The wrongful death of a loved one is a difficult situation to endure, but these tragedies are even more egregious when they result in the death of a child. While a grieving family has grounds for a wrongful death claim against the responsible party, it can prove difficult to determine what types of damages are plausible when considering potential compensation.
Wrongful death claims are reserved for family members and certain other persons closely associated with the deceased party. Parents may file a wrongful death claim in relation to a deceased child, but this generally only applies when the child is a minor.
A wrongful death plaintiff may receive a loss of consortium damage award
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of companionship and affection that occurs when a family member dies. This claim asserts that the survivor is being deprived of the benefits he or she would have received had the family member lived. In Tennessee, the courts have ruled that parents may pursue loss of consortium for the wrongful death of a child.
Proving loss of consortium is challenging without assistance from a skilled Memphis wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death claims are often based on the projected financial contributions of the deceased had he or she survived. With a child, there is generally no history of financial contribution to assess, so courts use other types of analysis to determine proper compensation, including:
- Life expectancy contributions. This analysis examines the projected contributions that the child would have reasonably provided to the parents over an average life expectancy.
- Present value. This analysis only uses the value of lost contributions up until the child would have come of age. For example, if the child was 10 years old at her death, the court would only consider the contributions that would have occurred until her 18th
Punitive damages may also be awarded for the wrongful death of a child
Under some circumstances, the judge may award punitive damages to the family of the deceased child. Punitive damages are generally imposed as a type of punishment by the court and awarded to the plaintiff in addition to the determined damage amount. Punitive damage awards are commonly reserved for cases involving outrageous or extremely reckless behavior. They are meant to deter the wrongdoer from ever acting in that manner again. There is no guarantee that your case will result in a punitive damage award, but an experienced law firm knows how to present your case in a manner that seeks the level of compensation appropriate for your case.
You do not have to handle your wrongful death case alone. The lawyers of Bailey & Greer, PLLC serve clients throughout the state of Tennessee. Call us toll free at 901-680-9777 or complete our contact form to set up a free initial consultation.