Compensation for the negligent death of a child is unlike claims in the USA. The compensation available for parents of a child who has been killed in an accident, no matter how negligently or recklessly the accident occurred, is extremely limited.
There is no statutory benefit scheme to provide some compensation to the grieving parents, as exists in the United Kingdom.
In Australia parents are only entitled to receive compensation for their unbearable loss, following the negligent death of a child, if they have suffered “nervous shock”. Grief itself is not nervous shock and is therefore not compensable. It is only when grief turns into a psychiatric condition, for example panic attacks, depression, anxiety, that compensation is available. Even then, entitlement to compensation requires the claimant’s whole person impairment to be greater than 10%. This threshold is difficult to overcome.
It is rare for parents of a deceased child to be entitled to receive compensation for loss of their financial dependency on their late child. Such claims are likely to be limited to parents of an infant TV or movie star as children, in the main, are financially dependent on their parents, and not the other way around.
I have found it very traumatic to have to tell the bereaved parents of a deceased child that there is practically no compensation for their appalling loss, other than the recovery of funeral expenses.
If you or anyone you know has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Tom Goudkamp OAM