Legal Memorandum: Wrongful Death Action for a Child

Issue: In a wrongful death action for a child between the ages of three and ten, what are some of the jury verdicts that have been returned in the states of West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Wrongful death action; Child; Ages of three and ten
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
Cited Cases: 195 W. Va. 246; 465 S.E.2d 246
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2001

           An on-line database search, as well as a manual review of various verdict and settlement resources yielded few relevant cases.  Due to the paucity of cases, the search was expanded to include Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The cases located are discussed in the next section.  The Personal Injury Valuation Handbooks list the following base injury values for wrongful death of minors, in dollars:

Age                             Female                         Male

2-3                               750,000                       725,600

4-6                               575,000                       487,993

7-10                             580,944                       520,496

This value should be adjusted by a variety of factors depending on the facts of the case.  The value should be adjusted by +2% for cases arising in McDowell County, West Virginia.

The Handbooks also list the verdict median for girls between the ages of four to six as $750,000, and $432,500 for seven-to-ten-year-old girls.  The verdict median for boys between the ages of four to six is listed as $438,487, and $650,000 for seven-to-ten-year-old boys.

Cases settled or decided by jury verdict in West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania involving the wrongful death of children aged three to ten include the following:

·         Estate of Crook v. Alderman, W. Va. Circuit Court No. 95-C-3 (1995) ($100,000 settlement for a five-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a motor vehicle at a school crossing)

·         Voelker v. Frederick Bus. Prop. Co., 195 W. Va. 246, 465 S.E.2d 246 (1995) (defense verdict in case in which six-year-old boy was killed by motorist at school […]

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