9 May

Can You Recover Injury Compensation If The At-Fault Driver Died In The Accident?

Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Tips

at-fault driver died in the accident

Can You Recover Injury Compensation If The At-Fault Driver Died In The Accident?

Being injured in a vehicular accident that you didn’t cause is a terrible experience – besides obviously being painful physically, depending on the extent of your injuries, it can also take a heavy mental/emotional toll on you, and it can be extremely expensive. You have a legal right to pursue monetary compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages you incurred as a result of another driver’s negligence. However, in tragic cases where the at-fault driver died in the accident, is that legal right affected? Can you still get paid for your medical bills?

Many accident victims hesitate to pursue compensation if the at-fault driver died in the accident because they feel that it is insensitive to do so. Obviously, a person’s life is more important than money, even if they were a stranger; owever, their negligence caused you and your family considerable suffering, which doesn’t just disappear if the other driver passed away in an accident that was caused by their own careless or reckless actions. The legal system recognizes this. You can still take legal action and file a lawsuit to get paid for your injuries, regardless of what happened to the other driver, but how you do so may look different than it would in an accident where the other driver survived the crash.

As Florida auto accident lawyers, we are senstitive to the fact that even if it wasn’t your fault, someone dying in an accident that you were involved in can be incredibly traumatic. Our compassionate, experienced attorneys are here to help you. You can call any of our 11 Florida offices today to schedule a free consultation with us anddiscuss your legal rights, options, and next steps; we can give you wise legal advice that can benefit you as you try to make the best choices for your future during this difficult time. Read on to learn about how your claim could be affected if the at-fault driver died in the accident.

Suing The Insurance Company

In most auto accident injury cases – even if no one was permanently injured and everyone survived – injured victims who were not at fault will attempt to recover compensation not from the at-fault driver, but from their insurance company. Say the costs you incurred in the accident amount to $300,000. Most people don’t have this kind of money, but their insurance company does (that’s why insurance exists).

If you were injured in a crash, and the at-fault driver died in the accident, your best bet of recovering full compensation for the costs you incurred lies with taking action against the insurance company of the deceased driver, if they had insurance. You will rarely have to deal with the family members of the deceased driver, and you will not be in any way taking anything away from them – the insurance company is the one who will be paying. However, insurance companies are rarely willing to pay injured auto accident victims the amount that they deserve without legal representation. A law firm can stand up to the insurance company and fight for justice on your behalf.

Suing The Estate Or Filing A Claim With Your Own Insurance Company

If the deceased, at-fault driver did not have insurance or was underinsured – which is not unlikely, as about 1 in 5 Florida drivers drive without the legally required amount of insurance – you may have a couple options. You can file a claim with your own insurance company. This, like suing the deceased driver’s insurance company, prevents you from having to interact with the driver’s family, but if you didn’t carry uninsured motorist coverage (UIM), winning this way may be difficult. Again, having attorneys on your side can increase your chances at winning a UIM claim and help you determine whether or not to file one in the first place.

Another option you may have is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault person’s estate. Their estate is essentially made up of everything that they left behind in terms of assets – their house, their possessions, their bank accounts, etc. Many people are extremely hesitant to think of filing a claim this way because unlike the other two options, this may require interaction with the deceased person’s family, and if you win, you are being awarded money that could otherwise have gone to their family. It is also complex, as it requires a lawyer who can guide you through probate court. However, there are two reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty about pursuing this option, if you meet with a lawyer who believes this is the best route to take. One reason is that there likely are other creditors who will be filing claims against the estate; depending on the specifics of your case, you may not stand out, and their money will be distributed to other creditors anyway. The second reason is that their family is obviously grieving, but they are not injured as a direct result of the person’s actions as you are. If you don’t get paid, and have to pay for the costs of the accident out of your own pocket, which could either prevent you from being able to afford the quality treatment necessary to fully heal from the crash hurt or prevent you from being able to provide financially for your family.

What/How Much You Can Recover

How much you can recover in a situation where the at-fault driver died in the accident does depend on many specific factors of your case. If you shared fault at all, or you didn’t have insurance, you may not be able to recover as much. If your injuries are severe or permanent, you may be able to recover more. Only an attorney can accurately value your injuries based on their experience and knowledge of personal injury law! Here are a few of the most common categories that we’ve been able to recover damages for our clients in:

  • Lost wages (for time spent off of work healing)
  • Future lost wages/lost earning potential (if the accident left you disabled or unable to return to your career)
  • Ambulatory transport bills
  • Emergency room care bills
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Surgery expenses
  • Costs of medications and medical devices
  • Physical therapy/rehabilitation/chiropractic care costs
  • Copays and deductibles
  • Pain and suffering (can be quantified)
  • Loss of enjoyment (can be quantified)
  • Punitive damages (if the deceased driver was intoxicated or driving recklessly at the time of the crash)
  • Mental health counseling
  • And more!

Call The Florida Law Group Today

If you’re not sure what you need to do after being injured in a car crash where the at-fault driver died in the accident, call The Florida Law Group today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options. We will take the time to listen to you and serve as your advocates as you’re navigating the complex legal system of personal injury compensation! Our expert attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and have recovered over $1 billion dollars for our clients, and we are dedicated to winning. We believe in justice for all, so you never have to pay us unless and until we win a settlement on your behalf. There is a statute of limitations on injury compensation recovery, so don’t wait to contact us as soon as possible!