If a family member dies in a car crash caused by another party, those who are left behind- whether that is the husband or wife of the deceased, the parents or the children- are well within their rights to pursue a claim for wrongful death against both the other driver and the other driver’s insurance provider.
But wrongful death claims are a complex business. Typically, the process for negotiating a financial settlement with the insurance company can be a stressful and drawn-out affair. And it’s important to remember that the insurers in question will do everything in their power to avoid paying out the full value of your claim.
How do I make a Wrongful Death Claim?
A claim for wrongful death is always a high-stakes undertaking as it usually involves immense sums of money. If a claim is taken to trial and presented before a jury, the jurors have the power to find in favor of the claimant and award them very large damages, or else to determine that the accused was not actually responsible and therefore award no damages at all.
The risk factor for insurers can be a great bargaining chip when dealing with claims adjusters. If for instance they refuse to settle the wrongful death claim and the claimant takes them to court, they run the risk of a jury awarding even more extensive damages and therefore costing the company a great deal more money. In the state of Texas, insurers must also contend with the Stowers Doctrine.
The Stowers Doctrine: The Basics
The Stowers Doctrine is another great tool in a claimant’s arsenal. Under Texas state law, this doctrine allows a claimant to sue the insurance company in order to compel it to pay out the full amount of the damages awarded by the jury. This is applicable for cases in which the insurer has failed to issue a settlement within the initial limits of the responsible driver’s policy.
The Stowers Doctrine can leave insurance providers liable for considerably more money than the amount specified within the original policy limits. However, to take full advantage of it, all claimants must be part of a single court action. That means the husband or wife of the victim, the parents and any other potential beneficiaries all need to be represented by the same attorney as part of the same legal claim.
What is the value of a Wrongful Death Claim after a car accident?
This depends on a few factors. For instance, are additional claims available as well as wrongful death? Many insurers issues policies with a maximum liability of $100,000 per person involved and $300,000 per accident. With that in mind, regardless of the total number of beneficiaries, the policy might only be liable for an amount within the per-person limit of $100,000. But if the victim suffered both physical and mental anguish prior to their decease, their estate might have a separate “survival claim.”
Call now to speak to West Houston’s finest Wrongful Death Lawyers
Here at the Stephens Law Firm, we count on an experienced wrongful death lawyers in West Houston and we’ll do whatever it takes to pursue your claim and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. We understand that you will have a lot to contend with in the aftermath of your loved one’s untimely death- such as funeral costs and medical bills- and we offer the expertise and resources to complete your claim as smoothly as possible. Call Joe Stephens now for a free consultation, and take that first step towards making a successful wrongful death claim.