Research & Publications
Damages: Estimating Pecuniary Loss (Chapter 9)by Cara L. Brown
Chapter 9 - Valuation of Housekeeping Capacity
Chapter 9 addresses how to quantify loss of housekeeping capacity in personal injury cases and loss of dependency on housekeeping services in wrongful death cases. It begins by summarizing principles from the case law that provide guidance to economists when quantifying these claims. In the face of these principles, various methodologies for exploring housekeeping loss are presented. These address the measurement of time use and the utility of time use studies, the factors affecting time use, application of a retirement contingency to housekeeping awards, how to assess replacement rates for housework, and accounting for the productivity of hired experts when considering replacement rates. The various statistical sources available to assess housekeeping claims are addressed, and data is considered from several nations in this regard. Chapter 9 also includes a discussion of how housekeeping claims may overlap with other heads of damage and whether to apply a tax gross-up to damages for loss of housekeeping capacity. Other useful information is the Diary of Household Activities that can be used by plaintiffs to record their reduced ability to perform household chores and a comprehensive list of case law where the courts used specific hourly replacement rates to assess loss of housekeeping capacity or loss of dependency on household services.