Losing a child is the most traumatic experience a parent may encounter. The loss leaves a lifelong void nothing and no one can fill. The pain gets worse when your child dies due to someone’s negligence. Even the smallest error can cause immense harm and even kill your child. Knowing that your kid could be alive had the culprit acted responsibly brings feelings of anger, frustration, and grief. You want justice for your child and the harshest punishment for the guilty person. Thankfully, a wrongful death lawsuit can cover both fronts for you. But you need to prepare before seeking justice for the wrongful death of your child. Here are some tips to get a favourable verdict that gives you closure and helps you move on.
Understand the possible cause of wrongful death
Thousands of children sustain life-threatening injuries due to the negligence of others. Road accidents make up only a fraction of these cases, and there are many other possible causes you must know about. Medical negligence by practitioners and healthcare workers often leads to birth injuries in babies. Such injuries can leave your little one crippled or even result in death. Medical malpractice includes dosing errors and administration of wrong medicines. Negligent daycare workers fail to properly supervise children, leading to threats like falls, burns, and ingestion of toxic chemicals. Defective toys and equipment can also lead to wrongful deaths in infants and children.
Determining liability for the wrongful death of a child
Identifying the reason for the wrongful death of your kid is only a start. Everything boils down to determining the liability for the loss. A negligent driver is responsible if your child dies in a road mishap. Identify the specific healthcare worker responsible for medical malpractice or negligence. You can sue the hospital facility too, depending on the circumstances. The same applies to schools and daycare centers because many people work in these facilities, and identifying the culprit can be challenging. If you lose your kid due to a defective product, you can hold the manufacturer liable for breaching the duty of care.
Recovering damages for the loss
The loss of a child is beyond monetary compensation, but parents can recover damages by filing a lawsuit. Your kid deserves justice, and so do you as a parent. Luckily, most states allow recovery as a legal right of parents. A wrongful death attorney can help your recover damages for financial losses, pain and suffering of the child, and grief of the parents. Financial damages include the cost of treatment and funeral and burial expenses. Some states do not allow parents to claim for their mental anguish. However, you can seek compensation for the services the dead child would have provided in the future. The value of damages depends on several factors, so you must rely on an expert for the calculation. Essentially, these factors include the following –
- The age of your child
- The relationship with the person filing the claim (parent or guardian)
- The life expectancy or work expectancy of the child
- The age and health of the claimant
Determine your eligibility to file a claim
A wrongful death claim for an adult is relatively straightforward because a person representing the estate of the deceased can file a claim. These include the spouse, adult children, parents, and people named in the will. However, things are different for a child because the victim has no estate to speak of. So there are no estate representatives to sue on their behalf. Only the parents or legal guardians of the child can file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are some state-specific rules applying to these cases. For example, states like New York do not allow a parent to file a lawsuit over the loss of a fetus. If a pregnant woman loses an unborn baby in a car crash, she cannot include the loss in her personal injury claim. But she may seek compensation for the emotional damage. You must also follow the state-specific statute of limitations to file a claim within relevant timelines.
A child’s wrongful death can disrupt the life of parents. Although nothing can make up for the loss, getting justice brings peace of mind and closure. Moreover, the financial compensation can cover your financial losses due to the injuries and suffering of the deceased. You must file a wrongful death claim against the negligent person to ensure they are punished for the act. Collaborate with an expert to get the justice your family deserves.