I came across an interesting point today, while working on a tragic case arising from the death of a relatively young women, who’s son suffers from (and prior to her death suffered from) a serious mental illness.

Following the women’s death (which we allege was caused by negligent medical care), claim is made on behalf of the son for loss of the financial + non-financial support + services his mother would have provided, had she not died.  

These services range from assistance with medication through to transportation and reminders to change clothing etc.  They are now provided in part by his father.  In part he now does not receive such services.

in claims in Western Australia (and most States) compensation for provision of services provided free of charge (gratuitous) is limited by reason of the Civil Liability Act (section 12).  The interesting point is that such section does not appear to apply to compensation of the type sought in this claim.  

The claim is not for damages for services needed and provided because of an ‘injury’ my client has suffered.  Rather, this claim is for loss of services that would have been provided to him, had his mother survived.  The need for these services does not arise from her death.  It predates this.

Anyway, just a tip to anyone handling these Fatal Accidents claims, of this ‘wrinkle’ in the assessment of damages in such inevitably tragic claims.