Wrongful Death

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    No matter the cause of death, the loss of a loved one is always painful—but preventable death is perhaps the hardest to bear. At Koussan Law, we know how devastating it can be to try and recover from a serious injury, especially when combined with the financial burdens associated with healing. It is important to know your rights and avenues of recourse when accidents or death occur due to another’s negligence. Our compassionate attorneys are here to listen, support, and help you through this challenging time. Call us today at (313) 444-8348 to speak with our legal team.


    How is Wrongful Death Defined in Michigan?

    Wrongful death is when someone dies as a result of someone else’s negligence — this includes individuals, businesses, or other entities. After a person’s passing, state law allows the decedent’s surviving family members to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties to seek compensation for damages.

    Regardless of whether the action —or, sometimes, inaction — of a person, company, product manufacturer, hospital, nursing home, trucking company, or other entity was intentional, there may still be grounds for a legal claim and a death case.


    How Much Time is There to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Michigan?

    Under Michigan law, the time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit is based on the type of case. These deadlines, called the statute of limitations, are not the same for every case. For example, a case involving a car accident has a three-year deadline.

    While most negligence cases in Michigan must be filed within three years of the date of the incident, deaths caused by intentional acts, like an assault or police shooting, have a two-year deadline.
    To file a lawsuit involving medical malpractice or nursing home negligence, there is generally a two-year deadline. However, you may have up to five years from the date of death to file your case in certain circumstances.

    It is important to contact an 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 and financial justice for what you have experienced.


    How Can a Lawyer Help Protect My Family?

    Unfortunately, time does not stop when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. You will have many arrangements to make, including funeral and burial services. Hospital bills may create undue stress, especially if your deceased relative had supported your family. You know, more than anyone of the injustice of wrongful death. Nothing can ever make it right. But at least wrongful death compensation can ease your financial burden.

    How can someone be liable? At the heart of most wrongful death cases is negligence. As humans, we all bear responsibilities to others, and as we go about our daily lives, we must consider others around us responsibly. If someone’s carelessness causes injury or death, Michigan law holds them accountable.


    What are the Steps to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    The first step is for a family member to hire an experienced Michigan wrongful death lawyer to determine if there is a basis under state law to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It can help immensely for substantiating your claims to have the legal assistance.

    If there are valid claims, the next step is to have a personal representative appointed by the probate court to file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, which are essentially the other family members and heirs. This procedure is done through the probate court in the county where the decedent last resided, had property, or in the county where the death occurred. Lawyers are an invaluable resource to you because they know this legal process in and out and can take the burden from you.

    The Michigan Wrongful Death Act — MCL § 600.2922 — outlines the details and requirements for filing a case, including:

      1. • Which family members can file a claim, as well as which members have priority;


      1. • The legal procedures for notifying other family members that a claim has been filed and their legal rights in a case;


      1. • The types and damages and compensation that can be sought and obtained;


      1. • The legal procedures and requirements for filing a case, as well as those to settle a case;


      • The procedures for disbursing the settlement or claim proceeds to the surviving family members;


    Once the personal representative is appointed by the court, a lawsuit is filed for all death claims in the circuit county court.

    The lawsuit is a legal document, called a “Complaint,” and is filed at the courthouse and sets forth the legal basis for the claims. The wrongful death suit is then served on the defendants by a process server and the litigation process begins.

    At Koussan Law, we know how devastating it can be to try and recover from the emotional trauma associated with the wrongful death of a loved one, especially when combined with the financial burdens associated with healing. It is important to know your rights and avenues of recourse when wrongful deaths occur due to another’s negligence or wrongful intentional acts. Our compassionate attorneys are here to listen, support, and help you through this challenging time. Call us today at (313) 444-8348 to speak with our legal team.


    How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

    To prove wrongful death, you must have evidence that a person or entity was negligent, careless, or reckless in causing the death of another person. For example, if a defendant ran a stop sign while on his phone and caused a fatal car accident, this would be clear evidence of negligence. Or, if a patient died due to medical malpractice from a doctor, this would be the basis for a death claim.

    If the death was caused intentionally, the evidence must support that claim. This type of claim has the same burden of proof as all other personal injury lawsuits.

    These cases require in-depth investigations into the facts and the law, and that is why having an attorney help you can be so beneficial. They will perform a complete investigation of the facts of the death case. If a suit is filed, they can take sworn deposition testimony of the parties and eyewitnesses to prove liability for the death.


    Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Michigan?

    The Michigan wrongful death statute gives family members of the loved one the right to file a lawsuit for compensation for accidental deaths, fatal accidents, or intentional acts. Lawsuits can be brought by a spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, or grandchild. In some cases, a more distant relative like an aunt or uncle can also file the case.

    If the decedent left a will, any person named in it as an heir of the estate may also have a right to file a lawsuit.

    However, before a claim may be filed, the family member or heir must first be appointed the personal representative of the decedent’s estate — typically, the family will agree on who will be appointed this position. This person will represent the interests of all family members of the case and work with the attorney.


    Most Common Types of Michigan Wrongful Death Claims

    In Michigan, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed for the accidental or intentional deaths of a loved one, but majority of the cases are filed based upon claims of negligence. Common examples of negligence with personal injury to a loved one include:

      1. • Motor vehicle accidents (car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck or bus crashes, and pedestrian and bicycle riders hit by cars)


      1. • Medical malpractice and hospital negligence


      1. • Nursing home negligence and abuse


      • Products liability


    Cases for intentional deaths can also be filed in civil court in addition to the related criminal proceedings that seek terms of imprisonment instead of monetary compensation. These cases are separate, however.

    The most common example would be against the police for the shooting death of an innocent victim or road rage that caused a death.


    Car and Motorcycle Accidents Causing Injury

    Excessive speed, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other reckless behaviors have led to countless fatal accidents over the years.

    Michigan law identifies several behaviors as potentially distracting while operating a motor vehicle:

      1. • Reading, typing, or sending text messages


      1. • Using a cell phone


      1. • Eating and drinking


      1. • Using a map or online navigation


      1. • Operating the radio or other controls


      1. • Attending to children


      1. • Reading (anything, including maps)


      • Taking eyes off the road for other reasons


    If your loved one died in a motor vehicle accident caused by a careless driver, a wrongful death attorney can help you employ Michigan law to hold the at-fault driver responsible for his or her actions.

    At Koussan Law, our experienced, compassionate attorneys can help you navigate these challenging times. We specialize in helping those who seek justice and will ensure you understand all your legal rights. We are here to assist you: we will answer all your questions and tell you our opinions about your case, and if you hire us, we will start working immediately.


    Medical Malpractice

    Sometimes healthcare professionals can cause unnecessary pain and suffering. Do you suspect negligence played a role in any aspect of your family member’s healthcare management? Examples of medical malpractice might include:

      1. • Anesthesia


      1. • Diagnosis


      1. • Treatment


      1. • Insufficient information concerning risks


      1. • Faulty medical devices


      1. • Surgery


      1. • Aftercare


      • Transport


    It can be helpful to have an attorney examine and investigate your case. Having legal assistance greatly increases the likelihood of success with your legal claim because attorneys can help break down the medical records and legal avenues and can help ease the emotional challenges associated with your claims. The sooner you seek legal support, the better.


    Nursing Home Patient Abuse and Neglect

    The last place you might expect to find negligence is in a nursing home, however the elderly and infirm are particularly vulnerable in these residential settings because many suffer from cognitive or physical limitations that increase their dependence on others.

    Elder abuse may include:

      1. • Physical harm


      1. • Unreasonable confinement


      1. • Unnecessary medication


      1. • Cruel punishment


      1. • Nonconsensual sexual attention


      1. • Psychological abuse


      • Denial of food, drink, or hygiene to control behavior


    Elder abuse could also be experienced through neglect. “Neglect” refers to one’s failure to provide care according to reasonable standards, resulting in physical harm, mental illness, or death. If someone you love has experienced any kind of elder abuse, you may have a legal claim against their abuser or the establishment directly for compensation of medical bills, pain and suffering, and more through a lawsuit. An attorney can assist you in navigating this and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. At Koussan Law, our compassionate attorneys are here to listen, support, and help you through this challenging time. Call us today at (313) 444-8348 to speak with our legal team.


    Product Malfunction

    Sometimes, products we purchase do not live up to our expectations, but the product should never be unreasonably dangerous to use. When it is, Michigan product liability law protects consumers from:

      1. • Design flaws that make the product unsafe


      1. • Manufacturing defects resulting from insufficient quality control during production


      1. • Inadequate or missing warning labels that leave consumers ignorant of the risk of serious harm


      • Medical device failure


    Investigating why and how a product is defective can be challenging. Industry experts may need to examine the item or equipment. Hiring an experienced attorney to investigate can be a great resource to seeking compensation for damages, including medical bills and lost wages.


