In California, there were 1,059 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2016, which represented about 29.2% of total traffic fatalities that year. Most of the time, when we talk about drunk driving fatalities, we are talking about innocent people who are hit, and killed, by drunk drivers. Sometimes, however, it is the drunk driver who dies. If you were seriously injured in a drunk driving crash, and then discovered that the driver who caused your injury died in the accident, who can you hold responsible for your injuries and losses?
If the drunk driver dies in the collision (or as a result of the collision, or for any reason afterwards), it does not preclude you from filing a claim against the driver’s estate. If the driver died without a will, the court appoints a personal representative who will handle the affairs of the estate. You would proceed with your personal injury lawsuit as you would have, had the person not died. You would have to prove that the at-fault driver was driving drunk when he/she caused the crash, and that the crash was the cause of your injuries.
I’ve won my case. What happens now?
If the case is decided in your favor, the driver’s estate will pay you through the driver’s insurance policy after it completes the probate process. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
However, it is important to note that in this case, your claim may take longer to process. When a person dies, their estate goes through probate automatically, and you may not be the only person with a claim on that estate. In the meantime, you may have to pay for your medical bills and auto repairs (assuming portions are not covered by your health and/or auto insurance), and then be reimbursed for those payments out of the estate. We can help you work through the process quickly and efficiently, so that you do not lose everything while you wait for your claim to be resolved.
The injury attorneys of Taylor & Ring in Los Angeles can help when you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. We fight for your rights and seek compensation on your behalf. You are welcome to call us today at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation right away.