TRAGIC CHILD DEATH IN CAR ACCIDENT
The Wall Street Journal reported today that a 10-year-old girl was killed and her pregnant mother was forced into labor when they were struck by a minivan in Brooklyn. The girl and her mother were hit just before 9 p.m. Tuesday as they were crossing 60th Street and 18th Avenue in the Borough Park neighborhood. Police said a valet driver of a Honda Odyssey minivan made a left turn onto 60th Street, striking the pair.
This fatality marked the eighth child pedestrian fatality of 2014, the city’s Department of Transportation said. There were nine child pedestrian fatalities in 2013.
The driver was arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle without owner consent, police said.
LAWS REGARDING MOTOR VEHICLES and PEDESTRIANS
This type of accident is known in the law as a “wrongful death”. The willful or negligent act of an individual or group which results in the death of another is called wrongful death. It should not have occurred, or it could have been prevented. The family or beneficiaries of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the death. Wrongful death statutes were originally written to protect the widows and orphans of the deceased from the loss of financial and other support of the person who died. Proving wrongful death can be complicated and involved case.
In addition, the amount of damages that the estate of the decedent can recover on wrongful death cases varies widely and is generally awarded in three ways.
1. Damages can be based on economic losses i.e.: That the decedent would have earned money over the course of his/her working life and the lawsuit can compensate the estate and next of kin for those potential lost earnings;
2. Damages can also be calculated by the loss of consortium, support and guidance that the decedent’s spouse and children could have received from the decedent- things such as companionship, child-raising, guidance etc.
3. Pain and suffering of the decedent and fear of imminent harm. This is a very difficult concept to grasp but essentially damages can be recovered for the victim’s pain and suffering prior to death. Even if the death occurred quickly or even instantaneously, damages may still be awarded.