Can I Still File a Claim if the At-Fault Driver Died in the Crash?
When a driver responsible for an accident dies in the crash, an injury victim may have questions about how to file a claim and how that claim may be affected by the at-fault driver’s death. Filing a claim against a deceased driver may be more complicated, especially if the need to file a lawsuit arises.
Our Savannah car crash lawyers are prepared to help you through the complex process of recovering the compensation you need from a deceased at-fault driver’s insurance or estate.
The consultation is free, and we do not charge you anything up front.
Do I Still Have a Case if the At-Fault Driver Died?
Claims for compensation come down to whether someone else’s negligence directly resulted in your damages. Therefore, whether the negligent party lived after the crash is not generally relevant to the validity of your claim.
Like most other states, Georgia is an at-fault state, which means that every driver is required to carry liability insurance in case of an accident. When that person causes a crash, the injured party may then file a claim for compensation with the liable party’s insurance company, which should kick off a process of negotiation to reach a settlement agreement.
Generally, this process may be done between the liable insurance company and the injury victim, usually through his or her attorney, and it very rarely involves the at-fault driver.
In short, an at-fault driver’s death is not likely to affect your claim for compensation, unless the insurance company is refusing to offer a settlement that meets your demands. When you cannot agree on a settlement, a lawsuit may be necessary.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Deceased Driver
If your demands for compensation are not being met by the insurance company, despite having the necessary evidence to prove liability, it may be necessary for you to file a lawsuit against a deceased person’s estate.
This is largely where claims for compensation with a living and deceased at-fault driver differ. For cases involving a driver who survived the crash, your lawsuit may be filed against that person and then defended, and ultimately paid for, by the driver’s insurance.
But in cases when the at-fault driver dies, your lawsuit would then be against the decedent’s estate, and this is where things often get more complicated. The liability insurance company would still defend the case and be the one that pays your damages, so long as there is enough insurance to cover those costs.
What if There is Not Enough Insurance to Cover My Damages?
If there is not enough insurance to cover the costs of your damages, the decedent’s estate may need to pay out the difference. To get the estate to pay what the insurance would not usually requires a process called probate, where a court recognizes a person’s death and makes payments of the person’s debts.
Our attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim through probate court so you may recover the compensation you need, even from a deceased driver’s estate.
Another option, especially if there are not enough assets to collect a judgment, is to file a claim through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you have it on your own motor vehicle insurance policy. Remember that this type of coverage would only cover economic damages like medical bills, lost wages and property damage.
Concerns for the Deceased Driver’s Loved Ones
Injury victims pursuing compensation for their damages from a driver who died in the car accident may be hesitant to file a claim or a lawsuit, but it is important to understand that your right to pursue compensation does not die with the at-fault driver.
Remember that you will mostly be dealing with just the insurance company, even if a lawsuit is filed, and not with the deceased driver’s family or loved ones.
Your injuries may result in mounting medical bills, lost time at work and other costs that could negatively impact your life. If you do not pursue the compensation you need, you could face serious financial burdens in the future.
We Are Prepared to Help. Call Today
Our attorneys are ready to help you through the legal process of pursuing the compensation you need, even if the at-fault driver died in the crash.
The consultation is free and there are no fees unless we win.