There’s no greater tragedy for a parent than the untimely death of a child. The injustice of the situation is only amplified by the fact it was preventable. A wrongful death case after a child’s death can stem from different types of accidents, such as an occupant in a motor vehicle, a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle.
This may leave a family wondering if there is anything they can do to hold the responsible party accountable. If the accident was caused by negligence, the parents may be entitled to damages that address a variety of losses through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in a Timely Manner
One important issue to consider is the timeframe in which the lawsuit is pursued. The grieving process may overtake any desire to seek legal action. Some parents say they wake up every morning expecting their child to walk through the front door again.
There can also be terrible sleepless nights with dreams about the accident. But it’s important to not wait too long to take legal steps toward holding the responsible party liable in a civil lawsuit.
Recovery of Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving a Child
In most cases it is the child’s parents who are eligible to recover damages. When both are entitled, any compensation awarded is distributed equally. The types of damages available depends on the losses the parents experience. Among the damages that parents may seek in a wrongful death claim are:
- Medical bills. The medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident that caused the child’s death could be included in a lawsuit. For instance, ambulance fees and treatment received in an emergency room prior to death may be recoverable from the liable party. Bills for the length of time the child was hospitalized before passing may be included as well.
- Pecuniary loss. These are losses that have monetary value. They are more common in cases involving adults, where others (such as a spouse or children) were dependent on the support person who died. It may be a challenge to collect these damages after the wrongful death of a child given that children provide no (or very little) financial assistance. But it may be possible in the case of the death of an older child who was contributing financially to the household. This would have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- Funeral costs. The expenses for burial and funeral services could be included in a claim or lawsuit. Although the amount may vary from one case to another, the costs must be reasonable.
- Psychological losses. Clearly, the impact a child’s death can have on the parents is significant. Although no price tag can be put on someone’s life, the loss may entitle the parents to noneconomic damages. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, grief and sorrow.
There are many issues to consider when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit involving a child. To protect your rights as the child’s parent, consult with an attorney. Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-642-2335 or fill out our online contact form.