The loss of a loved one in a fatal accident is something no Alameda family should ever have to endure. Sadly, far too many people face this reality on a daily basis. A wrongful death lawsuit can help a grieving family protect their financial interests by compensating them for their losses, but the amount of compensation depends on a number of factors.
One such factor is the age of the deceased victim. A court can look at the income earned by an adult and use that in calculating the family’s losses, but what if the accident victim is a child? It’s much harder to define what a child’s expected earnings and contributions to the family would have been. It’s even harder if the child victim was very young, compared to (for example) a teenager with an early track record of employment, educational performance and other activities.
One tool that a jury may use is a work-life expectancy table. Generally, these mathematical tables are based on data collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and cross-reference an individual’s current age and earnings with his or her expected earnings over the remaining life expectancy. A jury will typically begin with this information, and then look at other factors that they may use to increase the award amount.
When seeking accountability from a negligent individual for the loss of a young family member, consultation with a legal professional can be crucial. An attorney will be familiar with the methods used by juries to calculate loss and compensation, and can ensure that no elements are overlooked by the legal system.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Cases: Children and the Elderly,” accessed Feb. 2, 2018