Usually, when two cars are involved in a motor vehicle accident, everybody walks away from the crash. Some of the drivers or passengers may need to go to the hospital for treatment. But fatal car accidents are not as common as you may think. As injury attorneys in Atlanta, we have seen our fair share of cases where accident victims suffer life threatening injuries. We have also handled many wrongful death cases where our client’s loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident. The question is, what are you supposed to do if the other driver passes away in the accident?
Admittedly, our Atlanta accident lawyers haven’t handled all that many cases like this. As stated above, fatal car accidents are not very common. When one does occur, the insurance company usually covers the claim because there’s no doubt that the victim died as a result of the crash. But when the other driver was at fault, who will your injury attorney in Atlanta pursue for damages?
These are the questions that we will discuss here and hopefully provide you the answers you’ve been looking for. If you still have questions or aren’t sure what to do next, feel free to contact our office directly. We offer our new clients a free, initial consultation, so you should not feel any risk to at least come in and sit down with one of our attorneys. If we think that your case has merit, we may be willing to represent you. It will come down to the facts of your case and the severity of your injuries. Knowing that there’s a chance you may have to sue someone’s estate after a fatal car accident it wouldn’t make sense to take on a case if it was only worth a few thousand dollars.
What Kind of Fatal Car Accident Were You Involved In?
One of the first things your attorney will ask you is what kind of accident you were involved in. There is a chance that you were involved in an accident where the fault was clear cut. For example, if the other driver was driving down the road the wrong way and you ended up in a head-on collision there’s a good chance they would be found to be at fault. The same is true if the other driver was drunk or high at the time of the car accident. Cases where your injury attorney in Atlanta can easily prove fault are worth pursuing.
If proving fault will be a lot more difficult, your Atlanta accident lawyer will ask you how serious you are about pursuing damages after a fatal car accident. For example, without the other driver available to tell their side of the story, the insurance company’s attorney will provide whatever version of events they come up with. It would then come down to whether a judge or jury believed you over the insurance company. It would just have to be a decision that you and your injury attorney Atlanta made together.
Who Will You Injury Attorney in Atlanta Sue Now?
The other question you probably have is who your injury attorney in Atlanta will sue now that the other driver has passed away. You may or may not realize that when you sue anybody in a car accident case, you’re really pursuing their insurance carrier. Of course, you have to name the other party in your initial complaint. But it’s the insurance company who has the deep pockets. The goal of any Atlanta accident lawyer in a fatal car accident case is to get the defendant insurance company to just pay your claim. Worst case, they will try to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster.
What all this means is that in a case where the other driver did not survive the accident, your attorney would still pursue their insurance carrier. Now, if you find out that the other driver didn’t have insurance or their policy wasn’t valid at the time of the accident, you’ll have to look at your other options. You can always file a claim under your own uninsured motorist policy, but that only covers about $10,000 worth of damages. The other option you would have is to sue the defendant’s estate. If the other person owned significant assets before they died, it will make legal sense to sue them personally. The fatal car accident lawsuit would technically name the estate as the defendant in the case. If you won and the judge issued a judgment for a certain amount of money, the estate will be responsible for paying that judgment. In fact, the other assets in the estate would not be allowed to be distributed until your judgment and any other liens are paid.
Our Atlanta Accident Lawyers Will Treat the Case Like Any Other Car Accident Case
It may be surprising to you to hear but our Atlanta accident lawyers would treat your fatal car accident case the same as any other car crash case. The first thing they would have to do is negotiate with the insurance company to pay your claim. If that didn’t work, they would file a lawsuit against the other driver and the insurance company. The only difference is that instead of listing the defendant’s name on the complaint, your injury attorney in Atlanta will list the decedent’s estate.
Once the fatal car accident lawsuit was filed, your attorney would still have to prove fault just like they would in any other accident case. This means they would need to demonstrate that the other driver was somehow negligent. Once they’ve accomplished this, your Atlanta accident lawyer would have to prove your damages. At any point during the lawsuit, the insurance company can jump in and offer a settlement. You may wonder why they would do this. That’s because the insurance company is on the hook whether their client is alive or dead. This may sound cold, but it is the law. And had the other driver not been negligent, they may not have passed away to begin with.
We suggest that anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident contact our office immediately. Take the time to sit down with one of our experienced injury attorneys in Atlanta and ask any questions you may have. Since we offer new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.