When a car crash turns fatal, it is devastating for everyone involved. Relatives and friends of the deceased mourn the loss, but they take consolation in getting justice by demanding compensation from the at-fault party. This is common for victims and per the Georgia fault-based compensation system.
Things are a bit different when the victim survives and the person who caused the car crash dies. The question becomes whether you can get compensation from a deceased fault party and how to go about it. In this article, our Atlanta car accident lawyers examine the possibility of suing an at-fault party who died in a crash. So if you’re the victim of a car accident, waste no time contacting us for legal advice and representation.
Can You Get Damages if the At-Fault Party in a Car Crash Dies?
Georgia is a fault state, meaning that you can get compensation as long as you’re the victim of a traffic accident. So, when the victim dies, how do you get damages for your injuries and other losses? The law provides two clear paths — an insurance claim and a lawsuit.
Our time practicing as Atlanta car crash lawyers has shown us that most victims do not like to claim when the at-fault party dies. They feel that the deceased’s family is already going through a lot and don’t want to deal with them while mourning. While this is well and good, you should have two things in mind.
The first is that the type of injury you suffered from the crash determines whether or not you should forgo compensation. For instance, suppose you only sustained minor wounds or non-catastrophic injuries. You might not have to pay extensive medical bills and will make a full recovery. Here, you may not need to file a claim; you can forgo it and opt to cover your damages yourself.
However, if the accident left you with catastrophic injuries, where you’ll need a lifetime of medical care, it would be best to demand compensation. This brings us to the second thing to keep in mind. You don’t have to deal with the victim’s family as you’ll be relating with the deceased at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
You’ll file a claim with the deceased at-fault party’s insurer, and their insurance adjuster will launch an investigation. The inquiry is to ascertain that the deceased was indeed the person entirely at fault for the collision. At the end of the investigation, they’ll pay you compensation for your injuries and property damage once they find the decedent was indeed the liable party.
Keep in mind that there are situations where the deceased at-fault party might be uninsured. In such an instance, you might have to use your uninsured motorist coverage if you have one to cover for your losses. On the other hand, suppose the decedent was insured, but their coverage is not enough to cover the compensation you’re asking for. In that case, having an underinsured motorist coverage would be helpful.
A Lawsuit Against the Decedent’s Estate
You can file a lawsuit in two instances. One is if the deceased at-fault party does not have an auto insurance policy. The second is if their insurance carrier offers you a lowball settlement sum. The personal injury action would be against the decedent’s estate.
An estate is a property a person leaves behind at their death, and it is usually represented by legal surviving beneficiaries. Thus, if the lawsuit goes to trial and you win, the estate pays you the judgment sum. The problem with lawsuits where the at-fault party does not have insurance is that the estate they leave behind might not have the resources to pay you compensation.
If the decedent did not have any worthwhile assets while alive, you might have to cover your losses yourself. However, note that it’s not uncommon for beneficiaries or estate representatives to hide the decedent’s assets. So you need to ascertain that the at-fault party left behind tangible assets that can pay the compensation you’re demanding. Our Atlanta auto accident lawyers can help you with the preceding.
Get Help From Atlanta Premium Car Crash Lawyers Today!
Are you the victim of a car crash where the at-fault party died? If yes, you can still recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. At The Weinstein Firm, our expert auto accident lawyers have a combined wealth of experience to get you the maximum compensation. We work on a contingency basis and will demand no upfront fee. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.