Recovering Damages From a Car Accident Resulting in Death


Was your loved one killed in a fatal accident? How much can you claim for a car accident death to cover essential expenses?

Losing someone close to you is difficult and extra costs can make it even more stressful. Fortunately, there are a couple different avenues you can take to make the situation easier. 

If the other driver was at fault, you may be able to file a lawsuit to cover damages or seek compensation through their insurance company. If you were injured in the same accident, there are avenues you can explore to ease your financial stresses. Whatever you decide to do, knowing the law on these matters can be helpful.

Does Car Insurance Pay for Death?

Not every car insurance policy covers death. Your policy may have related benefits included, but these will only cover death that resulted from a car accident. If your loved one died from a car accident, the insurance company may need to verify autopsy information before approving the benefits. 

If the other driver was at-fault, their insurance company may provide you with compensation. If their policy isn’t enough to cover it, you may be able to file a claim with the deceased driver’s coverage for underinsured or uninsured motorists. If you have insurance that includes death benefits, it should cover some expenses such as burial and funeral costs.

Wrongful Death Claims

If your loved one’s death was the result of negligence from the other driver, you may work with a personal injury attorney to pursue a wrongful death claim. A civil (rather than criminal) matter, wrongful death claims are there to provide you with compensation for the loss you’ve suffered because of your relative’s death. This can ease the financial burden of dealing with your loved one’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit may give you access to compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Financial hardship
  • Medical expenses
  • Administrative costs
  • Lost income

You must be a parent, child, or spouse of the deceased person to file a wrongful death suit. In Arizona, the statute of limitations puts a 2-year deadline on filing a wrongful death claim. It’s best to seek help as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss your chance to file. How much compensation do you get for death by dangerous driving? This depends on the circumstances, your insurance coverage, and other factors.

Proving Wrongful Death

To recover damages from a wrongful death suit, your lawyer must prove that another person’s negligent or reckless behavior caused the accident that killed your loved one. Whether they were driving under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance or simply not paying attention, the at-fault individual will likely have to face legal consequences.

Federal vs. State Court

For most wrongful death suits, the state laws will determine the outcome of the case. Sometimes, you’ll deal with factors that will make it a federal court matter. If the other driver is from another state, it might become a federal case. If you’re attempting to sue a corporation, this is another factor that can make the circumstance go beyond state laws.

Personal Injury Claims

In addition, to dealing with a car accident-related death, you may be suffering with physical complications. Perhaps you’ve missed work or have medical bills piling up. If you were injured in the same accident that took your loved one’s life, you may be able to obtain damages through filing a personal injury claim. Through this, you may potentially recover:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical costs
  • Punitive damages
  • Pain and suffering

In making this claim, you’ll need to show that the at-fault driver caused your injury due to their negligent actions. You can potentially recover more compensation if your injuries are serious.

What Counts as Serious Injury?

The law describes serious physical injury as causing permanent and serious disfigurement or putting someone at reasonable risk of death. Losing the function of a limb or organ or suffering severe health impairments also qualify as serious injuries.

Gathering Evidence for a Claim

While trying to build a case for an injury lawsuit or insurance claim, it’s crucial to gather supporting evidence. The more you have, the better your odds are of winning. As a person seeking damages, the burden of proof is on you after a car accident. If you’re seeking recovery for an injury or death, for example, you must show that the accident was the other driver’s fault. Here are some examples of evidence to support your claim that the other driver caused the wreck:

  • Medical documentation and bills
  • Photographs of the accident
  • Witness testimony or contact info
  • Police reports

If you’re in an accident, it’s important to call the police as soon as possible. Having a report made will make it much easier for the insurance company to determine who was at fault in the wreck. Always get the other driver’s contact information, insurance information, and preferably also their address and license plate number.

Evidence of Physical Property Damage

Depending on the accident, the largest portion of your recovery may come from compensation for damage to your car. If you’ve taken your car in for repairs, keep copies of the related documentation to prove it. Perhaps you had recently upgraded your car, which raised its market value. This is worth including in your file of evidence and may allow you to receive higher amounts of compensation.

Need Help with Car Accident Complications in Arizona?

As you know, there’s no shortage of concerns that can arise after a car accident. Remember that the more documentation you have, the better chance you have at building a convincing case for recovering damages. Wrongful death laws are complicated and it’s important to have a legal professional who knows the ropes on your side.

Whether your main concern is with seeking justice for what you’ve been through, or easing your own financial worries, filing a lawsuit or insurance claim can help immensely. Nothing can bring back your deceased loved one but recovering damages can lessen the stress of such a difficult time.

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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