The consequences of being involved in an accident can touch almost every part of your life. However, it's not unusual for victims to focus only on recovering compensation for medical bills and property damage and forget about other losses they may have sustained. One such forgotten consideration is loss of household services. Here's more information about how you can increase your damage award (or settlement amount) by adding this claim to your suit.
Loss of Household Services Defined
In general, each person in a household provides some type of service or benefit to said household, even if the individual doesn't get paid for it. For example, a stay-at-home mom provides childcare, cooking and maid services. Though most people would consider taking care of kids, making meals and cleaning the home to be a normal part of being a wife and mother, the household would suffer if she were not able to perform these duties.
The loss of household services claim lets plaintiffs collect compensation for economic losses associated with the injured parties' inability to do the things they used to do for their families and homes. For instance, the domestic partner of the woman in the previous example could ask for the money needed to hire a maid to clean the home because the woman's injuries prevented her from doing it herself.
Spouses can use this claim for each other, and parents can use this claim for loss of services provided by children. The claim can also be made for a variety of services such as:
- Lawn care
- Home and auto maintenance
- Meal service
You can potentially be reimbursed for any type of work the person contributed to the household, paid or unpaid, using this claim. However, your ability to use this claim ends if the person dies.
Proving Your Losses
Prevailing in court requires you to submit proof of your losses, and there are a couple of things you'll need to provide support for your case. The first thing is confirmation from a medical professional that your injuries have limited your ability to perform the work. You can have your healthcare provider furnish a report for the court to review. Another option is to have a medical expert testify in your case as to the extent of your injuries and how it impacts your life.
The second thing you'll need to provide is an estimation of the cost of your losses. This can be done by producing receipts showing how much money you paid to third parties to perform those services for you. However, paying for services is not a requirement for collecting compensation under this claim. Simply proving there was an economic loss related to the services you provided is sometimes enough to get a ruling in your favor. To that end, you can hire a vocational expert to testify on your behalf about the value of the unpaid work you do.
For example, Salary.com claims that the salary for a stay-at-home mom is about $112,962. Though you may not get this amount, you can break down the street value of the different tasks you are unable to do to come up with a reasonable number.
The last thing you'll need to do is calculate the length of time you'll be unable to provide those household services. If your injuries leave you permanently disabled and unable to "return to work", then you'll need to factor in the adjustments you'll need to make in your home or routine to account for that long-term loss.
When pursuing compensation for damages incurred because of an accident, it's important to consider all the losses you sustained. It's a good idea to consult with personal injury attorneys who can assist you with determining what those losses are and developing a strategy for successfully obtaining the money you deserve.Share