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Motorcycle Accidents

Michigan Fatal Motorcycle Accident Law: What You Need To Know

When a person loses his or her life in a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan, his or her estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation and other economic damages. Additionally, the deceased’s dependents can recover No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits.

Can a lawsuit be filed if a family member or loved one was a motorcyclist killed in a automobile crash?

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if a family member or loved one was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan. The personal representative of the deceased’s estate – which can be a family member – will file the lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused the crash. 

Can No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits be recovered after a motorcyclist dies in a crash?

If a family member or a loved one is a motorcyclist killed in a crash that involved a car or truck in the state, then his or her dependents can make a claim for No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits, which provide the financial support that the deceased family member or loved one would have provided.

What must be shown to prove a wrongful death in a deadly motorcyclist crash?

At a minimum, the following four things must be shown to prove a wrongful death in a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan (MCL 600.2922):

  • The other driver — or drivers — caused and, thus, were “at fault” (i.e., liable) for the deadly motorcyclist crash that resulted in the death of a family member or loved one
  • The other driver – or drivers – acted negligently in causing the crash that resulted in the death of a motorcyclist
  • The deceased family member or loved one is survived by a spouse or children, or other beneficiaries or dependents
  • The wrongful death of the family member or loved one has resulted in monetary damages

What types of compensation are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan?

The types of compensation that are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan include: (1) medical and funeral expenses; (2) compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering; and (3) damages for loss of the deceased’s financial support, society and companionship. (MCL 600.2922(6))

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a family member or loved one that was killed?

A wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a family member or a loved one who was a motorcyclist killed in an automobile crash must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased family member’s or loved one’s estate. (MCL 600.2922(2)) The personal representative can be a family member.

How does someone’s estate get a personal representative?

The probate court must appoint a personal representative for the estate of a person who lost his or her life in a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan. This necessary process is complicated, confusing and very important because the whole case could be jeopardized if it is done correctly.

How long does a surviving family member or loved one or personal representative have to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan?

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a deadly motorcyclist crash is generally three years. (MCL 600.5805(10)) Within 30 days of filing, notice must be served on all persons who may be entitled to recover from any eventual verdict or settlement. (MCL 600.2922(2))

However, these filing rules may be affected, altered, modified or supplemented if the case is being brought on behalf of the decedent’s own auto insurance policy. For instance, it is not uncommon for the time limitations for claims under a person’s “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist insurance policies to be shorter than the time allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Who might be entitled to all or some of the compensation and damages recovered in the lawsuit?

The people who might be entitled to compensation and damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit after a motorcyclist dies in an automobile crash include: (1) the deceased victim’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters; (2) “devisees” under the deceased’s will. (MCL 600.2922(3))

What happens if a roadway defect causes a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan?

If a roadway defect causes a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan, then the deceased motorcyclist’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the states governmental entity or agency that has jurisdiction over the defective roadway in question.

Defects in the roadway can include faulty road design, potholes, disrepair, inadequate maintenance, uneven surfaces and/or failure to remove a road hazard.

The state law provides that someone who is injured or killed “by reason of failure of a governmental agency to keep [the improved portion of] a highway under its jurisdiction in reasonable repair and in a condition reasonably safe and fit for [public] travel may recover the damages suffered by him or her from the governmental agency.” (MCL 691.1402(1)

It is “conclusively presumed” that the governmental agency knew “of the defect” and had “time to repair the same . . . when the defect existed so as to be readily apparent to an ordinarily observant person for a period of 30 days or longer before the injury took place.” (MCL 691.1403)

There are special notice requirements for roadway defect claims that involves filing deadlines that are much shorter than what is allowed for the pursuit of other legal actions:

  • 120-day notice for defective highway claims against the State of Michigan. (MCL 691.1404(1))
  • 60-day notice for claims against county road commissions for defective county roads, bridges, or culverts. (MCL 224.21(3))

How do I pay for a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan?

At our law firm, we will never ask you to write us a check or pay us any lawyer fees unless we win your case. Our legal fees are based on an attorney contingency fee system meaning your lawyer fees are “contingent” on whether (if, and only if) an attorney recovers on your behalf. So securing the highest possible award is an important objective – both for you and for us.

Injured and need a lawyer? Call Us Now

If you have lost a family member or a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident in Michigan and you have questions about your legal rights to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.