It is difficult for the court to quantify the economic loss for the death of a child. There are no wages to consider and a minor child does not usually contribute to the family’s finances. A child does contributes in other ways. In the state of Washington, parents can recover for the loss of the child’s companionship and affection.
Parents who can recover for the death of a child include:
- the child’s mother
- the child’s acknowledged father
- the child’s adoptive parents
- legal guardians
An adult child is a different circumstance. When an adult child suffers a wrongful death, the parents have a beneficiary claim if the adult child had been contributing money to the parents’ household or providing valuable services to the parents. In addition, the parents can file a pecuniary loss claim. Pecuniary loss includes loss of advice, care, comfort, and companionship. Whether the adult child was married also affects the parents’ rights to a degree.
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