When someone’s carelessness causes the untimely death of a loved one, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death action on their behalf. These lawsuits seek damages on behalf of the immediate family members of a decedent.
If you are the personal representative of an estate in Saline and plan to accept a wrongful death settlement offer, you must notify the deceased’s family members so they may present an accounting of their damages. Our skilled wrongful death attorneys at Charles Boyk Law can help you inform family members, distribute the settlement proceeds, and present evidence of negligence in court.
Wrongful Death Settlement Process
In some cases, it is possible to settle wrongful deaths actions before they go to trial. A pre-trial settlement avoids the expenses of court proceedings, provides the responsible parties certainty about their liability, and allows family members to receive damages quickly.
As a personal representative, you must notify a decedent’s family members and seek their statements of loss before a case can settle. These losses can include expenses incurred because of the loved one’s death, such as funeral costs or lost financial support. Additionally, family members may demand payments for personal losses, such as their loved one’s emotional support, guidance, and contribution to the household like financial management or childcare.
This process is much easier when you and other family members can agree on how to distribute the settlement proceeds. If this is the case, a Saline attorney can prepare a legal document called a Stipulation. Once all involved family members have signed this document, you may file it with the court. The document indicates that you settled the case and can distribute the funds according to the stipulation. A diligent attorney in Saline will help guide you through the process of filing a wrongful death claim and distributing settlements accordingly.
What is a Settlement Approval Hearing?
Michigan Consolidated Laws §700.3924 states that if there is no stipulation to disperse the settlement proceeds, a court will order a hearing to decide the matter. The estate’s personal representative must notify all involved parties who may be entitled to a portion of the settlement about the hearing. This notice includes the hearing date, time, location, and other pertinent information. If anyone entitled to a portion of the proceeds is a minor, legally incapacitated, or is unable to be located, a court must appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent their interests.
Anyone who can claim part of a settlement must submit a notice to the estate’s personal representative before the hearing. If they fail to submit a claim, they waive their right to receive damages.
At the hearing, the Judge will hear evidence about whether the settlement adequately addresses the needs of all the parties who claimed damages and whether approving the payment is in their best interests. If so, the Judge will order a distribution of the proceeds that is equitable based on the evidence. A lawyer in Saline can help ensure each party receives a fair settlement after their loved one’s avoidable death.
Wrongful Death Settlement Proceeds in Saline
When a court approves a wrongful death settlement, any outstanding bills related to the deceased person’s medical treatment before their death, funeral, and burial expenses are paid first. Once an administrator pays those expenses, the balance of the funds is distributed to the claimants.
In some states, a surviving spouse may be entitled to a specific percentage of the wrongful death settlement proceeds. However, in Saline, a surviving spouse will receive a fair settlement based on the specifics of a case.
If the settlement includes payment for the deceased person’s conscious pain and suffering before death, those damages are paid to the estate, not the claimants. As an estate administrator, you must use the money to pay outstanding debts, if any, before distributing settlements to family members and other claimants in Saline.
Seek Advice About a Wrongful Death Settlement From a Saline Attorney
When grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be challenging to focus on pursuing legal action. However, seeking justice on behalf of the deceased may help you move forward.
If you are a personal representative of an estate and are considering a Saline wrongful death settlement, a lawyer is here to guide you. Call today to discuss your options with our compassionate attorneys.