How to Deal with Amica Insurance and Wrongful Death Claims
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER FOR FREE
Like most insurance companies, Amica Mutual Insurance trains its claims adjusters to give as little as possible in terms of a settlement. If your loved one happens to pass away due to the negligence of another party who happens to carry insurance with Amica, do not immediately expect a generous settlement offer.
If you seek to file a wrongful death claim and are dealing with Amica Mutual Insurance, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATION WITH AMICA
Dealing with the wrongful death of your loved one is an overwhelming experience. Though no amount of compensation can bring back your loved one, you may be entitled compensation for your loss. The tips below will help you through the settlement negotiation process with Amica.
1. Figure Out Your Claim’s Value
Before Amica’s claims adjuster arrives at your doorstep with a lowball offer, figure out you’re the potential value of your claim. To figure out your claim's worth, collect the medical bills and funeral bills of your loved one. If your loved one was a contributor to your family's finances, you should also collect his or her pay stubs and the like.
Remember that the claims adjuster is not going to give you the most generous settlement offer. Even if the offer from Amica may sound reasonable to you, do not accept any offer without figuring out how much you may be entitled to. Once you have figured out your claim’s value, send a settlement letter to Amica that contains the full amount you believe your claim is worth.
For more information about how to find out what the value of your claim may be, view our article here.
2. Rejection is Normal
Like in any negotiation, expect a counteroffer that is much lower than your original offer. If the claims adjuster presents you with an extremely low counteroffer, do not become desperate and accept the offer.
3. Remember There Is Always the Possibility of a Trial
Nobody wants to go to trial. And though you may not want to go to trial, insurance companies also do not want to go to trial. Trials are incredibly costly, and the insurance company will likely be at a disadvantage if your case has merit. If the claims adjuster is persistent with a lowball offer, then let him or her know that you are not afraid of going to court.
4. Be Patient
Understand that negotiations take time. Do not be in a rush and accept an offer that you do not feel comfortable with. Insurance companies will sometimes stretch out the negotiation process to take advantage of impatient victims.
How is a Claim Evaluated
An insurance claims adjuster looks at various factors to determine how much your claim is worth. First, they may look at the total economic losses you suffered. For example, if your loved one died several days after getting involved in a car accident, medical bills will have piled up. If you decided to bury or cremate your loved one, a claims adjuster would also consider the funeral bills.
However, economic losses are not merely funeral and medical bills. You also suffer economic losses if your loved one was a financial contributor to your household. Therefore, a claims adjuster will also look at the "lost wages" that would have been contributed to your household. This means that the deceased’s job, earning prospects, retirement date, and other financial contributions will be considered.
There are also noneconomic losses that a claims adjuster will consider. Juries in wrongful death cases are asked to compensate for mental and physical pain, suffering, inconvenience, and loss of life's pleasures that the deceased endured from the date of the accident to the date of death. Therefore, a claims adjuster will also do the same.
Though these noneconomic losses are subjective, pathologists and neurological specialists will often be brought in to give expert opinions on how much pain the deceased was in prior to his or her death. In certain states, the family members of the deceased are also awarded compensation for their grief and loss.
One factor that may often be overlooked is how much can the wrongful party afford to pay. After all, even if you have a valid claim, if the other party cannot pay the full amount, then you will not be able to receive the compensation you deserve.
For example, in car accident cases, most drivers have car insurance that has a $100,000 limit in liability coverage. Thus, if your losses are worth more than $100,000, you may not be able to collect the full amount of your claim.
Knowing the Maximum Compensation You Can Seek
The maximum compensation you can seek will likely be above the claims adjuster's settlement offer. Therefore, you must do the same investigation as if you were the claims adjuster, but be keen to include damages that the adjustor has minimized.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An insurance company has an army of lawyers who can easily overwhelm an individual who decides to go against the insurance company alone. Thus, a skilled lawyer can be a valuable ally who can help even the scales. Letting a lawyer handle your case will ease the burden off your back as he or she will investigate your case and organize your case to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Steps Involved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
1. Figure Out if You Are Eligible
Each state has its own law on who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In certain states, only a personal representative of the deceased person's estate may file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had an estate plan, he or she might have appointed a personal representative. If the deceased had no estate plan, a court might appoint a personal representative to manage the deceased's estate. The personal representative may be a family member of the deceased.
Though it is the personal representative's duty to file a wrongful death claim, any recovered damages belong to the deceased's relations. For instance, if the deceased had a spouse and children, the spouse and children will receive any recovered damages. If the deceased had no spouse or children, the damages would go to the deceased's next of kin or parents.
2. Determine If You Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
You may be able to file a wrongful death claim if your loved one dies in a car accident, in a medical operation, in a homicide, and the like.
3. Proving Negligence
In order to seek compensation for wrongful death, you must prove that the individual that caused the death was negligent. In order to prove that the individual was negligent, you must prove that the individual owed a legal duty, that the legal duty was breached, that the breach of the duty caused the death, and that the death caused monetary loss.
To give an example, imagine that a drunk driver kills an individual. A claimant would state the following in his or her lawsuit. First, that the drunk driver owed a duty not to drive under the influence. Second, that the driver breached this duty by driving under the influence. Third, that the driver’s driving under the influence caused the death. And finally, that the death caused monetary loss—hospital bills, funeral expenses, etc.
4. File Documents
The legal process involves lots and lots of paperwork. When you begin a wrongful death lawsuit, you must submit a notice and complaint to the opposing party. There are many rules involved in filing a lawsuit, so it is highly recommended that you ask a skilled lawyer to help you.
5. Collect Compensation
In general, the spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings of the deceased are eligible for compensation for the wrongful death of the deceased.
How Is Compensation Calculated
Compensation is available to compensate for the damages suffered by the family members and the deceased’s estate. The jury or court will decide if damages are to be awarded and how they will be awarded.
Compensation for Family Members
- the loss of companionship
- the value of financial support family members would have received if the deceased was still alive
- the value of household services the deceased would have contributed to if he or she was still alive
Compensation for the Estate
- the medical expenses related to the deceased’s death
- funeral and burial expenses
- lost wages and benefits.
Each state has unique laws on how much time an individual has to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in many states, an individual has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Fight Amica for You
Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company can be frustrating, but the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group are well prepared to ease your burden. Our wrongful death lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with insurance companies, and we have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the best case possible and to seek the maximum compensation you deserve under the law.
While no amount of money could ever make up for your loss, seeking recovery for damages can help protect your family's financial future. And as one of our clients, you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your wrongful death case. That's our no-fee guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.