Cut out of award money after mother killed in head-on car wreck...

by Stan

My mother was killed in head-on car wreck in Oregon. My father hired an attorney and a wrongful death case was filed, but for only $100,000.00 dollars!! Originally my father said that my sister and I were getting $25,000.00 each and my father was getting $50,000.00.

The money hasn't been received yet and my father and I have had a falling out. We no longer talk or see one another. Now he says that I will not get my money and my sister will get it along with what she was getting. So now $50,000 will go to my sister and $50,000 to my father. The son (me) gets nothing.

Can my father do that? Does $100,000 compensation for getting killed in a car wreck sound too low? What can I do about this situation? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Cut out of award money after mother killed in head-on car wreck...":

Stan (Washington):

The amount of an insurance settlement is normally based on the deceased's age, her future earning capacity, and the amount of pain and suffering she endured in the event resulting in her death.

Your father is the primary and exclusive beneficiary of any insurance settlement. He doesn't legally have to share any of the settlement with anyone, even his children.

You may have an option. Because the case involves a "Wrongful Death", you'll need an experienced personal injury attorney. You may still be able to file your own private lawsuit as a child of the deceased. Although to do so will require your being able to convince a judge or jury the death of your mother directly affected you, causing severe mental anguish or emotional distress outside of the norm. It's a long shot, but certainly one worth pursuing.

Go to the courthouse where the wrongful death lawsuit was originally filed by your father. There you'll be able to get copies of the lawsuit and any other legal pleadings filed in the case.

Bring those copies with you when you visit with the attorney. She'll need to see them to be able to better evaluate the case, and your chances of prevailing in your own lawsuit. Most personal injury lawyers do not charge for initial office consultations. The sooner you consult with an attorney the better.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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