When a car accident happens in Georgia, one of the driver’s insurance companies typically pays for the damages. The same goes for when a person dies in a car accident. Which company pays, how much they pay, and what damages are covered depends on the details of the crash.
Which Insurance Company Pays When a Person Dies?
In Georgia, when a car accident with injuries or death occurs, the at-fault party is liable for damages (Georgia Code section 51-12-4). In most cases, that party is one of the drivers in the accident. If the driver is following the law and carrying auto insurance, their insurance company is actually responsible for the damages.
So, when someone dies in a car accident in Georgia, the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash should pay for the victim(s) costs. The accident victim will need to file an insurance claim to seek this money. The problem is that insurance companies rarely make this process easy or straightforward. They may use tactics like:
- Offering a lowball settlement upfront, hoping the victim will take it out of desperation
- Calling the victim to try and get information that can be used against them
- Using anything said at the scene against the victim
- Intimidating the victim and their family
If the victim in a car accident has died, they clearly are not able to advocate for themselves or file a claim for damages. The victim’s family members are left bearing the stress and costs of the accident. Thankfully, certain family members can file what’s known as a wrongful death claim for compensation from the insurance company.
Who Does the Insurance Company Pay After Someone Dies in a Car Accident?
According to Georgia’s wrongful death laws (found in section 51-4-2 of the Georgia Code), the following people are able to file a claim for compensation after someone dies in an accident:
- The surviving spouse
- The deceased victim’s children (if there is no spouse)
- The deceased victim’s parent or parents (if there is no spouse or no children)
- The deceased victim’s estate (if none of the above apply)
If there is a spouse and children, the spouse can file a wrongful death claim but must share the compensation with the children. The spouse must receive at least one-third of the compensation, no matter how many children the deceased had.
How Much Does the Insurance Company Pay to the Deceased’s Family?
How much the insurance company pays on a wrongful death claim depends on factors like:
- The degree of fault in the car accident
- Total damages the deceased (and their family) is facing because of the accident
- Whether or not the family has legal representation
The wrongful death claim will need to account for all losses from the accident. That may include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, property damage, and pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they died. The claim will need to contain as much proof as possible of these damages.
Fault is also key in any accident in Georgia. The claim will need to demonstrate that the at-fault driver was negligent in the accident. It will also need to demonstrate that the loved one’s death was a result of the accident (or their injuries from the accident). This is typically easier to do in a wrongful death claim, but sometimes it requires a lot of research and investigation.
Finally, insurance companies are very hesitant to pay out what a claim is actually worth. But they are much more likely to take a case seriously if the claimant has a wrongful death lawyer on their side. The insurance company will see that you are willing to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.
What Should I Do After a Loved One Dies in a Car Accident?
The best thing you can do is contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Losing a loved one is an incredible burden to bear, especially when there are medical bills and other costs to handle on top of it. A good lawyer can take on the case details so you do not have to worry about what to do.
Talk to a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer for Free Today
If a family member died in a car accident in Georgia, you should not have to pay for costs caused by another driver’s negligence. You have the right to seek compensation for what was lost. Our wrongful death lawyers can help.
With more than 20 years of experience helping injury victims and their families get the money they deserve, we know what it takes to win cases. Let us help you, starting with a FREE consultation. To get started with your FREE consultation today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.