Buffalo Personal Injury Claims Against Deceased Defendants.

August 27, 2013

Some personal injury accidents, particularly motor vehicle accidents, cause injury not only to innocent parties but also to the person whose negligence caused the accident.  When a Buffalo personal injury accident results in the death of the person who caused it, it is still possible for other injured parties to pursue damages.  In some cases, however, it means your personal injury lawyer also must understand estate law.

Generally, when a defendant is deceased, a personal injury attorney may still attempt to settle a claim with the deceased person’s insurance company.  If the claim cannot be settled through negotiations with the insurer and the case needs to be sued, the matter may become more complicated.  In cases where there have already been an estate set up to distribute the defendant’s assets, the administrator of the estate would take the place of the deceased defendant for purposes of being served with papers and other legal matters. The personal injury lawsuit would otherwise proceed normally.

Where there is no estate, the matter can become slightly more difficult.  If the only asset of the estate is the insurance policy that would cover the injured person’s claim for damages, the injured person may have to make arrangements to have the estate set up.  In this situation, an administrator would be appointed to the estate for the sole purpose of accepting service of the papers initiating the lawsuit.  These are then passed on to attorneys chosen by the insurance company to defend against the personal injury claim.

If you were injured in an accident and the negligent party is deceased, it helps to have a personal injury lawyer who knows how to navigate this system.  Our firm can help you.  Call us at 716-400-0000.