Fatal crashes don’t always claim a life right at the scene of the collision. While it is certainly true that many people can die instantly after a major motor vehicle wreck, some people suffer from catastrophic injuries that eventually claim their lives but cause them substantial expense and suffering before they die.
The delayed death of a loved one related to injuries they suffered in a motor vehicle crash, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding or spinal cord injuries, could leave your family suffering emotionally and struggling financially.
A wrongful death lawsuit is an option even in situations where the injured party did not die immediately. In fact, the potential for compensation may increase for those whose loved ones suffered and struggled to survive for some time after a crash.
Pain and suffering are among the kinds of compensation you can seek
Wrongful death lawsuits, like any personal injury lawsuit, aim to protect individuals from severe financial hardship caused by the negligence or bad decisions of other people. When someone causes the death of your loved one through an omission, a wrongful act or pure negligence, you can hold them accountable in courts by seeking verifiable financial losses such as medical costs and funeral expenses, as well as lost wages.
However, the law in Michigan also provides legal recourse for family members who want to seek pain and suffering compensation on behalf of the deceased. The law specifically allows family members to seek compensation that their loved one could have received if they had survived.
The statute of limitations does not reflect the date of the accident
Some people can survive months or even years after a crash with extreme medical intervention, only to eventually succumb to their injuries despite the best efforts of medical professionals and their devoted family members. Given that there is a statute of limitations in Michigan on the ability to file a wrongful death claim, some people might think that if their loved ones survived for some time, that their ability to file a claim has long since ended.
However, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim begins its countdown on the date of death, not the date of the accident that injured your loved one. You have three years from that date of death to take action in court. While doing so can’t undo the very real damage that your loss has caused your family, it can at least hold the other party accountable and protect you from the most severe financial impacts.