Filing a Lawsuit When the At-fault Driver Has Died

Person driving a car

Car accidents can be very scary, often resulting in property damage and damage to the individuals involved. When you suffer damages as the result of a car accident, you may be entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver for compensation. But can you still bring a claim when the at-fault driver is killed in the accident? Here is what to know about filing a lawsuit when the at-fault driver has died. 

Who Should You File Against?

While you may still be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver even after he or she has died, it can become more complicated in trying to determine who you should serve the lawsuit to. In instances where the at-fault driver is killed in the accident but his or her insurance policy either fails to cover the full extent of the damages or denies payment outright, the lawsuit is usually brought against the defendant’s estate. In such a case the decedent’s estate may be held liable for paying the difference in damages. However, sometimes a lawsuit may be brought against the executor or beneficiaries of his or her estate. 

Even after deciding who you are going to bring the lawsuit against, you must still be able to prove that the driver was negligent, which caused the accident. In order to prove negligence, you must establish the existence of four different elements:

  1. Duty

The other driver must have had a duty at the time of the accident. Their duty would be to operate their vehicle with care and caution as a reasonably prudent person in the same or similar situation would have done.

  1. Breach of Duty

You must next prove that the aforementioned duty was breached by the defendant. Put simply, you must be able to prove that a reasonably prudent person in the same or similar circumstances would have been able to avoid the accident had he or she been operating the vehicle. 

  1. Causation

You must then be able to demonstrate that it was the breach of duty that resulted in the accident and not some other unrelated factor. 

  1. Damages.

Finally, you must be able to prove that it was the accident that resulted in damages, which could include property damage or physical injuries to the victim(s). These damages mean that a court could compensate the victim.

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it can impact just about every part of your life. You should never have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. A knowledgeable and experienced Virginia personal injury attorney can help you to hold those responsible liable for your damages.
At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we will work to do just that. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Car Accident