$46,800.00 In-Trust Award For Son Who Took Over Role Of Mother In Caring For His Father, And In Performing Mother’s Housekeeping Chores

In Wong v. Towns, the Plaintiff was 80 years old when she was involved in a rear end motor vehicle accident. Liability was admitted by ICBC’S lawyer. The Plaintiff advanced an ICBC claim, seeking damages for many types of claims, including pain and suffering, future care, past and future loss of housekeeping capacity, as well an in-trust claim on behalf of her son, who took over the role from his mother for caring for his father, as well as doing housekeeping chores that the Plaintiff had performed before the accident. ICBC’S lawyer argued that the hours spent by the son in looking after the father should be deducted from the claim. The Court, considering all the circumstances, awarded the Plaintiff $46,800.00 in-trust claim for her son for both components of the in-trust claim.


[129] Mrs. Wong makes a claim in trust with respect to the time Todd Wong has devoted to caring for his father and doing housekeeping chores that Mrs. Wong performed before the accident. While Ms. Towns does not dispute that Todd Wong performed these functions up to the date of trial, she argues that the hours spent looking after Bill Wong should be deducted from the claim. Further, Ms. Towns argues that because Todd Wong lived with his parents at the time of the accident, and continues to live there by choice, there should be no allowance for the fact that he stays overnight in part to supervise his parents’ care.


[130] The parties agree that the factors to be considered when assessing an in-trust claim are those described in Bystedt v. Hay, 2001 BCSC 1735 (CanLII) at para. 180, aff’d 2004 BCCA 124 (CanLII). First, I find the services Todd Wong provided for both his mother and father in the three years since the accident are directly related to the injuries suffered therein. Todd Wong’s care of his father was only necessitated by the inability of Mrs. Wong to continue caring for her husband due to the injuries she sustained in the collision. Second, the services provided by Todd Wong are clearly more than what could be expected of a son, particularly a son who had a full-time job outside of the home. Eventually he took over all of Mrs. Wong’s household duties pre-accident and, in addition, her duties in regard to Bill Wong’s care. Further, the stress on Todd Wong from performing these services for his parents while working at the library resulted in two medical leaves of absence for a total of six months.


[131] … I find that a reasonable estimate of the value of Todd Wong’s services should be based on an average of 20 hours per week since the accident at $15 per hour. The total in-trust claim is therefore (20 hours per week x $15 per hour x 52 weeks x 3 years since the accident) $46,800.

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