Steve Matz and his team have been practicing law in Michigan for decades. They’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling to virtually every county in Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, meeting with clients, and doing the work necessary to earn significant settlements on their clients’ behalf.

Our Fee is 22% not 33%

Michigan Wrongful Death Lawyer

When you lose a loved one through the reckless or selfish act of another person, your whole world can turn upside down in an instant. You’re facing unfathomable loss. You’re looking at medical bills, the costs of probate, and funeral costs, and it’s all adding up, all because someone else acted in a careless, reckless manner.

You may be entitled to significant compensation for your loss, from funeral expenses for the deceased person to their medical bills to loss of financial support and even invisible harm like loss of companionship. It is essential in these cases that you secure the services of an experienced Michigan wrongful death attorney to get justice for your loved one, your family members, and yourself. That’s where Matz Injury Law comes into the picture.

Michigan Wrongful Death Attorneys You Can Trust

Losing a loved one to the careless actions of another party is devastating. There are no words to express your pain. The sense of loss the surviving spouse and surviving family members feel is overwhelming. No amount of money can make that pain go away, but Michigan law does provide for you to file a lawsuit to recover damages for the loss of financial support, medical bills up to the date of death, and even the loss of companionship and comfort.

You have legal rights, but collecting these damages can be complex. That’s why it’s so important to have someone in your corner who knows the Michigan wrongful death statute: a dedicated wrongful death lawyer whose practice areas include deep experience in the law and compassion for the victims.

At Matz Injury Law, we have been practicing personal injury for decades and have logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling all across the great state of Michigan meeting with clients and doing anything necessary to earn significant settlements for our clients. Even as a Southfield firm, we traveled as far as Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Marquette, and beyond. We have had great success with Michigan wrongful death lawsuit claims and have secured over $300 million in successful verdicts. We are ready to listen to you.

Even better, you may be eligible for a free consultation on your case. Ready to discuss your case? Talk to our personal injury lawyers by calling 1-866-22Not33, or complete our online contact form and we’ll be in touch immediately!

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Michigan law states that wrongful death is any wrongful act, neglect, or fault that would have allowed the decedent (the deceased person) to file a personal injury claim if they had survived the incident. Many events can result in a wrongful death claim. 

How Likely Is Wrongful Death to Occur?

The CDC cites over 200,955 unintentional deaths across the country every year. That equates to roughly 61 per 100,000 people. These can include (but, as a disclaimer, may not be limited to):

  • Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, or other types of motor vehicle accidents. The U.S. sees almost 40,700 of these annually, according to the CDC.
  • Medical malpractice or medical negligence
  • Defective products that cause a fatal accident
  • Intentional acts including crimes. The CDC cites over 24,500 of these annually.
  • Slip and fall accidents. The CDC cites over 42,000 of these annually.

It’s also important to note that the Michigan wrongful death act also considers the loss of a child to miscarriage as eligible for a wrongful death claim if a wrongful or negligent act causes the mother to lose her baby.

No matter where you live in Michigan, if you have lost a loved one to the reckless acts of another, you may be entitled to compensation in a Michigan wrongful death case.

What Are the Requirements for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Michigan?

Negligence is a legal term used in every personal injury claim, including a Michigan wrongful death case. It means, at its most basic level, that someone else’s reckless behavior caused the accident or event that resulted in the death of the deceased person. To prove this in court, your wrongful death attorney must prove three facts under Michigan law.

  1. First, we have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care toward your deceased loved one. In the case of an auto accident, for example, the defendant must be proven to have an obligation to operate their vehicle safely, obey highway laws, and drive carefully so as not to put others in danger. In medical negligence or medical malpractice, your law firm needs to show that the health care professional had a responsibility to not make obvious errors and to act in such a way as to avoid putting their patient at undue risk.
  2. Next, we have to demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty of care. We have to show, in the case of the car accident, for example, that the driver did not obey the rules of the road, did not operate their vehicle responsibly, and put others at risk, whether it was by speeding, running a red light, driving distracted, or even simply being careless behind the wheel.
  3. Finally, we have to prove that the breach of the duty of care directly caused the deceased person’s death. Thus, in the case of medical malpractice, a doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition that should have been obvious directly led to the death of the patient.

In some cases, it is possible that the defendant can be shown to have acted deliberately in an effort to cause harm to the decedent. This also qualifies as negligence under the law.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Michigan?

