Child Death and a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Wrongful death statutes vary by state, though generally parents of adult and minor children can sue for wrongful death and recover damages. The law allows those who have lost a child due to another's negligence or maliciousness to hold the responsible parties liable. Those found responsible for a child's wrongful death must provide financial compensation to the child's guardians based on the value of the child's life.

Wrongful Death of a Child

A wrongful death lawsuit, or a wrongful death action, is a civil case presided over by  a judge or jury. In these cases, the value of a child's life must be determined in order to award  compensation to the child's guardians. This value depends on many factors, including the child's age, health, expected life span, and future earning potential. Different wrongful death statutes may apply depending on whether the child is an adult or a minor. Often, parents can't recover damages for an adult child unless they were dependent for support. The phrase dependent for support means that the parents rely on the adult child for financial support. When dealing with the death of a young child, the guardian's emotional loss and the loss of the child's life experience plays a large part in determining the value of the life, since the child's future potential can only be estimated.

Lawsuit Compensation for the Death of a Child

The circumstances which caused a child's death may affect the outcome of a wrongful death suit. Among the most important factors is liability, or who is responsible. Wrongful death claims may be made for accidental deaths due to another person's negligence, or for willful and intentional acts that led to a child's death. Those found responsible for the wrongful death of a child can face severe financial consequences, as well as potential criminal charges. If the death is purely accidental, and no one is found liable, then the child's death may not be compensable.

Covered Damages

Each wrongful death case is different, and laws regarding what is and what isn't compensable often vary by state. A guardian of a deceased child may be able to recover damages such as:

  • Medical and medication expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost financial support
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Grief, mental anguish and suffering
  • Necessary psychological treatments and medication expenses

Hiring a Lawyer

While the pain of losing a child can never be measured in dollar amounts, receiving compensation from those at fault may help parents gain closure, and alleviate some of the financial hardship involved. Experienced attorneys are needed to offer guidance and help to all parties involved in the wrongful death of a child.

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