You can file a lawsuit even if the individual who caused the accident is dead. This could be someone who injured you while they were driving under the influence, speeding, texting while driving, or otherwise behaving recklessly while they were behind the wheel. Whether they survived the accident or not, their estate or insurer are still responsible for the damages of other parties who were harmed by their negligence.
When a person dies, all their holdings and equity will be clarified and go into probate to appraise. Once the probate is over, you will receive the claim either from their holdings or insurance company.
Proving that the dead driver is at fault
In order to prove that the deceased driver was at fault in your crash, evidence must be documented at the scene. You’ll also need to get a copy of the police report and your medical record. Once all of the evidence has been gathered, your attorney will assist you in writing a strong demand letter that states:
- The reasons you have the right to claim damages
- The damages you are claiming
- The settlement you expect to receive for damages
Filing a claim against the estate of the deceased
An estate is the property and assets that are left behind by the dead person. It is represented by a personal representative that could be a spouse, children, parents, or an executor who is appointed by the court. Their main responsibility is overseeing the probate process. This period is usually a very complex one, but your attorney will explain the process and ensure that you meet all the deadlines.
When there is no probate hearing, the best solution is to present your claim to the deceased’s personal representative. If you are ignored or denied, then you could file a case against anyone who will inherit from the deceased. This should be done without delay.
Filing against deceased’s insurance policy
When the person who caused the accident is dead, their insurance company may be responsible for claims against the deceased, although some policies are automatically invalidated when someone dies.
Make no mistake about it: the insurer will approach you quickly to try to push you into taking a lowball settlement offer. This is how the insurance companies work, but your attorney will negotiate to make sure you get a fair settlement.
Damages I can recover for an accident
The specific damages you can claim will depend upon your situation. One should get the insurance company’s contact information and the details of the policy from the deceased’s family or other representative. Some of the damages that you may be eligible to recover include:
- The cost to either replace or repair your vehicle
- Pain and suffering damages
- Lost income or wages
- Medical expenses
- Loss of consortium damages
How an attorney can help
Before you commit to a lawyer, you’ll need to make sure they have successfully settled cases with your type of accident and injuries in the past. Specifically, they should have experience settling claims against the estate of a deceased party. An experienced attorney can explain the full value of your claim and tell you what you’ll need to do to prove liability.
If you were in an accident and the deceased party was at fault, you’ll only have a limited time period in which to file a claim. You’ll need to reach out to a lawyer before the statute of limitations runs out. You can follow this link for a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney.
It is sad that some accidents can sometimes end in death, but the law must take its full course when someone is injured and they weren’t at fault. Even if the at-fault party is deceased, you still have the legal right to pursue a legal claim.