Under Michigan law, a wrongful death is one caused by the negligence of another individual. Michigan’s wrongful death statute allows the deceased individual’s loved ones or immediate family to file a civil lawsuit to pursue compensation for their loss.
Who Carries the Burden of Proof?
In a Michigan wrongful death case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. What this means is that the plaintiff (individual filing the lawsuit) must gather and present evidence showing the defendant’s (individual who the lawsuit is being filed against) negligence.
For example, if an individual died as the result of a surgery gone bad, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to explain that their death was a direct result of the surgical error, not because of a naturally occurring complication.
Four Elements to Establish in a Wrongful Death Claim
Typically, there are four elements that must be established for a wrongful death case to be proven in favor of the plaintiff:
Duty of Care - As in any personal injury case, the plaintiff must first prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the decedent. What this means is that the defendant had a duty to protect the best interests and well-being of the decedent during the time of the accident. For example, motorists have a duty of care to follow laws while driving. Failing to abide by said laws is considered a breach of their duty.
Breach of Duty - Once the duty of care has been established; it is then the plaintiff’s responsibility to present how that duty has been breached. For example, if the death was caused by an auto collision, the plaintiff could show that the driver was texting during the time of the accident, which was the reason the accident occurred.
Causation - The defendant must then link the breach of duty directly to the decedent’s death. If the individual was killed in an auto accident, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant’s texting was the direct cause of the accident; ultimately leading to fatal injuries.
Damages - Lastly, the plaintiff must present that the decedent sustained damages. This can include:
Our Team Can Help Make Things Right
As you may have noticed, proving a wrongful death case can be complex, to say the least. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, our team can help ensure you have the tools to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Call us today (517) 316-1195 to discuss your situation over a free consultation.