No one wants to be involved in a car accident. Accidents that result in someone’s death are particularly traumatizing. It can be challenging to move forward, but anyone in this position knows that the bills don’t stop piling up just because you were in a crash with another party who is now deceased..
Fortunately, recovering compensation after the at-fault driver dies in a crash is a fairly straightforward process.
As in most other states, recovering compensation through Connecticut personal injury law depends on establishing liability. When you’re hurt and someone else caused the accident, you need to provide legal proof of negligence. Negligence as a legal concept is proven by showing four points:
Once you prove negligence, you’ve established liability. At that point, the other person can be held legally responsible for paying for the damage.
Getting a lawyer involved from the start is often essential for a successful case. For example, if the deceased at-fault driver was under the influence at the time of the crash, it’s essential to obtain evidence that they were driving under the influence. This is a time-sensitive matter, and if you miss the window of time, it can be hard to build your case.
Once you prove liability for a Connecticut car accident, you can recover compensation through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. Whether the driver died during or after the crash is not usually relevant to your claim. Since the at-fault driver was alive at the time they caused the crash, you can still seek compensation through their insurance company.
Insurance policies set limits that determine how much money the company might have to pay out over an accident. In Connecticut, the legal requirement for minimum liability coverage is that drivers be insured for $25,000 per bodily injury and $50,000 per accident.
Some car accidents can result in severe injuries. When you suffer a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, the lifetime medical costs can be exorbitant. On top of medical expenses and attendant care costs, you can also seek compensation for lost wages and benefits as well as emotional damages.
If the at-fault driver carried only minimum liability coverage, policy limits might mean that the potential insurance compensation doesn’t come close to adequately covering the costs.
If your lawyer is able to recover the full policy limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy but it’s not enough to cover the damage, your final compensation option is to pursue a claim against the deceased’s estate.
This makes the process of recovering compensation more complicated, but it’s likely your only remaining option for recovering the money you need.
When someone dies, their estate affairs are handled by a process called probate. The probate process includes using estate assets to pay off any outstanding debts before what remains of the estate passes to the deceased’s heirs. You can attempt to recover the remaining amount you’re owed by filing a claim in probate court.
Connecticut state law puts time limits on how long you have to initiate legal action to recover injury compensation. In general, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in civil court.
Insurance companies do not make it easy for you to recover the compensation you deserve. Insurance negotiations can be a drawn-out process, and it might be necessary to file in court simply to prove that you’re serious about initiating legal action if you need to.
Some of the major challenges you face include:
It’s important to begin working with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you don’t run out of time to file a lawsuit. This is particularly true in cases involving serious injury.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limit means that you won’t be fully compensated for your injuries, you’ll need to act quickly to pursue compensation against the estate before it passes out of probate.
Most car accident lawyers work on contingency. This means you’ll have to pay only if they win your case — legal fees come directly out of the compensation they win for you.
Car accident compensation is unique in every case. A lawyer will identify your case value by looking at things like your medical expenses, time missed from work, and the long-term impact of your injuries.
After a Connecticut car accident, you need to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will immediately get involved, working to preserve evidence that will be needed to prove that the other driver was at fault for the crash. They’ll obtain evidence in your defense, such as police reports, traffic camera footage, and eyewitness testimony.
Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge is a leader in Connecticut personal injury law. Our experienced car accident lawyers are ready to help fight for justice after a car accident. Call us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Connecticut car accident lawyer.
At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.
Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.