    Work Accidents

    Worker’s Compensation provides for employees who suffer an injury on the job. This system will replace a portion of lost wages and reimburse qualifying medical and rehabilitation benefits.

    In most cases, your employer may file a claim for you. However, even if your employer’s insurance company disputes your claim, you may still have grounds for a wrongful death settlement. A lawyer can investigate the accident to determine who is liable.

    As discussed above, for example, product flaws can cause serious injury. If a product manufacturer or distributor was behind the work or safety equipment’s failure, you could pursue damages on behalf of your relative.


    How Can Financial Compensation Assist with my Financial Burdens?

    When a person dies because of negligence, abuse, medical malpractice, faulty products, or otherwise, Michigan wrongful death law allows beneficiaries to recover damages from the person or corporation responsible.

    Usually, beneficiaries are related to the deceased or serve as personal representatives for the estate and may be the:

      1. • Spouse


      1. • Child


      1. • Descendent


      1. • Parent


      1. • Grandparent


      1. • Sibling


      • Children of the surviving spouse


    In Michigan, you can seek two types of damages for wrongful death claims:

      1. 1)

    Pecuniary damages

      1. , which include the financial injury that resulted from the fatal event:


    Loss of support

        1. presents a large problem for many families after an unexpected death, so you are entitled to compensation of the income that your loved one would have earned had he or she lived.


    Medical expenses

        1. can multiply rapidly after a severe injury. Michigan wrongful death lawsuits can help you recover what you spend on medical transport, treatment, surgery, and other costs related to the fatal accident.


        Funeral and burial expenses

        1. are often included as damages in a wrongful death settlement.


        Loss of household services

        1. refers to the monetary value of the household services that the deceased party contributed to the household. For instance, if your family member cared for the children, you may be entitled to that service’s replacement value – the cost of childcare.


    2) Punitive damages are sometimes granted in extreme cases. When serious or intentional wrongdoing is involved, you may be able to seek punitive damages on behalf of your family member. The State of Michigan does not allow punitive damages for punishment, but it has been permitted in extreme cases.


    How Much is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?

    The compensation received from the lawsuit is referred to as a wrongful death settlement.

    There are no written schedules or guidelines for determining the amount of a death claim. If the case is not settled by the parties and goes to a trial, the judge or jury will determine the monetary amount to be awarded to the family members.

    Wrongful death settlements include compensation for both non-economic and economic losses.

    There is no “average” or “typical” settlement amount because each case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances. Our experienced lawyers at Koussan Law will work hard to get you the maximum settlement.

    Non-economic losses include the loss of emotional support, comfort, companionship, moral support, and consortium due to the death of the loved one. This damage considers the loss to each family member of the victim. They also include compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering from the time of injury through the time of the death.

    Compensation is also owed to the family for economic losses caused by the death of a loved one. Economic damages include the recovery of the loss of earnings including past, present, and future losses. Our law firm usually hires an economist and accountant to prove the full extent of these losses.

    Other claims are for the loss of financial support and loss of work benefits, like health insurance and a pension. The family is also entitled to the reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses.


    How Can Koussan Law Help Me?

    To file a wrongful death claim, likely you will need to submit paperwork to an insurance company for survivors’ benefits. The sooner these are submitted, the sooner your case can begin moving. This is especially important because most insurance companies have strict deadlines, and if you miss them, you can lose your right to file a case forever. An attorney can help you meet deadlines and acquire all the necessary documentation (such as the death certificate, tax returns, and funeral bills) to begin establishing your claim.

    What if a wrongful death lawsuit is necessary? As with any legal claim, Michigan law limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. This provision, called a statute of limitations, varies depending on the type of case, and if you miss this window, you can lose your right to file a lawsuit forever.

    The attorneys at Koussan Law pursue wrongful death actions with compassion, respect, and diligence. We understand how emotionally challenging it is to be pursing legal action alongside the financial hardships associated with the wrongful death of a loved one. Our goal is to pursue your case zealously and support you each step of the way. Our services are at no up-front or out-of-pocket cost to you: we do not receive fees until after we win through a settlement or verdict and you have received your earnings. Call us today at (313) 444-8348 to speak with our legal team.