Does Insurance Cover Claims Involving Wrongful Death?

Losing someone dear to you in a preventable accident can be extremely difficult to cope with – especially when someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident. In Nevada, a death caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person is the tort of “wrongful death,” and it gives surviving loved ones the right to file a claim against the at-fault person or party. Determining whether insurance is available to cover your wrongful death claim can help you understand your recovery options.

Does Car Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

Automobile insurance may pay for your loved one’s wrongful death if he or she was killed in a fatal car accident. Every year, hundreds of victims lose their lives in fatal traffic accidents throughout Nevada. These accidents are often caused by preventable acts of negligence, such as speeding, drunk driving or distracted driving. 

Nevada is a fault state, meaning the driver or party most at fault for causing the fatal wreck is responsible for paying. If you or your lawyer can prove that your loved one’s death would not have occurred but for the defendant’s wrongful acts, his or her car insurance will cover the losses.

All drivers in the state are required to carry minimum amounts of bodily injury liability insurance to pay for the death of another person: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This insurance could pay for your loved one’s final medical bills, funeral and burial costs, vehicle damage, lost earnings, and more. You or your lawyer will have to prove fault or negligence, however, to receive a car insurance payout.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

If your loved one’s fatal injury occurred on someone else’s property because of a hazard or defect on the premises, homeowners insurance may cover the wrongful death. This type of case involves the legal theory of premises liability. Premises liability states that the owner or controller of a property is responsible for injuries or deaths that occur on the premises due to a foreseeable defect or hazard.

For example, if your loved one passed away after suffering a serious brain injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may have grounds to file a claim with the owner’s homeowners insurance policy if he or she reasonably should have repaired the dangerous defect. The average homeowners insurance policy covers wrongful death under its liability section. However, these policies often have many exclusions, plus a maximum payout amount. 

Your family may need to search for multiple parties to hold accountable for wrongful death to achieve fair financial compensation. For example, the owner of a property may be liable for failing to maintain a safe premises for your child, who was able to sneak into your neighbor’s unguarded pool, but the manufacturer of a defective pool drain may also be responsible for the wrongful death.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available for a Wrongful Death?

If your family is eligible for insurance coverage for wrongful death in Nevada, you may receive financial compensation for several related losses. While no amount of money will ever equal your loved one’s life, compensation can help your family pay the bills and move forward. In general, the available compensation includes:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial costs
  • The price of the decedent’s final medical bills
  • Any pain or suffering the decedent experienced prior to death
  • Lost wages and benefits the decedent reasonably would have earned
  • Loss of the decedent’s care, companionship, love and affection
  • Surviving family members’ grief, sorrow or mental anguish
  • Any punitive damages to punish the defendant, if applicable

Discuss the value of your case with a Las Vegas wrongful death attorney before accepting an insurance settlement. A lawyer will let you know if the amount being offered is fair and just based on the extent of your family’s losses. A lawyer can also investigate all of the insurance coverage options available on your behalf.