Question from ONEsmallVOICE, How is Compensation for a Minor’s Wrongful Death Divided if the Father is Unknown in the USA?
Answer from AI:
In the United States, the distribution of compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a minor child can be complex, especially when the identity of one parent is unknown. The laws governing this process can vary significantly from state to state, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional for personalized advice.
In general, if a parent is awarded compensation for the wrongful death of a minor child and the other parent is unknown, the following may occur:
- The known parent receives the entire award: In many cases, the known parent (in this case, the mother) may receive the entire compensation award. This is because the court typically distributes the award to the surviving next of kin, which would be the mother if the father is unknown or not involved.
- The award is held in trust: In some cases, a portion of the award may be held in trust for the unknown parent. If the father’s identity is later discovered, he may be able to claim this portion of the award. If he is never identified, the trust may eventually be released to the mother.
The specific laws governing the distribution of wrongful death compensation can vary widely from state to state. For example, some states may require that a portion of the award be set aside for the unknown parent, while others may allow the known parent to receive the entire award.
Consulting with a Legal Professional
Given the complexity of these issues, it’s highly recommended that individuals consult with a legal professional for personalized advice. A lawyer can help you understand the specific laws in your state and guide you through the process of claiming and distributing wrongful death compensation.
For more information on wrongful death lawsuits and the distribution of compensation, you may want to consult the following resources:
- The Legal Information Institute’s page on wrongful death actions provides a general overview of wrongful death lawsuits, including who can file a lawsuit and how compensation is determined.
- The American Bar Association’s guide to personal injury settlements offers information on how compensation is distributed in personal injury cases, which can also apply to wrongful death cases.
Remember, this information is intended to provide a general understanding of the law. For advice on your specific situation, please consult with a legal professional.