Can I be Compensated for Funeral Expenses?
Losing your loved one at the hands of another is a very difficult situation to overcome. You and your family are finding it hard to think about anything else, but you also must make plans to bury your loved one. A funeral may cost between $8,000 and $10,000, but a negligent party is responsible for the death, and you are entitled to receive compensation from that person. The next action you must take is to hire an attorney and hold the guilty party accountable for your loved one’s loss.
Who Pays for Funeral Expenses after a Car Accident?
If your loved one died in a wrongful death car accident, the negligent party’s accidental death coverage would pay the funeral expenses. However, the negligent party may not have this type of insurance coverage, and you may not have this coverage either. In this case, the remedy would be for you to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.
Suing a negligent driver for the wrongful death of your loved one can be extremely difficult to do on your own. You would need to send a demand letter to the at-fault party along with the list of funeral expenses that you are entitled to receive. When you hire a car accident attorney from the JT Legal Group, we will draw this letter up for you. In the demand letter, we may list the following funeral expenses:
- Fees for the funeral services
- Memorial packages
- Cremation casket
- Funeral home
- Hearse rental
You may also have other costs that are not generally considered to be funeral costs. However, if you have a car accident attorney, he or she may be able to have these expenses approved by the court. These include the following:
- The cost for publishing the obituary in the newspapers
- The burial plot
- Catering for the funeral service
- Ordering a death certificate
The damages you have because of your loved one’s death are not necessarily all related to the funeral or the burial services. Your loved one may have medical bills related to the final hospital stay, and he or she may have experienced pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for the things you will no longer have because you lost your loved one, including the following:
- The loss of future earnings
- The loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
Are These Expenses Covered by Insurance Companies?
Insurance companies can cover the funeral expenses listed above. For example, personal injury protection or PIP insurance covers medical bills, lost wages and some funeral and burial expenses. The amount that a family could receive ranges between $5,000 and $15,000.
If your loved one did not have this type of insurance coverage, you will not be able to file an insurance claim for these benefits. It may also be the case that your loved one did have this type of insurance coverage, but it isn’t enough to cover all of the expenses. If this is the case, you are entitled to sue the at-fault driver and recover enough money to pay the remainder of the bills.
Who Can Sue in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Relatives are within their rights to sue a negligent driver if a car accident results in a loved one’s death. Each driver has the obligation to drive his or her vehicle with caution, and if the driver breaches that duty, the driver will be found negligent. When someone dies because of this breach of duty, the negligent driver will be determined to be responsible for the collision. This means that the negligent driver will be responsible for paying all of the deceased parties’ medical and property bills.
The people entitled to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver include the following:
- The deceased person’s spouse or cohabitating partner
- The deceased person’s children
- The deceased person’s parents if they were financially dependent on their child
When the Accident Victim Survives the Accident
In the event that a loved one survives the car accident, the car accident attorney will file an insurance claim for a different set of demands. These include the following:
- All medical bills and hospital bills
- Future medical bills for treatment of the injuries
- Loss of income due to the inability to work and long-term convalescence
- Economic compensation for the replacement of property
- Non-economic damages for anxiety, pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and emotional distress
How Do You Prove Negligence?
If a relative is going to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, he or she must be able to demonstrate that the driver was negligent. To do this, the plaintiff is going to need to present a substantial amount of evidence, including the injured party’s medical bills, any video footage that captured the accident, and pictures of the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Useful evidence also includes the reports written by the police officers, firefighters and other emergency service members.
A car accident attorney would be required to demonstrate the following key elements of negligence:
The plaintiff must be able to show that the at-fault driver was legally obligated to show the injured party reasonable care as he or she drove his or her vehicle.
The plaintiff must be able to show that the at-fault driver breached this obligation by committing an action or failing to commit an action.
The plaintiff must be able to show that the at-fault driver’s actions or the failure to commit an action is the reason that the plaintiff was injured.
The plaintiff must be able to show that he or she suffered damages.
A skilled attorney will help determine the cause of the car accident and identify the at-fault driver. Then, your lawyer will decide to pursue a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to hold someone accountable for the death of someone’s loved one, the family must determine the cause of the crash. If family members can show that the at-fault driver acted negligently when he or she was behind the wheel, they can pursue a personal injury claim against that individual. Some of the negligent actions include the following:
- Operating a vehicle while drowsy
- Making an illegal turn
- Making a dangerous lane change
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving after dark
- Driving recklessly
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while under the influence of substances or alcohol
- Being inexperienced
- Running through stop signs
- Running through red lights
Finding an Attorney
Hiring an attorney is essential in this situation because an attorney has the experience to negotiate with the insurance adjuster. This is extremely difficult for someone without a law degree and experience in the legal sector. It may also be in your best interests to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, and you will need an attorney for this purpose.
If your loved one was injured in a collision that was the fault of another person, contact us at the JT Legal Group. You only have two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, so you must act quickly. Contact us today and receive a free case evaluation.