A statute of limitations functions as a time limit you have to file any lawsuit. In Michigan, a wrongful death claim usually must be brought within three years of the date of death. If the case is not filed in a timely fashion, it may be barred from court. That’s another reason why it’s important to contact a wrongful death lawyer quickly, so you don’t miss your window for your wrongful death lawsuit.

Still, there are many extenuating circumstances that may expand the time limit, and just because you are a bit beyond the window doesn’t mean you cannot file. You should always contact a Michigan wrongful death attorney for a free consultation about your legal rights.

Who Is Eligible to Sue for Wrongful Death in Michigan?

The first thing to understand is who can file a wrongful death claim in Michigan. In many states, any surviving family members, including the surviving spouse, can file a case. In Michigan, however, the only one who can bring a wrongful death case is the personal representative of the estate.

This person is sometimes called the executor and is usually the person tasked with administering the last will and testament of the decedent. While they may be the deceased’s spouse or any other family member, they also might just be a friend of the family, an attorney, or a business associate.

This personal representative must within 30 days of filing the Michigan wrongful death case give written notice to any family members who may be entitled to damages. 

What Are the Possible Defenses in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There are many defenses the insurance company and defendant might use in your case. They could claim comparative negligence, which means that the deceased held partial responsibility for the incident that caused their death. They can claim imputed comparative negligence, meaning that one of the beneficiaries of the suit bears some responsibility. They can claim causation, meaning that the defendant didn’t actually cause the death. They can also claim the statute of limitations as a factor for why you aren’t eligible to bring a suit.

How Do I Start a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Michigan?

First, always hire a compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable Michigan wrongful death attorney. It’s a good idea to have someone in your corner who can stand up to the insurance company, which will try just about anything to avoid paying. Because the insurance company knows the wrongful death statute, they can protect your rights and give you the best chance at successful verdicts and significant fair compensation for your loss.

Next, the personal representative of the estate files the claim through the attorney on behalf of the estate. This is done through the county probate courts where the deceased last resided, where they held property, or where the death occurred.

How Much Money Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There is no set value you can recover, as every case is unique and different. Damages in a wrongful death suit can cover a range of losses. The estate of the deceased is generally eligible to collect for funeral expenses, burial expenses, medical costs leading up to the date of death, loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided, compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased person endured before they died, and intangibles like the loss of care and companionship any loved one of the deceased suffered.

There is also no universal cap on damages in a wrongful death suit, unless the suit hinges upon medical malpractice. In this case, the state does have a cap, which can be adjusted from year to year. Your Michigan wrongful death lawyer can advise you on any current cap that exists.

The problem arises when the time comes to collect. Insurance companies will fight hard to avoid paying out big settlements because they are for-profit companies, and they don’t make money by paying money. They also know how to use the law against you. That’s why you need legal professionals in your corner who understand the Michigan wrongful death act and can protect your legal rights.

Who Gets the Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

This is another tricky aspect that your Michigan wrongful death lawyer can explain. While the lawsuit must be brought by the designated representative of the estate, certain family members may receive benefits from the claim. These are limited to:

  • The deceased’s spouse and children
  • Surviving siblings, parents, and grandparents of the deceased
  • Any surviving children of the spouse of the deceased
  • Anyone who was a beneficiary of property in the deceased’s will

What Is the Wrongful Death Payout Process Like?

After the parties agree on a settlement, the process of paying out the damages to the family begins. In order to avoid undue disagreements between family members, the personal representative will usually manage this process. They can sit down with the family members or send them a written settlement proposal. If the family members believe it is unfair, they can dispute it. Any such disputes can be brought up at a hearing, where a judge will make the final decision. In the best scenario, however, everyone agrees, and the money is distributed from the estate.

How Can Matz Injury Law Help Me?

From Southfield to Grand Rapids, Marquette and other cities across Michigan, a personal injury attorney can help with legal advice, case evaluations, and representation. To learn more about what damages may be available in your wrongful death suit, contact a Michigan wrongful death attorney at Matz Injury Law for a case evaluation and legal advice. Talk to our personal injury lawyers by calling 1-866-22Not33, or complete our online contact form and we’ll be in touch immediately!

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    We’ve earned $300 million+ for our Michigan clients.
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    © Matz Injury Law.
    The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 33 1/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

    What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

    We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 33 1/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients. 

    We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients.  We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims.  Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

    All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

    At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.

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