Maryland car accident lawyers encounter several accident victims. Each victim has a unique story concerning their injuries. Furthermore, Maryland law allows car crash survivors to claim compensation from the at-fault driver. This is because Maryland is a fault-accident state. So, the negligent driver bears the losses of an accident.
However, at-fault drivers don’t always survive the collisions that they cause. Instead, they sometimes die in the accident. Of course, they could die on the spot. But, conversely, some drivers die while receiving medical treatment for their injuries.
Whatever the case, accident victims can start worrying about getting compensation if the fault party dies. That’s why it’ll be best to speak to a Maryland car accident lawyer. An excellent attorney will know how to get you the money you deserve.
Do I Lose My Right to Compensation After the At-Fault Driver Dies in the Crash?
No, you can still file a compensation claim after the death of the responsible party. Your legal right doesn’t die with the driver. Instead, you can now proceed against the deceased’s estate. Notably, you cannot sue the other party’s insurer directly. This is because you aren’t a party to the insurance contract.
Therefore, you cannot sue based on that contract. If you sue the insurance company, the court will strike out your claim. Your best chance is thus to proceed against the deceased’s estate. You can recover the same damages you get had the decedent survived with this legal action.
How Long Do I Have to Sue the Deceased’s Estate?
Just like normal car accident claims, you can’t approach the court whenever you like. Instead, you must institute any action within definite periods. The general car accident Statute of Limitations doesn’t apply here either. Instead, Section 8-103 of the Maryland Estates and Trusts law applies.
This law gives litigants only six months to make claims against a deceased’s estate. After that, the time starts counting from the decedent’s death date. After this period, you may lose your right to compensation. In some cases, you may also have just two months.
This will be where the estate’s personal representative sends you a mail or notice. This notice will inform you that your claim will be barred, except you present your claim within two months of the mail or delivery of the notice.
Is There an Exception to This Rule?
Unfortunately, six months is too short to file a personal injury lawsuit. Suppose the accident victim is severely injured. Then, they may not have recovered well enough to file a claim. In addition, many people aren’t aware of this law.
Such victims may thus believe that they have more time. This problem will be more pronounced if they rely on the general Statute of Limitations. Finally, an at-fault driver may die, and the victim is unaware of such death.
Suppose you even get a notice from the deceased’s estate. Two months is still insufficient to prepare and file a solid car accident claim. Fortunately, you can have the general car accident statutory period of three years. This will be possible where the at-fault driver has a valid and enforceable insurance policy.
Proving Your Case Against the Deceased At-Fault Driver
The at-fault driver’s death doesn’t make your compensation claim easier. Instead, you’ll still have to establish your right to damages. An insurance company or the deceased’s estate may even be wary of your claim. This is because the at-fault driver isn’t alive to defend themselves.
So, your attorney will need to gather evidence to win your lawsuit. An excellent attorney will help you ensure that your claim isn’t undervalued. Therefore, you’ll need the same types of evidence you’ll require if the at-fault driver was alive. This will include:
- Eye witness statements
- Photographic evidence
- Video and CCTV footage
- Physical evidence from the crash site
- Pictures from the accident scene
- The findings of an accident reconstructionist
Let’s Help You Proceed Against the Deceased At-Fault Driver’s Estate
Did you or your loved one survive a Maryland car accident? If you did, then you may be eligible for compensation. On the other hand, did the at-fault driver die in the crash? Even if they did, you could still recover damages for your losses. First, however, you’ll need the best Maryland car accident lawyers.
Getting compensation wouldn’t be easier because the fault party is dead. So, you’ll need the excellent attorneys at Pinder Plotkin, LLC. We’ve won several complicated cases for our clients over many decades. In addition, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in damages. We can thus replicate this for you if you hire us. So, call us today for a FREE consultation.