In previous articles, we discussed that wrongful death claims in Michigan are cases filed by grieving families. Generally, when a case cannot reach the same level of burden of proof, it switches to a claim where there are fewer criminal elements or a lower burden of proof. This is where wrongful death may be filed by the bereaved family.
In this article, let us look at the latest Supreme Court pronouncement on wrongful death claims in Michigan.
The Michigan Supreme Court, in the case of Estate of Jawad Jumaa v Prime Healthcare Services-Garden City, LLC, stated the following doctrine:
“We think the above cases establish that a child’s expected future earning potential is not inherently too speculative to permit recovery.
The touchstone is whether that future earning potential can be proven with reasonable certainty based on the child’s unique and known traits and abilities. There is no reason why the child must have an employment history.
We decline to specify how old is “old enough,” because different people mature at different rates, so that inquiry will inevitably depend on the specific child at issue. Nevertheless, it is well-known that at least by the end of middle school, it is common for teachers or other adults in a child’s life to perceive when a child shows promise in a field, has any particular aspirations or strengths, displays a developed personality characteristics such as conscientiousness or the kind of social adeptness that would likely evolve into adult networking skills, and so on.
Furthermore, it is also well-known that a child’s environment, including the child’s parents, school system, the general area of residence, participation in extracurricular activities, exposure to traumas or role models, and similar extrinsic influences will affect the child’s future earning potential. We do not purport to set forth an exhaustive list of characteristics and influences, nor do we suggest that any of the above characteristics and influences are necessary.
We hold only that it seems highly likely that the future earning potential of a 13-year-old can be proven with reasonable certainty based on personal characteristics and influences known at the time, and we unequivocally reject the proposition that the future earning potential of a 13-year-old categorically cannot be proven with reasonable certainty.” (emphasis ours)
Do you agree with this position?
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