psychological problems which the court found had a substantial connection to the motor vehicle accident.  In finding $418,000 to be the appropriate award for loss of housekeeping capacity, Mr. Justice Sewell wrote as follows:

[189]      It is now settled law that in British Columbia an injured plaintiff is entitled to an award for loss of housekeeping capacity if s/he can establish such a loss (Campbell v. Banman, 2009 BCCA 484). Such a claim would include compensation for loss of ability to provide childcare. Care should be taken, however, not to duplicate awards under different heads of damage and thereby overcompensate a plaintiff.

[190]      In this case, I find that Ms. Kim has suffered a profound loss of capacity, both to perform household tasks and carry out childcare responsibilities. She is entitled to be compensated for that loss. As with any other head of damages, the loss must be justified on the evidence and any award must be reasonable in the circumstances.

[191]      A plaintiff is entitled to claim damages both for loss of past and future housekeeping capacity. An award for loss of housekeeping capacity recognizes that work for which a person does not get paid nevertheless has value to that person and others who benefit from it.

[196]     As submitted by Ms. Kim’s counsel, this Court in other cases has valued homemaking assistance at $25 per hour. However in Campbell, the Court endorsed a rate of $15 per hour. I am satisfied that this is a reasonable amount on which to value Ms. Kim’s loss and base an award in
this case.

[201]     Ms. Kim is also entitled to be compensated for loss of future homemaking capacity. Because homemaking is required whether one is in the workforce or not, I consider it reasonable to base this award on the assumption that Ms. Kim would have continued to use her homemaking skills to age 70 had she not been injured. According to Mr. Carson’s evidence, the present value at trial of $1,000 per year to age 70 is $26,030. Accordingly, before adjustment for contingencies, the present value of Ms. Kim’s loss of housekeeping capacity to age 70 is $312,360.

[206]     According, I award damages for loss of past and future housekeeping capacity as follows:

1.          Loss of past housekeeping capacity:           $168,000.00

2.         Loss of future housekeeping capacity:        $250,000.00

            Total                                                                $418,000.00

The full text of the decision can be found here: http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2016/2016bcsc2405/2016bcsc2405.html?resultIndex=1

 

McQuarrie