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Michigan parents of boy killed sledding file wrongful death claims

Many Michigan parents remember hearing about the horrible accident that claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy in Grand Haven several years ago. The child was sledding in the park in 2009 when he struck a fallen branch, causing an abdomen injury leading to fatal internal bleeding.

The family of the boy has filed wrongful death lawsuits against the park trust, park trustees and the City of Grand Haven but they have all been dismissed. In one ruling, a judge said the park commission was a government entity and thus immune from a civil wrongful death action. The family has appealed those dismissals and has now filed a wrongful death claim against the park's groundskeeper.

The lawsuit states that the groundskeeper was negligent because he failed to remove dead branches from the sledding areas. The man, a part-time employee of the park, has told news reporters that he only performed tasks that were requested by the park trustees.

The future of these wrongful death claims remains to be seen. Often, after fatal accidents take place in Michigan, the victim's loved ones are able to hold negligent parties accountable with a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a way to obtain compensation for funeral expenses, pain and suffering and other related costs. It can also be a way to see to it that a similar accident does not happen again. In this case, the boy's parents have argued that sledding should not be allowed at the park as the conditions are not reasonably safe.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Groundskeeper sued over boy's sledding death," Dec. 30, 2012

  • For more information about wrongful death law and liability in Michigan, please take a look at our Ann Arbor law firm's website.

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