When someone happens to die in a car accident in Michigan, his or her dependents will receive financial support through No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits. Economic loss, pain and suffering compensation and other damages can be sought from the at-fault driver through a wrongful death lawsuit.
About survivor’s loss benefits
When someone happens to die in a car accident in Michigan, his or her family members and other dependents are entitled to survivor’s loss benefits under Michigan’s auto No-Fault insurance law. This alone makes Michigan law unique and very different from other states, where damages that in Michigan are paid under survivor’s loss benefits become part of the wrongful death lawsuit.
Survivor’s loss No-Fault benefits pay for the “contributions of tangible things of economic value” that a loved one would have continued to provide had he or she had not been killed in the crash. Additionally, survivor’s loss benefits cover expenses that are “reasonably incurred” by family members and dependents “in obtaining [the] ordinary and necessary services” that their loved one “would have performed for their benefit” if he or she had not been killed in a fatal crash. (MCL 500.3108(1); 500.3110(1) and (2))
No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits are paid “without regard to fault.” Therefore it does not matter whether or to what extent the deceased may have also been at fault in the car crash that resulted in his or her own death. (MCL 500.3108(1); 500.3105(2))
These No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits are subject to a monthly maximum and are “not payable beyond the first three years after the date of the accident.” (MCL 500.3108(1) and (2))
Suing for wrongful death when someone happens to die in a car accident in Michigan
When someone happens to die in a car accident in Michigan, the personal representative of his or her estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused the fatal crash. Damages for both noneconomic and economic loss can be sought. ((MCL 500.3135(1); 600.2922(1) and (6))
Under Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act, damages can be awarded either by a jury, a judge or a result of a settlement for any or all of the following:
- “[R]easonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the estate is liable”
- “[R]easonable compensation for the pain and suffering, while conscious, undergone by the deceased during the period intervening between the time of the injury and death”
- “[D]amages for the loss of financial support, the “loss of service,” the “loss of gifts or other valuable gratuities,” the “loss of parental training and guidance” and “the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased.” (MCL 600.2922(2) and (6); M Civ JI 45.02 Wrongful Death – Damages)
The family members who may be entitled to a portion of the recovery from a wrongful death lawsuit include the deceased person’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, siblings and devisees under the deceased person’s will. (MCL 600.2922(3))
Funeral and burial expenses when someone happens to die in a car accident
When someone happens to die in a car accident in Michigan, his or her funeral and burial expenses may be covered by No-Fault benefits or paid for through a wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of the person who was killed.
No-Fault’s coverage of funeral and burial expenses will not exceed the limit set forth in the applicable auto insurance policy “which must not be . . . more than $5,000.00.” (MCL 500.3107(1)(a)(ii))
Need help? Call Michigan Auto Law
If you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash and need help, or would just like to speak with a caring personal wrongful death lawyer who is experienced with survivor’s loss and wrongful death cases and litigation, you can call toll free (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our Michigan Auto Law website.