Where a person has suffered injury as a result of another person’s negligence, they may make a claim for compensation for those injuries.

The injury can require the injured person to need care and assistance. Often that is provided by the NHS or local authority, but it can be provided gratuitously (free of charge) by a family member.

Where care has been provided by a family member, the injured person is entitled to recover compensation for that care, even though they may not have paid for that assistance. The care giver could be providing help with getting washed and dressed, cooking meals, helping with housework, and helping with practical matters such as post and admin tasks as well as emotional support.

A gratuitous care claim ensures that family members who give up their time, or perhaps give up their jobs, to look after an injured family member, do not suffer financially.

The Court will assess the extent and duration of care that has been provided to the injured person and apply a guideline hourly rate, usually taken from local government National Joint Council figures for carer wages.

The value of the gratuitous care is, in simple terms, calculated by the number of hours care provided multiplied by the relevant hourly rate. A deduction of 25% is normally then made to reflect the fact that the care was provided by a family member who was not in fact paid (and therefore would not have to pay tax or national insurance as against the recommended hourly rate).

A family member does not have to give up work to be entitled to a gratuitous care claim. Often the person providing care provides support around their other work or family commitments.

A claim for gratuitous care can be a head of loss not immediately apparent to an injured person who has suffered an accident and may initially be thinking about their loss of earnings and actual out of pocket expenses that have been incurred. A gratuitous claim for care however can be a sizeable element of the claim and may also be an ongoing head of loss when future care needs are being considered.

If you have suffered personal injury because of the negligence of some other party, company or organisation then please contact our Tracy Rodgers for a free 30-minute consultation. Contact us on 01226 210000 or