Our Michigan wrongful death lawyers have won major settlements for clients in wrongful death lawsuits. Cases related to wrongful death accidents are brought by family members seeking justice for the loss of a loved one. We can help your family after a tragedy involving an accidental or unlawful death.
Most Common Types Of Accidental Death
According to the National Safety Council, accidental deaths are the top cause of death in the United States for people between the ages of 1 and 42. For all age groups, accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. The most common causes of accidental death are motor vehicle accidents, poisonings, fires, falls, choking, and drowning. Most accidents occur in the home or in the community and are often the result of negligence by a person or business.
Other types of accidental deaths include medical negligence by doctors and hospitals, work accidents, fires and explosions, and medication overdoses. When someone dies an unlawful or accidental death due to the fault of another, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death?
When someone dies due to the fault or negligence of another person or entity, the family members left behind may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Cases can be brought against individuals, businesses, companies, product manufacturers, trucking companies, and other legal entities responsible for the death. The death can be either accidental or intentional. When a patient dies due to the negligence of a medical provider, like a doctor, hospital, or nursing home, a case for wrongful death can also be filed.
Common Types Of Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuits
We have won significant settlements and jury verdicts in Michigan cases involving an unlawful death or accidental death including:
- Automobile accidents, including fatal drunk driving car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents for bikers and passengers
- Pedestrian & bicycle accident victims
- Hit & run accidents
- Products liability, including motor vehicle defects causing death
- Medical malpractice & hospital negligence lawsuits
- Nursing home negligence & abuse
- Dog attacks
- Construction accidents
- Fires, explosions, and electrical injuries
- Police chases & police misconduct
- Defective premises
- Recreational accidents, like boating, jet skiing, hunting, & swimming pool accidents.
- All other accidental death cases
Video: Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Michigan?
The Michigan wrongful death statute gives authority to family members to file a lawsuit for compensation for an accidental death or fatal accident. Lawsuits can be brought by a spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, or grandchild. If the decedent left a will, a person named in the will also may have the right to bring the lawsuit.
In order to bring a lawsuit, a family member or heir must first be appointed the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. This procedure is done through the probate court in the county where the decedent last resided or had property. The estate can also be opened in the county where the death occurred or the lawsuit will be filed.
Our law firm handles the probate process from start to finish when you choose us to pursue the wrongful death lawsuit. Once the personal representative is appointed by the court, we can file the lawsuit in the circuit county court.
What Are The Steps To File A Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The first step is to hire an experienced attorney to determine if there is a basis under Michigan law to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This requires a full investigation of the facts and a legal analyis of the case. If the case meets the criteria for filing a lawsuit, the next step is to have a Personal Representative appointed by the probate court. This step is necessary to file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, which is essentially the other family members and heirs.
Our law firm will handle all aspects of opening the probate estate, including paying all court costs and fees. Many times the estate can be opened without a family member having to go to court. The probate judge will appoint a Personal Representative to act as the point person for the lawsuit. The Personal Representative works with our attorneys throughout the lawsuit and is a decision maker. However, other family members will continue to have input throught the entire process from start to finish.
After the appointment of the Personal Representative, the lawsuit, called a "Complaint," is filed at the courthouse and sets forth the legal basis for the claims. This includes the facts, the allegations of negligence, and how the negligence caused the death. It also includes the damages sought in the case and the demand for compensation. The defendants then reply to the lawsuit and the actual litigation process begins. There will be written questions to answer, depositions under oath, and court appearances to attend.
How Long Does The Lawsuit Take From Start To Finish?
The length of time for a wrongful death case from start to finish depends on a number of factors. Certain types of cases might take longer (like medical malpractice) than other case types (such as an auto accident). Also, some judges and circuit courts allow longer periods of time for the parties to take depositions and do their investigations than other courts. Cases that have more complex issues take longer than cases with more straightforward facts and issues.
In most cases, the trial judge will require that representatives from all parties attending a mediation or settlement facilitation prior to a trial. The parties and their attorneys will meet with an experienced mediator who will attempt to negotiate a settlement. These events are often successful in reaching settlement.
What Is The Compensation In A Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death settlements include compensation paid for both non-economic and economic losses. Non-economic losses include the loss of emotional support, comfort, companionship, society, moral support, and consortium due to death of the loved one. Non-economic claims also include compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering from the time of injury through the date of death.
There are no written schedules or guidelines for determining the compensation amount for non-economic wrongful death claims. If the case goes to trial, the jury will decide the monetary amount for each claim. Our accidental death attorneys have won substantial settlements for these types of losses before trial and by jury verdict at trial.
Compensation is also owed to the family for economic losses caused by the death of a loved one. These include loss of earnings (past, present, and future), loss of financial support, loss of work benefits (health insurance, pension), and funeral expenses. In many cases, an economist will also place a monetary value on the loss of household services that the decedent would have provided to the family if not for the death. This type of claim will also contribute to the settlement amount.
Who Gets The Shares Of A Wrongful Death Settlement?
