Sometimes the person who caused a motor vehicle accident dies in it while innocent victims who were injured in the crash survived. For example, a person is driving recklessly at a high rate of speed and rear-ends the vehicle of a driver who was stopped at a red light. The reckless driver dies instantly at the scene, and the other driver suffers serious injuries that require hospitalization, surgery and rehab. The injured victim would have the right to a bring personal injury claim or lawsuit against the reckless driver, but he’s dead. Does the driver who was rear-ended and survived the accident have any legal options?
Claiming Against the Decedent’s Insurance Company
Assuming that the deceased reckless driver had liability insurance, a personal injury claim can be brought against his insurance company. He or she may have had a policy limit sufficient to fully compensate the surviving victim for their damages. If the policy limit was at the statutory mandatory minimum or otherwise insufficient, and the victim had uninsured and underinsured coverage, an underinsured motorist claim might be made against his own insurance company. Of course, if the decedent had no liability insurance, and the victim had uninsured motorist insurance, an uninsured motorist claim can be brought against the victim’s insurer.
Claiming Against the Decedent’s Estate
If there isn’t enough liability insurance to compensate the victim, or if there is no liability insurance coverage at all, the accident victim might try to obtain compensation by filing a claim against the decedent’s estate. This might be an exercise in futility though. Often, a person with substantial assets will have substantial liability insurance, while a person with few assets will have low coverage or no coverage at all.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
Just about any traffic crash is a preventable tragedy. For your own protection, you’ll want to make sure that you have sufficient liability and uninsured motorist coverage. When you do that, you’re not at the mercy of the responsibility or irresponsibility of anybody else. Whether the person who caused your accident and injuries is still here with us or not, contact us right away after your accident. We’ll arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our job is to help you get through the problems that somebody else created.