Wrongful Death Claims

If a loved one is involved in a Michigan automobile accident and dies as a result, the decedent’s estate is entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. The Michigan Wrongful Death statute (MCL 600.2922) controls; however, when the death also arises out of a motor vehicle accident, then the provisions of the No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act also apply. When a death of a person or injuries result in the death are caused by the negligence or fault of another, the at-fault or negligent person shall be liable to an action for damages. There are provisions of the Wrongful Death Act that must be followed. For instance, the action shall be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the estate of the deceased. Also, within 30 days after the commencement of an action, the personal representative shall serve a copy of the complaint and notice upon the person(s) who are entitled to damages. Persons who may be entitled to damages under the Wrongful Death Act shall be limited to any of the following who suffer damages and survives the deceased: deceased’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and, if none of these persons survive the deceased, then those persons to whom the estate of the deceased would pass under the laws of intestate succession determined as of the date of death of the deceased.

Under the Wrongful Death Act, close relatives who are entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim may recover damages as follows: reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the estate is liable; reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering, while conscious, undergone by the deceased during the period intervening between the time of the injury and death; and damages for the loss of financial support and the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased.