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Age Considerations in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The age of the wrongful death victim is a factor in the calculation of the damages.

If you’re bringing lawsuit on behalf of the estate for a minor victim, it’s the same as other wrongful death lawsuits. There probably won’t be much debt to pay off, but you have their medical expenses, funeral expenses. That is something that you recover as a personal representative of the estate.

Suing as an heir, you have sorrow and grief of losing the child. The loss of future support is much more difficult to prove. But, say the victim was a 17-year-old honor student who was accepted to Yale. One could possibly make a strong argument in favor of what kind of support the survivor may have received. However, if the victim was a 4-year-old, it would be very difficult to prove what kind of support he would have provided.

You still get the pain and suffering if you can prove it, and if you get a personal representative going back to the egregious accident, you could maybe get punitive damages. The damage is still there, but you have proof issues given the child’s age.

For comparison, let’s say that the victim was an elderly person. Say they are retired and no longer working. You are no longer going to have the probable support claim.

Also, damages for future lost companionship and society are going to be limited, too, because if the victim was a 95-year-old person, it will be challenging to prove that they were going to give you companionship for the next 20 years. You’d be limited to a couple of years on something like that, at best.