What Are My Recovery Options if the Negligent Driver Died?

Sep 16, 2022 | Auto Accidents

Paramedics pushing stretchers with injured person in car accident inside ambulance vehicle

Fatal car accidents are devastating and can present some unique challenges since the at-fault party is not there to defend themselves. However, the negligent driver’s insurance policy is still in effect for the car accident in question, even though the driver died in the accident.

Dealing with an accident where the negligent party is now deceased can have some nuances and you might face more pushback from the insurance company than you would traditionally. 

Hiring an attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your finances after an accident, regardless of the circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about these scenarios to avoid sharing in the liability.

What Constitutes Negligence?

Negligence in a car accident case means that the other driver in the accident failed to provide the same level of care or prudence that other drivers would under the same circumstances. This can mean taking the wrong actions or failing to act to adapt to changes in road conditions.

In a motor vehicle accident, negligence generally involves breaking posted road laws or operating the vehicle recklessly. Some examples of driver negligence include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to adapt driving behavior based on weather conditions
  • Not using a turn signal
  • Changing lanes and cutting off other drivers
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Failing to yield
  • Running an intersection with a red light or stop sign
  • Reckless vehicle operation
  • Not maintaining a vehicle properly, which can lead to breakdowns and accidents


Missteps behind the wheel are likely a form of negligence. But if you’re unsure about who caused the accident or the police report doesn’t list this information, you should certainly seek counsel from an attorney.

Types of Damages a Car Accident Claim May Cover

Car accidents can cover many damage types. These damages can include:

  • Property damage, which ensures your vehicle gets repaired
  • Existing and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Missed work
  • Disfigurement
  • Punitive damages in the case of grossly negligent behavior behind the wheel, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol


One challenge that accident victims can face is that the car insurance coverage limits might be too low to cover all accident expenses. Insurance in Virigina won’t pay for a negligent decendent. There are many intricacies that are involved in a case where there were a death. Your best plan of action is to hire an experienced attorney to walk you through the process.

There is minimal liability insurance with many other parties who were injured y the negligence of the decedent driver. If you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, you might need to file a lawsuit against the deceased party’s estate to ensure your bills get paid.

While you might not want to put the family of the deceased driver through the pains of a lawsuit against the estate, it can be a necessary step in avoiding financial losses. You are a victim of the accident and should not have to deal with the expense of the aftermath of the incident.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Deceased Negligent Driver

The first course of action is to work with the insurance company to file a claim for the accident. However, when that doesn’t get you the compensation you deserve after an accident, you’ll need to file a lawsuit. Some insurance companies are unwilling to negotiate and reach a fair settlement without going to court. 

But to win a lawsuit, you’ll need strong evidence proving that the deceased driver caused the accident. Your attorney can help you gather the following pieces of evidence for your claim.

  • Cell phone records
  • Witness statements
  • Security camera footage
  • Photos and videos from the accident scene
  • Police report
  • Expert testimony
  • Medical bills and statements from medical providers


Regardless of whether the other driver is present to defend themselves, you can file a lawsuit to pursue the financial restitution you deserve after being an accident victim. Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates now for a free consultation and case evaluation. 

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents in Virginia?

    Power trucking accidents are one of the most dangerous types of road accidents, and they differ significantly from car accidents in several ways. The most apparent difference between a truck and a car is their size and weight. Trucks are much bigger and heavier than...

    What to Do if You’re Hurt in a Virginia Multi-Vehicle Crash

    Any car accident has the potential to cause catastrophic injuries and property damage, and multi-vehicle accidents can dramatically increase those risks.  Multiple-vehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles, which also complicates determining fault and...

    How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Truck Accident Case in Virginia?

    Truck accidents are some of the deadliest vehicle accidents that occur across Virginia, especially when commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck collision, you may ask, “Do I have a valid truck accident case?”...

    Is It Illegal to Tailgate Behind another Car in Virginia?

    Following too closely in Virginia is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine beginning at $81. Tailgating in Virginia is not only a moving traffic violation that could result in demerit points on your driver’s license, but is also dangerous to drivers and passengers...

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald