How Insurance Companies Devalue or Deny Valid Wrongful Death Claims

wrongful death | July 24, 2023

Insurance carriers an overreaching goal in mind – to limit how much compensation they pay out for a settlement. Unfortunately, the focus on profit often means that claimants receive devalued claims or a complete claim denial. Here, we want to examine the methods that insurance companies use to devalue or even deny valid wrongful death claims in California.

How Insurance Companies Devalue or Deny Valid Wrongful Death Claims

Methods Used by Insurance Carriers

Insurance carriers may use various strategies to deny or devalue wrongful death claims, including the following:

Challenging Liability

One of the first things that an insurance carrier will look at is liability. An insurance carrier could try and shift some or all of the blame for the incident onto the deceased or another party in an attempt to say that the policyholder is not at fault for the incident. The insurance carrier could dispute liability or argue that they should be responsible for paying a significantly decreased settlement due to the partial liability of another party.

Minimizing Damages

Insurance carriers often attempt to minimize the damages of a wrongful death claim, particularly poking apart every request for compensation by the family members or the estate of the deceased. They could downplay the extent of the losses suffered by survivors and challenge the evidence supporting economic and non-economic damages (including medical expenses, burial or funeral cost, lost wages, loss of companionship or consortium, and pain and suffering).

Questioning Relationship to the Deceased

If there are multiple beneficiaries for a wrongful death claim, the insurance carrier could question the relationship of each individual attempting to recover damages. California law only allows specific individuals to recover compensation, but there is significant wiggle room when it comes to dependents. This is particularly important when examining whether or not a particular beneficiary depended on the deceased.

Delaying Settlement

An insurance carrier could seek to prolong the claims process. They could do this by requesting extensive documentation, continuing investigations, or asking claimants for more documentation (perhaps even the same documentation they’ve already provided). These types of delays often frustrate plaintiffs, putting pressure on them to accept lower settlement offers or to drop the claim altogether.

Relying on Policy Exclusions

Insurance carriers could rely on policy exclusions or limitations written into the policy. Sometimes, an exclusion could be used to limit compensation or deny the claim altogether.

An Attorney Can Help You Through This

If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity, you need to reach out to a skilled Sacramento wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. When you have an attorney by your side, you will have an advocate ready to step in and combat these tactics used by insurance carriers. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the wrongful death, specifically focusing on determining the liability of the policyholder.

They will handle all communication with other parties, including the negotiation process. When you have an attorney by your side, you will have a person with extensive experience handling complex insurance carrier negotiations ready to represent you all the way to court.