How Do I Pay for Funeral Bills after a Car or Motorcycle Accident?

FAQ: Paying for Funeral Bills after a Car Accident

Q. If someone dies in a car accident, does insurance pay the funeral bills?

A. Partially. The New York no-fault insurance death benefit amount for funeral bills is only $2,000. Additional money to pay funeral costs is also available from other sources. Money can be obtained immediately with a cash advance on a lawsuit.

The defendant and the defendant’s insurance are also responsible for all damages and costs, although a lawsuit might need to be started to get money from the defendant.

The $2,000 New York no-fault insurance death benefit is available for the following types of accidents: car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents when someone is killed when struck by a car, truck, or bus. The New York no-fault insurance death benefit is not available to motorcyclists and passengers on a motorcycle but is available to pedestrians hit by a motorcycle.

Please call us and we will be happy to let you know how we can get money from other sources to pay for the funeral bills and how we can help you.

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Funeral of Attorney Phil Franckel’s dad Alex Franckel

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Q. How much does a funeral cost?

A. The average cost of a funeral in New York is approximately $8,000-$10,000. If someone else was even partially at fault for the car accident, call us and we can arrange to get the additional money you need to pay for the funeral.

All of the minimum amounts regulated by New York insurance laws are significantly less than they should be and have not kept up with inflation. This is certainly one of them because the cost of a funeral today is far more than $2,000.

Q. Does the insurance for the car which caused the accident pay for the funeral?

A. The owner and driver of the car which caused the accident or is even partially at fault for causing the accident are responsible to pay all damages including funeral costs. However, while it might be possible to get the insurance company to pay for the funeral upfront, it’s usually not likely.

When a wrongful death case is settled, the New York Surrogate’s Court will issue an order stating that the funeral bills must be reimbursed from the settlement to the person who paid them.

Q. The accident was a Hit and Run. Will insurance still pay for the funeral?

A. Yes. The estate is entitled to receive money when there is a hit-and-run accident and there is also a $2,000 death benefit for funeral bills. Call us immediately because there is a very short time deadline to file a claim.

A claim with the New York state crime victims compensation fund may also be filed when the death was caused by a crime such as with a hit-and-run accident, drunk driver, drag racing, or a stolen car.

Q. Does the $50,000 no-fault insurance coverage pay for the funeral?

A. No. The $50,000 minimum no-fault coverage and optional increased coverage (OBEL) pays for medical and other bills. See what no-fault pays for in New York.

Q. No-fault won’t pay for the funeral because the $50,000 no-fault limit was paid

A. The $2,000 death benefit is in addition to the minimum $50,000 PIP (Personal Injury Protection) available from no-fault insurance in New York State. Insurance company claim representatives have tried to tell me that the $2,000 comes out of the $50,000 minimum PIP, but this is incorrect.

When a State Farm claims representative sent a letter stating they were paying $2,000 out of the $50,000 PIP, I used that to our advantage to get State Farm to pay a total death benefit of $4,000 for funeral bills.

Q. What New York law states that no-fault insurance has to pay for the funeral?

A. Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law § 5103. Entitlement to first-party benefits (a) (4) states, “The estate of any covered person, other than an occupant of another motor vehicle or a motorcycle, a death benefit in the amount of two thousand dollars for the death of such person arising out of the use or operation of such motor vehicle which is in addition to any first-party benefits for basic economic loss.”

Consequently, if all of the minimum $50,000 PIP no-fault benefits have been paid out and there is no money left, do not let the no-fault insurance claims representative tell you that they cannot pay you the $2,000 death benefit because there is no more money. But your lawyer should be taking care of these problems for you.

Q. Will New York no-fault insurance pay funeral bills for a motorcycle accident?

A. No. Motorcyclists and passengers on a motorcycle are excluded by law from no-fault insurance but we can get you the money you need to pay funeral bills.

A pedestrian killed by a motorcycle is covered by New York no-fault insurance.

If you have a family member who was killed in a car accident in New York, we will take care of all of these problems for you.

See more answers to FAQs

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Mr. Franckel is a personal injury lawyer, since 1989. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has a 10 Top Avvo Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, and Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award. See Mr. Franckel’s bio.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Plevy, Esq.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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