Damages in wrongful death lawsuits are determined in large part by considering future earnings as well as care and nurturing for a family. Consequently, damages in cases involving children and elderly decedents can be particularly difficult to quantify. The unexpected loss of a child or an elderly parent is emotionally devastating, but the financial impact is less compelling in the eyes of the law. In order to obtain maximum compensation for your loss, it’s important to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases involving children and elderly decedents.
Damages for the Death of a Child
When a parent dies, the child (or representative for the child) can sue for loss of support and guidance. When a child dies, however, those damages are not available to parents. Parents can sue for a child’s lost future earnings, but earnings potential in a child is more difficult to measure the younger the child is. If a child is already earning an income, that income can be used as a basis for future earnings. Other factors considered include:
- The child’s age, sex, health, habits, life expectancy and work expectancy
- The parent’s immediate loss of affection and companionship
- Age, health and circumstances of the parent(s)
Damages for the Death of an Elderly Person
Cases involving elderly decedents have challenges similar to those involving children. If the decedent has already retired, his or her earnings potential is considered low. In these cases, surviving spouses have more substantial wrongful death claims than surviving children because the children of elderly people are usually self-supporting adults and are no longer considered in need of parental guidance. A surviving spouse who relied on the decedent’s untransferable benefits may be able to sue for loss of support. Personal injury survival actions for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death may also be applicable.
If you have a wrongful death case that involves a child or elderly person, it’s important to choose the right attorney. The attorneys at Ankin Law Office are knowledgeable about this particular area of wrongful death litigation. Contact us to discuss your case at a free initial consultation.