What Happens if the Motorist that Injured You Was Killed in the Collision?

You are involved in a multi-car collision. Glancing down at his phone to answer a message at the same time the traffic in front of him unexpectedly comes to a sudden stop, the driver behind you plows into the back of your car, causing you to hit the car in front of you and so on until the chain-reaction crash results in dozens of cars being involved and more than ten people suffering injuries. The force of the initial impact is strong enough that the other driver is instantly killed on impact, even with his airbag deploying. You are injured and suffer a severe case of whiplash, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and a permanent neck impairment as a result of the accident. 

The fact that (1) the other motorist died as a result of the collision that he caused and (2) that there were so many others also injured in the accident will make it exceedingly difficult to seek (and expect to recover) full compensation for your injuries and other damages in the same crash, which leaves you in a difficult position. Given how many people were involved in this accident, there may be a large number of these same injured persons seeking to make claims against the decedent’s estate in addition to you. In addition, under Florida law, your personal injury claim against the negligent motorist’s estate would not have a very high priority when it comes to being paid out of the estate’s proceeds once the decedent’s available automobile liability insurance has been exhausted. This can leave you at risk of not recovering full compensation for your claim.

Nevertheless, you still have plenty of options when it comes to obtaining compensation for your injuries even if this situation occurs to you. This is where having an experienced attorney like the Florida personal injury attorneys at Schwed Adams & McGinley can make a difference for you in determining how much you ultimately recover.

What Are Your Options After A Collision?

If the person that injured you either died in the collision in which you were injured or else died at some point during the pendency of a lawsuit against the driver regarding that collision, then you would still be able to maintain your claims against that person’s estate. Your claim would become a claim against his or her estate, which would be dealt with in the process of probate of that person’s estate. Probate is the process by which a court deals with the competing claims of the creditors (the people to whom the decedent owes or could owe money) against the assets of the deceased person.

Particularly in the case of a multi-car pileup caused by the deceased motorist, there may end up being so many claimants that the negligent motorist’s available insurance (if there is any, given the large number of uninsured/underinsured drivers in Florida) may quickly be exhausted without everyone’s claims being paid in full. In probate, you would also be competing with other creditors who may have a claim against the decedent’s estate, such as his mortgage lender, an ex-spouse seeking overdue child support, his credit card company, etc. However, assuming that the motorist was not extremely well-insured and given that personal injury claims are low on the list of the priority of claims set forth under Florida law as compared with things like unpaid child support, this would leave you needing to pursue other avenues if you hoped to recover more than, at best, pennies on the dollar when it comes to your claim.

Having an Experienced Attorney on Your Side Matters

You may find that multiple attorneys tell you that your case is strong in a collision scenario like this above, but they will not take your case because there is simply no way to recover much for your injuries because there are or will be too many claims against the estate of the motorist that injured you to make it worth their while to take your case. However, there is always a way for an experienced attorney to be able to recover compensation for you if you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, even in this type of scenario.

This is also where a creative and experienced personal injury attorney like the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley can make a big difference. Whether it is pursuing your own uninsured/underinsured (UM) insurance or else finding a way to pursue a claim or a party that other attorneys may not think of, we are unafraid to think outside the box in going the distance to recover the maximum compensation possible for our clients. We will not just tell you that you have a great case but throw up our hands because there are too many other claimants against the decedent’s estate. Instead, we will roll up our sleeves and find a different way to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle or pedestrian accidents, slip and fall incidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. We have faced numerous situations like the scenario above in which it appeared as if our client might be out of luck in being able to recover full compensation for their injuries and damages suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence and in each one we have been able to still recover compensation for our client. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall incident or any other situation caused by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.