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.
A wrongful death claim in Michigan is filed whenever someone dies as a result of another person’s misconduct. If you and your loved one were in a situation where your life has been threatened or life was lost, the surviving party may be eligible to file a claim against the person who contributed to the other party’s wrongful death.
In this case, a claim may be filed for the payment of funeral expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering of the deceased, loss of financial support, loss of services, loss of prospective inheritance, loss of companionship, and all other kinds of mental and physical anguish experienced by the deceased.
The Michigan Supreme Court, in the case of Estate of Jawad Jumaa v Prime Healthcare Services-Garden City, LLC, defined wrongful death claims and the rights to file a case, to wit:
According to MCL 600.2921, “[a]ll actions and claims survive death.” However, “[a]ctions on claims for injuries which result in death shall not be prosecuted after the death of the injured person except pursuant to [the wrongful-death statute, MCL 600.2922].” Such claims may be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate to the same extent the decedent could have brought those claims if the decedent had survived. MCL 600.2922(1) and (2).
According to MCL 600.2922(6), in every action under this section, the court or jury may award damages as the court or jury shall consider fair and equitable, under all the circumstances including reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the estate is liable; reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering, while conscious, undergone by the deceased during the period intervening between the time of the injury and death; and damages for the loss of financial support and the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased.
The Supreme Court explained that “the wrongful-death act is essentially a ‘filter’ through
which the underlying claim may proceed,” noting that a wrongful-death action is not created upon the death of the decedent, but rather survives the death of the decedent. Wesche v Mecosta Co Road Comm, 480 Mich 75, 88-89; 746 NW2d 847 (2008).
In the coming articles, we will dive more into wrongful death claims in Michigan.
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