The Florida wrongful death of a child deprives a parent of the enjoyment or even the experience of many parent – child life events that take place after the child graduates from high school. A parent can be awarded damages for past pain and suffering and for future pain and suffering. The damages that form the future pain and suffering can be in the form of life events that the parent would have been able to experience after the child graduated from high school. During the duration of the parent / child relationship, high school graduation is a point in time that is a beginning sorts in the life cycle. Many important life events take place after high school graduation that could have brought much joy to a parent including:
College Years. When a child attends college, it brings with it a whole host of experiences and times together between a parent and child. The college search is often a mission shared by the parent and child. Which colleges should be visited? Which colleges should be applied to? Typically, the parent serves as a mentor, guide, and friend in helping his or her child select a college. Once the child attends college, the parent often enjoys visits, parents’ weekend, football games, and other events that a parent can share with a child. Take a look at bumper and window stickers. There are thousands if not millions of stickers that state something like – Miami Hurricane Dad or Gator Mom. For those who lose a child prior to the college years, there will be no place for a bumper stick or T-Shirt like this.
College Graduation. After years of hard work and dedicated study, the time comes for a child to graduate from college. It is not only an accomplishment for the child but also for the parent who mentored the child and helped the child financially and emotionally to achieve the milestone of a college degree. There will be no photographs or videotapes of college graduation for the parent who loses a child due to the wrongful or negligent acts of others.
First Career Job. It is common to ask a person about their children. One common question involves the following: What does your son do for a living? Where does your daughter work? Seeing a child grow into a productive person in society is a wonderful thing. Whether the job is simple or brings fame and fortune matters less than the fact that the child is contributing to society and the betterment of the community. Again, one less life event that the parent will be able to see during the parent’s lifetime.
Marriage. There is tradition and ceremony to most weddings. The parents of the bride and groom are an important part of the event from the planning stages to the fond farewell drive after the ceremony right through the party. It is both wonderful and amazing to see a child get married and start a new chapter in their life. When a child dies early in life, there are no wedding plans, ceremonies, or wedding bells. There is just silence and thoughts of what might have been if the child did not die so early on in life.
Grandchildren. While it is difficult to predict of a child would have been a parent him or herself, the opportunities and dreams are effectively closed down when a child dies as a result of the wrongful acts or conduct of others.
Retirement and Old Age of the Parent. In the sunset of the life of a parent, there will be times when the love, comfort, and support of the child are the strongest in the relationship between a parent and child. When a child dies due to a wrongful death incident or event, the parent then misses out on the parent / child relationship when the parent may need it the most. Typically, a parent has the knowledge and comfort of life time companionship and friendship when he or she has a child. Of course, this comfort and security of sorts are lost when the child suffers an untimely and preventable death.
Beyond high school graduation, there are many life events that a parent of a deceased child misses out on. Both the day to day joys as well as the milestone joys like weddings and graduations are lost.