Are the damages different when the wrongful death is that of a child?

Yes. In cases where wrongful death is of a child, parents will mostly recover non-economic damages, like those related to loss of love and affection. Economic damages may also be pursued. California law does limit damages a parent can claim for the death of their child.

Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.34, monetary recovery is limited for any loss or damage that the child suffered before death. This means California law gives parents the right to sue for any punitive damages (damages that financially punish the party that caused the child’s death to help keep the action from happening again). The only claims a parent can’t sue for are the child’s actual pain and suffering they would’ve experienced had they lived.

When determining the types of damages a surviving parent may pursue, these are the things to consider:

  • Loss of child’s love and companionship
  • Cost of healthcare and hospitalization which were required because of the defendant’s negligence that caused the child’s death
  • Cost of the funeral and burial
  • Reasonable cost of psychiatric or psychological counseling incurred by the surviving parents and minor siblings as a result of the child’s death
  • Child’s uninsured debts, including debts that the parent was required to pay on the child’s behalf
  • Loss of child’s services

No amount of compensation can ever bring the child back. But, a wrongful death suit can help healing begin.

Posted in: Wrongful Death