Sending our children off to college is a milestone, a source of pride, and a testament to their potential. We anticipate that their academic journey will be a safe one of growth and learning. Tragically, for some families, this expectation is shattered, leaving them grappling with the unthinkable—the loss of a child on a college campus.
As Michigan wrongful death attorneys, we understand the profound anguish that accompanies such a heart-wrenching loss. The grief can be compounded when questions about accountability and justice arise. In this blog post, we explore the complexities of wrongful death cases on college campuses, what constitutes wrongful death in Michigan, common examples of such cases, and how to hold a college accountable for the loss of a loved one.
Can a College Be Held Liable for a Loved One’s Death on Campus?
A loved one’s death on a college campus can amount to wrongful death, depending on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. But what exactly is wrongful death in Michigan?
Wrongful death, as defined by Michigan’s wrongful death statute, occurs when an individual’s death is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.” This legal concept allows surviving family members to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one and hold the responsible parties accountable. Liability for a wrongful death can lie with both individuals and entities, such as colleges and universities.
The potential liability of a college or university for a wrongful death hinges on several factors, including:
- Negligence: If a student’s death resulted from the negligence of the college or university, such as failure to maintain safe premises or address known safety hazards, the institution may be held liable.
- Duty of Care: Colleges and universities owe a duty of care to their students, which includes providing a reasonably safe environment. If this duty is breached, leading to a student’s death, it could result in liability.
If you believe that your loved one’s death was a result of negligence on the part of a college in Michigan, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the institution. It is essential to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Michigan to assess the validity of your claim and determine the necessary steps forward.
What Circumstances Can Lead to a Wrongful Death on a College Campus?
Tragically, there are many situations on college campuses that can lead to wrongful death cases, including:
- Assault, Battery, and Other Acts of Violence: Acts of violence, including assaults and batteries, can escalate to fatal outcomes on college campuses. Whether it’s a fight between students or an attack involving campus security, these situations can lead to wrongful death claims.
- Slips and Falls: Inadequate maintenance of campus facilities, negligence in clearing walkways during winter, or failure to address hazardous conditions can result in fatal slip-and-fall accidents.
- Food Poisoning: Negligence in the preparation and handling of food at campus restaurants and cafeterias can lead to foodborne illnesses, sometimes with fatal consequences.
- Hazing, Bullying, and Suicide: The dangerous culture of hazing and bullying within student organizations can have severe repercussions, including wrongful death. Tragically, these situations can also lead to suicide.
- Sexual Assault and Rape: Sexual assault is a pervasive issue on college campuses. Victims may tragically succumb to the emotional and physical toll, resulting in wrongful death.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrian accidents on campus, whether due to reckless driving or poorly designed intersections, can lead to fatalities.
- Accidents During Recreational Activities: Accidents during recreational activities, such as sports events, can result in tragic outcomes.
Accidents can happen anywhere, including a college campus. However, determining liability is a complex process that requires a thorough investigation by an experienced legal professional.
Holding a College Accountable for the Death of Your Loved One on Campus
Bringing a wrongful death claim against a college or university campus is a significant endeavor. To hold the institution accountable for your loved one’s death, you and your attorney must navigate these critical steps.
Filing a Claim
Initiating a wrongful death claim against the college is the first step in seeking justice. This process allows you to recover damages related to your loved one’s death. It is important to note that most personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death claims, are resolved without the need for a formal lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the college or university fail to yield a satisfactory settlement, you may need to proceed to trial. During the trial, a judge or jury will assess the evidence as well as arguments presented by both sides and determine an appropriate settlement for your case.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex and require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. In addition, accident reconstruction experts and economists are often called upon to help establish liability for the accident and the extent of the damages suffered by the victim and their surviving family members.
Consult With an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney at Fieger Law
Families entrust universities and colleges with their most cherished treasures, expecting them to provide a secure environment conducive to learning and personal growth. However, sometimes this trust is betrayed, and the consequences can be catastrophic. When negligence or misconduct on the part of the college or their personnel contributes to this loss, seeking justice becomes necessary.
If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan, contact Fieger Law. By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, Michigan families gain access to the expertise and compassion needed to guide them through this challenging process, hold the responsible parties accountable, and secure compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Call us today at 1-800-A-WINNER to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Your loved one’s memory deserves nothing less than the pursuit of justice.