Losing a loved one is never easy, especially if their death is sudden or occurs due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Fatal accidents can happen in Bloomfield Hills, including deadly car crashes on Telegraph Road or a surgical error at Henry Ford Medical Center.
If you lost a loved one due in an accident, you may file a wrongful death claim. These cases often come with many questions, such as: Who can file a wrongful death claim, or what circumstances warrant a wrongful death claim?
If your loved one might have filed a personal injury claim if they had lived, certain parties have the right to lodge a wrongful death claim on their behalf. At Michigan Injury Lawyers, our Bloomfield Hills wrongful death lawyers offer no-obligation consultations to determine if you can file suit for your deceased family member.
- Why Hire Michigan Injury Lawyers
- What Is a Wrongful Death?
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
- Proving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
- Criminal Versus Civil Law and Wrongful Death Cases
- Wrongful Death Damages
- Bloomfield Hills Wrongful Death FAQs
- Consult Our Compassionate Bloomfield Hills Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Why Hire Michigan Injury Lawyers
For over two decades, Michigan Injury Lawyers has represented injured claimants and their families in various personal injury claims, including those for wrongful death. If you have recently lost a loved one, please accept our sincerest condolences. No one should lose a family member to a preventable death.
We firmly believe that injured and wronged parties deserve full and fair compensation for their damages. Our team works tirelessly to provide the best outcome possible in each case we represent. Through this process, we will be your legal advocates, tailoring our approach to meet your legal needs.
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, we treat all personal injury claimants as if they are family members, especially those impacted by a wrongful death. After losing a loved one, there are many emotions to process and matters to figure out.
You can count on our reputable Bloomfield Hills wrongful death lawyers for help during this difficult time.
Our Bloomfield wrongful death attorneys can help you by:
- Starting an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death to determine how it happened and who should be held accountable
- Handling all communications with the appropriate insurance companies, so you and your family members don’t have to
- Pursuing full and fair financial recovery from every liable party
- Consulting with medical, legal, and economic experts when necessary to prove the damages in your case
- Negotiating with the goal of a reasonable settlement offer considering the value of your damages
What Is a Wrongful Death?
By legal definition, wrongful death happens when someone dies due to another party’s negligence or careless, reckless, or intentional actions. For example, deaths labeled as preventable are generally considered wrongful under the law. If the decedent could file a personal injury claim had they lived, their family member or representative likely has a valid wrongful death claim worth pursuing.
Many circumstances can give rise to a wrongful death claim, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability accidents, including slip and falls and negligent security
- Defective products
- Defective medical devices
- Harmful prescription drugs
- Work-related accidents
- Daycare incidents
- Intentional acts of violence
While these cases are quite complex and devastating, our compassionate Bloomfield Hills wrongful death lawyers have what it takes to obtain the best outcome possible in your claim. Therefore, it’s crucial to have attorneys with in-depth experience in the legal practice of wrongful death to ensure you receive maximum compensation on behalf of your loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a family member or loved one. The designated person with this right varies by state. In Michigan, usually, specific surviving adult-age family members can take legal action against the negligent person or party.
It depends on whether the deceased person had a will and, if they did, whom they named their legal representative for their estate. For example, if it named a spouse, adult child, parent, or sibling, they will likely need to file the wrongful death claim.
If the decedent didn’t appoint a personal representative before their death, the court will select one, or the family can suggest an individual to the court. That person can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent and their family. Any damages obtained will be the property of the deceased person’s estate or the family.
Proving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The person or party bringing the wrongful death lawsuit always has the burden of proof. This means that their attorney must prove to the judge or jury that the at-fault party negligently or intentionally caused the victim’s death. In a successful wrongful death claim, the Bloomfield Hills wrongful death lawyer must present evidence to prove each of the following elements of negligence:
The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care.
For example, suppose your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident because of another party’s traffic violation. In that case, your wrongful death attorney will show that the driver had the duty to follow the traffic laws to minimize the risk of injuries to others in a collision.
The at-fault party breached that duty of care.
In the motorcycle accident example, the wrongful death attorney might present evidence showing that the at-fault party ran a stoplight, drove drunk, or violated another traffic law.
The at-fault party’s actions were the direct cause of the accident and injuries.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to establish that the defendant owed a duty and violated it somehow. Wrongful death attorneys must also prove that the at-fault party’s behavior caused the accident or circumstances that resulted in death.
Therefore, your lawyer must present evidence demonstrating a clear link between their actions and the resulting accident and death. For example, if another vehicle hit a curb, scared a cat, and the cat jumped in front of another vehicle, causing an accident, the vehicle that hit the curb will not likely be liable for the resulting death.
