What if the Person At Fault for My Car Accident is Deceased?
By Chris Dixon
More than 40,000 people were killed in fatal car accidents in 2017. If you have been in a car accident and the person that caused the accident is deceased, you may be questioning your right to damages. You may still be eligible to recover damages for the accident, but there are a few additional steps to take that deviate from the normal car accident process. Consult a fatal car accident lawyer right away if you’ve been involved in an accident where the at fault driver is deceased so that your lawyer can guide you through this difficult time.
How Can I Prove that a Deceased Driver was At Fault for My Car Accident?
It is important to collect evidence in every car accident situation, but it is especially crucial if the person at fault for your car accident is now deceased. Take photos of the scene, file a police report, get information about the deceased driver, take down witness accounts and gather other evidence that you think might be useful later on. When the person that is at fault for a car accident you’ve been involved in is now deceased, it’s important to collect evidence that can be used by your lawyer to depict how the accident happened and prove that the deceased driver was at fault for the accident. If your injuries prevent you from being able to collect evidence yourself, send a family member or close friend to take care of it for you. If evidence isn’t collected immediately after an accident happens, especially if one of the party’s is now deceased, a lack of evidence could be used by the deceased’s insurance company to blame the accident on you. So, the sooner you take action with your claim with a fatal car accident lawyer, the better.
Can I Recover Damages if the Person At Fault for My Car Accident is Deceased?
If you have suffered injuries or damage to your vehicle in the accident, it’s essential to keep copies of your medical report, the police report, and any receipts that you may have for vehicle repair or rental cars. The type of damages that can be recovered in an accident that involves a deceased person are similar to those that are eligible to be claimed in other car accidents. Depending on the specifics of your accident, you may be eligible to recover:
- Any medical expenses that you incurred due to your injuries from the accident, including ambulance fees, costs associated with doctors’ visits, physical therapy, medication and more
- Pain and suffering damages for any mental or physical distress that you may have from the accident. Included in this are fees associated with therapy, cost of medication and any other out-of-pocket costs you may have from treating these injuries
- Lost work hours that may have occurred because of your injuries from the accident. Any lost wages that you and your family have missed out on because of the accident can be recovered with proof of wages
- The amount that it costs to fix your vehicle’s damages from the accident or the total amount of your vehicle, whichever is less
- If your spouse or children have felt that there has been a loss of affection since you have been injured in the car accident, your spouse or close family members can recover damages for loss of consortium
Keep in mind, not every case is eligible to recover damages, but with substantial evidence, an experienced fatal car accident lawyer and a valid car accident claim, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your case.
How Long Will it Take to Recover Damages if the Person At Fault for My Car Accident is Deceased?
Every car accident is different, so it could take as little as a couple weeks or months to recover damages for the average car accident claim. If the person at fault for your car accident is deceased, this adds an extra layer to the process. The steps of filing an accident claim with your lawyer are the same as making other car accident claims, but you may have to file your claim against the decedent’s estate rather than with their insurance company. When a person dies, their assets and estate go into probate. Depending on how large their assets and estate are and whether they have a will, this could take anywhere from a matter of months to a year. If you file a claim against their estate, you could collect damages from their assets and estate if your claim is accepted.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer About Filing a Claim Against the Deceased’s Estate
It’s vital to consult your lawyer before filing a claim against a deceased party’s estate or taking other legal actions. There are a lot of elements at play when the person that is at fault for a car accident is deceased, and it can be confusing to keep track of everything that is required for you to recover damages for your claim. Your lawyer is knowledgeable of your state’s legal system and is experienced in fatal car accidents, so they will guide you through this difficult time and make recovering damages easier. If you need a car accident lawyer after being involved in an accident where the at fault driver is now deceased, don’t hesitate to consult the Dixon Injury Firm and discuss your case with our attorneys. Our lawyers are committed to helping those that need legal guidance and offer free consultations and use a contingency plan to make their services even more accessible. If you are ready to file a claim against a deceased person that is at fault for your car accident, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today.