Seeking compensation from the at-fault driver is an important step in moving forward from a devastating Oklahoma car accident. But what if the at-fault driver unfortunately died in the crash?
You can still recover compensation through the same methods you would if the driver had survived: an insurance claim, a lawsuit, or both. But the way you go about the claim is slightly different, and you may choose to hire an Oklahoma car accident attorney to assist you.
Filing an Insurance Claim With a Decedent’s Policy
Your first option is to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Just because the driver passed away doesn’t mean that their insurance policy was not active at the time of the crash. As long as the driver had liability insurance on their auto policy and their policy was active, you can submit a claim.
Insurance claims generally cover the direct monetary expenses you incurred from the crash, such as medical bills and property damage. Insurance claims will sometimes cover additional expenses like lost wages, but this depends on the type of policy.
An OK car collision lawyer can help you navigate an insurance claim with the decedent’s insurance policy. You may need to contact the at-fault driver’s personal representative to learn their insurance information, and this can be a touchy subject in the wake of the at-fault driver’s death.
It’s better to let trained car accident legal counsel handle the process than to try to navigate it on your own, especially while you’re recovering from injuries.
Taking Legal Action
Often, insurance claims don’t cover all of the expenses of a serious car accident. Your Oklahoma car accident attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit either against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or against their estate.
Suing the insurance company would follow the same process as if the at-fault driver were still alive. Your attorney in Oklahoma can help you collect evidence showing that the insurance company did not provide a sufficient offer for all of the expenses you incurred from the crash. Often, lawsuits against insurance companies settle out of court, so you may not need to go through a trial to seek additional compensation.
But if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance at the time of the accident or their insurance coverage limits won’t sufficiently cover all your damages, you may need to file a lawsuit against the decedent’s estate. In that case, you would seek compensation from the estate’s assets, or whatever money and property the at-fault driver left behind.
A lawsuit could allow you to cover all of the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Time off work
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
However, these cases can be very complicated, so it’s important to work with an experienced OKC car accident lawyer throughout the process. You also must ensure that you file the lawsuit within Oklahoma’s two-year statute of limitations for car accident cases; otherwise, you risk losing out on additional compensation forever.
Bryan Garrett PLLC: Your Oklahoma City Car Crash Lawyer
Whatever type of car accident case you’re facing, our attorneys at Bryan Garrett PLLC can provide personalized legal assistance to help you seek compensation. We have helped numerous car accident victims throughout the greater Oklahoma City area navigate complex cases and move forward from their accidents. Our Oklahoma car accident attorneys are ready to assist your case. Contact us today at 405-369-7723 to schedule your free consultation.