Yes, under Missouri laws, you are eligible to file an injury claim even if the at-fault driver dies. Generally, you will file a claim against the driver’s insurance company.
Over 42,000 people died in car accidents in 2020, according to a recent report by the National Safety Council? That’s an 8 percent increase from the previous year. When someone dies in an auto crash caused by another driver’s negligence, their spouse and other eligible dependents may be able to pursue damages against the negligent driver.
However, what if the liable driver dies in a car accident? Can the injured victim still pursue an injury claim?
Can You Still File a Claim if the at-Fault Driver Dies?
Yes, under Missouri laws, you are eligible to file an injury claim even if the at-fault driver dies. But, who will you file the claim against? Not much will change — you’ll still file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Also, just like any other personal injury claim, you are generally entitled to compensation for accrued medical bills, lost wages, and intangible damages, such as pain and suffering.
How Can You Prove That a Deceased Driver Was at Fault?
To receive compensation, you must prove that the deceased driver caused or contributed to the accident and the resulting injuries and damages.
For this reason, it is essential to ensure you gather solid and convincing evidence. Your evidence may include medical reports, accident photos, witness statements, police reports, surveillance cameras that picked up the accident, etc. By analyzing the evidence, the court will determine if the deceased driver caused the accident and their degree of fault (since Missouri follows a pure comparative fault system). However, collecting evidence and using it to prove negligence is usually not easy. Therefore, it is recommended to work with an experienced attorney.
What if the at-Fault Driver Was Not Insured?
If the deceased driver was not insured, you could make a claim on your own Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). In such a case, your insurance company will take up the claim and cover your damages.
Alternatively, you can seek damages from the deceased driver’s estate. This is a long process and can drag for months, especially when the deceased assets are taken into probate. Here, the assets will generally be divided as an inheritance to the beneficiaries and cover damages of an accident. Depending on the number of assets, this can take months or years. For this and many other reasons, it is a good idea to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced car accident attorney.
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At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C, we understand injury victims’ difficulties after a car accident. Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and work hard to ensure you get the compensation you are legally entitled to. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation.
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