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The death of a child is devastating. If it is possible for it to be even worse, a scenario where the death was a result of negligence tops the list. The untimely death of anyone that could have been avoided is always a tragedy, and in the case of a child…well there are no words.

Although it is difficult to follow through on, a wrongful death case involving a child is sometimes advised. However, since wrongful death settlement damages are normally awarded based on financial loss, arriving at the right amount of monetary compensation can be difficult. 

Determining the proper compensation in the wrongful death of an adult

Since children don’t have any earning potential, how is the insurance adjuster or jury to determine what the proper compensation should be in a wrongful death claim? For an adult, it’s usually based on the following.

  • Their earning potential, that is, how much money they would have made in the course of their lifetime would be determined. 
  • The amount of damages would also take into account the number of dependents the decedent had.
  • The education, age and career would also be addressed when determined the earning potential the decedent would have had in his or her lifetime.
  • How the insurance adjuster or jury perceives the value of the adult decedent also plays a part in determining the potential financial picture.

Determining the proper compensation in the wrongful death of a child

None of the above determinations for the potential financial assessment of an adult applies to children, since they haven’t had a completed education or a job. Because of this, the recovery the parents receive when their child is a victim in a wrongful death case is usually quite small. In New York, the law doesn’t allow the parents any recovery for their pain and suffering, but only for such incurred expenses as medical and funeral costs.

Damages are usually based on the following:

  • The age, sex, life expectancy, work expectancy, state of health, and habits of the child
  • The child’s earning potential
  • The relationship of the decedent to those claiming a monetary loss
  • The health, age, and circumstances of those claiming monetary losses

It’s particularly difficult to determine the child’s earning potential since no one knows what that would have been. The younger the child, the harder it is to determine. To find a figure, insurance adjusters or juries often use a work-life expectancy table to get an idea of the value of a child’s earning potential. 

You cannot bring a wrongful death claim for the wrongful death of a fetus in the state of New York.

Because the law can be complex when dealing with a wrongful death claim of a child, please let us at Alexander and Associates help you in obtaining compensation and justice for your loss. Give us a call so we can answer any questions you many have. As experienced wrongful death attorneys, we will do everything in our power to help you.

If you have any questions about this article or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us toll free at 1-800-LAW-1333. Our personal injury consultations are always free.

The content of this blog was prepared by Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law. Client relationships can only be created by written contract.

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"Alexander and Associates did a great job for us! Peter Addonizio handled my car accident matter. He was very helpful and thorough. I was very happy with the services and the outcome. Thank you! I would highly recommend them."

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