Why families file wrongful death lawsuits after deadly crashes

Insurance is a universal requirement for all Oklahoma motorists, and so people may think it is a solution for every crash-related loss when it is not. For drivers to lawfully operate a vehicle on public roads, they need to have a license and a liability insurance policy. During a traffic stop or after an Oklahoma City car crash, drivers have to provide proof that they registered and insured their vehicle in addition to showing their driver’s license to the police officer writing the reports about the incident.

Those hurt and crashes and those who loved ones after a collision often have the option of pursuing an insurance claim to obtain financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other economic consequences. However, some families will choose to pursue wrongful death lawsuits rather than simply filing an insurance claim.

Why do deadly car crashes often lead to civil court instead of just an insurance settlement?

Policy limits may not be high enough given the consequences

People have the option of carrying however much insurance they feel they require as long as they meet certain minimum standards set by the state. When it comes to bodily injury coverage, which applies when people get hurt or die, the required amount of coverage necessary to comply with state law could be far less than the impact of a fatal crash on a family.

Oklahoma drivers only need to have $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage if a crash hurts one person or $50,000 worth of coverage for crashes where two or more people suffer injuries or die. The surviving family members of the person who died in the crash often need to use that insurance for medical costs and funeral expenses, and there likely won’t be enough for those losses when the at-fault driver has a low coverage policy.

When people add years of lost wages to the cost of someone’s care before their death and their funeral afterward, the available insurance could be hundreds of thousands of dollars lower than the total losses the family has to absorb. Unlike insurance claims, which are subject to strict policy limits, wrongful death lawsuits can potentially provide families with more comprehensive reimbursement after a fatal collision.

Understanding how costly fatal collisions can be for families may help people understand why filing wrongful death lawsuits in Oklahoma City often become necessary after a deadly crash.