What Happens In an Accident When the At-Fault Driver Is Killed?
Holding Someone Accountable When the At-Fault Driver is Killed
When you are involved in a serious car accident, the driver responsible for causing the crash can be held accountable for the results. From medical costs to the costs associated with work absences, you can hold the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company responsible. But what happens in Georgia if the driver at fault is killed?
You may still have a claim:
In Georgia, when the at-fault driver has been killed in a car-accident, his or her automobile insurance is likely still responsible to settle, 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.
How does the claim get settled?
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 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?
In this case, you may have a claim against your un-insured (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, the passenger’s injury claim
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.
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.
Fatal accidents like this one are tragic, and the surviving victim may feel some remorse in filing a claim against the deceased’s insurance, particularly if they were friends. While that is understandable, insurance claims are not something to feel bad about. We are legally required to cover our vehicles with insurance precisely for situations like this.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and have questions about your legal options and how it might affect the at-fault driver, contact our offices for a risk-free consultation today.
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The auto accident lawyers of The Millar Law Firm are here to answer your questions. Contact us now by calling 404-620-4301.