Robert A. Solomon, P.C.
800-469-6476
Two Offices Serving New York & New Jersey

Wrongful death action for death of child or elderly loved one

The loss of a New Jersey loved one is a difficult event. Young or old, one is never prepared to accept that a family member has left us. When a fatal accident occurs, this can be extremely shocking. The negligence of another party has put one at a major loss not only by losing a loved one, but also suffering the financial damages associated with this loss.

When filing a wrongful death action against the presumed liable party, surviving family members are essentially putting a value on the victim's life. This value is measured by certain factors of the victim's life such as his or her earning potential. While it is not a pleasant task to setting a value or price on a person's life, this is required for this civil action. The process is further complicated when the matter involves the death of a child or an elderly loved one.

When an earning adult dies, it can be fairly easy to assess the financial losses. However, when a child dies, the recovery available to a parent is limited solely to the financial losses experienced. In some cases, this can be rather small. Losses associated with the death of a child are determined by the age, sex, life expectancy, work expectancy, state of heath and habits of the child, the child's earning potential, the relationship to the decedent with those claiming pecuniary loss and the health, age, and circumstances of those claiming pecuniary losses. Many of these are speculative, making it difficult to assert an accurate damages suffered.

Much like it is difficult to ascertain the amount of damages suffered with the loss of a child, the loss of an elderly loved one presents similar issues. Additionally, this action may not produce a large award for damages, much like one seeking damages for the loss of a child. Because it is likely the elderly loved one is past retirement age, he or she no longer has significant earning potential. Additionally, the children of a deceased elderly person no longer need significant guidance, support or nurturing, making this not a factor in damage calculation.

Even if one presumes an award for damages will not be much, it is important to consider one's rights and options following the death of a loved one. If a negligent party is to blame, it may be valuable to consider one's legal options to hold this party accountable.

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