When Wrongful Death Claims Are Necessary
A wrongful death suit may be filed when a victim is killed due to negligence, a defective product, faulty construction, a workplace accident or an intentionally harmful act. The court will appoint a “personal representative” of the estate of the deceased victim, and the personal representative may then file a “wrongful death” claim for the survivors/family members (on all their behalf and to protect all of their interests in one, consolidated action).
If you believe a loved one may have wrongfully died, please contact us to see if we can assist you with your case. Wrongful death claims can arise from car, truck or motorcycle accidents; boating and off-road recreational vehicle accidents; products liability or workplace injury accidents, commercial vehicle accidents and many other contexts.
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Client Success Story:
Wrongful Death-Snowmobile Accident-Scientific Evidence--Forensic Evidence
A 19-year-old man was killed when his snowmobile ran into a pickup truck illegally parked over a hill on the shoulder of a narrow rural road. The defense sought to blame the dead snowmobiler, arguing that he was operating his sled with the headlight "off" on a dark winter night. There were no eyewitnesses. Unfortunately, the state police laboratory and insurance defense experts concluded that the snowmobiler's headlight was "off," based on state police lab microscopic examination and photography of the filament inside the snowmobile's headlamp, and a reading of academic literature. Mr. Zelenock reviewed the scientific and academic literature and discovered that these experts had made a critical mistake in their analysis of the scientific, materials and electrical issues presented: They assumed that the snowmobile's electrical system was like a car's, and had a battery that would keep electricity flowing to the headlamp, even after the engine stopped running as the result of the crash. This assumption was incorrect, and as a result, so were the experts' conclusions. In fact, the snowmobile involved did not have a large battery to keep electricity flowing to the light when the engine was stopped. The snowmobile was an older sled with a small "pull start" motor like a chain saw or lawn mower. The trial court granted Mr. Zelenock's motion to exclude the conclusions of the state police laboratory scientist and the insurance expert, based on their critical mistakes in analyzing the scientific issues. Fortunately, the state police lab preserved the filament and the microscopic photographic evidence for further review. The evidence was reviewed again, and the only expert testimony permitted was that the snowmobiler's headlamp was "on" at the time of the fatal crash. With the key scientific issue resolved in favor of Mr. Zelenock's client, the case quickly settled for the insurance policy limits.
Wrongful Death - Drowning - Scientific/Medical Evidence
A young man drowned in a northern Michigan river. A rescue team was prevented from making a rescue. The insurance attorneys argued that the rescue team could not have rescued the man, even if their clients had not interfered with the rescue team. Mr. Zelenock briefed the scientific issues relating to cold water drowning and the federal court allowed plaintiff's medical expert to testify on the issues, with a $1 million recovery for the client's estate and family resulting.