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Can I Still get Compensation if the At-Fault Driver Dies?

What if the person at fault for my accident is deceased? A car accident can become even more complicated when casualties arise. Sometimes, the driver at fault may lose their life during the accident. In a situation like this, the deceased driver cannot tell their side of the story. The dead cannot corroborate or refute the account of the other driver. 

The injured driver, however, may wonder whether they can still get compensation now that the at-fault driver is deceased. This article answers whether an injured party can still get compensation if the at-fault driver dies in a car accident.

The answer to the question is yes. You can still get compensation if the at-fault driver dies in a car accident. However, whether or not the compensation is claimed largely depends on the other driver. The other driver may claim or refrain from claiming compensation from the deceased insurance company.

Introduction: What if the person at fault for my accident is deceased?

The other driver can claim compensation even if the negligent driver dies.

In Florida, every driver is expected to have insurance that will cover the cost of an accident if ever one arises. The other driver can then claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company and be entitled to compensation even if the at-fault driver is now deceased. 

The driver claiming compensation and the deceased driver’s insurance company reach a settlement through their lawful attorney.

Settlement can only be stifled when the insurance company is unwilling to offer a settlement that meets the victim’s demand. 

Filing Against the Deceased’s Estate

Filing a lawsuit against the deceased driver’s estate becomes necessary when settlement fails. Settlement can decrease for several reasons. For example, the liable insurance company may not agree to the injured party’s exact amount of compensation.

Where the liable insurance company is not meeting your compensation claim, the next step is filing against the negligent driver’s estate. If the negligent driver were still alive, the suit would be against them. But when the at-fault driver dies, the suit will be against their estate. The insurance company will still ultimately cover the cost. 

Reasons Why an Insurance Company May Fail to Settle

An insurance company may fail to settle with an injured driver who claims against their policyholder for some reason. A few reasons are:

Lack of sufficient evidence

Where the injured driver cannot produce sufficient evidence to show that the negligent driver (who is now deceased) was responsible for the accident and the injury that followed, they will most likely not want to settle. 

Insufficient evidence may mean that the driver has failed to prove that the policyholder is to blame for the accident and insufficient evidence to prove that the victim suffered an injury. 

The insurance company must provide evidence to prove the victim’s case. Examples of this evidence are pictures of the accident, video clips from surveillance cameras, or eyewitness testimony that corroborates the injured party’s statement.

The insurance company needs evidence of a medical report to gain more details of the extent and causes of the injury.

Unrealistic/Exaggerated Expectations

The victim may have unrealistic expectations of the insurance company. An unrealistic or exaggerated expectation will lead to a dead-end in a settlement. Claiming your accident injury cost from the negligent party’s insurance company should not be seen as a goldmine but simply as recovering what you have spent or lost in treating yourself.

In determining how much your claim is worth, a car accident attorney or a personal injury attorney can help you access your claim, determine how much your case is worth, and help you fight for it with the insurance company.

The liable insurance company will also not exceed the limit of the at-fault party’s insurance company.

No Insurance Coverage

The insurance company will not admit to liability when the at-fault driver was not a policyholder when the accident happened. Suppose the at-fault party’s insurance coverage had lapsed shortly before the accident, and they had not made payment to renew it. In that case, the insurance company may show hesitation to finance the accident and compensate the injured party. 

For example, where the injured party has been a policyholder with the insurance company, but the policy had elapsed a month or even a day before the accident, and the holder has not been able to renew their policy, the insurance is not obligated to cover the victim’s expenses.

When the claim exceeds the financial limit of the policyholder

Every insurance policy has its financial limit. That is the highest amount the injured party is entitled to from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. Therefore, the insurance company will find it difficult to settle if the victim’s claim exceeds the financial threshold of the at-fault party’s policy. 

For example, the at-fault party has only $10,000 in insurance coverage, and the victim claims $20,000 or $15,000.

In Florida, every driver is expected to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It is insurance coverage. You can approach your insurance company to recover compensation when you are involved in an accident. Your insurance company will compensate for medical expenses, loss of wages and opportunities, and incidental expenses not exceeding your policy limit.

Procedural defects

Several procedural defects can stop an insurance company from accepting a settlement. That is why contacting a car accident attorney in your state is important. A valid claim can be rejected when the victim has failed to follow the insurance company’s rules.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition can be anything present with the victim before the accident that can affect settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Where for example, the insurance company can show that the victim’s injury or poor health condition had been much longer than the accident, the insurance company may fail to settle. 

Concern for the deceased driver’s loved ones?

While it may be a legitimate concern to care about the deceased driver’s relatives, it should not prevent you from claiming compensation for your injuries. 

You should also know that your claim is against the insurance company, not the deceased surviving relatives. The right to claim compensation does not die with the at-fault driver.

Steps on recovering compensation from the deceased insurance company

  1. Contact a car accident Lawyer: Contact a car accident lawyer. Our offices in Tampa and St Petersburg have skilled accident lawyers.
  2. Settlement: Your car accident lawyer in St Petersburg will negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. When a settlement cannot be reached, the next step may be to file a lawsuit.
  3. File a lawsuit: Your car accident attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the deceased driver’s estate and claim the compensation you deserve.   

At The Coleman Law Group

The Coleman Law Group is a team of experienced attorneys who will painstakingly present your case to help you recover the best financial compensation you deserve. Reach us for a free evaluation at no cost to you.

We handle tough cases in St Petersburg, Florida, call any of our offices, and request a free consultation.

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