Time Limits For Filing Wrongful Death Cases In Michigan

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan is complicated, and it’s made even more complex by the statute of limitations period.

In fact, Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act does not include a statute of limitations — that is, it does not state a specific amount of time in which the wrongful death claim must be brought. Rather, any action filed under the Wrongful Death Act “borrows” the statute of limitations that applies to the underlying cause of action. For example, if the wrongful death suit is based on an underlying claim of standard negligence, the statute of limitations would be three years.

In certain situations, the statute of limitations for filing suit in a wrongful death case may be extended by up to two years from the time the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is appointed and the letters of authority are issued. However, it cannot be more than three years after the initial time frame has expired.  wrongful-death-lawsuit

The experienced Michigan wrongful death attorneys at the Sinas Dramis Law Firm know that complying with the applicable statute of limitations is critical to a successful wrongful death lawsuit. That’s why hundreds of families throughout Michigan have relied on the knowledge, expertise and professionalism of our attorneys to handle their wrongful death claims — and we have the wrongful death case results to show for it.

Contact our Michigan personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation, and find out why the Sinas Dramis Law Firm stands out from the rest.


I want to file a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit. What do I need to keep in mind?

Statute of limitations. This term refers to the amount of time the personal representative will have to file the wrongful death lawsuit. Because Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act does not include a statute of limitations, the statute of limitations for the underlying cause of action (i.e., negligence) applies. In the case of wrongful death actions based on general negligence, the statute of limitations is three years.

Who can bring a wrongful death suit. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only person who can file a claim under Michigan’s wrongful death statute. While the estate’s personal representative may bring the action, family members may then seek financial support and compensation as a result of the loss they suffered due to the decedent’s death. However, while these individuals may file suit, they must pursue their claims as part of the larger suit brought by the personal representative on behalf of the decedent’s estate. The persons who can bring a Michigan wrongful death claim include:

  • decedent’s surviving spouse
  • decedent’s children
  • decedent’s stepchildren
  • descendants of the decedent
  • decedent’s parents
  • decedent’s grandparents
  • decedent’s brothers and sisters
  • anyone else who was named in the decedent’s will

The defendant in a wrongful death action. Generally, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate will file suit against the person or entity whose wrongful acts, negligence or fault resulted in the decedent’s death. Depending on the case, however, it is quite possible that there may be more than one defendant.