Can I Still File a Claim If The At-Fault Driver Died in The Crash?
Drivers who were at fault for a motor vehicle crash don’t always walk away unharmed. In some cases, they suffer more serious injuries than the occupants of the vehicle they hit. In other cases, they even die in the crash that they caused. When this happens, you can still file a claim against the deceased at-fault driver.
You Can File Your Claim With The Driver’s Insurance Provider
It doesn’t really matter whether the at-fault driver lives or dies in the crash that they caused - they’ll still be covered by their insurance policy. This means that you can still file your claim with their insurer to recover compensation for your accident-related damages.
You Can File Your Claim Against The Deceased Driver’s Estate
If the deceased at-fault driver’s insurance policy, or lack thereof, is not enough to cover all your medical bills and associated losses, you might be eligible to file your claim against their estate. Usually, the process will work the same as it would if the driver were still alive. Rather than communicating directly with the deceased driver and their lawyer, you and your Tampa car accident attorney will communicate with the estate’s executor, also known as the personal representative or administrator.
Depending on the situation, you can agree on a settlement with the executor or take your claim to court. Either way, if you’re awarded financial compensation, it becomes subject to probate. Probate is basically a legal process where the executor manages the estate, distributes property based on the deceased’s will, and handles debts.
During probate, the estate will be divided to give inheritances to the estate’s beneficiaries and, if applicable, pay off debts. When you pursue your claim against the estate, you become a creditor, and the estate must pay you when you win or settle your case. Take note, however, that probate usually takes some time to finish.
Issues in Claims Against Deceased At-Fault Drivers
Because the deceased driver will not be able to give their side of the story, you must have sufficient evidence to prove your case, which will make your case more difficult to prove. The deceased driver’s family can likewise claim that you’re lying and that you are just looking for a handout.
It is for these reasons that you should work with a Tampa car accident lawyer that can prove that your claims are real and not just fabrications. Your lawyer will use your medical records to help prove your damages and show that your injuries are consistent with your claims. Likewise, your lawyer can uncover other evidence, such as police reports and witness statements, to prove your claim.
Get Legal Help From a Seasoned Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Now
At the law office of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, our Tampa car accident lawyers are dedicated to making sure that we secure fair compensation for your injuries. We’re also prepared to pursue your claim in court if needed. Call our office at 727-441-9030 or send us a message online to arrange your free consultation today.