Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 200,900 accidental injury deaths in the United States in 2020. This figure includes more than 40,600 motor vehicle traffic fatalities.
The family members of those who died a wrongful death may struggle financially and emotionally after their loved one’s death. Some may wonder does insurance cover wrongful death. Are there grounds to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit?
The legal definition of wrongful death is a death caused by another person’s wrongful actions or negligence. Therefore, filing a successful claim depends on the family member’s ability to demonstrate that the at-fault party was negligent or committed a wrongful act that resulted in their loved one’s death. When it’s possible to prove the at-fault party deliberately acted wrongfully or negligently, the decedent’s family members have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Bachus & Schanker Wins – Over $1 Billion Recovered
Types of Insurance That May Cover Wrongful Death
Insurance provides a financial safety net for insurees. Both individuals and companies carry insurance to cover costs such as accidental damages and personal injury claims. Types of insurance coverage that may cover wrongful death settlement costs include the following:
- Auto insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Liability insurance
- Medical malpractice insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
The insurance policy covering wrongful death claims depends on the location and cause of the wrongful death. Suppose an intoxicated person ran a red light while driving. Their auto insurance could pay the wrongful death claim. Suppose a person knew there were several rotten boards on their balcony but allowed guests to use their balcony. The balcony collapsed, causing a person’s death. Homeowners insurance may cover the costs of a wrongful death claim.
What damages can be claimed?
Damages are financial compensation awarded to a victim or, in the case of wrongful death, the victim’s family members. Although it’s impossible to replace a loved one, damages cover financial and emotional harm caused by their loved one’s death.
In a wrongful death case, family members may receive various damages, including compensation for the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of services
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Depending on the circumstances, family members bringing a wrongful death case may also have grounds to seek punitive damages.
Some states set maximum payout amounts for specific damages. In Colorado, non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering, are capped at $250,000 plus adjustments for inflation.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim With Your Insurance
The insurance company of the person liable for your loved one’s death is responsible for payments in wrongful death cases. When a person files a wrongful death claim, they usually seek compensation from someone else’s insurance company.
To receive compensation, you must pursue a claim before the statute of limitations expires. In Colorado, family members have two years from the death date to file a claim.
A wrongful death suit involves filing a summons and notifying the defendant that you’re pursuing action against them. Since you must have evidence establishing the legal grounds for your wrongful death claims, you’ll need to investigate the cause of your loved one’s death. Since family members are grieving, handling funeral arrangements, and coping with the impact of their loved one’s death, many benefit from legal guidance to pursue the process.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
Insurance companies often offer settlements to resolve wrongful death claims. These settlement offers may be a fraction of the compensation the decedent’s family could receive if they pursued a wrongful death case.
When you entrust your case to a wrongful death attorney, there are several things your lawyer will do to help you with your claim, including the following:
- Investigate your case
- Gather evidence
- Consult experts
- Prepare legal paperwork
- File paperwork before the statute of limitations expires
- Serve the defendants
- Help calculate maximum damages owed
- Handle settlement negotiations
- Advise you of your rights and options
Contact our wrongful death attorneys at Elite Litigation Group to discuss your case.
Call us for a free case evaluation to learn about your legal options, how we prove negligence in wrongful death cases, and how we can get you the maximum compensation possible for your wrongful death claim.
Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus
4.6 ★★★★★ 1,461 Google Reviews
Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.