Crash victims often have many questions about what to do next, particularly if the driver who caused the crash was killed.
Can you still file an insurance claim? What about a lawsuit?
Crash victims may also feel bad for trying to obtain money for their damages. They may feel like they are trying to take money from someone who passed away. The at-fault driver’s family members are already mourning his or her death, and you may think that filing a claim will cause them more trauma.
However, these are common misconceptions. Below, we discuss why you should seek help from an experienced attorney when pursuing compensation.
Friedman, Domiano and Smith’s experienced attorneys are ready to help you seek full compensation for your damages. Contact us to discuss the crash and learn if we may be able to assist you. You can schedule a free consultation to meet with a Cleveland vehicle accident attorney.
Our services come with no upfront costs. We do not collect our fees unless we obtain compensation through an insurance settlement or jury verdict.
How Will the Death of the At-Fault Driver Affect Your Case?
The death of the at-fault driver may not have much of an effect on your claim for compensation. You will be seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, not the at-fault driver.
You will also not be trying to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s family members. In fact, it is unlikely they need to be involved in the legal process at all. Your attorney will be dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This means fears about taking money from a grieving family are unfounded. Your claim should not have any financial impact on the family.
What if the At-Fault Driver Did Not Have Insurance?
It is important to note the statements above only apply if the at-fault driver had insurance. If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, you would either need to seek compensation from your own insurance or potentially file a claim against the deceased driver’s estate. However, this would only be worthwhile if the deceased has enough assets to pay for your damages.
A claim against your own policy would involve your uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is not mandatory, but insurers offer it when people buy insurance and most drivers have it. Our attorneys are prepared to help you review your own policy to see how we may be able to help you file a first-party insurance claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
Deceased Cannot Give a Statement About the Crash
Another challenge with a claim involving a deceased at-fault driver is that he or she is not there to give his or her side of the story. The case is your word against nothing, because the at-fault driver is not there to speak for himself or herself. The deceased driver’s family may dispute your claims about what happened, particularly if your claim is being filed against the deceased’s estate.
What if I Need to File a Lawsuit?
First, it is often not necessary to file a lawsuit. Most car crash claims are resolved through insurance claims.
However, the other side in the lawsuit is probably going to be the insurance company – unless your lawsuit is against the at-fault driver’s estate. If your case goes to court, the insurance company’s attorneys will be arguing the case. The family of the deceased is probably not going to be involved that much, if at all.
Regardless of whether the at-fault driver survives, it is important to have an experienced attorney guiding you through the legal process. You never know what types of challenges may arise. Sometimes insurance companies continue fighting even though the victim has what seems like an ironclad case. You need an experienced attorney who is prepared for this and knows how to fight back. Sometimes simply having an attorney causes the insurance company to offer more compensation.
The attorneys at Friedman, Domiano and Smith know how to build a strong case, even if the at-fault driver cannot provide a statement. We know how to evaluate medical records and crash damage to determine the cause of an accident and why it contributed to the victim’s injuries.
Compensation May be Available. Call to Learn More
You may think you can take on the insurance company by yourself. Maybe it is clear the other driver is at fault for the crash.
However, the legal process is complicated, and the insurance company is unlikely to offer fair compensation without a fight. Hiring an attorney may be the push that is needed to get the insurance company to increase its offer.
You can find out more about the advantages of legal representation in a free consultation with a lawyer from Friedman, Domiano and Smith. We do not charge our clients upfront fees, so there is no financial risk with our services.
Experienced Attorneys Ready to Help. Contact us: 216-621-0070.
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