Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim for an Infant or Elderly Person?
Is it possible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family of a child or elderly person? Normally, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed to recover the future financial contributions among of the deceased person, along with several other costs. Putting a monetary value on the life of a human is not easy; however, it is one that the juries and courts aim to do in these types of cases.
Trying to adapt the price-setting protocol in a wrongful death case to the death of an elderly person or a child is complicated. How do you determine future monetary contributions of a retired person or of a child? There are particular principles to help guide a wrongful death lawyer when trying to correctly assess the unrecoverable financial value of a death.
Death of a Child
It is fairly simple to calculate the financial loss when an income-producing adult dies. However, there are other factors considered such as the love, nurturing, possible childbearing services, and companionship considerations in an adult relationship. But when a young son or daughter dies, the damages the parents can recover is limited. That amount is calculated by looking at:
- The earning potential of the child
- The child’s life expectancy, age at death, state of health at death, habits
- The child’s relationship to the person claiming the loss
- The age, health status and circumstances of those asking for damages
Many of these conditions are purely speculation. If the child is very young at the time of death, it is even more difficult to correctly assess the conditions. On the other hand, if the child is in their late teens and excelling in school, it’s slightly easier to anticipate the potential earnings of that individual, had they survived into adulthood.
Loss of an Unborn Child
The laws regarding wrongful death claims vary in different states when an unborn baby is killed. Several states require that in order for a wrongful death action to be an option, the baby has to be born alive. If the baby dies in utero, a wrongful death claim is not considered a viable option. In other states, however, the claim may be actionable as long as the unborn baby was viable at the time of the baby’s death. If you wish to discuss the laws in Baltimore concerning the wrongful death of an unborn baby, it is best to contact a wrongful death lawyer who is familiar with local laws.
Death of an Elderly Person
An elderly person’s death also has a limited financial recovery potential. The court might award minimal awards because of several reasons, including:
- The assumption that someone older than the age of retirement does not have significant earning potential.
- An elderly person’s children are usually old enough not to need financial support, significant guidance, or extensive nurturing from their parents.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the undervaluing of elderly persons in the court when discussing a wrongful death action. Many people argue that the court is simply using a straight-forward system in a very difficult situation.
If you’re dealing with either of these difficult situations, know that you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. Contact the Greenberg Law Offices to set up a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer Baltimore families can depend on when it matters most.