If you’ve been in a car accident, you probably have a lot of questions about your next steps. Some questions have straightforward answers while others require a little more research. In most minor accidents, one driver is considered at fault and is therefore considered liable for the other party’s injuries or property damage. But what happens if the accident was fatal?
If the at-fault driver died during the accident, you are still entitled to compensation for your injuries and any necessary repairs to your vehicle. Read on to learn how to recover compensation in a situation like this:
3 Steps to Take to Recover Compensation If the At-Fault Driver Is Deceased
It’s a sad event for all parties when one of the drivers involved in a car accident dies. However, you’re still entitled to compensation if the at-fault driver passed away. Follow these steps to recover the compensation you deserve after a wreck with a driver who died during the collision:
1. Contact Your Insurance Company Right Away
Behind the police and your loved ones, your insurance company should be the first to know when you’ve been in a wreck. Call your agent right away to discuss the steps you need to take to recover compensation.
2. Get Your Vehicle Repaired at a Shop That Takes Your Insurance
You can choose any shop you want to repair your vehicle, but it’s a good idea to ask the owner if your specific insurance is accepted before getting your car repaired. This will make the entire process easier on you.
3. Keep All of Your Records
It’s important that you keep track of the money you spend after the crash in order to create the most accurate and representative claim.
In most cases, the steps you take following an accident where the at-fault driver passed away are going to be the same as any other accident. One exception is if you have to file a lawsuit against the driver’s estate, which we discuss below.
Your Insurance Claim Will Not Affect the Driver’s Family
If the at-fault driver died during the accident, you may be worried about the financial burned on their family and be less inclined to file a claim. Don’t worry – the money from your insurance claim will come from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, not from his or her family. You can receive the money you’re entitled to without making a difficult situation even worse for the driver’s family.
You May Have to Sue the Deceased’s Estate
If the driver was uninsured or underinsured, though, you may have to recover compensation through other means. If you have Personal Injury Protection/Med Pay or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim against your own insurance policies. In the rare case that the deceased driver was uninsured but had a large estate (most people who are uninsured do not have significant funds or assets), it may be in your best interests to file a lawsuit against the driver’s estate.
It is important to remember that in such scenarios, both personal injury law and probate law come into play. That means the normal statute of limitations might not apply; in fact, in some states, you only have a few months to file a lawsuit against a deceased driver’s estate rather than several years.
Did we miss any important points? Feel free to share them in a Comment below. If you were involved in an accident and your insurance rates increased as a result, check out this study that compares accident forgiveness auto insurance rates.