There are two types of compensation for death in a car accident in Michigan. First, the deceased’s dependents may recover survivor’s loss benefits under Michigan’s auto No-Fault insurance law. Second, the deceased’s family may recover wrongful death damages and payment from the at-fault driver.
Survivors loss benefits under Michigan’s No-Fault auto insurance law provides compensation for death in a car accident to the family and dependents of a person who has been killed in a fatal automobile crash.
A settlement for No-Fault survivors loss benefits covers the “contributions of tangible things of economic value” that the deceased would have continued to provide had he or she survived the automobile crash. It also helps to cover the expenses that the dependents of someone who was killed in an automobile crash will incur as a result of their tragic loss. The No-Fault law defines these expenses as “ordinary and necessary services” that the deceased would have continued to perform but for the fatal auto accident. (MCL 500.3108(1))
A No-Fault survivors loss claim is available to the fatal automobile crash victim’s dependents for three years after the tragedy without regard to fault. Although a settlement is generally limited by the three-year limit as well as a monthly maximum limit, dependents can make a claim for “excess” survivors loss benefits.
A settlement for No-Fault survivors loss benefits is generally paid by the auto insurance company for the deceased. If the person killed in an automobile crash was not covered by an insurance policy, then the auto insurance company with the highest “priority” under the No-Fault law’s “priority rules” will be obligated to pay.
Michigan’s wrongful death act allows the families of fatal automobile crash victims to recover damages for a death in an automobile crash in Michigan. The family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver to sue for damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship and loss of financial support.
A wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by the personal representative of the estate of the person who lost his or her life in an automobile crash.
People who may be entitled to wrongful death damages under Michigan’s wrongful death law include the deceased victim’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters as well as children of the deceased’s spouse and “devisees” under the deceased’s will.
The amount of compensation for death in a car accident that the deceased’s family will be able to recover from the auto insurance company and/or the at-fault driver will depend on several factors. Courts will consider: (1) the deceased’s pain and suffering; (2) the injury to family members from loss of the person’s companionship; and (3) the amount of financial support that the deceased providing to his or her family and dependents.
Most insurance companies use some form of claims adjusting software when determining the settlement value of a wrongful death. Important factors to a successful wrongful death settlement is a lawyer’s experience, settlement and verdict track record on wrongful death cases and reputation.
This is where your choice of a personal injury lawyer is particularly important. Auto insurance companies know who the attorneys are that will go to trial and who the attorneys are who don’t. Most personal injury attorneys talk a good game but if it has been years since they’ve tried a case, insurance companies regularly use this to force settlements that do not reflect full value for people who have died in an automobile crash.
The bottom line is that attorneys who are known for going to trial can settle cases for significantly more money and often much faster.
To learn more about how much your loved one’s case may be worth, please check our “Settlement Calculator.”
If you have lost a family member or loved one in an automobile crash and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about compensation for death in a car accident, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.