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Michigan Compensation For Wrongful Death Car Accident Claims

Key Takeaways

  • In Michigan, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years of the incident causing death. For car accidents, the deadline is three years from the accident date, and insurance claims must be filed within one year.
  • The decedent’s personal representative, such as a surviving spouse, adult children, parents, grandparents, or siblings, can file wrongful death or insurance claims.
  • Surviving family members can claim no-fault insurance benefits for medical bills, funeral expenses, and survivor’s loss benefits.
  • Beyond no-fault insurance claims, wrongful death lawsuits allow for recovery of damages not covered by insurance, including economic and non-economic damages.
  • Hiring a knowledgeable attorney is crucial for navigating the complexities of wrongful death claims and lawsuits in Michigan.

Michigan Survivors Loss Compensation For Death Due To Car Accidents

Losing somebody close to you is catastrophic to your mental health. Many things must be done in the aftermath of a loved one’s death, such as notifying family members and friends, making funeral arrangements, and dealing with their belongings. At some point, you must make time to mourn. Pursuing a wrongful death claim with the insurance company will probably not be high on your list of priorities.

At Matz Injury Law, we understand that you and your family are going through one of the most difficult ordeals anyone can experience. Let us help ease your burden. We can deal with your wrongful death case so you can get compensation for you and your family.

Things to Know About Car Accident Deaths in Michigan

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) projected that 42,915 people died in traffic accidents in 2021. This number is a 16-year high and a 10.5% increase from 2020.

In Michigan, there were 1,131 people killed in car accidents in 2021. There were 282,640 total reported crashes and 1,068 fatal crashes. Of all fatal crashes, roughly 31.5% involved alcohol in some way, whether it was a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist. In about 11% of car accidents, both drinking and drugs were involved.

Based on 2021 statistics, 10,050,811 people live in Michigan. One in every 8,887 people passed away in a traffic crash, and one out of 141 suffered a personal injury. One person passes away in a fatal car accident every eight hours.

Man at desk writing on papers

What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Michigan?

Two deadlines apply in wrongful death cases involving car accidents. You must file an insurance claim within a year of the accident. You have three years to sue for wrongful death.

Michigan law sets time limits to file various types of lawsuits, known as the statute of limitations. A person with the legal authority to act on behalf of a deceased person, or decedent, may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages. They must do so within three years of the date of the incident that caused the decedent’s death. If the decedent died in a car accident, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident. This applies even if their injuries were not immediately fatal.

A wrongful death suit is usually the last resort after trying to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. Under Michigan’s no-fault law, a driver’s insurance will pay certain damages, including funeral expenses, no matter who was at fault. In order to receive no-fault insurance benefits, the decedent’s surviving family member must file a claim within a year of the accident.

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What Happens After a Fatal Car Accident Death in Michigan?

As soon as possible after a fatal car accident, the decedent’s family members should contact a wrongful death lawyer who can guide them through the process of making a claim for compensation. They will need to contact the decedent’s insurance company to claim no-fault benefits for medical expenses, funeral costs, and other damages. Insurance adjusters will almost certainly try to settle for less than what you are owed for the death of a loved one. Legal representation is important to avoid getting pressured into a lowball settlement.

Who is Entitled to Make a Claim on Behalf of the Deceased?

Michigan law identifies the individuals ​​who can sue for wrongful death or make insurance claims on behalf of a decedent, known as the decedent’s personal representative. The following people may act as a personal representative:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse.
  • Adult children or other descendants of the decedent, excluding minor children.
  • Parents or grandparents of the decedent.
  • Siblings of the decedent.

If the decedent has no surviving immediate family members, Michigan probate law may help determine who can serve as a personal representative. A person designated as a beneficiary in the decedent’s will may qualify. If the decedent died without a will, the rules of intestate succession would provide a way to identify the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. The line of succession begins with the close family members described above. It continues to more distant family members until it finds someone, such as cousins, uncles and aunts, and so on.

What Types of Claims Can be Made for Compensation?

If the decedent had a no-fault insurance policy, the surviving family members or the estate could file a claim. Damages you may recover include medical bills, funeral expenses, and survivor’s loss benefits.

Survivors Loss Benefits Due to Wrongful Death Caused By Car Accidents

Michigan law defines survivor’s loss benefits as the support that the decedent’s dependents would have received from the decedent, had the decedent not died. “Dependents” include the decedent’s surviving spouse, minor children, and adult children who are incapacitated. Benefits are available for up to three years after the accident. The statute, as amended in 1978, identifies a maximum daily benefit of $20, up to a maximum of $1,475 per month, with adjustments based on the cost of living. For the twelve-month period beginning on October 1, 2022, the maximum monthly benefit is $6,615.

Wrongful Death Action Lawsuit

You may also be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent third party. A wrongful death action is a type of personal injury lawsuit. The victim’s death is the main injury that you are claiming resulted from the defendant’s negligence. For personal injury cases involving car accidents, Michigan’s no-fault law only allows lawsuits in cases that meet a minimum threshold for damages. Wrongful death meets this requirement.

Economic and Non-economic Damage Compensation for Car Accident-Related Wrongful Death

A legal action based on wrongful death allows you to recover damages that would not be available from a no-fault insurance claim. In addition to economic damages for medical bills and other losses, a civil court can award non-economic damages that compensate you for the impact of the loss of your loved one on your quality of life. For example, you may be able to recover some of the financial support that your family member would have provided had they not died.

Hiring a Michigan Attorney for Fatal Car Accidents

Hiring a personal injury attorney with knowledge of Michigan’s wrongful death statute will give you the best chance of recovering all of the compensation owed to you. Making an insurance claim can be difficult under the best circumstances. You need to take time to grieve without worrying about dealing with insurance adjusters. Personal injury lawyers have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. They know the tricks adjusters may use to minimize the amount they have to pay.

If you plan to sue for wrongful death, you might benefit from having an attorney by your side. Litigation can be even more stressful than the insurance claims process. Legal advice from an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you avoid pitfalls in the court system. A lawyer can gather the evidence needed for your claim or lawsuit and prepare a legal case for the full amount of damages that you deserve.

Carry On Your Loved One’s Legacy Through Rightful Compensation

If you have lost a loved one in an accident or another negligent act, recovering compensation for your losses might be the furthest thing from your mind right now. You need legal representation from an experienced wrongful death attorney who understands Michigan’s wrongful death law and what it requires. With a skilled lawyer on your side, you can focus your attention on mourning the loss of a family member. Matz Injury Law understands how painful this kind of loss can be. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. To speak to someone about your case, call the firm at 866-226-6833 or use our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan?

In Michigan, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the incident that caused the death. For car accident-related deaths, the deadline is three years from the date of the accident.

What types of compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death case?

Compensation can include medical bills, funeral expenses, and survivor’s loss benefits. Survivor’s loss benefits are based on the financial support the decedent would have provided, with a maximum monthly benefit subject to cost of living adjustments.

Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit if the death was due to a car accident?

Yes, if the death resulted from a car accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, especially if the case meets the minimum threshold for damages under Michigan’s no-fault law.

What are survivor’s loss benefits and how are they calculated?

Survivor’s loss benefits are calculated based on the support the decedent would have provided to their dependents, including a surviving spouse and minor children. The benefits are capped at a maximum monthly amount, adjusted for the cost of living.

What is the deadline for filing an insurance claim in wrongful death cases involving car accidents?

For car accidents, an insurance claim must be filed within one year of the accident.

Can I sue for wrongful death if the decedent had no-fault insurance?

Yes, you can still sue for wrongful death to recover damages not covered by the no-fault insurance policy, especially in cases of proven negligence.