Pecuniary Diminished Housekeeping Capacity Claim Succeeds at Trial

Last year the BC Court of Appeal clarified the law surrounding claims for diminished housekeeping capacity.  In short the court noted care must be taken to determine if a loss is for pecuniary vs non-pecuniary diminished housekeeping capacity.  This distinction is perhaps more important than ever given the recent legal changes capping the non-pecuniary rights of British Columbians.

To this end helpful reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for pecuniary diminished capacity.

In today’s case (Hinagpis v. Adaza III) the Plaintiff was injured in two collisions. Fault was admitted by the Defendants.  The crashes resulted in permanent injuries which resulted in impairment both vocationally and domestically.  In assessing damages for pecuniary diminished housekeeping capacity over and above non-pecuniary damages Madam Justice Donegan provided the following reasons:

[246]     As I will address later in these reasons, I am satisfied that Mrs. Hinagpis has established that she was impaired in her capacity to carry out housekeeping duties as a result of the injuries she suffered in the Accidents during the pre-trial period and will award her the costs she incurred for hiring a housekeeper to perform those duties. Here, I am also satisfied that she has established that she continues to be so impaired as a result of the injuries she suffered in the Accidents.

[247]     The medical evidence, as well as that of Mrs. Hinagpis and her husband, all supports this conclusion. Dr. Watts, more than a year after the Accidents, was still recommending assistance with housekeeping duties as a result of Mrs. Hinagpis’ ongoing disability. After the Accidents, Mrs. Hinagpis received housekeeping assistance as well as assistance from her husband and children. Mr. Hinagpis continues to largely assume the more physically demanding household tasks that Mrs. Hinagpis had done and was capable of doing before the Accidents. She took pride in her home and enjoyed all of her housekeeping duties prior to the Accidents. Since their move to Virginia, the Hinagpis family has not been able to afford to hire housekeeping assistance and Mrs. Hinagpis has had to rely on help from her husband and children with tasks that she was easily and routinely capable of doing before the Accidents.

[248]     Both Dr. Mian and Mr. Lapurga recommend that Mrs. Hinagpis receive external assistance with household tasks into the future. In this regard, Dr. Mian opined at page 11 of his report:

…With respect to her instrumental activities of daily living she will likely continue to experience difficulty with various household tasks, including those of food preparation, yardwork/gardening, housekeeping, and possible finances. In the past she significantly benefited from external support for a housekeeper and I recommend this on an ongoing basis. This will allow her to have less flares of pain and reduce her fatigue so that she has energy for other activities such as home exercises. …

[249]     As well, Mr. Lapurga opined at page 7 of his report:

14.       Comment on capacity for domestic activitiy: …She reports that she is experiencing difficulty in performing household chores, especially cleaning the washroom, cleaning the shower stall, vacuuming, cooking, carrying groceries and pushing grocery cart. She will likely require intermittent assistance for regular household chores. She will require assistance for occasional heavier household activities. …

[250]     Mrs. Hinagpis asks the court to assess her loss of future housekeeping capacity at $15,000.00. In 2014 and 2015, she received assistance from a housekeeping service periodically. The evidence discloses that the hourly rate for that service was $28.00 per hour and that she paid $3,095.40 in total over that timeframe.

[251]     I am satisfied that Mrs. Hinagpis has suffered a loss in her ability to perform many of her typical household tasks, particularly the heavier tasks, for which she should be compensated. Mrs. Hinagpis has lost the ability to work in the home in a manner that would have been valuable to her as well as her family. In this way, I find she has suffered a true loss of capacity – one that should be compensated by a pecuniary damage award. When valuing her damages for this loss, I look to the cost of the replacement services she incurred in the past, but also ensure that my award is tied to her actual loss of capacity. In these circumstances, I am satisfied that $15,000.00 is a fair and reasonable assessment of the loss suffered by Mrs. Hinagpis here.

bc injury law, diminished housekeeping capacity, Hinagpis v. Adaza III, Madam Justice Donegan, pecuniary diminished housekeeping capacity

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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