Calculation of Housekeeping Losses

McIntyre v. Docherty [2009], 97 O.R. (3d) 189 (C.A.)

The Court of Appeal recently commented on the proper method of calculating housekeeping losses.

The plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Before the accident, she did the bulk of the housework and was described as a “neat freak”. Following the accident, she could perform most of her housekeeping responsibilities but with reduced efficiency because of pain. For the balance of those responsibilities, she relied on family members. The jury awarded the plaintiff damages in the amount of $5,000.00 for past housekeeping inefficiency, $10,400.00 for past loss housekeeping capacity and $44,535.00 for future loss housekeeping capacity.

The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in encouraging the jury to separate inefficiency damages from the balance of the non-pecuniary award for pain and suffering and loss of the amenities of life. Justice Lang held that it is generally inappropriate to create a separate heading for one particular component of a global award for non-pecuniary damages. It is unnecessary to divide non-pecuniary losses into subcategories.

In the end, although the judge erred in his charge to the jury, the global award was not unreasonable, and as a result the appeal was dismissed.

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