Life Insurance: Wrongful Death & Survival Claims

A wrongful death claim is a civil claim against a defendant (ie. a person or corporation) who can be liable for another’s death.  In Pennsylvania, an executor or administrator of an estate can claim wrongful death and survival for the defendant’s negligent conduct.  A wrongful death claim, since the deceased plaintiff cannot bring suit on his or her own behalf, is brought to recover damages to provide for the surviving heirs due to the decedent’s death.  A survival claim arises from the injury and not the death of decedent.  In other words, the claim of the decedent survives his or her death.  In general, the claim measures the pain and suffering of the decedent as well as hospital and other medical-related costs prior to the death.

Wrongful Death suits sometimes are not enough to provide for the surviving family in terms of financial security.  An alternative, to ensure the financial security of the surviving family, would be to have life insurance.  Life insurance is designed to reduce fiscal risk and giving peace of mind to the policy holder.  Statistics have shown that women’s estates are more vulnerable to inadequate amounts and coverage.

Historically, life insurance companies always targeted men.  With more women in the job force, it is clear that life insurance companies now also target women as customers.   Still more than six out of ten American women have no life insurance at all.  Even so, statistics show that women who do carry life insurance have approximately half as much coverage as men do.  More and more women today have at least some type of life insurance.  However, the coverage amounts still lag.

In determining what type of insurance to purchase and how much to purchase can depend on several factors.  For instance:

  • Age and stage in life;
  • Salary and net worth;
  • Number and age of dependents;
  • And dependent’s likely income in the event of your death.

Life insurance is typically utilized to ensure your family’s financial future, provide for retirement security, pay for medical bills, funeral costs, fund college education, mortgage payments, and any other ongoing household expenses.  What are a woman’s needs when evaluating how much life insurance and the type of life insurance to purchase?  For instance:

  • If you’re part of a two-income family: If both incomes are needed to make ends meet, would your family be able to remain in their home?  Would your family suffer a severe financial loss?  Would your children be able to achieve their education goals?  Adequate life insurance can replace your income and help secure your family’s financial wellbeing.
  • If you’re a single woman heading a house-hold: As a single parent, your need for life insurance is more crucial since you most likely have the sole financial responsibility for your children and dependents.
  • If you’re a “stay-at-home” spouse or parent: As the “stay-at-home” parent, your value can be calculated on a purely economic scale, exclusive of your psychological and emotional presence in the home.