As of 1994, there have been in Michigan, caps on non-economic damages awardable in medical malpractice cases. In most instances, the applicable cap is between $400,000.00 – $500,000.00. When one suffers serious injury as the result of medical malpractice, for example death of a family member, the amount of money awardable for non-economic damages is no where near enough to compensate the surviving family members. Therefore, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to expand the allowable economic damages available in the case because economic damages are not capped. Giroux Trial Attorneys previously represented the estate of a young man in his mid 30’s who died as the result of medical negligence and he was survived by his young wife and three young children. One of the allowable damages under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act besides wage loss, is loss of parental guidance and training. The statute itself does not discuss whether or not the term “loss of parental guidance and training” refers to economic or non-economic damages.
Therefore, Giroux Trial Attorneys conducted state-by-state legal research looking for similar statutory language in relation to which any other state in the country had determined that the loss was a monetary one. Fortunately, many states with similar statutory language had already determined that loss of parental guidance and training was a monetary loss that could be calculated and therefore, in Michigan, they could make the argument that the language should be construed in the same manner. Giroux Trial Attorneys then presented a number of ways in which appropriate calculations could be made. It was important to point out to the court that parents provide a number of tangible services to their children including playing the roles of coach, nutritionist, counselor, therapist, tutor, financial adviser, and much, much more. Ultimately, the enhanced damage calculations created enough exposure for the defendant over and above the caps that the defendant decided to pay a large settlement to avoid trial. By: Robert Giroux, Partner Giroux Trial Attorneys/Posted August 1, 2014