Challenges with Wrongful Death Claims Involving Children and the Elderly


The accidental death of a loved one is always tragic, but the situation is devastating when the victims are extremely vulnerable due to young or advanced age. Unfortunately, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) demonstrate that unintentional fatalities are common among these age groups. Every year, more than 3,500 children under 10 are killed in accidents, while almost 65,000 adults aged 65 or order die under accidental circumstances.

The emotional toll and grief for surviving family members is considerable, so you may find some comfort in the fact that Alaska laws may provide you with legal options for compensation through a wrongful death claim. However, due to the ages of the victims, the concept of compensation can be extremely complicated. It is crucial to rely on an Anchorage, AK wrongful death lawyer for assistance with challenges, but you may gain some insight by reviewing some basics.


How Damages Work in Alaska Wrongful Death Claims

Initially, you should know that these lawsuits are intended to make surviving family members whole due to the losses they sustain after their loved one’s death. Therefore, if you qualify to file a wrongful death case, you could recover for two types of compensation:

  • Economic damages are based upon your definable and/or out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the victim’s death. They include medical bills incurred to save his or her life, burial and funeral costs, and any lost wages from the accident to the date of death.
  • Non-economic damages refer to the subjective, personal losses you suffer from the void left behind after your loved one’s passing. Loss of financial and emotional contributions is a key factor, but consortium, love, guidance, and education are also included in this category.


Applying Damages Concepts to Elderly and Child Victims

Because lost wages and financial contributions are so crucial to monetary damages in a wrongful death case, you can see how there are hurdles when the victim is limited in this capacity. When filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you are asking the opposing side to speculate about what these losses may be. Age relates to the amount of compensation because it bears upon loss of future earning potential. An elderly victim who is retired would presumably not be a contributor, neither would a child who does not yet have a job. As such, relevant factors may include:

  • Life expectancy;
  • State of mind;
  • Physical health; and,
  • Many others.


Note that financial contributions are not the only form of monetary damages, but this aspect of compensation is often associated with age.


An Alaska Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help Overcome Challenges

 In addition to these complications involved when a child or elderly person is killed in an accident, there are the same complexities that apply to all wrongful death cases. You could encounter issues when dealing with an insurance company, as well as with filing a lawsuit in court. Our team at Power & Power Law is prepared to assist with your remedies, soplease contact our Anchorage, Alaska office to schedule a free consultation today.