Jul 16

What Are Damages for the Wrongful Death of a Young Child?

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A tragic two-vehicle accident on July 11 in Steele County, North Dakota, near Fargo, killed an eight-year-old boy.  What are damages for the death of a child in North Dakota or Minnesota?  How can a personal injury attorney help with a wrongful death accident?

Wrongul Death Damages in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

The key things to consider when evaluating the death of a young child or an older adult are the loss of advice, comfort, assistance, companionship and protection.  What is advice, comfort, assistance, companionship and protection?  Make a list.  Seriously.  These are called non-economic damages.  Write down a list of all the ways that you will miss that person.  Make a list of the great things about that person.  Start with the morning routine.  Start with holidays.  Just start.

Should there be a cap on these damages (non-economic damages)?  Some politicians think a child or retired adult is not worth a long list, but only a short list.  Should someone be able to tell you that your list is too long?  NO! 

But, Children and Retired People Do Not Have an Income. 

Do not about the fact that a young child was not working and has no income.  A child is precious.  Do not worry about the fact that an older adult is retired and not earning an income.  That person is in their golden years.  A young child’s life is worth more because that child has the time and imagination to enjoy life and bring joy to your life.

Damages for the death of a young child should be bigger than damages for any other person.  Children should not die.  Parents should not have to bury their children.  That is not the natural order of life.  Children are innocent.  They smile!  They laugh!  They use their imaginations!  The smallest things to an adult are big things to a child, and that is why we love them!

Damages for the death of an older adult should be large.  An older adult, even if retired, is living their golden years.  That person is living the years that we all dream about when working a weekend – retirement!  Time to spend with family!  Time to travel!  The chance to move south for the winter!  Time to work in the garage or time to time to sew!  An older adult might not move as fast as they once did, but they get to do things with more passion and take the time to enjoy life!  Forget the paycheck.  An older adult’s final years are worth more, because they don’t have that many more to enjoy.

The accident near Fargo, North Dakota, that took the life of the 8 year-old boy gives us an example of wrongful death damages.  The local newspaper ran an article with comments from the boy’s mother:

  • He would have celebrated a birthday the week after he died.
  • He loved sports.
  • He loved the outdoors.
  • He loved hunting.
  • He wanted to be just like his dad.
  • He was a bright light in our lives.
  • He always wanted a hug, morning or night.
  • We are grateful for the years we got with him.

Our personal injury attorneys are not involved with this young boy’s wrongful death claim.  But, just reading the mother’s comments about the boy almost brings you to tears.  That is what wrongful death damages are for a child or retired adult.

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