If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident that was not their fault, you’re probably wondering what legal action you can take to get justice for your loved one—maybe even wondering how to file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death claims can be difficult to undertake; that’s why it’s imperative to have not only a compassionate, but experienced wrongful death attorney, on your side.
Below, our legal team outlines everything you need to know about wrongful death claims, from what falls under this type of claim, what to expect during the process, and more.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
The universal definition of a wrongful death claim is when a claim is filed when someone dies due to another person’s negligence or intentional act.
In wrongful death cases, survivors of the victim are compensated for the harm, losses, and suffering they’ve been burdened with after losing their loved one.
The most common wrongful death situations we see involve:
- Car Accidents
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
- Premises Liability Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Accidental Poisoning and Overdoses, including gas leaks from faulty furnaces.
- Drowning or Boating Accidents
- Workplace Accidents and Illnesses
Who Can File For Wrongful Death?
It’s important to understand who’s eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, since each state has its own laws designating who can file.
However, in Michigan, a claim may be filed by the deceased’s following relatives:
Additionally, determining who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the decedent’s will. If a person dies with a completed will, the court may appoint an executor or personal representative to administer the estate.
It should be noted though that in most states, if the court appoints an executor or personal representative, they have the sole right to choose the attorney or law firm that will file for wrongful death.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim: Top Guidelines to Remember
As you can see, wrongful death cases are complex at best to navigate. Here, we outline a few key things that should answer your question of how to file a wrongful death claim:
Wrongful Death Claims Must Be Filed Within Three Years
A statute of limitations sets the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings. Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the date of an alleged incident, whether civil or criminal.
All states have a time limit set in place that restricts when a wrongful death claim can be filed. However, the wrongful death statute of limitations in Michigan is 3 years, and begins on the official date of death. The exception is when wrongful death involves medical malpractice. Then, there is a 2-year statute of limitations.
Wrongful Death Cases Are Heard in Civil Court
Wrongful death cases are heard in civil court, which is separate from criminal court. This means that you’ll sue the party responsible for your loved one’s death, rather than seeking criminal charges for them.
You May Be Awarded Compensatory Damages
When you file a wrongful death claim, you may be awarded compensatory damages. This includes monetary compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and any loss of income.
You could also be entitled to compensation for non-economic losses, such as:
- pain and suffering
- loss of parental training, companionship, and guidance for minor children.
Contact Us. We Will Work With You to Get Justice
Our wrongful death lawyers can help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. We’ll carefully explain all the steps involved in filing a wrongful death claim and make sure you’re taken care of the whole way.
For more information or to get help with a wrongful death claim, contact our team today for a no-commitment, free consultation.