Ottawa Lawyer | A Housekeeping “Expert”? Give me a Break!

OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER – A client asked me a legitimate question today about why I feel the need to hire an expert occupational therapist to evaluate her housekeeping capacity when she has already testified about it and, well, it’s not like it’s rocket science. Given the report will not be cheap, and given that the defence has indicated an interest in settlement, is it really worth it?

In my view, it is worth it. Like anything that is a judgment call, you can never be certain what would have happened if you opted not to get the report. However, these are some of the reasons why I think this type of report is important:

Objectivity -By definition a health professional engaged as an expert lends a perceived and an actual air of objectivity to the evaluation of what types of housekeeping activities you are able to handle.

Knowledge -Unlike a doctor or most physiotherapists, an occupational therapist is trained specifically to assess function in the home. They understand the ergonomics involved in specific household tasks. They are trained to evaluate how long those tasks would be expected to take. Anyone else is just guessing.

Valuation – An expert report on housekeeping will also provide a credible market value of the services you can no longer do. Even at a meagre $100 per week, housekeeping is $5200 per year. For a 30 year old with even moderate injuries who needs help with the heavy weekly cleaning and home maintenance functions a supportive report can add significant 5-figure dollars to your claim.

Credibility –The defence lawyer just knows that a jury is more likely to allow a large amount for housekeeping the assessment comes from a professional as opposed to the injured person’s own, uncorroborated opinion that she can no longer vacuum.

Optics -A few well placed reports created reasonably early shows the defendants that you are not afraid to spend money on your case. This signals that you have confidence in your case. It also suggests that you are prepared to go to trial since the ultimate use of one of these reports is at trial. A plaintiff who is willing to go to court will usually do better than one who, the defendants can tell, is unwilling.

In short, this is a straightforward and relatively easy step to take in a case that should show the defendant insurance company that you are serious and that your case deserves serious consideration when it comes time to settle.

If you have been injured in Ontario and are interested in getting fair compensation from your insurance company, a top personal injury lawyer can help. For more information, contact the Ottawa accident lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 860-4529.

About the Author: Brenda Hollingsworth

Brenda Hollingsworth co-founded Ottawa’s Auger Hollingsworth in 2005 with her husband Richard Auger. Together, their mission was to create a personal injury law firm for Eastern Ontario that is unrivalled in the province for customer service and legal expertise. Brenda was named an Ottawa Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recipient and took home the Women’s Business Network’s Businesswoman of the Year award in the Professional category. She was also recognized as one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s “Top 50 People in the Capital.” She is often quoted as an expert and has appeared in media outlets such as CTV, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Sun Media, CBC, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, CFRA and many legal publications.

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