Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits brought against businesses or individuals that caused a death through illegal activity, contractual omissions or negligence. Often, surviving family members focus their wrongful death claims on lost wages and employment-related benefits, as those may be the most valuable economic losses they can claim.
When the person who dies is a stay-at-home parent, family members may wonder whether they can claim any economic losses because of their recent family tragedy. Although the work of stay-at-home parents technically goes without compensation, that does not mean the death of a stay-at-home parent is without economic impact. Your family will absolutely experience financial hardship after losing a parent, even if they didn’t earn any wages.
There are two major factors that can influence the value of a wrongful death claim when a stay-at-home parent dies.
The economic value of their unpaid household work
While someone doesn’t earn wages or accrue Social Security benefits for hours spent caring for their children, cleaning their home and feeding the entire family, those efforts still have real-world value.
Someone who manages all of the major household responsibilities and provides full-time child care provides work that is worth over $178,000 a year, according to figures from 2019. The more work a stay-at-home parent did for the family, the greater the economic value of those services that you could potentially seek from the responsible party in the lawsuit.
Support needs of the children
Outsourcing childcare costs will be a major financial burden for a family that previously depended on a stay-at-home parent for those services. Not only will such arrangements be more expensive, but they will also likely have an emotional impact on the children.
Children adjusting to the loss of their primary caregiver may either need to go to a childcare facility that specializes in providing support for grieving children or attend regular grief counseling, and a combination of individual and family therapy sessions. Your family may be able to include those costs for childcare or psychological support in the claim against the responsible party.
Asking for the maximum amount of compensation in a wrongful death claim to help your family mitigate the practical losses related to a recent tragic experience.