Are there any loop holes where an umbrella insurance policy does not apply in a fatal car accident (wrongful death in WA state)?

Asked over 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

My father was involved in a car accident earlier this year where the other individual involved passed away. WSP did not forward the case to the prosecutor for criminal charges and the traffic infraction (Neg. Driving in the 2nd Degree) was dismissed.

Currently the family of the deceased individual has retained a wrongful death attorney who is interacting with my father's insurance company for a settlement. We have been told by many individuals that my dad's limit of $1.25 million will most likely cover my dad's situation.

Would like to know if there are any loop-holes in which the insurance company can use to prevent paying out to the deceased family and thus pushing the financial burden to my father and my family. Is this possible? What else should I be looking out for?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. John William Ladenburg

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a complicated area of law. The simple answer is that it all depends on the language of the policy and you need a good personal injury lawyer to tell you that. If there is a way to deny coverage, the insurance company will deny coverage and you will need a lawyer's advice. I suggest you see a lawyer now, have the policy examined, and perhaps have the lawyer notify the insurer that he has examined the policy and expects full coverage. One more thing, don't assume that a policy of $1.5 million will cover every death of an individual. It will depends on many other factors and your lawyer can help with that also. Better safe than sorry.

  2. Bruce Clement

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It depends on the details of the accident, and the fine print in the insurance policy. It may be worthwhile to have the policy reviewed by an attorney experienced in insurance law or personal injury cases.

    This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you... more
  3. Raymond Scott Costantino

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The terms of the policy would determine what coverage is available. The insurance company should be trying to settle the claim within the available policy limits. If you feel that is not happening you should retain an attorney to protect your interest.

  4. Robert Daniel Kelly

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Most probably, your father's insurance company will take care of it. Although a wrongful death suit can be worth more than your stated policy limits, the extenuating circumstances you describe would probably motivate the plaintiffs to settle within the policy limits. Also, getting a judgment in excess of policy limits is often not worthwhile because a defendant can sometimes discharge the debt with a quick chapter 7. Your father should communicate with the insurance company about it. If litigation results, the insurance company will provide a defense attorney and your father should work closely with the attorney.

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does... more
  5. Daniel Paul Buttafuoco

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is difficult to give an accurate evaluation of your claim based on the limited information provided. Find a local attorney and call for a free consultation

  6. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, in the situation that you describe, if there is a loophole that the insurance company wants to use, they will send your father a reservations of rights letter or a similar notice that they are investigating or defending the matter, but reserving to them the right to disclaim coverage. If your father has not received such correspondence, you usually can assume that there is no policy or coverage defense which the insurance company intends to use to get out of of paying the claim.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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