The comedian/actor Milton Berle Uncle Miltie once said if evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? The comedian made a good point about the many demanding roles that stay-at-home mothers fulfill. Stay-at-home moms, also known as full-time mothers, work in roles ranging from caregiver for their children as well as elderly parents, to taxi driver, housekeeper and chef, to name just a few. Stay-at-home moms typically do not receive direct monetary compensation or a salary though their work benefits the entire family.
In personal injury law, if a caregiver, housekeeper or chef is injured and physically unable to work, they are entitled to compensation for their lost wages. So the question we often hear is, because a mother doesn’t earn wages for work done in the home, how can they be compensated when they are injured and physically unable to perform in their many roles?
Just because a mother didn’t earn a wage for the work she does in raising her family prior to her injury doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be compensated for her inability to take care of all these tasks; it might be possible to file a claim for a non-economic loss.
- Non-economic damages are also called pain and suffering or loss of a normal life. While it is easy to argue that laundry, cooking and housework are not always enjoyable, the inability to do these things is legally compensable as pain and suffering.
- Another way that a mother can recover for her inability to take care of the household is to incur caretaking expenses. If she needs to hire someone else to do the work that she normally takes care of, she could claim reimbursement for things like hiring a babysitter, using a cleaning service and/or paying a dry cleaner to do the laundry.
Author Mildred Vermont said Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field since the payment is pure love. While love may be a mother’s wage, if her ability to perform her job is compromised by an injury, there are opportunities under Illinois law for her to recover monetary damages for the loss of her normal life.