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Can I Still Recover Damages if the At-fault Driver Died in the Accident in Florida? 

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Aerial view of a car with its headlights on driving over a pedestrian crosswalk at night.

An injured person in Florida may recover damages, even if the at-fault driver died in the accident. However, there are additional complications to consider. It is usually more challenging to reconstruct the crash without the deceased’s testimony. Further, recovering compensation for the plaintiff’s losses can be more complex as they could be making a claim against the estate and not an individual.  

A skilled Florida car accident lawyer from Kogan & DiSalvo could review your case and determine an appropriate course of action. Contact us today for a free consultation. As South Florida’s premier law firm, we use our considerable resources to negotiate with insurance companies and estate representatives and fight for your rights to recover damages—even if the at-fault driver is deceased.  

How the Death of an At-Fault Driver Affects Your Case 

A three-car accident with an emergency services vehicle behind

As noted, the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging, especially if the at-fault driver is deceased.  

No Testimony from the At-Fault Driver 

There isn’t an opportunity to hear the at-fault driver’s version of the accident. Without their testimony, it could be more challenging to reconstruct the accident and events leading up to it–as you must rely on witness accounts, police reports, and expert opinions to determine fault. 

Determining Insurance Coverage 

Another challenge is assessing whether the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will cover your damages. Insurance companies could use many reasons to deny coverage. For example, the insurance company’s payment processor had a glitch, and it charged the credit card a day late. The deceased person knew this and had an email confirmation, but their estate representatives might not have access to the email and probably cannot prove continuous coverage. 

The Claims Process Becomes More Complex 

Your attorney will work directly with the insurance company but may also need to speak with the estate administrator. If the insurer denies the claim or the liability coverage is too low to cover your damages, your attorney may need to file a claim against the estate. This may require involving probate court, which will probably add more time to your case. 

Limited Recovery of Damages 

When the at-fault driver’s estate has limited assets, you may face difficulties recovering the total damages owed. Matters may become more complex if that person has dependents and has already listed them as beneficiaries. An experienced attorney can tackle this and other issues. 

What To Include in Your Request for Compensation 

A black car with extensive damage from a side impact accident

You may request economic and non-economic damages as part of your settlement. Here are the main components of these two types of compensation. 

Economic Damages 

Economic damages compensate injured persons for the monetary losses from an accident. Here are some examples that your car accident attorney in Florida may request: 

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses related to the accident 
  • Rehabilitative therapies 
  • Lost wages and future lost wages 
  • Medical devices such as a walker or a wheelchair 
  • Prescription or over-the-counter drugs 
  • Transportation costs 
  • The costs of hiring home help 

Non-Economic Damages 

Non-economic damages compensate injured persons or survivors for losses that do not have a specific monetary value. These are more difficult to calculate, but each law firm has a formula for putting a dollar amount to these and other examples: 

  • Physical pain and anguish 
  • Emotional suffering 
  • Loss of quality of life 

The Amount of Compensation When the At-Fault Driver Died 

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If the case is successful, you may receive several thousand or upwards of a million dollars—if your injuries are severe or debilitating. Compensation in these cases will vary significantly based on these and other factors

  • The severity of property damage and the cost of replacement 
  • The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits 
  • The experience level of your personal injury lawyer 

Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Florida 

A woman and a truck accident lawyer with a clipboard examine a crashed truck

Insurance coverage plays a significant role in recovering damages. Consider the issues in Florida and why you need an experienced lawyer:  

  1. No-fault insurance: Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. If the accident caused minor injuries, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance pays your medical bills and part of your lost wages. However, if you meet the state’s serious injury threshold, you can go outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit. 
  1. Modified comparative negligence: Florida is now a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction. It generally bars cases where the victim is more than 50% at fault. In addition, compensation is adjusted by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault and received a $1 million settlement, you would likely get $750,000.  
  1. No auto insurance: You typically negotiate with or sue a person’s insurance company, but what if they aren’t insured? Florida has one of the largest percentages of uninsured drivers on the road. However, a skilled lawyer could surmount this obstacle by, for example, examining your insurance policy to see if you have uninsured/underinsured coverage. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation 

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If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a deceased at-fault driver, contact us at Kogan & DiSalvo for a free consultation. We could assess your accident, determine if you have a personal injury claim, and answer all your questions. There is no obligation to hire us—and since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees. We look forward to hearing from you.  

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