If you are involved in an accident in which the negligent party has passed away, you might wonder if this will affect your case. Typically, with auto accident cases, the settlement negotiations are between you and the auto insurance provider. Therefore, the death of the other driver will only affect your case in a few ways.
Normally, when you are involved in a car accident, both you and the other driver might point fingers at each other, with both sides refusing to admit fault. Therefore, if the other party passed away, you might be the only surviving witness to the accident.
When the Settlement Is Not Enough
The insurance provider will have a policy limit and will not compensate you for an amount that is greater than the policy limit. Therefore, you will need to take legal action against the driver to make up the difference. If the other driver has an estate, you may be able to successfully sue the estate to receive a portion of the damages they owe.
You may also need to file a lawsuit if the insurance provider insists that the policyholder was not responsible for the accident. These cases can be difficult to resolve, and you will need to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney to know the best way forward.
You will need to protect your claim during probate. One of the goals of probate is to make sure that the creditors are paid before the assets are then distributed to the surviving heirs. You will have to file a claim within a designated span of time from when the other party dies or the estate will be distributed to the other creditors and the heirs.
The amount you will be compensated for will be based on federal and state law, with certain debts taking priority over others. Fortunately, an auto accident attorney can assist you as you go through this process and can inform you about your best options. Then, the attorney will work hard to calculate damages and build the best possible case.
There might be other parties that you can also seek compensation from. For example, if the roads were poorly maintained, you may be entitled to compensation from the state. With each individual case, you will need to determine whether it is worthwhile to seek compensation from a particular defendant after a consultation with an attorney.
To learn more, contact ar resource like Eisdorfer, Eisdorfer & Eisdorfer.