Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your family is suffering the loss of a loved one, a lawsuit may be an option, but who pays for a wrongful death lawsuit? The party paying the settlement or verdict depends on the facts of the case. Typically, it’s the insurance company covering the person or company involved.

A death caused by negligence or wrongdoing of another can result in a lawsuit. Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit? It compensates the next of kin for financial losses sustained because of the death, as well as for emotional and psychological harm. Spouses, children, and parents of the deceased (if they can show a monetary loss) can file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death lawsuits are as varied as the reasons for someone’s death. They can include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective medical devices
  • Slip and fall
  • Defective products
  • Police or government misconduct.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Like other personal injury claims, insurance companies generally pay for the defendant’s legal defense and a settlement or jury verdict. Liability insurance gives the insured protection against claims of damage to property, injuries, and wrongful death. Intentional harm is normally excluded from these types of policies. There are also limits on what an insurance company will pay.

Liability policies are bought by those who own businesses, drive cars, and who practice medicine. Anyone who could be sued for damages should have some kind of insurance. A manufacturer should have product liability insurance if a product turns out to be faulty and harms or kills someone. All states but New Hampshire require drivers to have vehicle insurance coverage in case of an accident or injury.

A homeowner’s insurance policy also covers liability. If the fatal injury happened at another’s home, this coverage should come into play. If a person has a deadly accident in someone’s home or dies because of a house fire, a policy may provide coverage.

Another type of coverage that may help is an umbrella insurance policy. It’s personal liability insurance that may cover a settlement or verdict above what a homeowner, boating, or auto policy covers. Umbrella insurance covers not just the policyholder, but members of his or her family or household, too.

Liability policies treat wrongful death claims like other bodily injury claims. If the plaintiff shows that the insured’s negligence triggered the accident or event that caused the person’s death, the claim may be covered. If a vehicle accident caused the death and the other driver has no insurance, or it’s not enough to pay the whole claim, you may make a claim against your own auto policy’s uninsured or underinsured coverage.

Is There More Than One Defendant? Those Who Get the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit May Benefit.

With more defendants, the number of insurance policies that may cover the accident should increase. If there is more insurance coverage, there’s a better chance of a bigger recovery. It’s not unusual to have more than one defendant in a wrongful death case.

  • A company may have been negligent in allowing an employee known to be a lousy driver to use one of its vehicles.
  • If a product is defective and caused a fatal injury, the manufacturer, distributor, and seller may be liable.
  • If a hospital employing a surgeon with a history of making serious mistakes allows him to continue to operate, the two of them may be liable.
  • There could be several parties liable in a fatal commercial truck accident, depending on the facts of the case. The driver, trucking company, shipper, truck owner, company maintaining the truck or maker of a defective part might be responsible for the accident.
  • If an intersection has many severe accidents and is the scene of a deadly crash, the other driver and the government entity responsible for the intersection may be liable as well.

Choose the Right Wrongful Death Attorney for Your Family

During an overwhelming crisis like the death of a loved one, you should never settle for an attorney who makes you feel uneasy. Pick one who takes the time to make you feel comfortable, keeps you informed, and is actively working on your case. We will devote the full resources of our firm to getting you results. We offer free consultations, so we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a case evaluation.

If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, and you are looking for a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer you can trust, please contact Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 to schedule a free case evaluation. We represent wrongful death victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we have offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton.