What Happens in a Long Island Personal Injury Case if the At-Fault Driver Dies?

By Steven Miller
Senior Partner

Car accidents are frightening, chaotic incidents, and the tragic results don’t always care about fault. There have been many accidents where the at-fault driver has died and the blameless driver has lived.

Fortunately, the at-fault driver’s status doesn’t make a lot of difference to how your Long Island personal injury case will unfold. Insurance policies pay for personal injury claims, not individual drivers.

Insured Driver

Most drivers will be insured. The fines for going without insurance or for allowing someone to drive your uninsured vehicle can be as much as $1500. The exact amounts will depend on the number of days your policy has been lapsed. 

If the driver was insured you’ll file your claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance as normal. You’ll still want to hire a personal injury attorney, as the at-fault driver’s company will definitely have its own lawyers working your case. 

If the at-fault driver’s policy limits won’t cover your entire settlement we may be able to make a claim for the remainder against the at-fault driver’s estate. This is certainly often easier than making a claim against a living driver’s assets.

Uninsured Driver

Hopefully you had insurance, even if the at-fault party did not. If you did, you would be able to file your claim against your own uninsured/underinsured (UIM) policy. 

About one in eight drivers are uninsured, so we always urge our clients to buy as much of this kind of coverage as their wallets can stand. That’s 4.1% of all New York drivers. The $25,000 per person basic UIM coverage is rarely enough to cover severe injuries of any kind.

If you don’t have sufficient UIM coverage we may be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver’s estate, just like any other creditor, but this is rare: drivers who have estates rarely go without insurance. 

Get Help Today

Before you can start worrying about how to get an at-fault driver to pay up, you have to prove that they were the at-fault party at all. Shifting blame onto the plaintiff is a time-honored tactic for these insurance companies.

The earlier you involve an attorney, the better. Reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Miller, Montiel, & Strano. Your no-obligation case consultation is absolutely free, which means you don’t have to engage in guesswork about whether or not your case is strong enough to proceed. You can just get the help you need fast.

See also:

Staten Island, NY – Child Killed in Fatal Pedestrian Accident on Forest Ave.

Queens, NY – Critical Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accident on Queens Blvd.

Brooklyn, NY – Bus Crash With Injuries at Kingston Ave & Eastern Pkwy.

About the Author
Steven Miller, Esq. is the founding member and Senior Partner in Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. Mr. Miller’s extensive career as a trial attorney spans five decades. He tries cases for the catastrophically injured victims of construction site accidents, motor vehicle and premises accidents caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Miller is a detail oriented, tenacious attorney committed to achieving the maximum results for his clients; he has obtained numerous seven figure verdicts and settlements.