Section 15 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 allows an injured plaintiff to obtain damages for gratuitous attendant care services, being services of a domestic nature, services relating to nursing and services that aim to alleviate the consequences of an injury, which are provided by another person to the claimant, for which the claimant is not liable to pay. Such services are most often provided by a family member of the plaintiff, who has voluntarily assisted the plaintiff either with domestic tasks like cooking, washing and cleaning or with rehabilitation efforts such as physical exercises or speech therapy, without payment.
Section 15B of the Act extends this head of damage to loss of the plaintiff’s capacity to provide gratuitous domestic services to the claimant’s dependants, in certain circumstances.
The Court of Appeal decision in Amaca Pty Ltd (under NSW administered winding up) v Raines; Seltsam Pty Ltd v Raines  NSWCA 216 considered s 15B in detail. In that case an appeal was dismissed against an award of damages for loss of the capacity to provide gratuitous domestic services in the nature of ‘passive’ around-the-clock care by parents of their severely disabled adult son who had been injured in a work accident. The award was upheld notwithstanding that the dependent son’s own workers compensation insurer was also responsible for funding his care.
The By Lawyers Personal Injury (NSW) guide has been updated following this Court of Appeal decision.