Future Wages Claim For Infant Who Died From Malpractice Too Speculative

The decedent child was born at the defendant hospital on June 12, 2014. He allegedly had visible vesicles (fluid-filled sacs or blisters) on his skin. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants should have recognized that the vesicles were signs of disseminated herpes simplex virus infection. After the child was discharged from the hospital shortly after birth, the plaintiff returned to the hospital with the child on June 15, 2014. At that time, the child was diagnosed with disseminated herpes and transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Unfortunately, treatment was unsuccessful and he died on June 28, 2014…medicalmalpracticelawyers.com, Michigan Appellate Court Holds Future Wages Claim For Infant Who Died From Malpractice Too Speculative, May 2023


Plaintiff brought a Michigan medical malpractice action against defendants for medical malpractice under the wrongful death act, MCL 600.2922. Plaintiff’s claims for economic damages included loss of the decedent’s future earnings and loss of household services he would have provided to plaintiff.


Defendants moved for summary disposition of these claims under MCR 2.116(C)(8) and (10). They argued that the wrongful-death act does not permit the decedent’s heirs to recover more than the portion of lost future earnings that would have been contributed to the heirs for support. Defendants also argued that any estimates of an infant decedent’s future earnings and future services were impermissibly speculative.


The State of Michigan Court of Appeals (“Michigan Appellate Court”) stated in its March 23, 2023 unpublished opinion: “we agree with defendants’ alternative argument that the plaintiff is [sic] this case is not permitted to recover such damages because the decedent’s future earnings are impermissibly speculative … this case involves a 17-day-old decedent who died in infancy. The child never had an opportunity to develop any traits or characteristics that could be extrapolated to project the child’s future earning potential with reasonable certainty. Therefore, the trial court erred by denying defendants’ motion for summary disposition with respect to future wage loss damages … The value of the infant decedent’s household services is no less speculative than the value of his future earnings. Therefore, the trial court erred by denying summary disposition in favor of defendants with respect to damages for lost household services.”


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