Michigan Wrongful Death FAQs | Lee Steinberg Law Firm

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Michigan Wrongful Death FAQs

Michigan wrongful deaths are a special type of case that demands the attention of specialized legal professionals. If a loved one has been died as a result of the negligence of someone else, it is essential you contact a Michigan wrongful death lawyer to make sure you receive the benefits and compensation you are entitled to.

Review our Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions below. If you need a free consultation from an experienced Michigan wrongful death attorney, fill out the contact form or give us a call. We are experts in Michigan wrongful death law, having handled thousands of claims for individuals across the state. We have obtained hundreds of millions for our clients. 

With over 40 years of experiences, our Michigan wrongful death attorneys know how to fight for you and help get your life back on track. Remember, you don’t pay a cent until we win or settle your case.

Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) and let us help you with your wrongful death case.

A wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan is a case against a negligent party for injuries resulting in death. It allows family members of the person killed to recover damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. The Wrongful Death Act, MCL 600.2922 explains the details of all wrongful death lawsuits in Michigan.

In Michigan, a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by a personal representative (PR) of the Estate of the deceased. To begin this process, an Estate must be set up in probate court and the probate judge will appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the entire Estate. Typically, personal representatives can include spouses, children, parents, aunt, uncle, or other family members.

A non-family member can also act as the personal representative if the family so chooses.

When a lawsuit is filed by the personal representative, the PR has 30 days to serve a copy of the lawsuit and notice upon the persons who are entitled to damages under MCL600.2922(3). Some of these individuals include:

  • The deceased’s spouse.
  • The deceased’s children.
  • The deceased’s descendants.
  • The deceased’s parents.
  • The deceased’s siblings
  • The deceased’s grandparents.
  • The children of the deceased’s spouse.

If none of the above survive the deceased, then the deceased’s heirs would be able to make a claim in the wrongful death lawsuit. In addition, devisee’s under the decedent’s will are entitled to money.

The amount of a wrongful death settlement or verdict in Michigan depends on a number of factors. First, it depends on whether the person who died had conscious pain and suffering. If the person suffered, even only for a few minutes, the value of that conscious pain and suffering is taken into consideration compared to a person who died instantly.

Second, the loss of the deceased’s financial support, society and companionship are also considered.

In addition, the amount of insurance involved can dictate what a wrongful death case may settle for. The higher the insurance policy, the higher the exposure for the insurance carrier. That is why corporate vehicles, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and big-rigs are involved in so many million-dollar wrongful death claims.

This is also why hospitals, manufacturers, and large companies are also involved in large wrongful death settlements and verdicts involving medical malpractice, slip and falls, products liability and other personal injury cases. 

Last, another important thing to consider is the conduct of the defendant or defendants. If they fail to show any remorse for the horrific tragedy, or refuse to accept any responsibility, this can cause the value of a wrongful death case to increase.

After the wrongful death claim is settled, a motion in front of the judge where the lawsuit is pending must be filed by the personal representative. MCL 600.2922(5). The personal representative will the ask the court to settle the claim. The court will then conduct a haring and approve or reject the proposed settlement.

Once the wrongful death settlement is approved, the interested parties – such as family members – can then file proof with the court as to why they are entitled to proceeds from the settlement. If the family members don’t agree on an equitable disbursement, then an evidentiary hearing is held before the trial judge. The trial judge will then award money damages to each interested party. 

A person who believes he or she is entitled to damages under the wrongful death lawsuit must present a claim for damages to the personal representative on or before the hearing date.

In most personal injury cases, such as a car accident, the deadline for following a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan is three (3) years from the date of the death. This is called a statute of limitations. MCL 600.5805(2). After a lawsuit is filed, the personal representative has 30 days to serve a copy of the lawsuit and notice upon all interested person who may be entitled to damages under MCL 600.2922(3).

A person who may be entitled to damages has 60 days after receiving a notice from the attorney for the deceased or the Estate to provide details and evidence of any claim for damages.

However, the deadline is different in medical malpractice cases. In medical malpractice wrongful death case, the deadline is two (2) years from the date of the malpractice. However, there is a “savings period” and a wrongful death claim must be commenced within 2 years of the date the personal representative is appointed and within 3 years after the limitations period has run on the underlying lawsuit.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is based on the type of case. That is why it is essential to contact a Michigan wrongful death lawyer to find out your rights as soon as possible. 

These are covered under the wrongful death law. Under MCL 600.2922(6)(d), the court must order the payment of reasonable medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses of the decedent from the proceeds of the settlement. The settlement proceeds are not applied to any other charges against the estate of the decedent. An experienced Michigan wrongful death law firm can help get the funeral expenses and medical bills paid following a wrongful death case. 

It depends on the type of personal injury case. In cases involving a car or truck accident, the driver and owner of the negligent vehicle is a proper defendant. If the driver was working for a corporation, then that company may also be held responsible. In cases involving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, the carrier or broker may be responsible for damages.

For medical malpractice cases, the defendants may include doctors, hospitals, nurses and any medical entities or groups involved in the malpractice that led to the death of the decedent.

In slip and fall cases, proper defendant can be the property owner, the corporation leasing the property, landlords, property management companies and other individuals involved in the care and upkeep of the property. 

There are specific deadlines and rules for wrongful death lawsuits in Michigan. Specific documents must be filed with the probate court and a personal representative must be appointed. Failure to do this can jeopardize family members from recovering any money.

In addition, defendants don’t just pay money because a tragic incident occurred. The family must still provide the defendant or defendants were negligent and this negligent resulted in the death of the decedent. Evidence must be provided, including depositions, the use of experts and other testimony.

A knowledgeable Michigan wrongful death lawyer who has settled cases for significant money can make sure this happens.

The Lee Steinberg Law Firm Can Answer Your Questions and Provide Help

Our team of experienced wrongful death lawyers have aggressively pursued claims on behalf of family members for over 40 years. We know what it takes to win. We also show the compassion these tragic situations deserve.

If you or anyone you know has a question about a wrongful death, negligence or any other question, please call us toll free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We make sure the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions and fight to get your family every piece of compensation you deserve.