The claim process for a car crash becomes complex if the at-fault driver doesn’t survive the accident. In some instances, the at-fault party may instead die during the lawsuit process.
Do you still stand a chance to get compensation if the at-fault driver is dead? This is a question that many people are asking themselves. Read on to learn more about what can happen if a person at-fault in your accident is dead. If you want to discuss your case with a reputable Hesperia, California car accident lawyer, contact AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers today.
What Can You Do If the At-Fault Driver Dies?
Compensation claims are valid as long as the damages resulted from someone else’s negligence. Therefore, whether the person is alive or dead after the crash is not relevant to the validity of your claim.
Many states in the United States, including California, are at-fault states, which means they require the driver at-fault to pay for the damages. When a person causes an accident, the injured party is expected to file a claim for compensation from the liable party’s insurance company.
The negotiation process should start immediately after filing a claim. Mainly, the negotiation involves the liable insurance company and the injury victim. The at-fault driver is rarely involved in the process. Therefore, the death of the at-fault party should not affect your compensation claim. If you cannot agree with the insurance company on settlement, you may file a lawsuit to get complete compensation.
How Do You File a Lawsuit Against a Deceased Driver?
If the liable insurance company cannot cover all your damages despite giving them all the necessary evidence, you may have to file a lawsuit against the deceased person’s estate. This is where the main difference between filing claims against the living and the deceased at-fault driver starts.
When filing cases against living at-fault drivers, the lawsuit is filed against the person, then defended, and ultimately paid for by their insurance.
But when the at-fault driver dies, you file the lawsuit against the decedent’s estate.
You file a lawsuit against the deceased driver by suing the decedent’s estate. The estate of a deceased person goes through a legal process known as probate. In this process, the creditors and debts are paid before the remaining property is transferred to beneficiaries.
Probate has strict rules and deadlines. Therefore, you must file the required legal documents with the probate court before the deadline to protect your rights to compensation for damages. If you fail to meet the probate court deadlines, you will likely lose the decedent’s estate compensation.
The insurance company is expected to defend the case and pay the damages if there is enough insurance coverage for your claims. If the insurance company cannot pay for all the damages, you will get your compensation from the deceased estate.
Claims Against Their Insurance Policy
The primary option if the at-fault party is dead is to get compensation from their insurance company if the deceased had insurance policy coverage. The injury’s nature and scope will determine whether the available insurance policy can cover all the losses.
If the insurance policy can cover all the claims, the dispute is often resolved, and the injury victim receives their compensation. But if the liability policy is unable to cover all the damages, the injury victim can turn to their own uninsured motorist insurance cover for additional compensation or seek compensation from the estate of the deceased.
Seeking Compensation From the Estate of the Deceased
If the compensation from the at-fault driver insurance and uninsured motorist coverage is insufficient or doesn’t exist, then you can claim compensation from the deceased estate. When a person dies, they can leave behind substantial possessions.
You can claim additional compensation or full compensation from the estate, depending on what you got from the insurance company.
To avoid losing the claim, follow all procedural steps with an attorney’s help. If the at-fault party had no estate, you might have to contend with what you managed to get from the insurance companies.
Don’t Feel Guilty for Demanding Compensation
Sometimes you can feel guilty for demanding compensation when the deceased’s loved ones are mourning. Remember that your right to compensation is also essential. Don’t hesitate to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation after a car accident.
Compensation will help you cover expensive medical bills, lost time at work, and other costs that might impact your life negatively. You can end up with substantial financial burdens in the future if you don’t claim compensation. It is your right, and you deserve it!
Contact Our Attorneys for Assistance Filing a Car Accident Claim
If you or your loved one was injured in an auto accident and the at-fault driver died, contact AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers for help. We understand what victims are up against. We aim to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t settle for less because the at-fault driver is dead; we are here to help you fight for justice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I get compensation if the person at-fault for my accident is deceased?
You can get compensation for your loss through a personal injury suit. The legal process might be a little different for such cases.
What happens if the deceased’s insurance policy cannot cover my damages?
You can claim compensation from the decedent’s estate to cover the difference.
Is there a deadline to file a claim against the deceased’s estate?
Yes, you must file your claim before the deadline set by the California courts; failure to may never give you compensation from the estate.