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In California can insured party sue their own insurance company? CA Law who is entitled to money when there is a wrongful death?

San Francisco, CA |

Passenger in vehicle died as a result of single car accident. The Driver is insured under their own policy, the vehicle involved was owned by passenger's family member. The passenger left behind a wife & adult children. The vehicle involved in accident was registered & insured under one the passenger's child. Who is entitled to money from a wrongful death suit?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. I agree with Mr. Crosner. I am so sorry to read of this tragedy. You do need to sit down with a local personal injury attorney to fully understand your rights.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

  2. My condolences to the family. Except in those cases where the insurance company has breached its obligations to its insured, in which case it can be sued for "bad faith" breach of contract, insurance companies are rarely the defendants in cases. In this situation the defendant would not be the insurance company but rather the negligent party that caused the accident - i.e. the driver. The plaintiffs would be the decedent's wife and children, and any of the decedent's parents who were dependent on him for support (this is defined pretty broadly). These people will share the recovery in proportion to the support they lost from the decedent: in this case the wife most likely would receive the largest share.

    Your question does identify a legitimate issue because many if not most automobile insurance policies exclude coverage for liability to family members of the insured. That probably will create issues in your case, and the key for your lawyer will be to sort out whether and where there is coverage that is not defeated by this exclusion. Based on the facts you present there may be several policies that offer coverage and hopefully at least some of them offer coverage in your case.

  3. Sorry to hear about your loss. EVERYTHING will likely come down to coverage under the insurance policy. If the party only had liability insurance then they are most likely out of luck. That is the short and quick answer. I'm sure any attorney you contact on this page can discuss the case in more detail when you provide the coverage information.

    Direct Line to Attorney: 877-427-2752 or Email:; Website: I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

  4. There will be a claim for the decedent's spouse and children (if none then it goes down the family line) against the driver's policy. From there your facts are confusing - you will need to sort out the insurance coverages and go from there. It will be important to determine if the decedent is considered an insured under the family member's policy which may be another source of recovery. Consult an attorney

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