The loss of a loved one is always a painful experience. A wrongful death significantly worsens matters because that would imply the death was preventable.
In Michigan, wrongful death is death by “the wrongful act, neglect or fault of another person.” Another person was responsible for the death of the person you love. You can hold them accountable for their negligence, but the burden of proof will fall on you. You would need to prove all the elements of a wrongful death claim.
What are the elements you must prove?
Let us say your loved one died because a doctor failed to provide them with a medical standard of reasonable care. They misdiagnosed your loved one or did not conduct the necessary tests to detect the illness. They might have prescribed the wrong medication or performed a botched surgery. They were negligent and breached their duty to your loved one, and it caused the eventual death of your loved one.
You must prove the death directly resulted from their negligence or wrongful actions. These are the four elements that you would need to satisfy before you can pursue a wrongful death claim:
- The liable party had a duty of care to your loved one.
- The liable party breached their duty through negligence or wrongful actions.
- The breach of duty directly caused injury or more damage that eventually led to death.
- You or your loved one incurred economic and/or noneconomic damages as a result.
Technically, we all have a duty to avoid hurting others. A driver should drive with reasonable care to prevent accidents. Speeding and texting while driving are examples of negligent behavior. A property owner must keep their property safe so visitors and guests are not in unnecessary danger. Otherwise, the victim could pursue a premises liability claim against the owner.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury lawsuit
A personal injury lawsuit is when a victim sues a negligent party for causing them to sustain injuries and damages. However, because your loved one is no longer alive to recover justice for the damages, it becomes a wrongful death lawsuit, and you pursue the personal injury claim on their behalf. Michigan laws give the surviving spouse, immediate family or personal representative the legal right to make the liable party pay for their transgressions.