Southfield Wrongful Death Attorney
No one should have to face the death of a loved one that could have been preventable. However, if you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s reckless actions, contact the accident lawyers at Haque Legal. Our Southfield wrongful death attorneys can provide you with the support and legal guidance you need during this emotionally and financially straining time, while also helping you hold the responsible party accountable. Call today to speak to a Southfield wrongful death lawyer for a free case consultation.
Why Hire A Southfield Wrongful Death Lawyer From Haque Legal?
The Southfield injury attorneys at our law firm are skilled negotiators; we’ll work hard to get you the settlement amount you deserve. We are always focused on client satisfaction and results. Whether it’s wrongful death or personal injury, when you work with us, you are our number one priority. Our Southfield injury law attorneys will fiercely advocate on your behalf in court if necessary. You can rest easy knowing that Haque Legal uses a time-effective and team-oriented approach, meaning our experienced personal injury lawyers collaborate together on your case, providing you with the legal help your particular case needs.
The Michigan Wrongful Death Statute
It is critical to examine the wrongful death statute in Michigan to have an understanding of who can file these claims and how wrongful death cases arise. Under Michigan law, we can see that wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another” if those actions would have allowed the individual to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived the incident. Additionally, we see that Michigan law will also consider any wrongful or negligent actions that cause a pregnant woman to suffer a miscarriage or a wrongful death (Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 600.2922, 600.2922a (2021).
Wrongful death can also be the result of:
- Medical malpractice
- An intentional act or violent crime
What Are Common Causes Of Wrongful Death In Southfield?
Unfortunately, wrongful deaths tend to be the result of any catastrophic accident that is serious enough to result in the loss of life. For the most part, car accidents in Southfield are the leading result of wrongful death cases in Michigan, although there is no real limit as to what can be constituted as wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims in Michigan arise if a death occurs as a result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.” There are a variety of ways that please incidents occur, and our attorneys are standing by and ready to help those who have lost a loved one as a result of the following:
- Car accidents. Car accidents are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of other drivers, and 1,083 individuals lost their lives during the latest reporting year across the state on our roadways, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable during vehicle accidents caused by the actions of other drivers. There are no airbags, seatbelts, or metal frames to protect a motorcyclist should another driver make a mistake and cause a crash.
- Truck accidents: Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, and any type of crash involving these vehicles is more likely to result in a fatality.
- Bicycle accidents: Pedestrians and bicyclists are also considered vulnerable roadway users, and any incident involving a heavier vehicle could lead to significant injuries or death.
- Medical malpractice: When a medical professional makes a careless mistake or performs negligently, lives are in the balance. Individuals who have lost a loved one due to the mistake of a medical provider should be able to recover compensation for their losses.
- Premises liability incidents: Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of individuals on their premises, and the failure of this duty could lead to significant long-lasting injuries and death.
- Defective products: Consumers should be able to count on the safety of the products that they purchase. Unfortunately, unsafe products make it into homes on a regular basis. Using or consuming a defective product can be deadly. This includes toys, electronics, medicines, foods and beverages, appliances, tools, and more.
This is only a sampling of the types of wrongful death claims that we help clients with, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to one of our attorneys for a free consultation so we can guide you on the best path moving forward towards securing closure and compensation for your loss.
What’s The Difference Between Homicide And Wrongful Death?
Although wrongful death and homicide may seem like the same thing in the eyes of most people, they are actually very different. While both center around the death of an individual, wrongful death is a civil case, whereas homicide is a criminal matter.
When it comes to homicide, the state, not the victim’s family, will try to prove that an individual is guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt and place them on trial in front of a jury to potentially face extreme penalties for their actions.
In a wrongful death claim, a lawsuit is filed by the victim’s family, although the defendant is not faced with legal punishment, even if it is proven that they are liable for the individual’s death. Instead of legal ramifications, the defendant is then charged to pay the victim’s family compensation for the death.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Every state around the country has laws regarding who can actually file a wrongful death claim in civil court. Many states allow the surviving family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in Michigan, the law requires that the personal representative, often called the executor, of the deceased individual’s estate file the claim. The personal representative must notify the surviving family members entitled to damages that they have filed the lawsuit within 30 days.
Just because the personal representative is the one who files the lawsuit does not mean that they will be the one receiving the eventual damages if the civil claim is successful. The damages in the case will be awarded to the deceased individual’s family to compensate them for the fatality.
What Damages Can You Receive From A Wrongful Death?
In the event that a jury finds the at-fault party truly at fault for your loved one’s death, they will award damages. Oakland County provides that the jury can award damages for:
- Medical, funeral, and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering experienced by your loved one
- Loss of financial support that the deceased person contributed
- Loss of consortium which also means that care and companionship your loved one provided
Proving Liability In A Wrongful Death Claim
Proving a wrongful death claim in Michigan can be challenging. As with other types of personal injury claims, wrongful death claims have four elements that must be present in order for the claim to be successful in court.
