Survivor Benefits

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Death doesn’t end a person’s right to receive benefits under their Michigan No-Fault auto insurance policy. Before turning to a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver, families can turn to their insurance provider to receive survivor benefits to get them through the tough first years.

Who Gets Survivor Benefits?

Michigan law requires insurance providers to pay survivor benefits to the dependents of a policy holder after a fatal accident. Dependents lived with the person at the time of his death, or looked to him for regular support. The law assumes that wives, husbands, and children are dependents automatically. Adult children with mental or physical disabilities are also included. Others can prove they were supported by the person to receive survivor benefits.

What Are Survivor Benefits?

After a fatal car accident, the deceased’s dependents can file a claim for survivor benefits with the insurance company. Those benefits include:

  • Medical Expenses. If the deceased received any medical care before he died, the family can get those reasonable and necessary medical expenses covered by the insurance company.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses. The deceased’s no-fault policy is also required to pay for reasonable funeral and burial expenses including the cost of the casket, the funeral itself, and the burial plot or cremation services.
  • Lost Income. Survivor benefits include compensation for the lost income brought into the household by the deceased. These benefits are broader than traditional lost wages, and include the cost of health insurance or other fringe benefits paid for by her employer.
  • Replacement Services. Your deceased family member did more than earn income. Whether it is housekeeping, lawn maintenance, or child care, his loss may mean you now have to hire someone to fill the gap. Michigan no-fault policies allow for up to $20 per day in replacement services to help you and your family get things done.

When Do Survivor Benefits End?

Survivor benefits won’t keep your family afloat forever. Lost income and replacement services are only available for the first three years after a fatal accident. Beyond that, support for your family will need to come from a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Changes in a dependent’s life can also end their survivor benefits. Children are only entitled to benefits until they turn 18, unless a mental or physical disability prevents them from working. For most young adults, that means support cuts off just as they are ready to start college or life on their own. Widows, too, can lose their benefits if they remarry within the 3-year window after the deceased’s accident. Families receiving survivor benefits should keep in contact with their wrongful death attorneys, to make sure they know what to expect when these changes happen.

The attorneys at Christensen Law have been helping families of fatal car accident victims for over 20 years. They will come beside you and make sure your family has the support it needs to get through the first tough years after losing a loved one to an auto accident.