What is Quantum Meruit Claims?
The Latin term “quantum meruit” translates to mean, “as much as deserved.” This legal claim is made by an individual who worked under the deceased but did not receive payment or compensation from their will.
In order to understand what a quantum meruit claim is, it’s important to overview the concept of unjust enrichment. Unjust Enrichment may apply when one person gets enriched by another’s work or effort without any benefits being given.
This occurs under circumstances where:
- a) An individual significantly contributes towards the property of another,
- b) The individual does not receive any compensation for their contribution, and
- c) There was no legal reason to justify the unjust enrichment causing a benefit for one and loss for another.
To successfully make a quantum meruit claim
An individual must determine that the work done for another party was not simply service with no expectation of compensation. The best way to establish your rights is by having an agreement in place before you start working or providing services. This will prevent conflicts later on and ensure that both parties are happy with what they’ve been provided while completing their work, even if there was no formal agreement between them previously.
Therefore, a minimum requirement would be some sort of arrangement that the working party would receive a benefit on behalf of their service, and they intentionally agreed to render the service in exchange for the benefit they would receive.
An example to clarify the concepts above would be an individual
(A) contributing to someone else’s
(B) property by providing a service
Such as building a deck on a house. In exchange, the person who obtained the service pledges to pay A for their efforts. A few weeks later, B passes away, therefore A fails to receive their compensation in exchange for their work. This gives A the opportunity to sue B’s estate and raise a quantum meruit claim based on unjust enrichment.
How to calculate compensation for a quantum meruit claim
varies on a case-to-case basis. In one case, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the amount should be awarded on a “purely business basis.”
In another case, the Ontario Court of Appeal decided to calculate the compensation based on the value of the contribution made to the property.
We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information and should you have any further questions regarding the Quantum Merit Claim, please contact us to book a free initial consultation 905-366-0202 or through our website here.