A wrongful death case is one that is a civil case but much like a criminal case. One of the cases that are always hard to handle is a wrongful death case. With the thousands of cases that we have handled as a law firm, Haque Legal has always been very careful when it comes to handling wrongful death cases.
In this next article, it is our goal to talk about the legalities of wrongful death cases in Michigan.
Should I Pursue Criminal Prosecutions or Civil Lawsuits?
There is a big difference between criminal prosecution for homicide and the wrongful death civil suit. While you may want to pursue the criminal prosecution case only, we often suggest that our clients go for a wrongful death civil lawsuit.
A wrongful death suit and a criminal prosecution are two of the different things. While the suit for the criminal prosecution for homicides is underway there might also be a separate case in a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. One does not necessarily get the other.
In terms of the legal effect of filing one over the other, you should know that the criminal prosecution would require guilt beyond reasonable doubt while the wrongful death claim will require only a preponderance of the evidence.
How do I prove liability in a wrongful death case?
First of all, it is not you who is required to prove liability in a wrongful death case. It is your lawyer who is required to prove that there is a wrongful death case and that the person who is being implicated is guilty of it.
Generally, there are three elements that are required by the court in order to prove that there is indeed a wrongful death. Let us look at the elements:
Duty of Care
The person filing the case must prove that the defendant has the duty of care to the deceased person. In a wrongful death claim in an accident involving a motor vehicle, the plaintiff only needs to prove that the defendant has the obligation to obey the rules of the road.
It is easy in the state of Michigan to prove that there is a duty of care because it is very obvious that every single driver who is a license to operate a motor vehicle in Michigan or in the United States has the obligation to exercise the right duty of care. The plaintiff needs to prove such an obligation but common sense dictates that we all already have such an obligation.
Breach of Duty of Care
After proving that there is a duty of care on the part of the defendant to obey the rules of the road the next element that must be proved is that there is such a breach of the duty of care. For example, in the most basic traffic rule, the individual runs a red light causing his vehicle to hit a pedestrian and the pedestrian dies.
Here it is clear that the duty of care of the defendant is to follow the traffic rules and regulations set in the state of Michigan and the breach of the duty of care would be the fact that the individual failed to follow the specific rule on stopping at a red light.
Finally, the last thing that the individual should prove is the causation. It is not enough that there is a duty of care that the defendant must abide by and that such duty of care has been breached by the defendant. It is required that the plaintiff must show that the breach of duty of care is the main cause of the wrongful death of the deceased.
In the same example, if the defendant ran a red light with the intention of not being late on his appointment because he just drove so fast, hitting the pedestrian was caused directly by his breach of duty.
However, in some cases, the defendant can claim that there is a mechanical failure on the part of his vehicle and that is what caused the wrongful death or that the red light was not working properly at the time of the accident.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Obviously, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed by the victim. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the personal representative for the executor of the estate of the deceased. The personal representative is the one who files the claim and informs the family members that they are entitled to the damages relating to the wrongful death lawsuit.
What is Included In The Claim For Damages?
In the individual’s claim for damages, there are many factors that would be included in the long list of losses. This would include the following:
- The reasonable hospital and funeral expenses incurred by the family due to the death of the deceased person;
- The pain and suffering that is injured by the deceased person;
- The laws of financial support and income that would have been given by the deceased person had he survived; and
- All other intangible benefits cannot be put into monetary terms.
Who would receive the award for damages?
In the state of Michigan, it is generally the surviving spouse and children of the deceased who will receive the award for damages. In their absence, the surviving parents, siblings, and grandparents of the disease may also receive the award for damages. Any person who is also in the last will of the disease may also be entitled to the damages. Generally, any person who is named in the will of the deceased and who would receive property would be considered as entitled to the award for damages.
Let Haque Legal Help You With Your Wrongful Death Claim
Now that you know some facts about dealing with wrongful death in Michigan it is time to get down to it. If you require a Southfield wrongful death lawyer who can assist you with ensuring that you protect your rights to your property, it is important to know that you also have a team that can help you out with your specific needs.
Our law firm is dedicated to making sure that those who are innocent will be protected by the law and the full extent of justice will be used.
The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.
Let us help you out.
If you need a lawyer to help you during your wrongful death proceedings, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or are seeking justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call