Michigan allows family members to seek wrongful death compensation when a relative’s death is due to someone else’s negligence. State statute dictates who can file a wrongful death claim. Under the law, your loved one’s personal representative must act for the estate and qualifying survivors.
While money can’t bring back a family member, it can be a vital source of stability in a suddenly uncertain world. Read on to learn more about wrongful death cases and how you can pursue financial justice for your loved one.
Who Can Pursue a Michigan Wrongful Death Case?
According to Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.2922, the personal representative of the victim’s estate can file a wrongful death action. The personal representative is sometimes referred to as the executor. Within 30 days of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative must notify eligible family members about the case. Eligible family members are generally entitled to a portion of the compensation recovered through a successful wrongful death lawsuit.
While only the personal representative can file a lawsuit, Michigan law states that the deceased victim’s family will receive damages. These family members may include the following survivors:
- Anyone to whom the deceased left property in their will
Michigan’s law of intestate succession will apply if the deceased individual does not have surviving family members. A lawyer with our firm can help you understand who may qualify for damages and assist the executor with taking action.
What Is Wrongful Death in Michigan?
Michigan defines wrongful death as a death caused by any form of “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.” Generally, the law allows a victim’s family to seek compensation when a death occurs due to the negligence of a person or company. Negligence is when someone fails to use reasonable care to avoid harming someone.
For example, if a victim dies in a car accident that a drunk driver caused, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death case in court to pursue compensation for losses caused by the collision.
Accidents That Can Result in Wrongful Death
Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to personal injury claims, with one key difference. In a personal injury case, the victim of another’s negligence can use the legal system to seek compensation for their damages. However, in the case of a wrongful death claim, the accident takes the victim’s life, and therefore, it is up to the executor to file a suit for the estate and eligible survivors.
Examples of accidents or events that may trigger a wrongful death claim include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability accidents, such as slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
If any negligent accident or incident claimed your loved one’s life, an attorney with our firm can help review your legal options.
Recoverable Wrongful Death Damages
A wrongful death lawsuit is a way for grieving family members to pursue compensation for the losses they suffer due to their relative’s death. It is also legal to hold negligent parties responsible for their wrongful actions.
Generally, family members may be able to pursue compensation for different types of losses, such as:
- Medical costs incurred before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of companionship
- The deceased’s pain and suffering
Unlike other states, Michigan does not cap the amount of damages a family may recover in a wrongful death claim. This is true in all cases except for medical malpractice suits. If medical malpractice results in a death, a cap is applied to the amount of non-economic damages a family may collect. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and quality of life changes.
We can tell you more about specific damages available to you and your family and fight for the maximum possible compensation with a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Michigan’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
You have a limited time to file a wrongful death case. Michigan’s statute of limitations, outlined in Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805, gives victims three years from the date of a family member’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This deadline will also affect insurance claims arising from your loved one’s fatal injury.
It is best to get a wrongful death attorney started on the case as soon as possible. That way, your lawyer can collect important evidence before it disappears or witnesses’ memories fade.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Me?
Fighting for wrongful death compensation can be challenging. A loved one’s death can be traumatic, and moving beyond the pain to objectively build a compensation case is not easy.
Hiring a lawyer from our team will take the burden of building a solid wrongful death case off your shoulders while you focus on your family’s needs. We will provide you with the experienced legal counsel you need and handle the logistics of filing a strong and compelling case. This will include:
- Investigating the accident’s circumstances, collecting evidence, and building a robust case
- Assessing the full and fair value of your wrongful death case
- Assisting in legal matters that involve your loved one’s estate
- Communicating with insurers and other involved parties
- Managing paperwork, deadlines, and “red tape”
- Negotiating on your behalf
- Representing you at trial if necessary
We will handle the specifics of your wrongful death claim or lawsuit while you and your family take the time to heal. The sooner you get started, the sooner we can help you down the road to financial recovery.
Contact Christensen Law for Help Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
At Christensen Law, we genuinely desire to bring comfort and help you and your family find closure. We will leverage our reputation for success and decades of comprehensive experience in wrongful death cases to build a solid claim on your behalf and to provide you with the compassionate, attentive care you need during this difficult time.
Call or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and learn more about how we can take your case at no upfront cost to you. We’re here to help.