Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Calculating wrongful death damages when the victim is a child

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The death of anyone in an otherwise preventable accident is devastating, but the loss is especially tragic when the victim is a child. When a child in Virginia dies in an accident that was the fault of another individual, the parents may want to pursue a wrongful death suit. However, calculating damages in such a suit can be complex.

In general, when it comes to wrongful death suits, damages are determined based on the deceased's earning capacity along with other factors. These other factors include the next of kin's sorrow, mental anguish and loss of companionship. Damages can also be recovered for funeral expenses and final medical expenses.

The factors that may be examined in such cases include how old the child was, how long the child was expected to live, the child's physical health and the child's habits. The parents' emotional suffering and loss can also be taken into consideration. There is no easy way to put a dollar value on these losses. At trial, the family's attorney will typically suggest an amount to the jury, who will make an award based on the evidence.

No parent should ever have the bury their child, particularly if the child's death could have been prevented. For this reason, it is important to hold negligent parties accountable for the wrongful death of a child. Whether the child was the victim of an automobile accident or other type of accident, the parents may want to explore their legal options. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help parents understand how damages will be calculated in a wrongful death suit.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Cases: Children and the Elderly," accessed April 18, 2016

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