Accident fatalities have dropped slightly in 2017 and 2018 and have steadily been dropping—with a few exceptions—for the last several decades. But unfortunately, they still occur, and when they do, there are sometimes questions raised about liability.
Insurance v. Estate Liability
Auto insurance is to cover the losses of the driver when he or she injures someone else. Many people think that auto insurance is to cover the damages for the people who are injured, but the insurance company is not contractually obligated to pay the injured driver, but is obligated to pay any financial losses their driver incurs because they caused an accident.
Why is this important? Because when the at-fault person dies, the insurance company doesn’t owe the injured (as we discussed), but the estate of the deceased does owe the injured because of probate and inheritance laws. Thus, the insurance company is now obligated to pay for the losses incurred by the estate.
In many cases, the insurance company will work with the injured to settle, but if there is no satisfactory offer for the injured, then it becomes necessary to sue, and since the person at fault is deceased, his or her estate must be sued.
A Recent Crash
An 81-year-old-man died Saturday, June 22, 2019, when his car collided with two others. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was driving a Toyota Corolla on Little Road toward Denton Avenue and apparently ran a red light and struck a semi-truck which then was struck by a Ford F-150 that was in the intersection waiting to make a left turn.
Both drivers of the other cars plus one passenger were taken to a local hospital for serious injuries, but it’s not clear which vehicle the passenger was riding in. The FHP is still investigating the accident.
Although we have don’t know who was at fault in the above-mentioned accident, when the at-fault person dies, it can be uncertain who now owes for the damages caused by the driver.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Most likely yes. While it’s not required by law, if an estate owes money to an injured person, then it’s not just as simple as making a typical insurance claim. At the least, you should talk to an attorney so you can be given unbiased advice and case evaluation.
At RHINO Lawyers, we offer a free consultation to go over your case and help you to get the most compensation you can for your injuries. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!” We describe our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!”