WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS
If someone you loved lost their life in an accident, contact The Sam Bernstein Law Firm to get the compensation you deserve.
MICHIGAN WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER
If a loved one lost his or her life in an accident that may have been caused by the fault of another person, product, doctor, hospital or company, contact us as soon as possible to get in touch with a wrongful death attorney.
We are Michigan's most experienced personal injury law firm. Our team of wrongful death lawyers bring over 800 years of combined legal experience. We are ready to help fight for the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
THE MICHIGAN WRONGFUL DEATH STATUTE
Under the Michigan wrongful death statute, a wrongful death lawsuit asserts that the victim was killed as a result of the negligence of the defendant. The victim’s immediate family are entitled to monetary damages, based on the defendant’s conduct. To bring a wrongful death action, the victim’s death must have been caused by the wrongful, negligent, careless, or reckless act of a person, company, or municipality.
This claim is a civil lawsuit, which is completely distinct from any criminal proceedings that may also be taking place regarding the death. It is possible to get a positive outcome in a wrongful death civil lawsuit even if the criminal case results in a finding of not guilty for the defendant.
According to the previous "common law," wrongful death legal claims simply did not exist. The courts reasoned that the legal claim "died" with the victim. Thus, surviving family members could not claim damages from the person who caused the victim’s death. To correct this injustice, individual states passed their own "wrongful death statutes." Today, every state has some form of wrongful death statute, but these state laws differ.
WHO CAN BRING A CLAIM FOR WRONGFUL DEATH?
For obvious reasons, the deceased individual is unable to bring their own claim. However, there are certain restrictions on who can validly bring a claim for wrongful death.
A personal representative of the decedent’s estate must file the wrongful death claim. That personal representative is also required to send written notice within 30 days to all family members to inform them of the wrongful death claim. Once a family member has been notified of the claim, they have 60 days to inform the state of any damages they have suffered due to the death of their family member.
While family members of the deceased individual are entitled to damages in a wrongful death claim, only family members with certain relationships to the decedent are eligible for compensation in connection with the claim. These family members that may have a claim to damages include a spouse, children, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, and step-children, as well as anyone who has been gifted any property of the decedent through their will.
DAMAGES AVAILABLE IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
The damages available in a wrongful death claim differ from the damages typically awarded in a standard personal injury claim. In a wrongful death case, the estate may recover compensation for reasonable and related medical bills, along with funeral and burial expenses. The estate may also recover lost wages, which may include lost past wages as well as lost wages that the deceased person was reasonably expected to earn in the future.
Additionally, the estate can recover compensation for any pain and suffering that the decedent suffered from the time of the injury to the time of death. Other damages available include the loss of care and companionship that the family members suffered as a result of the wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases can be complex. Contact one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys today.
MORE INFORMATION ON WRONGFUL DEATH:
MICHIGAN WRONGFUL DEATH LAW
THE MICHIGAN WRONGFUL DEATH ACT, MCL § 600.2922, STATES:
- Whenever the death of a person or injuries resulting in death shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another, and the act, neglect, or fault is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages, the person who or the corporation that would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death was caused under circumstances that constitute a felony.
- Every action under this section shall be brought by, and in the name of, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person. Within 30 days after the commencement of an action, the personal representative shall serve a copy of the complaint and notice as prescribed in subsection (4) upon the person or persons who may be entitled to damages under subsection (3) in the manner and method provided in the rules applicable to probate court proceedings.
- Subject to sections 2802 to 2805 of the estates and protected individuals code, 1998 PA 386, MCL 700.2802 to 700.2805, the person or persons who may be entitled to damages under this section shall be limited to any of the following who suffer damages and survive the deceased:
- The deceased’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and, if none of these persons survive the deceased, then those persons to whom the estate of the deceased would pass under the laws of intestate succession determined as of the date of death of the deceased.
- The children of the deceased’s spouse.
- Those persons who are devisees under the will of the deceased, except those whose relationship with the decedent violated Michigan law, including beneficiaries of a trust under the will, those persons who are designated in the will as persons who may be entitled to damages under this section, and the beneficiaries of a living trust of the deceased if there is a devise to that trust in the will of the deceased.
- The notice required in subsection (2) shall contain the following:
- The name and address of the personal representative and the personal representative’s attorney.
- A statement that the attorney for the personal representative shall be advised within 60 days after the mailing of the notice of any material fact that may constitute evidence of any claim for damages and that failure to do so may adversely affect his or her recovery of damages and could bar his or her right to any claim at a hearing to distribute proceeds.
- A statement that he or she will be notified of a hearing to determine the distribution of the proceeds after the adjudication or settlement of the claim for damages.
- A statement that to recover damages under this section the person who may be entitled to damages must present a claim for damages to the personal representative on or before the date set for hearing on the motion for distribution of the proceeds under subsection (6) and that failure to present a claim for damages within the time provided shall bar the person from making a claim to any of the proceeds.
- If, for the purpose of settling a claim for damages for wrongful death where an action for those damages is pending, a motion is filed in the court where the action is pending by the personal representative asking leave of the court to settle the claim, the court shall, with or without notice, conduct a hearing and approve or reject the proposed settlement.
- In every action under this section, the court or jury may award damages as the court or jury shall consider fair and equitable, under all the circumstances including reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the estate is liable; reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering, while conscious, undergone by the deceased person during the period intervening between the time of the injury and death; and damages for the loss of financial support and the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased. The proceeds of a settlement or judgment in an action for damages for wrongful death shall be distributed as follows:
- The personal representative shall file with the court a motion for authority to distribute the proceeds. Upon the filing of the motion, the court shall order a hearing.
- Unless waived, notice of the hearing shall be served upon all persons who may be entitled to damages under subsection (3) in the time, manner, and method provided in the rules applicable to probate court proceedings.
- If any interested person is a minor, a disappeared person, or an incapacitated individual for whom a fiduciary is not appointed, a fiduciary or guardian ad litem shall be first appointed, and the notice provided in subdivision (b) shall be given to the fiduciary or guardian ad litem of the minor, disappeared person, or legally incapacitated individual.
- After a hearing by the court, the court shall order payment from the proceeds of the reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses of the decedent for which the estate is liable. The proceeds shall not be applied to the payment of any other charges against the estate of the decedent. The court shall then enter an order distributing the proceeds to those persons designated in subsection (3) who suffered damages and to the estate of the deceased for compensation for conscious pain and suffering, if any, in the amount as the court or jury considers fair and equitable considering the relative damages sustained by each of the persons and the estate of the deceased. If there is a special verdict by a jury in the wrongful death action, damages shall be distributed as provided in the special verdict.
- If none of the persons entitled to the proceeds is a minor, a disappeared person, or a legally incapacitated individual and all of the persons entitled to the proceeds execute a verified stipulation or agreement in writing in which the portion of the proceeds to be distributed to each of the persons is specified, the order of the court shall be entered in accordance with the stipulation or agreement.
- A person who may be entitled to damages under this section must present a claim for damages to the personal representative on or before the date set for hearing on the motion for distribution of the proceeds under subsection (6). The failure to present a claim for damages within the time provided shall bar the person from making a claim to any of the proceeds.
- A person who may be entitled to damages under this section shall advise the attorney for the personal representative within 60 days after service of the complaint and notice as provided for under subsection (2) of any material fact of which the person has knowledge and that may constitute evidence of any claim for damages. The person’s right to claim at a hearing any proceeds may be barred by the court if the person fails to advise the personal representative as prescribed in this subsection.
- If a claim under this section is to be settled and a civil action for wrongful death is not pending under this section, the procedures prescribed in section 3924 of the estates and protected individuals code, 1998 PA 386, MCL 700.3924, shall be applicable to the distribution of the proceeds.
If a loved one lost his or her life in an accident that may have been caused by the fault of another person, product, doctor, hospital or company, contact us as soon as possible.
DAMAGES IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
Legal law concept – court legal form for filing statement of damages for personal injury wrongful death.
Under Michigan law, a wrongful death lawsuit may seek compensation for several types of monetary damages, including:
- Damages for the conscious pain and suffering of the victim, between the time of the wrongful injury and death
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of projected future earnings, which would have helped support the victim’s spouse, children, and other dependents
- Loss of other income and benefits (pension, medical coverage, etc.), which would have helped support the victim’s spouse, children, and other dependents
- Pain and suffering or mental anguish of the victim’s surviving spouse, children, or other immediate family members
- Loss of care, protection, and companionship of the victim’s surviving spouse, children, or other immediate family members
- The type and amount of damages which can be claimed in a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the many complex factors
If a loved one lost his or her life in an accident that may have been caused by the fault of another person, product, doctor, hospital or company, contact Michigan's most experienced personal injury law firm as soon as possible.
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