Scene of a Deadly Two-Car Wreck

If the defendant in a car accident case has passed away before it is settled, you may have questions about being able to collect compensation for the damages you deserve. The process may be more complicated after the defendant in your case has died, but it is still possible to recover compensation. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights stay protected, so you get a fair settlement for your claim. 

Possible Damages and Recovery

The negligent party may have died in the accident due to injuries or may have passed away after the accident due to an unrelated condition. Whatever the reason for the death, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries even if the other driver has passed away.

After a car accident, you can file a claim against the other driver, even if they are deceased, for any injuries or damages that resulted from the accident if they were found negligent or reckless in their actions and caused the accident. Some damages you may be compensated for include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Wrongful death

Recovering Damages From an Insurance Policy

If a driver is found negligent for causing a car accident and has passed away before a settlement has been reached, a claim can be filed with their insurance company. The deceased driver’s insurance policy may compensate you for any injuries you suffered from the accident.

In cases where the defendant’s insurance policy is unable to cover all the expenses, then your own insurance policy may be able to provide additional compensation for the damages under their uninsured motorist coverage. Each insurance company and policy may vary depending on the state and how much insurance was purchased prior to the accident by both parties.

Recovering Damages From an Estate

When there is a lack of insurance provided by the liable driver and there isn’t a sufficient amount of uninsured motorist coverage to compensate for injuries, there is another option to consider for recovering damages. The deceased party’s estate may be able to provide compensation for damages. The injured party can file a claim against the estate of the deceased. In order to do so, there are specific steps that will need to be followed.

Probate court will handle all assets of the deceased defendant and any outstanding debts owed by them. The court will settle any debts such as lawsuits and work to get the case settled. If there is a current claim against a person’s estate and they pass during the claim’s process, the estate has to legally notify you of their death. There is a set timeline to file a claim with the probate court.

In cases where the deceased does not have an estate or enough insurance to cover damages, recovery may not be possible.

When to Consult With an Attorney

If you were involved in a car accident and the defendant has died, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can make sure you file within the necessary timeframe, meet all deadlines, and follow proper legal regulations for your claim. If the claim is against the deceased defendant’s estate, an attorney can make sure all probate regulations and deadlines are met. If the proper regulations and timeframe are not followed, your case could be dismissed and you will not be able to recover damages from the accident.

In addition, an attorney can represent you throughout the claim process and protect your legal rights. They can also review proposed settlements and determine what your case is worth, so you get the fair amount of compensation you deserve.

Don’t wait until it is too late; contact our experienced team at Hupy and Abraham for a free consultation. We will provide the best possible representation for your case from the beginning until the end. To set up a confidential appointment in any of our 11 Midwest law offices located throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, you can fill out our convenient contact form online or call us at 1-800-800-5678.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.