How A Minor Can Be Compensated For Wrongful Death

Posted on: 16 November 2020


If you are caring for a child whose parents are recently deceased due to an accident caused by a negligent party, you might wonder if it is possible for the child to receive compensation for the death of their parents. States almost universally allow for the children of deceased parents to receive compensation, but you may wonder how this would work when the child is a minor.

The Estate

For minors, the wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the representative of the deceased's estate. Then, the estate of the deceased will be inherited by the child of the deceased. Once you have reached a settlement, the courts will allow you to decide how to distribute it. Even if the case is settled out of court, the courts must approve the settlement and will decide on how the settlement is distributed when minors are involved. The goal is to make sure that the settlement is distributed to the child when they are an adult.

The Guardian ad Litem

The courts will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the child. The goal of this representative is to make sure that the settlement is fair and to look out for the financial interests of the child.

Wrongful Death Compensation

Children will typically receive more compensation than adults since they will be considered to be in greater need because they are reliant on their parents. A minor can be eligible for compensation for the loss of resources that the child depended on. If the parents were earning an income prior to their deaths, the compensation will be based on a calculation of how much the parents would have earned if they had not been in a fatal accident.

A wrongful death attorney plays an essential role in calculating all of the types of damages the minor has suffered. In addition to economic damages, a wrongful death attorney can help calculate the non-economic damages your child has suffered, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. 

The Distribution of the Funds

After the damages have been awarded, the next step is to determine how the funds will be distributed. Oftentimes, the fund will be set up as part of a trust. If you are the official guardian of the child, you will have access to the funds to pay for living expenses. However, your access to these funds is placed under heavy scrutiny.

A wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate the legal processes involved with getting compensation for a minor who has lost their parents due to negligence.