Houston Texas Lawyer Blog

Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

June 16, 2020 Wrongful Death

Does insurance cover wrongful death? The general answer to that question is yes. However, wrongful death cases often involve large damage awards. Insurance companies are interested in protecting their own bottom line. They make more money when they don’t have to pay large awards to family members of people who are negligently killed.

This means that while insurance does cover wrongful death, getting fair compensation from insurance companies can be extremely difficult. This is not something you want to take upon yourself. Insurance companies will often try to settle wrongful death cases by making low offers that don’t fairly compensate survivors for the loss of their loved ones.

To get fair compensation, it is very important to consult with an attorney before you accept any insurance company offer. Experienced wrongful death lawyers know how to talk to insurance companies and stand up to their corporate attorneys. Remember, taking the first offer from a car, home, or other insurance provider can deprive you of money you may desperately need. This is especially true if your family member was a financial provider.

Does Car Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

Yes–if your loved one was killed in a car accident, you can file a claim with the auto insurance company of the person who caused the crash. But what if the driver didn’t have car insurance? Or what if they were underinsured, meaning they had minimal liability coverage that will not cover your damages. You may be able to file a claim with the insurer of your deceased family member, especially if they were covered under your family policy. But that would be the case only if the policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, these coverages are not required in Texas, so many people don’t get them and do not know how vital these can be to the best outcome possible for their case.

Does Home Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

Home insurance policies are designed to protect homeowners, including protecting them from lawsuits. It typically covers accidents on their property that can lead to injuries and, potentially, death. Most accidents on private property fall under the legal category of premises liability. Home insurance policies do typically cover premises liability and wrongful death claims. Every policy is different, though, so the specific language in a policy should be closely examined by an attorney.

What Compensation Can I Get in a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you are successful in proving your wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages and support
  • Lost future inheritance
  • Lost love, companionship, and comfort.

You may be entitled to some or all of these damages, depending upon the unique circumstances of your loved one’s death.

How Is Wrongful Death Proven?

Proving wrongful death is a complex process. Insurance companies do not pay out easily and you will need solid evidence that the other party was negligent to prove your claim. This is where an attorney’s help is essential. Seasoned wrongful death attorneys know how to prove negligence. They will interview eyewitnesses to the incident that caused the wrongful death. They will identify expert witnesses who understand the specific subject area to testify on your behalf. They will review police reports and other evidence to prove that the other party was at fault and negligently caused your family member’s wrongful death.

Another thing to note here is that Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. What this means is that if your deceased family member is found to be partially responsible for the accident that caused their own death, your damage award may be reduced by their share of fault. So if they are found to share 10% of the responsibility, your award would be reduced by that percentage. If they are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will receive nothing.

What if the Insurance Company Does Not Offer a Fair Payout?

Most wrongful death cases are settled out of court through negotiations between plaintiffs’ attorneys and insurance companies. A smaller number end up going to trial. If, after out-of-court negotiations, the car insurance company, home insurance company or other insurance provider is still not willing to offer a fair payment, you may wish to have your wrongful death suit heard in front of a judge or jury.

There are benefits and downsides to both settling with insurance companies and going to trial. With a settlement, you may receive a smaller amount of money than you would at trial, but you are guaranteed that settlement. When a wrongful death case goes to court, there is no guarantee that you will win your case. You could end up with nothing.

Our skilled wrongful death attorney can help survivors of people who were negligently killed in accidents understand their best possible options and fight to get them compensation.

Get Help from a Caring Wrongful Death Attorney

Most people are overcome with grief when they lose loved ones. Filing an insurance or legal claim is often the last thing on their mind when they are just trying to get from one day to the next. This is something that insurance companies count on. Insurance companies know that there is a time limit for bringing wrongful death claims. And once that limit is reached, survivors are usually out of luck.

Generally, Texas has a two-year time limit for wrongful death claims. You typically have two years from the date of death to file a claim. If you are considering filing a claim for your beloved family member’s untimely death, but aren’t sure whether you should, don’t wait too long to decide. ***Please note: Always speak directly with an attorney to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your specific claim(s).*** The attorney can answer your questions and explain your options. Don’t miss the opportunity to recover compensation for all you have lost.

At the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant, we have years of experience taking on big insurance companies. We will work hard toward getting you the compensation you deserve for the loss of your loved one. Call a compassionate wrongful death attorney today at (713) 973-8888 for a free consultation.

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