Murder – suicide cases are extremely tragic. They involve an act in which a person kills one or more other individuals before, or at the same time as, killing him- or herself.
Murder-suicide cases can take many different forms and usually involve family members, relatives and friends. Often, the surviving family members’ grief associated with several deaths is compounded by the insurance company’s denial of their life insurance claim.
There may be several issues with murder-suicide cases. For example, if the murderer is the primary beneficiary on the life insurance policy, and dies after the victim, the murderer’s estate may claim entitlement to the full policy proceeds.
This will create a conflict, because the victim’s estate may also file a claim. In addition, contingent beneficiaries may also file a competing life insurance claim. Such cases are complex and often result in the insurance company’s filing an interpleader. An interpleader is a civil lawsuit that allows an innocent stakeholder (an insurance company) to initiate a court action in order to resolve a dispute involving several claimants.
When an insurer files an interpleader, it deposits the life insurance proceeds in a court’s escrow account and withdraws from the suit. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to ask a court to have their legal fees paid out from the insurance proceeds. If the life insurance amount is small, legal fees and costs may deplete the life insurance benefits.
At our law firm, we are skilled at negotiating settlements before an interpleader is filed. We encourage the parties to exchange their legal arguments before the insurer initiates a lawsuit. This saves time, money and effort of litigation.
In addition, by presenting a strong legal support for our clients, we force a competing claimant to either give up their claims or settle for a fraction of what they originally demand. We also litigate interpleaders that have been filed. We fight for our clients’ rights to receive what is rightfully theirs under the law.
Murder-suicide cases involve interpretation of complex criminal, insurance and estate laws. In order for a claimant to recover insurance benefits, several state statutes require him to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the victim was, in fact, feloniously murdered. What seems like an insurance lawsuit may turn into a murder trial that may be costly, lengthy and extremely emotional for the survivors.
Our life insurance attorneys will help you navigate through the complex issues of murder-suicide settlement negotiations and interpleader litigation. We offer competent and professional legal expertise that you can trust. Contact us now for a free consultation if you have questions about a murder-suicide insurance issue.
Call us now at (888) 510-2212. Competitive contingent fees.