The At-Fault Driver is Killed in a GA Car Accident – Who Pays?

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Key Points:

  • When the at-fault driver has been killed in a car accident, his or her automobile insurance is likely still responsible to defend the claim and pay any settlement or verdict.
  • If the claim cannot be settled without filing suit, you or your car accident lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit against the Estate and, legally speaking, the case will proceed as if the driver were still alive.
  • If the deceased driver did not have car insurance, you may be able to make a claim against your uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. If you have UIM on your policy, your insurance company may be responsible for coverage up to your policy limits.

Questions Answered:

Holding Someone Accountable When the At-Fault Driver is Killed

In Georgia, when you are involved in a serious car accident, the driver responsible for causing the crash can be held accountable for the results, even if that at-fault driver did not survive the collision. From medical costs to the costs associated with work absences to your past and future pain and suffering, you can hold the (deceased) at-fault driver and his or her insurance company responsible.

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You may still have a claim when the other driver has died:

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In Georgia, when the at-fault driver has been killed in a car accident, his or her automobile insurance or Estate is likely still responsible to defend and pay the claim.

It is important that the accident victim, or victims, contact the insurance company for the at-fault driver right away.  Even though the driver died, his or her insurance information is likely to be listed on the police report. This is because law enforcement databases may show which insurance company covers the car involved in the wreck. If the driver’s insurance is not listed on the accident report, you may send a notice of claim to the driver’s listed address with a request that his or her representative notify the insurance company.

How does the claim get settled when the at-fault driver is deceased?

The insurance company for the deceased driver may be able to negotiate directly with you or your attorney.  The at-fault defendant often does not need to sign a release, and the insurance company may be authorized to settle without ‘permission’ (which is unavailable) of the negligent driver.

What if the claim cannot be settled and a lawsuit is necessary?

If the at-fault driver’s family has established an Estate, you or your car accident lawyer may be able to file your lawsuit against the Estate, and serve the administrator.  Then, the Estate will turn the lawsuit over to the decedent’s insurance company, who will defend the case and pay a settlement or verdict if you win.

If there is no Estate administrator, an experienced attorney may be able to have a representative appointed, giving you the ability to serve and pursue your lawsuit.

What happens if the Georgia driver who was killed did not have insurance?

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In this case, you may have a claim against your uninsured (UIM) motorist coverage.  Assuming you have purchased UIM, your own insurance company may be responsible for coverage up to your policy limits.

Case Study – Marietta, GA Accident – a passenger may have an injury claim against a deceased driver.

A fatal accident in which the driver in a single vehicle accident was killed and his passenger survived recently happened in Marietta.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the driver lost control of a BMW convertible on Lower Roswell Road, struck a mailbox and went off the road. As the car left the road, it began to flip and came to rest against a utility pole.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. His 34-year-old passenger was trapped in the vehicle, and firefighters had to extract her from the vehicle. She was treated at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital for minor injuries.

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Even in cases like this, the driver can still be held responsible for the accident by filing an injury claim on the driver’s auto insurance.

In most injury accidents, compensation comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This is true whether the driver is injured or killed.

The Millar Law Firm personal injury law offices in Atlanta and expert car accident lawyers in South Atlanta are here to answer your questions. Contact us now by calling 404-620-4301.

Article Summary

If you’ve been in an accident where the at-fault driver does not survive, the decedent’s insurance company or Estate can still be held liable for your damages. Generally, the insurance information or the deceased’s address is available through the police report and can be used to notify the Estate representative or insurance company.  Your claim will be handled as part of the decedent’s estate.

If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, you might be able to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist policy.

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