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If tragedy strikes and one of your relatives dies as a result of someone’s negligence, Michigan’s wrongful death statute permits the family of the lost loved one to bring forth a lawsuit against the person or persons who caused the untimely death or the corporations who would also be liable for the negligence of their employees.

Under the law, the people entitled to monetary damages resulting from the wrongful death of a relative are the (1) spouse, (2) children, (3) grandchildren, (4) parents, (5) grandparents, and (6) brothers and sisters of the deceased, as well as (7) the spouse’s children (the deceased’s step-children). These are the parties of interest to the deceased’s Estate.

Michigan law does not permit boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-spouses, children of ex-spouses (unless legally adopted) or friends to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Such a lawsuit has to be brought forth by a Personal Representative, who acts in the interest of the deceased person’s Estate. The attorney who handles the lawsuit can also help you establish a Personal Representative (sometimes the spouse of the deceased, other times a neutral third-party).

The types of damages the parties of interest may receive as a result of a settlement or jury verdict are (1) monetary damages for lost economic services the deceased would have provided had he not died (lost income, lost household services), (2) all reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the Estate is liable, (3) monetary damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased after the negligence, but before his death, and (4) monetary damages for the pain and suffering endured by the relatives of the deceased.

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