On Christmas Eve 2013, a 9 year old Manteca Girl was died as a result of a car accident in Escalon, California, just north of Modesto. As reported by the Modesto Bee, nine year old Mariah Izzo of Manteca, California suffered fatal injuries when the Toyota Rav-4 in which she was riding with her aunt at the wheel was rear ended at 35 MPH by another driver, after the light at which they were stopped turned green. Although alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as a contributing factor to the cause of this crash, a determination of the actual cause has yet to be made. It seems, however, that this collision is of a type that could have been avoided by the exercise of due care. The family is devastated which can be sensed in the video posted on youtube celebrating the life of Mariah Izzo.
Family Raising Money To Pay For Her Death And Medical Expenses
Notwithstanding any legal remedies the family might have, they are being proactive with trying to offset the costs associated with her death and medical intervention. If you would like to donate you can find the link here to GoFundMe. The typical funeral cost between $8,000 and $10,000 in California. In addition we have seen medical bill running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases not leading to death. Depending on what type of medical intervention was done here will dictate the amount of the bills. But promise you this, they are not cheap.
Wrongful Death and Negligence In California
In California civil law, the term of art we use for a lawsuit for a death of a loved one is called a Wrongful Death Lawsuit. Wrongful Death can be based in many theories of law, but int his case it appears to be based in a Negligence Theory. Civil law dictates that the a negligent party can be held liable for Wrongful Death. In order to prove Negligence, a plaintiff must show that a duty owed by the defendant was breached, and that the breach was both an actual as well as the proximate cause of their loss. The purpose of a wrongful death action is to compensate survivors of the departed, deter future wrongful conduct, and to define which damages are recoverable. In other words, if negligence is proven by preponderance of the evidence in a civil suit for Wrongful Death, then the survivors who bring the lawsuit can be compensated for such loss. The amount of compensation depends on the value of such life as determined by the parties or the jury. The problem is that a child's life is much more difficult to put a value on and therefore generally receive less recovery than an adult whose life value is much more easily calculated.
Calculating Damages For Death Of Child In California For Wrongful Death
It is easier to calculate the monetary loss of an adult whose death was caused by the negligence of another in California. The family of an adult who has died and bring suit for Wrongful Death, the family can calculate how much economic benefit the of that now deceased member. They know how much money that person made from their job and potentially how much that person could bring over their lifetime. A child who sues for the wrongful death of their parent can allege loss of support, guidance, care, love and income of the deceased parent.
Compare this to the loss of a child. The parents of a child who had died at the result of the negligence of another is limited in their recovery for a wrongful death lawsuit. The law does not leave the potential negligent party unaccountable. The parents of a child can bring a Wrongful Death lawsuit against a negligent party who causes the death of their child. In a wrongful death action involving the death of a minor child, there are two categories of damages which may be recoverable. The first of those two categories is 1) economic damages which include loss of future financial support, loss or benefits or gifts from the departed, funeral and burial expenses, as well as the value of household services the departed would have provided. The second category is 2) non-economic damages which account for the loss of the child's love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support. As illustrated in the Modesto Bee's story about Mariah's life and tragic death, the value of her existence was priceless to her family.
The law provides no recourse for the deep pain that the Izzo's are undoubtedly feeling. Yet, this beautiful and vibrant soul has left a legacy, not only in the hearts and memories of her loved ones, but also for recipients of organs donated by her family.