The victim and their family suffered compensable damages because of the other party’s actions and their loved one’s death.
Finally, the person or party bringing the wrongful death lawsuit must prove that they suffered economic or non-economic losses due to the victim’s death. Their losses might include such things as funeral expenses, medical bills, burial costs, companionship, and other economic and non-economic damages.
Criminal Versus Civil Law and Wrongful Death Cases
The family of a deceased victim should be aware that a civil wrongful death lawsuit is separate and different from a criminal case. Criminal charges are brought by the state when the victim’s death was allegedly caused by the illegal activity of the at-fault party —whether intentional or unintentional. If found guilty of criminal charges, the at-fault party can face such criminal consequences as fines, jail time, probation, and community service.
On the other hand, the family or personal representative of the deceased person brings civil claims and lawsuits. If found liable by a civil court judge or a jury, the defendant will usually be required to pay monetary damages to the victim’s family or personal representative for their estate.
Guilt in criminal court doesn’t necessarily make the defendant liable in civil court or vice-versa, although a guilty verdict in criminal court can help the victim in a civil case.
Wrongful Death Damages
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to obtaining maximum compensation for your loved one’s death. Our Bloomfield Hills wrongful death attorneys know that they have one chance to make this situation as right as it can ever be. We take your case seriously.
We can help you recover damages after a loved one’s death, including:
- Lost financial support that the loved one provided to your family
- Lost household services often provided by the deceased such as housekeeping, appointment scheduling, and child-rearing
- Loss of parental guidance for minors left without the guidance and approval of a parent and any impact it might have on their future
- Loss of love, care, and affection provided by the person who died
- Medical expenses incurred by your loved one after they suffered an injury but before they passed away
- Burial and funeral expenses can be pretty costly, especially if unexpected
- Lawyer fees related to the lawsuit
Bloomfield Hills Wrongful Death FAQs
When Should You Talk to a Bloomfield Hills Wrongful Death Attorney?
Waiting to contact an experienced Bloomfield Hills wrongful death attorney can be detrimental to your potential claim. The more time passes, the more likely it is that the valuable evidence supporting your wrongful death case can be lost, hidden, or damaged.
The law also only gives claimants a specified deadline to file a wrongful death case. If you think you and your family have the right to file a wrongful death claim, talking to an attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s death is in your best interest.
Who Receives the Money in a Successful Wrongful Death Claim?
Michigan law determines who is eligible to receive money from a wrongful death settlement or court award. The primary beneficiaries are spouses, children, and parents. However, depending on certain circumstances, grandparents and other blood relatives may also be entitled to settlement money.
Family members can get reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses they covered before other money goes to the rightful heirs. Additionally, other family members, such as an adopted child of the decedent and individuals listed in the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament, may also be entitled to a share of the monetary recovery.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Some wrongful death clients can also pursue punitive damages. The court may award these damages when the at-fault party behaved in a particularly outrageous or wanton manner when causing any injury, including the loss of your loved one’s life. For example, a driver who caused an accident after drinking or taking drugs may need to pay punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is My Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations states that those with the legal right to file a wrongful death claim must do so within three years of the death. If they suffered an injury and lived for a while before dying, the clock still doesn’t start ticking until their death.
If the appropriate party doesn’t file a wrongful death suit within the state-provided deadline, they typically lose the right to go to court. Many people choose to hire our Bloomfield Hills wrongful death lawyers to file their cases on time and meet all other deadlines.
Consult Our Compassionate Bloomfield Hills Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Losing a loved one is always difficult, no matter their age or the circumstances surrounding their death. The entire situation is different when their death occurs due to the wrong decisions or negligence of another person or party. To pursue justice for them and your family, call Michigan Injury Lawyers.
Our compassionate Bloomfield Hills personal injury attorneys know nothing will ever replace your family member. However, a fair wrongful death settlement or court award can help you move forward without the burden of financial worries.
Michigan Injury Lawyers can work hard to seek the monetary recovery you and your family deserve. Call our office today at (313) 438-4357 or contact us online for your free wrongful death claim consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
"Michigan Injury Lawyers fought for my best interest, helped me understand throughout the process and was very patient with my many questions. I have nothing but good things to say about this firm! I feel as though my case was handled professionally and with the utmost care. If you needed to let them know about something urgent, they responded quickly and updated me within the day or the following morning. Nothing but good things to say!" -Shaun N. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Bloomfield Hills Office Location
2525 S Telegraph Rd, Ste 100,
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302