Wrongful death is the most traumatic outcome of a person or company’s negligence. If someone else’s neglect, wrongful act or recklessness causes another person’s death, surviving family members may have the right to file a claim in Wyoming, Michigan.

Navigating the state’s wrongful death laws takes understanding key elements such as restrictions on who can file, damages available and the statute of limitations. Claimants do not have to go through this difficult time alone.

Eligible survivors

In Michigan, the only person who can bring a wrongful death action is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The personal representative may be someone the decedent named in a will or trust. Otherwise, a judge may assign a personal representative during probate court.

The personal representative has 30 days from the date he or she files a wrongful death action to notify the decedent’s surviving family members of the claim in writing. The representative can seek compensation on behalf of surviving heirs and beneficiaries. Only certain parties are eligible to obtain compensation: a surviving spouse, child, parents, grandparents, siblings or anyone named in a will.

Damages available

A frequently asked question after fatal accidents in Michigan is “What damages are available?” The damages, or compensation, available in a wrongful death claim differ from a standard personal injury claim. They may include:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial costs
  • Medical expenses leading up to time of death
  • Lost wages, future earnings and inheritance
  • The family’s mental anguish
  • Loss of care, companionship and consortium

Although a wrongful death settlement or verdict will not reverse what happened to a family member, it can give surviving relatives closure and financial stability for the future.

 Time limit for filing

The personal representative of the estate has three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim in Michigan. Missing this statute of limitations could be detrimental to the claim. The courts will typically refuse to hear a case past the deadline. However, some exceptions may apply.