Justice for Grieving Families After Preventable Tragedies
Losing a loved one is always a tragedy, but if someone else was at fault for that death, it only adds to the devastation of the situation. Our Kalamazoo wrongful death attorneys help grieving clients by guiding them through the legal aspects of a wrongful death claim.
When you lose a loved one in an accident, the emotional devastation and financial burden arising from such a loss is often an overwhelming challenge. If the fatal accident was the result of another party’s carelessness or negligence, you are likely entitled to compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses, and other economic and noneconomic losses.
At Conybeare Law Office, we understand that taking legal action against an at-fault party won’t bring your loved one back, but it can address financial vulnerabilities created by the loss and, hopefully, prevent another family from going through something similar. Let us help you during this extremely difficult period of your life so you can move toward a brighter future.
What You Need To Know About Wrongful Death In Michigan
- Wrongful Death In Michigan
- Common Causes Of Wrongful Death
- Car Accident Wrongful Death Suits
- Who May File A Wrongful Death Claim In Michigan?
- Get Help From Our Kalamazoo Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful Death in Michigan
Michigan law defines wrongful death as a fatality arising from any incident which, had the victim not died, would have entitled them to recover damages. What this means is that a wrongful death lawsuit is essentially a personal injury claim made on behalf of someone who has been killed and cannot seek justice and compensation themselves. In Michigan, this claim is filed by the personal representative on behalf of the decedent’s family members and heirs.
Note: Unlike some states, Michigan law considers a miscarriage to be wrongful death when it is caused by a ‘wrongful or negligent act.’
When you lose a loved one, you deserve to have a professional personal injury lawyer on your side. We take wrongful death cases on contingency, so if we don’t win, you owe us nothing for our time and effort.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
A Michigan wrongful death lawsuit can be filed for both accidental and intentional deaths, but most arise from negligence claims. Common examples of death due to personal or professional negligence include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, such as crashes involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
- Defective products that cause accidental death. This includes household products, children’s toys, and motor vehicle parts.
- Premises liability incidents, such as death after a fall on a poorly maintained property.
- Accidents that occur during recreational activities, such as boating, jet skiing, hunting, and swimming.
- Workplace accidents, especially in higher-risk occupations like construction.
- Death of an elderly loved one due to nursing home negligence and abuse.
- Medical malpractice on the part of a healthcare provider like a doctor, nurse, or even an entire hospital or pharmaceutical company. These claims can be especially challenging because healthcare defendants often aggressively resist liability claims. A Michigan medical malpractice lawyer at Conybeare Law Office will protect your family’s right to compensation in this type of claim.
Car Accident Wrongful Death Suits
According to a report by the Michigan State Police, there were 1,010 fatal crashes across the state in 2020, representing an increase of 12% over 2019 totals. These accidents are frequently due to negligent actions such as:
- Distracted driving (using a smartphone, talking to passengers, looking at GPS devices)
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Aggressive driving
- Disobeying stop signs
- Running red lights
When another motorist causes a fatal crash due to negligence, they can be held accountable for the death of your loved one. When you hire a Michigan car crash attorney, you can rest assured that the person responsible for your loved one’s death will be held financially responsible for their actions.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in Michigan?
State law gives people who are closely related to the deceased person the right to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. Generally speaking, this includes spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, or grandchildren, although in some cases more distant relatives can file a claim. Those named in a will as heirs to an estate may also have a right to sue.
In order to file a claim, the family member or heir must be appointed as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This individual will work with the attorney to represent all family members involved in the case. If you have questions about who may have the standing to make a claim, speak with one of our Michigan wrongful death attorneys.
What Damages Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for the fatal incident, our Michigan wrongful death lawyers can help you seek compensation for damages such as:
– Medical expenses incurred before the person passed away
– Funeral and burial costs
– Loss of love, society, and companionship
– Loss of future income and benefits that the deceased would have earned if they had lived
– Reasonable value for the loss of support and guidance, consortium, and other benefits that surviving family members would have realized
– Pre-death pain, suffering, fright, and shock of the deceased
There is no dollar limit on wrongful death settlements in Michigan, unless the death occurred due to medical malpractice or product liability. In a medical malpractice wrongful death claim, the 2022 cap on damages for loss of love, society and companionship is $497,000, unless the malpractice caused on of several statutory, severe impairments (e.g. quadriplegia) before resulting in the death, in which case the limit is $887,500. For product liability claims, wrongful death noneconomic damages for loss of a loved one are capped at $887,500.
It is important to remember that in Michigan, you must file your wrongful death claim within certain time limits, usually 2-3 years depending on the type of claim. If you don’t, you lose the right to seek compensation for the loss of your loved one, forever. The Kalamazoo wrongful death attorneys at Conybeare Law Office will ensure that all paperwork is filed on time and fight for the damages you deserve.
How Long Do Wrongful Death Cases Take in Michigan?
The timeline for settling wrongful death claims can be anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the particular circumstances.
If the defendant accepts responsibility, their insurer may offer a settlement sooner, but it’s rarely their best offer. Insurance companies stay in business by paying out as little as possible, so accepting that initial offer is probably not in your family’s best interests. If you accept it, you can’t seek additional compensation later.
The Kalamazoo wrongful death lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will present a settlement amount that covers damages like medical bills, lost income, and loss of consortium, but the insurance company usually insists on negotiating, which can take time. If the insurer refuses to make a fair offer, the next step is litigation. Wrongful death settlements that reach this stage can often take a year and a half to two years to resolve, but our goal is always to get you the money you need as soon as possible without compromising on results.
Get Help From Our Kalamazoo Wrongful Death Attorneys
At Conybeare Law Office, we understand that filing a wrongful death lawsuit can never bring your loved one back and that money can never fully compensate you for their loss. It can, however, give you some closure and obtain the financial resources needed for your family’s well-being. We will help you hold the wrongdoer accountable and get the compensation you are entitled to.
Conybeare Law Office serves the following areas:
- Berrien County
- Cass County
- Van Buren County
- West Michigan
Call The Bear today at 269-769-BEAR or fill out this contact form to schedule your free consultation with one of our Michigan wrongful death attorneys. Remember: if it’s not fair, call the Bear!