What You Need To Know About Filing a Claim Against a Deceased At-Fault Driver

When a motorist who caused an accident dies in the incident, an injured victim may have questions about how to submit a claim and how the death of the at-fault driver may influence that claim. Filing a claim against a deceased motorist may be more difficult, especially if a lawsuit is required. A Stockton car accident attorney can help you figure out what to do in such a scenario, so consult one today. 


Is the claim still viable if the at-fault driver died?


Compensation claims are based on whether someone else’s negligence directly caused your damages. As a result, whether or not the irresponsible person survived the accident has no influence on the validity of your claim.


In most states, even those with no-fault insurance systems, the death of the at-fault party has no bearing on your compensation claim. When a person causes a collision, the injured party may submit a claim with the responsible party’s insurance carrier, which should commence a settlement negotiating process.


This procedure generally includes the insurance company and the injured party, typically represented by an attorney, with no involvement from the at-fault motorist.


In summary, the death of an at-fault motorist is unlikely to affect your compensation claim unless the insurance company refuses to give a reasonable payout. If an agreement cannot be reached, a lawsuit may be required.


Filing a lawsuit against a deceased negligent driver


If the insurance company refuses to satisfy your compensation claims despite having adequate evidence to show guilt, you may need to file a lawsuit against the dead driver’s estate.


The procedure varies from circumstances where the at-fault driver is still alive. Instead of suing the driver, you would sue the decedent’s estate, which may complicate matters. The liability insurance company will defend the lawsuit and pay your losses if there is appropriate insurance coverage.


Inadequate insurance coverage for your losses


If your insurance coverage is insufficient to meet the cost of your losses, the decedent’s estate may be held liable for the difference. Probate is necessary to pursue the estate for extra compensation. The probate court acknowledges the person’s death and allows debt payments.


An attorney can help you file a claim in probate court to seek the appropriate compensation, even from the estate of a deceased motorist. Assuming there are insufficient assets to collect a judgment, you may pursue a claim via uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, assuming it is available on your motor vehicle insurance policy. It is worth noting that this form of coverage often covers economic damages like medical costs, missed earnings, and property damage.


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