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5 steps of a wrongful death lawsuit

If one of your family members dies in a serious accident, you feel devastated. There is nothing that will take the pain away. However, there is a legal option for obtaining financial compensation if a negligent person caused the accident.

Losing a loved one not only comes with emotional turmoil, but it can hit you with unexpected expenses. Here is a guide to filing a wrongful death lawsuit so you can receive damages.

1. Figure out if you are eligible

Only certain individuals can submit a wrongful death lawsuit. According to Michigan law, the representative of the estate of the person who died may take action.

2. Determine if a wrongful death claim is applicable

You may be able to file a wrongful death claim in the following situations:

  • A victim dies because of a car accident.
  • A victim dies because of medical malpractice.
  • A victim is murdered.

Essentially, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit when a living victim would otherwise be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

3. Prove negligence or intent

Before you start the lawsuit process, figure out if you will be able to prove the defendant acted out of intent to harm or negligence. You will need to compile evidence that the defendant owed your deceased loved one a duty of care and breached that duty.

4. File documents

If you determine that you want to pursue legal action, you must properly commence the lawsuit. The first thing you need to do is submit a notice and complaint with the help of your attorney. You will need to submit this document according to the rules in probate court.

5. Collect damages

Those who may be able to receive compensation include the following individuals who survive the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings

Damages may be for burial costs, medical bills, pre-death pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, loss of care or loss of companionship.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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