Recovering for the Loss of Services Provided by a Stay-At-Home Parent
When a parent dies, the loss to his or her family is immeasurable. Whether a mother or a father, a parent’s role in the family is irreplaceable and the feelings of sadness and loss experienced by the surviving parent and the children may take years to diminish. When that parent was killed in an accident because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover some of the financial loss that will result from the absence of the parent. When the victim is a stay-at-home parent, however, these financial losses may be difficult to quantify.
Calculating the Value of a Stay-At-Home Parent
When the primary breadwinner in a family dies in an accident and a wrongful death lawsuit is pursued, one of the damages that can be recovered is for the loss of his or her earnings. This is usually calculated by taking the victim’s salary and multiplying it by the number of years he or she had left until retirement, while also accounting for benefits and other services offered by the deceased’s employer. When the deceased parent was the primary childcare provider, however, calculating the financial burden that will result from his or her absence can be complicated.
According to a survey conducted by Salary.com, stay-at-home parents work an average 94 hours a week caring for children and the home. Taking into account overtime pay and using salary information for the various tasks a typical parent performs, they estimate that it would cost approximately $113,000 a year to pay others to do the same tasks. A far less generous estimate from Insure.com breaks down stay-at-home parents’ tasks and hourly pay rates and comes up with a salary figure of nearly $60,000. Some specific items from their survey include:
- Cooking: 14 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, mean hourly wage of $9.03, for a total of $6,570 per year.
- Cleaning: 10 hours per week, 52 hours per year, mean hourly wage of $9.88, for a total of $5,135 per year.
- Childcare: 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, mean hourly wage of $9.65, for a total of $20,072 per year.
- Help with homework: 10 hours per week, 40 week per year, mean hourly wage of $18.25, for a total of $7,290.
In reality, these estimates are probably low, especially the childcare estimate that a parent only provides 40 hours of childcare per week. However, the important point is that when a stay-at-home parent is lost, all of the childcare tasks he or she performed will have to be replaced by paid workers and that cost can be devastating for an already heartbroken family.
Recovering From Your Loss
Coping with the loss of a spouse or parent is very difficult. Facing a financial burden on top of that makes it even harder. Call my office to schedule a free consultation. I will examine your case and give you my honest assessment of your chances in pursuing an accidental death claim.