WRONGFUL DEATH DISTRIBUTION

A wrongful death lawsuit was commenced by a personal injury firm and a favorable settlement was reached for the decedent.  Following a settlement, the proceeds of the settlement must then be distributed to the wrongful death claimants based on Michigan’s wrongful death act, MCL 600.2922.  The statute distributes the proceeds to certain family members who suffered damages and survived the deceased.  It includes a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings.  Each potential wrongful death claimant has a right to present their respective damages relating to their loss of financial support and the loss of the society and companionship of the deceased.

During the time that the underlying lawsuit was pending, the son of the decedent then died.  Following his death The Probate Pro commenced a probate estate to represent his interest as a wrongful death claimant.

Clearly, the deceased’s son was a wrongful death claimant.  However, since he had died a year or so  after the deceased, the personal representative of the plaintiff’s estate tried to bar him from recovering.  In proposing a distribution of the wrongful death proceeds, the personal representative filed a petition to distribute that completely excluded my client’s estate from receiving proceeds.  The personal representative alleged that a post-deceased wrongful death claimant was not entitled to wrongful death proceeds. 

The Probate Pro successfully argued that Michigan’s wrongful death act, MCL 600.2922, provided for wrongful death claimants for him even though he had died after the plaintiff.  There is no bar to recover wrongful death proceeds for a post-deceased wrongful death claimant.