24 Mar Loss of Housekeeping Capacity

A claim for loss of housekeeping capacity is for the loss of the value of the housekeeping work that a person would have done but can no longer do because of injuries. The basis for such a claim is the loss of a person’s ability to work in a manner that would have been valuable to them and others in the household. Because the claim is based on a loss of capacity, a person may be compensated whether replacement housekeeping costs are actually incurred, although the award may be quantified by assessing the cost to replace those services.

In the case of Borecka v. Wilkins, 2017 BCSC 13, a 21 year old Plaintiff was injured when a vehicle driven turned left in front of her vehicle as she approached the intersection. As a result of the collision, the Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, sternum, shoulders and low back. The pain from her injuries also caused her problems with concentration, headaches and nightmares.  Despite recovering from the soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulder, she claimed that she had ongoing depression and unrelenting chronic pain in her low back.

Before the accident, the Plaintiff helped her mother by carrying out household duties and chores around the house.  The Court held that the Plaintiff had suffered a loss of housekeeping capacity as a result of the accident. Before the accident, she was able to maintain and clean the apartment she lived in with her mother. Following the accident, she was unable to do so for some months. Her housekeeping function significantly improved by the time she moved into an apartment a few years after the accident, but her problems remerged when she moved to a much larger home a year and a half after that.

The Court did not accept the Plaintiff’s claim for housekeeping costs for the remainder of her life. Instead, it determined that a proper award was one that took into account her improving housekeeping capacity. The Court assessed $2,750 to be an appropriate award for past loss of housekeeping capacity.