A wrongful death attorney is the lawyer who will recover the unjust damages your family is legally entitled to after you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident. This can include No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits, including “reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses,” compensation for pain and suffering and monetary damages for loss of financial support, society and companionship, and economic losses.
Do I need a wrongful death attorney?
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you will need an experienced wrongful death attorney to protect your family’s legal rights to recover pain and suffering compensation and economic damages. A lawyer with a track record of success in wrongful death cases will also be able to settle your case faster and often for considerably more money.
What damages and compensation can a wrongful death attorney recover for my family?
Your lawyer would begin by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the vehicle’s owner, if your family member was killed in a motor vehicle accident.
Under Michigan’s wrongful death law, you may be able to recover: (1) compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering; and (2) damages for loss of financial support, society and companionship.
You may also be able to recover wrongful death damages to cover “reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses.”
How much compensation could I get for my family?
The amount of compensation that your wrongful death attorney is able to get for you and your family will depend on: (1) how much liability insurance coverage the at-fault driver and the vehicle owner has; (2) how much umbrella insurance coverage the the at-fault driver and vehicle owner has; and (3) the results of an asset check on the at-fault driver and the vehicle owner.
In addition, it may include contractual insurance coverage under the decedent’s own underinsured motorist policy.
Under Michigan law, all drivers must carry a minimum of $250,000/$500,000 in liability insurance coverage, which is also known as “third party” or tort car insurance. However, the law also gives people the option “to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a) and (b), (5)) Many drivers will purchase liability insurance policy for more than $250,000/$500,000 in coverage and many drivers also have additional excess umbrella coverage.
If the at-fault driver who caused the fatal car accident that took your loved one’s life was driving for Uber or Lyft at the time or was operating a truck or commercial vehicle or was an employee of a business and acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, then the liability insurance coverage limits applicable to your wrongful death settlement may also be higher.
Does my lawyer have to prove the at-fault driver was negligent?
In order to recover damages from the at-fault driver and the vehicle’s owner, your wrongful death attorney will have to show that the at-fault driver was negligent and that his or her negligence caused the accident that resulted in the loss of your loved one’s life.
Negligence may be proved by showing that the at-fault driver did one or more of the following: (1) Failure to use the ordinary care that a reasonably careful person would use for the safety of others; (2) Violation of state, city and/or local traffic laws; (3) Violation of state regulations; and (4) Rear-ending another vehicle.
It can be inferred that a driver was negligent if he or she violated a state, city, local or traffic law before or at the time of the accident.
When it comes to rear-end collisions, a driver “shall be deemed prima facie guilty” negligent driving if he or she “overtook and struck the rear end of another vehicle proceeding in the same direction . . .” (MCL 257.402(a))
How to choose a wrongful death attorney?
Choosing a wrongful death attorney to help your family after a tragic loss of a loved one is no different than selecting any lawyer in any other area of personal injury law – your lawyer should always return all of your phone calls and emails and always treat you with compassion, care and respect.
In addition to how a lawyer treats his clients, you should also consider whether he or she has experience in this area of the law and with Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act and if they have a good reputation for going to trial and a track record of obtaining top-reported verdicts and settlements
The wrongful death attorneys at Michigan Auto Law pride themselves on treating all of our clients with compassion, care and respect. They are our top and only priority. We work for them. Treating them the way we would want to be treated and getting them the best possible settlements are our missions. Check out our reviews and testimonials to see what our clients think about the service that you have received at Michigan Auto Law.
The fact is that an experienced lawyer with a reputation for taking cases to trial and a track record of obtaining significant settlements and trial verdicts for his or her clients is taken more seriously by the auto insurance companies who defend the at-fault drivers in fatal car accidents. The auto insurance companies know who these lawyers are and they know that they can increase their risk drastically if a case does not settle and has to go to trial. In fact, the computer software programs that auto insurance companies use to determine settlement amounts assign higher settlement values to a case when a lawyer on the case has a reputation for being a formidable and successful trial lawyer.
How to find a wrongful death attorney
Our advice for how to find a wrongful death attorney is to talk for free with one of our experienced lawyers. You can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 . If you need to change lawyers, our Proven Lawyer Transition Plan will ensure that you get a lawyer who will be there and fight for you.
Can they help with No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits?
A wrongful death attorney can help you and your family recover No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits which provide financial support to dependents and family members who have lost loved ones in fatal car accidents. These benefits are intended to replace the “tangible things of economic value” that your loved one would have provided had he or she survived the accident.
You must file an application for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits with the responsible auto insurance within ONE YEAR from the date of the fatal car accident. (MCL 500.3145(1))
Failure to file on time – within ONE YEAR of the accident that took your loved one’s life – will forever disqualify dependents and family from claiming survivor’s loss benefits.
Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation with one of our lawyers
If you have lost a family member in a motor vehicle crash and you have questions about your legal rights to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for compensation and damages, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. You can also get help from an experienced lawyer from Michigan Auto Law by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.