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Interested Persons in a Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit

August 22, 2022

A personal injury action is filed by a victim when another person’s negligence results in serious injuries. And when a person dies from injuries from negligence, it’s known as a wrongful death claim.

Under Michigan law, “wrongful death” is defined as a death caused by any “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another” that would have permitted the deceased to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived.

In the state of Michigan, the statute of limitations or deadline for wrongful death claims is two years from the date a Probate Court issues Letters of Authority (opening the Estate), but can be no more than three years from the date of the death. A wrongful death claim is Michigan is typically permitted if the deceased would have been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she had survived their injuries. Plus, the plaintiff must show monetary losses for the surviving family members.

In a wrongful death action, an experienced personal injury attorney in Michigan, like those of Buchanan Firm will file the lawsuit on behalf of an appointed personal representative of the deceased.

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, Michigan’s wrongful death statute requires the personal representative (or executor) of the deceased person’s estate to file the claim. Within 30 days of filing the lawsuit, the personal representative must send written notice to family members who are entitled to damages.

Who’s Entitled to Compensation in a Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

While the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is required to initiate the wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan, other immediate family members may be entitled to compensation for the damages they’ve suffered as a result of the death. The list of family members and others who are eligible to receive damages includes:

  • The Spouse;
  • Children (biological or adopted);
  • The deceased’s parents;
  • The deceased’s grandparents;
  • The deceased’s siblings; and
  • Anyone who receives money or property through the will of the deceased.

Each situation is different, and there may be exceptions to those listed above. For accurate information, consult with an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney.

What are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?

There are four major components that must be proved to recover a damages award for injuries sustained due to someone’s negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Here’s a list of some of the most common wrongful death lawsuits:

  • Medical Malpractice: Physicians, nurses, and hospitals can commit mistakes that can result in serious injuries and wrongful deaths.
  • Construction Accidents: Workers are certainly at risk in the construction industry, which has the highest rate of workplace fatalities among all industries.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Crashes that involve cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and boats can lead to fatalities—many of these happen due to factors such as speeding, drunk driving, and driver inattention.

What Types of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The type and amount of damages that may be recovered in a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit depend on many factors. Here’s a list of some of the damages family members may be entitled to in a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Damages for the conscious pain and suffering of the victim between the time of the wrongful injury or accident and his or her death;
  • Pain and suffering or emotional distress of the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or other immediate family members;
  • Medical expenses stemming from the injury, illness, or accident that resulted in the death;
  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Lost wages that would have been earned by the deceased between the time of the accident and death;
  • Loss of projected future earnings that would have supported the victim’s family;
  • Loss of other income and benefits such as pension plans or health insurance coverage for the survivors; and
  • Loss of care, protection, and companionship of the victim’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or other immediate family members.


If a family member has been killed as the result of the negligence of another—such as in an automobile accident or in a surgical procedure—contact Buchanan Firm. We will help your family pursue compensation against those who are responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.

Contact us today!