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:
- 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
- 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.