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Following an accident, you may well have suffered injuries which prevent you from undertaking simple, everyday tasks for yourself and in your home.  There are several ways you can receive the necessary support to help with these activities: you can get it through the NHS, your local authority or you can pay for the support privately. It’s times like these however, that your friends and family, through a natural instinct, will often step in to support and look after you, carrying out these tasks and helping you with the personal ones where appropriate.

No doubt you will want to thank them for their support. One way of doing so, is by claiming for their time whilst they help you with the activities your accident is preventing you from doing.  This is known as a gratuitous care claim and is there to ensure that those looking after you are not out of pocket, especially if they have had to reduce their hours or change their job, if they are still employed.

For a claim to be assessed, you must be able to show that:

  • You have been able to carry out these tasks yourself prior to your accident
  • You are now receiving support because your injuries from your accident prevent you doing so yourself
  • The care and support you are receiving goes above and beyond what would normally be expected of friends and family
  • A medical expert must deem it as reasonable and an assessment will be made to determine the nature of and length of time the care that is being given

As with any claim, it’s a good idea to keep a diary of who and the amount of time they spend caring for and supporting you. Keep a note of when they started helping you, how many hours a day or week they spend with you, and who they are.  Some examples of the times could include:

  • Taking you to and from medical appointments
  • Getting you washed and dressed
  • Cooking for you and washing up
  • Supporting with paperwork
  • General housework
  • Gardening
  • Doing the shopping
  • Walking your dog

The rates taken to calculate the value of the claim are usually taken from the National Joint Council figures for carers’ wages and are on a sliding scale, depending on the level of support you need and is provided to you.  To calculate the value of the care, the number of hours that are undertaken are multiplied by the relevant hourly rate, minus 25% given the family member or friend was not paid for providing the care and therefore did not pay tax or National Insurance.

It is understood that, dependent on the salaries of your friends and family, in some instances the gratuitous care might not cover their lost salary, and in others might be more than their salary but it’s your ability to thank them for their support and time which they’ll appreciate more.