If your family member was killed in a car accident, I am sorry for your loss. You probably want to have a funeral for your deceased family member. Here, I’ll talk about which insurance pays for funeral expenses.
I’ll also talk about some real wrongful death settlements where funeral expenses were recovered.
If the crash happened in a state with No-Fault benefits like Florida, No-Fault benefits are often the quickest way to get money to pay for funeral expenses. This is, in part, because No-Fault benefits don’t have to go through the probate process.
No-Fault coverage is also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
Florida PIP Coverage Pays a $5,000 Death Benefit
The $5,000 PIP death benefit is also in addition to a wrongful death case. A wrongful death claim can easily be worth many multiples of the PIP benefits. (I’ll give some examples of wrongful death cases in a little bit.)
The PIP insurer may pay death benefits to:
- the executor or administrator of the deceased;
- any of the deceased’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage; or
- any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled to such benefits.
Once a claim has been set up, the PIP insurer will pay one of the above individuals. The money can then be used for funeral expenses.
The rest of this article focuses on claiming funeral expenses in a wrongful death case.
If Your Minor Child Was Killed in a Car Accident, Can You Make a Claim for Funeral Expenses?
Yes, so long as someone else’s negligence caused the minor child’s death. Under the Florida wrongful death act, a “minor child” means a child under 25 years old.
The parents can also sue for medical bills, and their mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.
The parents can also make a claim for the $5,000 PIP death benefit if the “minor child” was covered by PIP.
If a “Minor Child’s” Parent Is Killed in an Auto Accident, Can a “Minor Child” Make a Claim for Funeral Expenses?
The personal representative of the estate sues for the minor children.
In R.J. Tobacco Company v Jan Grossman, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Laura Grossman (Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2017), Laura Grossman died of lung cancer from smoking. This isn’t my case.
Laura was survived by her husband, as well as an 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
Jan Grossman, as personal representative of Laura’s estate, sued R.J. A jury awarded her the decedent’s medical and funeral expenses.
The appeals court also approved pain and suffering awards of $7.5 Million dollars to her daughter, $4 Million dollars to her son, and $3.5 million to her husband.
They also approved a punitive damage award of $22.5 million.
Jury Awards $5,419 of Funeral Expenses for Passenger Killed in Vehicle Rollover Crash
Persaud v. Cortes, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2017 arose from a November 2008 accident. This isn’t my case.
The car that Batista was in struck another vehicle and then rolled over. Batista died.
Joshua Batista was survived by his young son, Lorenzo Batista. I assume that Lorenzo was no older than 5 years old since Joshua was only 20.
The jury awarded funeral expenses of $5,419.
Since Joshua was under 25 years old at the time of the crash, his parents sued also for pain and suffering. Each parent was awarded $20,000 in past pain and suffering, and $10,000 in future pain and suffering.
This is a small verdict for the parents’ pain and suffering for the death of a “minor child”.
The parents also may have been entitled to a $5,000 PIP death benefit. If Joshua owned a car at the time of the accident, his auto insurance would pay a $5,000 death benefit to one of his parents.
However, if Joshua owned a car that wasn’t insured, his there would not be a $5,000 PIP death benefit available.
If Passenger Didn’t Own Car, Resident Relative’s PIP Would Pay $5K Death Benefit
If Joshua didn’t own a car, then the PIP insurer of one of his resident relatives would have paid a $5,000 PIP death benefit to one of Joshua’s parents.
On the other hand, if Joshua didn’t own a car, or live with a resident relative who had PIP insurance, then the PIP insurer of the car that Joshua was in would pay a $5,000 death benefit to one of Joshua’s parents.
If Joshua didn’t own a car, didn’t live with a resident relative who had PIP, and Joshua was in an uninsured car, then there wouldn’t be an available $5,000 PIP death benefit.
Will Uninsured Motorist Insurance Pay for Funeral Expenses?
Yes, in most cases, if someone other than the decedent’s negligence caused the decedent’s injury.
This assumes that the decedent was covered by an insurance policy with uninsured motorist(UM) insurance coverage.
The UM insurer will make the check payable to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Thus, the decedent’s family needs to set up a probate estate so that the check can be deposited. This takes time.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim for Funeral Expenses?
If the injury that led to the death occurred in Florida, you there is a deadline to bring a claim. In most cases, you have four years to make a claim against the tortfeasor (party who caused the death).
If you’re dealing with a Florida uninsured motorist (UM) insurance policy, you have five years to sue the UM insurer. You also have five (5) years to sue an insurer who denies the $5,000 PIP death benefit in a Florida auto insurance policy.
Do You Have a Family Member Who Was Killed in an Accident in Florida?
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