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BCCA reduces housekeeping award by 2/3

In Westbroek v Brizuela 2014 BCCA 48 the 34 year-old plaintiff was injured in a car accident. The trial judge found the defendants liable and awarded $838,624.66. The defendants appealed the award of $32,358.27 for six hours of homemaking assistance per month until age 65. The trial judge found that the plaintiff and his spouse re-organized the chores post-accident but did not actually pay for any homemaking services.

The BCCA reduced the homemaking award by two-thirds to $11,000. The BCCA reaffirmed that a homemaking award is for the value of the work the plaintiff would have done, but is incapable of performing because of the injuries. The BCCA also reaffirmed that such awards should be approached conservatively.

This case makes it clear that a homemaking award is not dependent upon whether replacement costs are actually incurred, because the compensation is for the loss of capacity. This is different from future care costs where the compensation is the value of services that are reasonably expected to be rendered to the plaintiff rather than by the plaintiff.

Case commentary by: Brian Hoffman