In the unfortunate tragedy of the wrongful death of a child, the surviving parents of a child may consider filing a claim against the offending party to recover compensation for the damages incurred. The definition of a wrongful death is a preventable loss of life that occurred due to the negligence or lack of care on behalf of another party, or another party’s intent to cause harm. Wrongful death lawsuits involving children have been brought on by cases including car and motor vehicle accidents, defective products and premises liability. Accidents are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Often, bringing forth a wrongful death lawsuit after a child has died is a difficult decision but one parents make in order to obtain the justice they believe is deserved in this painful circumstance. When the child has divorced parents, a layer of complication affects a wrongful death lawsuit, simply because the parents are no longer legally a united front. Here are some considerations to be aware of.
Only one claim for the wrongful death of a child may be brought forth in court. This means, parents can either designate one parent to handle the claim, including choosing a lawyer for representation, or they can work together jointly to make decisions in the single claim.
If there are conflicts in making the decision of who should file the wrongful death claim, the parent who has legal custody is the one who can file. In cases of joint legal custody, typically during divorce proceedings, one parent is usually granted the right to file a wrongful death claim in the case of a child’s death.
What Type of Compensation Occurs in a Child Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Compensation for wrongful death lawsuits involving children includes not just financial loss, but emotional, as well. Financial losses are determined by factors including age and life expectancy, health and habits, and the child’s earning potential. After a child’s death, a parent may require therapy, counseling or medication to deal with the loss, which may play a factor in a lawsuit.
Compensation for a claim of the wrongful death of a child will be determined either in or out of court, depending on if the case goes to trial. If a wrongful death lawsuit is presented in front of a jury, the jury will determine who gets what amount of compensation. If the case is settled out of court, the work of the legal team will help determine the division of compensation.
If both divorced parents can come to an agreement of financial compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit of a child, they may be represented by the same attorney who can handle the awarding of compensation for them. If there is a disagreement between the divorced parents, each parent may use their own legal representation to fight for the compensation they feel they deserve.
In child wrongful death lawsuits, many factors can come into play when determining the parties who receive compensation and the amount. A divorced parent who does not have legal custody may still be entitled to compensation due to their relationship with the child. For example, a divorced parent who has joint but not legal custody, and who spends a significant amount of time with the child and endures a loss due to the death, may be entitled to financial compensation. Even a non-custodial parent may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim of a child. Paying child support and having frequent visits with a child may play a role in determining compensation.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney for Help
Arizona has a statute of limitations that requires plaintiffs to file a lawsuit within a certain time frame, or risk not being able to file at all. This is why it’s vital to contact a Phoenix wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to gain insight into a potential claim for your loss. A wrongful death lawyer will help a divorced parent who has lost a child to understand their rights and learn how to proceed for the best outcome possible.
If you have lost a child due to negligence or malicious intent, the Millea Law Firm is extremely sorry for your loss. Please contact us at (480) 462-5540 or online for Phoenix wrongful death lawyer information so we can help you during this challenging time.