Michigan Wrongful Death Law

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Any act that results in another person's death, whether it's intentional or the result of negligence, can trigger criminal charges. But even when it's purely an accident, the victim's survivors (usually the spouse and children) may file a civil claim for damages caused by that person's act. For instance, the death may have caused emotional pain and suffering. This is called a wrongful death claim and, as the O.J. Simpson case showed, it requires a lower burden of proof than that which is required in a criminal homicide case.

The following provides an overview of Michigan's wrongful death law, including time limits for filing a claim, damages allowed, and parties entitled to recovery.

Michigan Wrongful Death Law: The Basics

If you're grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing you have time and energy for is a dense legal text. Since statutes often are written by attorneys (and in "legalese"), we've summarized the main points of Michigan's wrongful death laws for your convenience.

Statute

Michigan Compiled Laws, Section 600.2922, et seq.

When is a Wrongful Death Action Warranted?

Whenever a person's death is caused by another party's wrongful act, neglect, or default (unless the killing is committed in self defense).

Wrongful Death of Fetus

A person who commits a wrongful or negligent act against a pregnant individual is liable for damages if it results in a miscarriage or stillbirth by that individual, or physical injury to or the death of the embryo or fetus.

This doesn't apply to:

  • Acts committed by the pregnant individual;
  • Medical procedures performed by medical professionals within the scope of their professional duties, as long as informed consent was given; or
  • The lawful dispensation of prescription drugs.
Parties Entitled to Recovery
  1. The deceased's spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters (or the individual to whom the deceased's estate would pass);
  2. The children of the deceased's spouse; or
  3. Anyone else designated under the deceased's will.
Damages Allowed

The jury may award whatever damages are determined to be fair and equitable with respect to losses resulting from the person's death, including damages for:

  • Medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses;
  • The pain and suffering, while conscious, undergone by the deceased during the period between the time of the injury and death; and
  • The loss of financial support and the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

  • Michigan Law - Information about Michigan statutes, including those pertaining to criminal, family, employment, and injury law.
  • Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Michigan Wrongful Death Law: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Michigan Wrongful Death Claim

If you're grieving over the unexpected death of a loved one, and another party's negligence or intentional act is to blame, you may be able to sue for wrongful death. These suits can take time and can benefit from the help of an experienced legal professional. Get in touch with a skilled Michigan wrongful death attorney today and get some peace of mind for your loss.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.