Lost Wages Recovery for Parent Caring for Injured Child

In a negligence action, the custodial parent of a minor child who was injured in an automobile accident reached a settlement on behalf of the child against the defendant. The plaintiff then brought a separate action seeking to recover the wages that she lost by having to take care of her child. Can a parent recover for lost wages in these circumstances?

The trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that the plaintiff's complaint did not state a cause of action. The Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, reversed and remanded. The appellate court, agreeing with the trial court, held that a parent is not entitled to recover for the wages lost while caring for her injured child. However, the appellate court went on to find that it is reasonably foreseeable that an injury to a minor child would result in the parent suffering pecuniary loss by having to care for the child. Requiring the defendant to pay the parent would be no different than if the cost resulted from having to hire a third party to tend to the child. Therefore, the court held that a parent is entitled to recover the reasonable value of the services rendered in caring for her minor child who was injured as a result of the defendant's negligence. Worley v. Barger, No. 5-02-0679, 2004 Ill.App. LEXIS 347, __ Ill.App.3d __, __ N.E.2d __, 2004 WL 692673 (5th Dist., March 31, 2004).