The Florida wrongful death of a child is an event that can and does have a lifetime effect on parents and other family members. In Florida, a parent can be awarded damages for the mental pain and suffering associated with the death or loss of a child. Whether the cause is an automobile accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or some other cause, the case must be filed pursuant to Chapter 768, Florida Statutes which is the Florida Wrongful Death Act.
The measure of damages can involve the joint life expectancy of the parent and child. In considering the emotional damages associated with a death of a child, a jury can consider the various life events that a parent will miss during the child’s lifetime which often times include the following:
First Day of School. When a child dies a very young age, a parent will miss out on the life event of the child’s first day of school. This is a milestone that is important to the child and parent alike. Plans are made and anticipation is high for this special day. The importance of the day is highlighted by the bond of the parent / child. There is no first day of school when a child dies at such a young age. It is certainly a life event that can never been replaced or replicated.
First Little League Game or Recital. This is another important milestone or event that is witnessed and enjoyed by parents. Whether the child’s performance is the best of the team or worst – it does not matter as the importance lies in the participation and the enjoyment of the game or the performance.
Graduation from Elementary School or Middle School. There is often times great joy and sharing at these ceremonies or times in a child’s life. Moving on to the next school means that the child has accomplished a number of things and is moving on to the next challenge in life. In the audience of these events, you will see parent after parent eagerly awaiting the announcement of his or her child’s name. It is quite a sad notion to think about the parent whose child’s name will never been called and whose child will never graduate or grow up with the other children in the class.
Birthday Parties. This child’s birthday party may be celebrated or remembered but the birthday boy or girl will not be in attendance. The child’s birthday and the general time period before and after the important date can be a quite challenging time period every year for the grieving parent. Year after year, the child’s birthday will come and go.
First Date . . . Prom. While the first date and prom take place in the early to mid teenage years, the parents often times are intricately involved with the planning and anticipation of these life events. The first date or prom is often a great time to take photos and help preserve memories of the special date. When a child dies before his or her teenage years, the first date / prom is an event that a parent will never see or help his or her child prepare for or anticipate.
High School Graduation. For both child and parent, the high school graduation is typically not seen as the end . . . but the beginning of young adulthood and / or further education for the child. The parent / child relationship certainly does not end at high school graduation but merely enters another great stage of the parent / child relationship. The high school graduation ceremonies filled with caps, gowns, and dreams of tomorrow are as much for the graduating child as for the parents and family. When a child dies before his or her high school graduation, the beginning of the dream of tomorrow and promises of the future never happen. There will always be the thoughts for the parent of what could have been or what may have happened.