Once the parties agree on a settlement, the final step is to determine which family members receive shares of the settlement and how much money is paid to individual family members. Most times, the family members agree on the distribution of the settlement and the judge assigned to the case will approve a fair and appropriate distribution. If the family members cannot agree on the amounts to each person, then the presiding judge can hold a hearing and make the determination.
How Long Does It Take To Get My Wrongful Death Settlement Check?
After the settlement and distribution of settlement money is approved by a judge, the heirs should receive a settlement check within thirty days of court order. Typically, settlement checks can be distributed to family members within thirty to sixty days after all paperwork is signed.
What Is A Typical Or Average Wrongful Death Settlement?
There is really no typical or average wrongful death settlement. Every case is different and the settlement payout amount depends on the type of case, how the death occurred, if the death was preventable, and if some form of negligence caused the death. The actual settlement dollar amount also varies from case to case and is based on numerous factors to determine the fair compensation.
Examples Of Our Michigan Wrongful Death Settlements
- $ 5,080,000 Jury verdict against an Oakland County assisted living facility
- $ 3,600,000 Settlement in an assisted living wrongful death lawsuit
- $ 3,500,000 Settlement against a Detroit area hospital for the wrongful death of a patient
- $ 1,325,000 Waterford fatal pedestrian accident settlement against a corporation
- $ 1,500,000 Settlement in a Shiawasee County fatal car accident lawsuit
- $ 1,000,000 Macomb County wrongful death lawsuit for a bicycle accident
- $ 900,000 Lansing area car accident settlement for the death of a son and brother
- $ 725,000 Settlement for the death of a child at a Macomb County apartment complex
- $ 650,000 Settlement for an apartment complex pool drowning
- $ 600,000 Settlement in a death case due to a fall in a transportation van
- $ 450,000 Medical malpractice wrongful death settlement against a surgeon and hospital
Other Settlements For Accident Death Cases In Michigan
- $7,000,000 wrongful death settlement in an Oakland County fatal auto accident lawsuit.
- $4,500,000 fatal accident settlement for the family members of a young man run over by a septic truck.
- $4,140,000 fall settlement for the surviving family of a tentant who died when a guardrail failed and he fell to his death.
- $3,825,000 pedestrian death settlement. The victim was hit by a truck while lawfully crossing an intersection.
How Much Time Do I Have To Sue Someone For Wrongful Death In Michigan?
Under Michigan law, the time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit is based upon the type case. For example, a case involving a motor vehicle accident has a three year deadline. Most negligence cases in Michigan must be filed within three years of the date of incident. Deaths caused by intentional acts, like an assault or police shooting, have a two year deadline. Cases involving medical malpractice and nursing home negligence may have up to five years from the date of death.
It is best to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after your loved one passes away to get started on a case. Waiting too long to file suit may bar you forever from receiving a settlement. Also, a delay in time can limit the ability to speak with witnesses and track down necessary evidence to prove and win your case.
Free Guide For Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When someone dies an unlawful or accidental death due to the fault of another, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. To better understand the secret deadlines that will destroy your case if you delay in hiring a lawyer, download our The Ultimate Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit Handbook," by Lawrence J. Buckfire.hand guide, "
Cases related to wrongful death accidents are brought by family members seeking justice for the loss of a loved one. We can help your family after a tragedy involving an accidental or unlawful death.
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Best Michigan Wrongful Death Lawyers
Our legal team includes the most successful wrongful death attorneys in Michigan. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. and our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
- "Best Michigan Personal Injury Attorney" by American Lawyer Academy
- Named Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Michigan
- Honored as "Super Lawyers"
- Top Martindale-Hubbell Rating (AV) for Skill & Integrity
- Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Wrongful Death Attorney?
It does not cost anything to hire our wrongful lawsuit lawyers. We do not charge any fees to start your case and only get paid when you receive your settlement check. This is called a contingency fee agreement. Under this arrangement, we also pay all of the case expenses for you and get a percentage of the settlement at the very end of the case when your check is received.
Do I Have To Pay My Lawyer If There Is No Settlement?
No. Under our contingent fee agreement, there are no legal fees if the case is unsuccessful and you do not receive a settlement. You owe us nothing.
Our No-Fee Promise On Michigan Wrongful Death Cases
You can afford to have the best Michigan accidental death attorneys on your side for your wrongful death lawsuit. It costs you nothing to get started and we will even pay to open the probate estate. If your case is unsuccessful, you owe us nothing.
For all cases involving an accidental death or an unlawful death, we promise you in writing:
- No money to get started or to open the probate estate
- We pay all case costs and expenses from start to finish
- No legal fees whatsoever unless the case settles
- Phone calls are always free, forever.
Start Your Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are three easy ways for us to get started on your case. You can:
- Chat online with our intake specialist and an accidental death lawyer will call you directly.
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page. We will contact you shortly.
- Call (800) 606-1717 any time of day to tell us about your case.
Warning: There are strict time deadlines for filing Michigan wrongful death lawsuits. Call to learn more about Michigan Wrongful Death lawsuits and settlements.
Michigan Accidental Death References & Resources
- Center for Disease Control Accidental Death Statistics
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatal Accidents
- National Safety Council