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The complex side of Montana wrongful death claims

Victims of Montana vehicle accidents not only include vehicles, but they often also include bystanders, who are casualties due to other people's negligence. In particular, children tend to become victims because it is almost impossible for them to defend themselves against vehicles. In many cases, parents and other family members take the legal route to ensure that the person responsible for such a wrongful death is punished.

Filing such a lawsuit also brings up the question of damages, or what amount of compensation should be paid to the victim's family. While this does not lessen the family's pain and suffering, it is a mechanism aimed at minimizing any financial stress that the family may experience. However, in the case of children, this becomes a complicated issue since children generally do not contribute to their family's income.

Also, compared with adults, the financial contribution of the child varies, depending on age. In certain states, wrongful death claims may even be filed on behalf of an unborn child. In other cases, a live birth is a requirement to consider such an action. Again, the case of a 10-year-old is vastly different from that of a much older teenager because the teenager is more likely to contribute financially and at a sooner time.

Thus, although juries may sometimes reference such guides as work-life expectancy tables, it is unlikely that parents may receive any significant amount in damages for the wrongful death of their child. There may be extraordinary circumstances or cases where an exception is made, but for the most part, the less plausible financial impact makes jury members hesitant to decide in that direction.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Wrongful Death Cases: Children and the Elderly," accessed on Oct. 10, 2014

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