When to Hire Wrongful Death Lawyers in Michigan
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
The unexpected death of a loved one is a devastating time for any family. During this difficult time, you may not be in the frame of mind to consider whether a loved one’s passing amounts to wrongful death due to another party’s negligence.
When another party is held liable for negligence resulting in death, a successful wrongful death claim can help a suffering family through the loss by providing financial support.
Compensation from wrongful death cases can provide considerable relief to the next of kin, mainly when the loved one was the sole income in the household or family. Therefore, seeking compensation can play a significant role in the healing process. It’s in your best interests to know your legal rights and whether you have grounds for a claim after losing a loved one in an accident.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim arises when there are reasonable grounds to claim a person was killed because of the negligence or willful misconduct of another party or entity. Wrongful death can occur due to auto accidents, work-related incidents like construction accidents, medical negligence, or the deliberate unlawful act of another individual, among other factors. Wrongful death claims are usually filed as civil lawsuits.
What Damages are Awarded for Wrongful Death?
In a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff might pursue two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those with a measurable value, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, or loss of income.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify because they have no numeric value. These are emotional and mental hardships resulting from the situation, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or loss of quality of life.
The most common types of damages awarded in a wrongful death case are for medical expenses, the financial burden and loss of income in any way related to the death of the deceased, and compensation for emotional or other sufferings that impede the ability to earn.
A victim’s spouse may be awarded compensation for the loss of companionship and protection, while children may be awarded compensation for the loss of parental guidance and companionship.
Accident and Unintentional Injury Statistics
Unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death rate in Michigan from accidents is 50 per 100,000 or 5,422 for 2019. For the same year, 173,040 deaths occurred due to unintentional injuries in the United States.
The Most Common Types of Michigan Wrongful death Claims
The most common types of Michigan wrongful death claims are caused by:
- Road accidents include all types of motor vehicle accidents, such as car accidents, truck crashes, motorcycle accidents, and cyclists and pedestrians hit by cars.
- Medical malpractice includes negligence on behalf of medical practitioners, nurses, hospitals, and medical service providers.
- Work-related accidents include construction accidents at the site of work, defective premises, workplace fires, and other workplace hazards.
- Product liability, in which the responsibility for the fatal accident rests with the manufacturer or distributor.
- Recreational accidents include swimming pool accidents, boating, jet-skiing, or anything related to recreational activity.
- Drug overdoses and poisonings from incorrectly prescribed or labeled medicines and drugs.
The Michigan Wrongful Death Statute
According to the Michigan Wrongful Death Statute, the family and next of kin of the decedent can sue the party at fault for the claims the deceased person could have sued if they survived the accident. This includes compensation for economic damages, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death?
Proving wrongful death can be complex. According to state laws, you and your attorney must present evidence that a person or entity’s negligence contributed to the accident causing death. If the death was intentional, which can lead to jail time, the evidence must show this. Wrongful death action may involve more than one accused party and complicated negotiations with insurance companies.
This is why hiring experienced wrongful death lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is your best chance at providing the burden of proof. Your attorneys will determine whether there is a good chance of proving wrongful death if you file a lawsuit.
We will investigate the facts surrounding the circumstances of death, including interviewing eyewitnesses and parties to the incident who may be called upon to provide a sworn deposition in court.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Michigan?
Family members have authority under Michigan’s Wrongful Death Statute to file a suit to obtain monetary compensation. These include close relatives such as the surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent. If none of these are the next-of-kin, more distant relatives may be able to file the suit.
However, the family member must first be appointed as the decedent’s personal representative by the rest of the victim’s family to file the lawsuit (unless the deceased provided a will designating a direct inheritor to their estate). Once the family agrees on this, the representative works with an experienced wrongful death attorney and represents all family members and their interests in the case. The family will agree on the division of any settlement received with the help of the attorney’s mediation.
What Sets Wrongful Death Attorneys Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Apart?
At the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we have considerable experience handling wrongful death claims in Michigan. We bring a broad range of experience to the table with successful cases across wrongful death categories, from vehicle and work accidents to medical malpractice.
Senior partner Eileen Kroll has years of experience handling complex wrongful death cases, particularly those resulting from medical malpractice. In her capacity as both an attorney and registered nurse, she provides a unique perspective with a medical background that can help build your case.
Our experienced Michigan attorneys and personal injury lawyers will thoroughly evaluate the circumstances that resulted in the wrongful death of your loved one and fight for maximum compensation. While we cannot alleviate your grief, our attorneys seek to improve your financial security for the future and bring the responsible party to justice. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide a sense of closure, allowing you to move forward with your life again. Our goal is to help get you back on your feet and relieve your financial stress.
What You Can Expect
If you decide to use our services, you can expect prompt communication, attentiveness to your needs, availability, emotional sensitivity, and complete transparency about the status of your case and the steps being taken to win it.
Though we do our best to settle such cases outside of court, we will represent you in court if it comes to a trial, and we will also handle any negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf.
What Will it Cost?
Without exception, our contingency fee means that you only pay us if we win your case. This means there is no risk to you if you proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit, and it also means you don’t need the financial resources upfront to begin the filing process.
We front the costs associated with filing and other fees related to the case. If we win your case, we recuperate these costs and the fee we mutually agree on according to the contingency contract. In Michigan, this is typically about ⅓ of the final settlement amount. The amount a lawyer charges in a contingency agreement cannot exceed ⅓ of the recovery amount when a case is tried in a Michigan court. In wrongful death cases, the fee is usually 33⅓% after deducting file costs.
Wrongful death cases are serious and require significant time and labor to investigate. A contingency fee agreement enables our legal team to do the work required to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
Michigan Wrongful Death Lawyers
As reputable wrongful death lawyers in Michigan, we value the opportunity to give family members who have lost a loved one peace of mind by securing a financial award so they can concentrate on rebuilding their lives.
Contact our wrongful death lawyers today to schedule a free wrongful death consultation. Our legal team has the resources and talent to prepare every case as though we are going to trial and will fight in your corner against the insurance defense attorneys attempting to deny you and your family the wrongful death compensation you deserve.
How hard is it to prove wrongful death?
Proving wrongful death can be difficult. You must be able to demonstrate negligence on behalf of the liable party or parties.
How do I choose a wrongful death lawyer?
The attorney you hire can make or break your case, so it’s critical to spend time researching, reading reviews, and even meeting with a few reputable lawyers before making your decision. Investigate their background and ensure whoever you choose has prior experience in managing wrongful death suits similar to yours.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when meeting with an attorney for the first time. You especially need to know whether they will be handling your case personally, how much time they can dedicate to you, and if they have a successful track record with cases of a similar nature. If you’re seeking an attorney in Michigan, contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW).
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.