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How California courts decide damages for the death of a child

Losing someone you love proves to be a traumatic experience. Sudden, unexpected deaths leave family members without the ability to prepare for a new life without loved ones. Especially excruciating circumstances involve the death of a child.

In cases involving wrongful death, California court works to remedy the loss of your child through compensatory damages. No awarded money can make up for your loss, but the court works to have those responsible for your child's death provide financial benefits to you and your family. Determining the specific amount to award family members involves deciding elements of your child's predicted future and the loss you now face. Though wrongful death cases are extremely devastating, know that a court will determine proper compensation.

Considering your child's future

Deciding the money to award family members in a wrongful death lawsuit involves looking directly into the future that your child no longer may experience. California court looks at both economic damages for compensation and non-economic damages.

When determining economic damage amounts, a judge may consider:

  • The value of financial support that your child would have contributed to your family during your child's lifespan or your own lifespan
    • Lifespan may be considered using factors like your child's health and activities.
  • The loss of gifts or benefit that you could have expected to receive from your child
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The reasonable household services that your child would have provided

No exact formula exists for determining economic damages for your child's devastating death, but the economic damages are usually based on your child's age and money spent related to their passing.

When deciding non-economic damages, California judges look at the loss of your child's:

  • Love
  • Companionship
  • Comfort
  • Care
  • Assistance
  • Protection
  • Affection
  • Society
  • Moral support

These non-economic compensatory damages are not decided using a specific standard. Judges use their best determination for damages based on the loss of a family's child. Especially for young children, the emotional anguish parents may feel may sway a judge's decision to amount to greater damages.

You are not alone. If your family faces the significant loss of a child due to an individual's or company's negligence, attorneys work diligently to help you receive damages that may cover your family's expenses. California court understands that the loss of a child proves horrific, and judges are committed to seeking monetary justice for your family.

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