- Duty. The first step in establishing a successful wrongful death claim is showing that there was a duty of care owed by the defendant (the person alleged to have caused the fatality) to the deceased. This duty of care will not look the same for every case that comes to the court system. Duty will look different depending on the situation at hand. For example, drivers on the roadway all owe a duty of care to others around them. This includes operating a vehicle safely so that others are not harmed. However, a duty of care will look entirely different from the relationship between a doctor and a patient. Yes, a doctor will owe a duty of care to their patient, and this has meaning.
- Breach. After establishing that there was indeed a duty of care between the defendant and the deceased, it needs to be shown that the duty of care was somehow breached. If the wrongful death claim revolves around a vehicle accident, there are various ways that a driver can breach their duty of care on the roadway. This can include operating while impaired or distracted or failing to obey basic traffic laws. Doctors and surgeons can breach their duty of care if they fail to obtain a patient’s medical history, fail to obtain consent for a procedure, operate on the wrong body part, etc.
- Causation. After establishing that there was a duty of care and a breach of that duty, it needs to be shown that the breach of duty directly led to the injuries that caused the death of the deceased. For example, if a drunk driver ran a red light and struck the deceased’s vehicle, it needs to be shown that this specific incident is what caused the death of the deceased. Just because a person breached their duty does not necessarily mean that those actions lead to the death, so this can be a challenging part of a wrongful death claim.
- Damages. Finally, it must be shown that the plaintiffs in the case, those filing the wrongful death lawsuit, suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the death. This includes pain and suffering losses, lost lifetime wages, loss of consortium, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
Investigation And Discovery Process In Wrongful Death Cases
In order to prove all of these elements, there are various types of evidence that an attorney will need to gather and present to the insurance carrier or to the wrongful death jury. This could include photographs taken at the scene of the incident, video surveillance footage of the incident, police reports, accident reports, eyewitness testimony, and more. In some cases, it may even be necessary to work with an accident reconstruction expert who can use complex 3D modeling and evidence gathering techniques to adequately show what likely happened to cause the death.
The investigation into a wrongful death claim will begin immediately after an attorney takes your case. However, it can take some time for the investigation process to conclude. It is very likely that a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed even before the investigation is complete. Once the claim is filed, this begins what is known as the “discovery process.”
The discovery process is not part of the typical insurance claim process. This only happens after the civil claim is filed. Attorneys for the defendant and the plaintiff will have to exchange the evidence that they have gathered with one another. Every party involved operates with the same evidence before the court case begins and after any trial begins. There should not be anything hidden.
It is not uncommon for one or both parties to decide to settle a claim or drop the case while the discovery process is ongoing. That is because, after discovery starts, both sides begin to see the type of evidence that will come up in the courtroom. For example, if the defendant begins to notice that the evidence is piling up against them, this may push them and their attorneys towards a settlement with the plaintiffs. Likewise, if the plaintiff begins to see that their case is not as strong as they thought it was, they may need to accept a lower settlement than they would have liked or end up dropping the claim altogether.
As part of the discovery process, there may need to be depositions taken from witnesses involved. Depositions are given under oath, and they involve the attorneys for the case asking the witnesses various questions that will likely also come up in the courtroom. Again, this is all part of the process of preparing for the eventual court case and having full information going into the courtroom.
We do want to point out that, even after a wrongful death claim is filed, this does not mean that the investigation is done. There will be continued investigations throughout the process, even while discovery is ongoing. However, any new evidence that either side discovers that they will use to support their case will need to be turned over to the other side as well.
How Can A Southfield Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
A wrongful death attorney is a great resource to have when going through the complicated legal process. The last thing you need while grieving and arranging a funeral is to keep track of the court’s schedule or opposing counsel’s attempts to get you to settle for less than you deserve.
Lucky, a Southfield wrongful death lawyer from Haque Legal can help you:
- Gather evidence including expert witnesses’ testimony and witness statements
- Reconstruct the accident scene to present concrete evidence to the jury
- Handle discovery requests from opposing counsel
- Manage all court hearings and appearances
- Much, much more
You don’t need to navigate this process alone. Our attorneys have the experience, skills, and knowledge to help you through this, from start to end.
Contact A Southfield Wrongful Death Lawyer At Haque Legal
At Haque Legal, our Southfield wrongful death attorneys are standing by to assist you in your difficult time. We understand that no amount of money can reverse what happened or take away your grief. Yet, we hope that financial compensation can help hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing, while also bringing you some closure and justice in the process. Contact us or call today at (248) 996-9954 for your free case consultation. One of our Southfield personal injury lawyers will be with you every step of the way, for anything you need.