Losing a loved one in an unforeseen car accident is a devastating tragedy that leaves grieving families with immense heartache as well as many looming legal issues. It can be difficult to navigate without help from a Detroit car accident attorney.
At White Law PLLC, our team of Detroit wrongful death attorneys understands all too well the profound grief and life changes caused by these horrific events. While no result can undo the loss, we are dedicated to guiding families through the complex legal process with compassion.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Michigan After a Fatal Car Accident?
As defined in MCL 600.2922, only certain categories of individuals have standing to bring a wrongful death action.
The ability to sue is limited to the personal representative of the estate. This can be a family member and usually the executor named in the will or appointed by the probate court. The following people who survive the deceased and suffer damages can be entitled to receive damages:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s parents
- The deceased’s siblings
- Named beneficiaries
- Spouse’s children in some cases
A wrongful death car accident lawyer in Detroit can help you understand who is eligible to file, who might collect compensation, and how to proceed.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim for a Wrongful Death Car Accident in Detroit?
Yes, Michigan has a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. According to Michigan law:
- The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan is three years from the date of death.
- The three-year deadline is firm – if a claim is filed even one day late, it will likely be dismissed as untimely.
- The deadline starts running from the date of death, not the date of the accident or injury that caused the death.
- In very rare circumstances, the deadline may be extended. A fatal car accident attorney in Detroit, MI can help you understand how the statute of limitations may affect your case.
The three-year time limit is outlined in Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act, specifically MCL 600.5805. Courts have held this deadline is strictly enforced with few exceptions. It’s important for potential plaintiffs to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure a claim can be filed before the limitation expires.
We’re not just lawyers. We’re passionate advocates who will ensure that your voice is heard and your rights are protected.
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Fatal Car Accident Lawsuit?
Your car accident wrongful death lawyer will evaluate your damages thoroughly to ensure you pursue the maximum value of your claim. This can help you to avoid accepting an undervalued settlement. Here are the types of damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan:
- Economic damages: Items like lost financial support, household services, and guidance the beneficiaries would have received from the deceased. This takes into account the deceased’s expected lifetime earnings and contributions.
- Medical costs and funeral expenses: Costs directly associated with the deceased’s final medical treatment and burial.
- Loss of companionship and society: Non-economic damages for the loss of the relationship between beneficiaries (often spouse and children) and the deceased.
- Pain and suffering of the deceased: If the deceased survived the initial injury for a period of time, damages for physical and mental pain during that interim.
- Property damage: If property like a vehicle or home was damaged in the accident.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
What Does the Process of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Look Like?
Here is a brief outline of what to expect when filing a wrongful death claim for a fatal auto accident:
Plaintiff Files the Lawsuit
The estate representative of the deceased (executor of the will or closest next of kin) will be listed as the plaintiff. They bring the lawsuit on behalf of the surviving dependents/beneficiaries.
The lawsuit is filed in court against any individuals/entities alleged to be at fault for causing the death. This could include drivers, vehicle owners, businesses, governments, etc. The complaint outlines the facts of the case, details of the defendant’s negligence, and specifies the damages being claimed, such as lost income, grief, and funeral costs.
Notification and Deposition
Defendants are served notice of the lawsuit and have a certain period to file an answer denying or admitting the allegations. Extensive evidence gathering occurs through means like interrogatories, depositions, and the exchange of documents between parties.
Settlement or Court
The case could potentially settle before trial or proceed to a jury. If a settlement is reached, the case concludes and compensation is distributed according to the terms of the agreement. If not, the case is heard by a judge or jury who would decide liability and damages based on the evidence presented.
If liability is found, a monetary judgment will be awarded to the estate to distribute to the proper beneficiaries.
Working with a fatal car accident attorney in Detroit, MI, is crucial to navigating this complex process properly and maximizing the potential for recovery. We can offer strategic guidance every step of the way.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Contact a Fatal Car Accident Law Firm in Detroit To Learn How We Can Help You
Through diligent investigation and skilled negotiation, we work tirelessly to answer our clients’ questions in meaningful ways and pursue every available form of compensation permitted under Michigan law.
Our goal is to help minimize additional burdens while seeking fair relief. If a full resolution cannot be reached, we are prepared to zealously advocate for our clients in a court of law.
Please contact White Law PLLC anytime for a consultation. We are here to ensure your rights are protected as you face the challenging days ahead, and that the memory of your loved one is honored through justice and remembrance.
We’re Experienced. We Care.
We Exceed Client Expectations.