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Wrongful death damages are open to legal argument

The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one is nothing short of tragic. The heartache can be much deeper, though, when the death in question could have been prevented. Sadly, this is an all too real situation faced by many Michigan families. Surviving family members often struggle to find a way to cope with knowing that the negligence of another caused the death of their loved one. They may feel anger, sadness and stress over their future. Fortunately, help is available to these families.

One of the best ways to seek accountability and financial relief is to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual who caused a loved one's death. This may be a negligent driver or an errant medical professional. Yet, even if liability can be imposed, a surviving family is still stuck with having to prove the extent of the damages suffered. Neglecting to adequately address this matter could mean that a family is left without the financial resources it needs to get by.

While some damages are easy to calculate in a personal injury case, damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be much more challenging to prove. This is because there is a certain amount of speculation when it comes to matters like lost wages, loss of support and loss of parental guidance. To address these matters, courts and juries typically look to a number of factors, including the deceased individual's age, health, life expectancy, intelligence, education, earnings at time of death and earning capacity. Since there is a certain amount of speculation in these matters, surviving family members need to be prepared with compelling legal arguments, oftentimes supported by expert testimony.

Although surviving family members can try to address these matters on their own, it's not advised. Defense attorneys usually have their own strategies to reduce, minimize or eliminate certain damages, not to mention aggressively challenge liability in the first place. Therefore, Michigan families who have suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one at the hands of another's negligence should consider discussing the matter with an attorney of their choosing. This legal professional should be able to help craft strong legal arguments to support a family's position, increase the chances of succeeding on one of these claims and bring closure to a difficult chapter of their lives.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC
3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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