While this question may seem odd, there are a variety of situations that can occur where a person may need to file a claim against a deceased person. It happens all the time. For instance, say that you and your family are driving home one evening and a drunk driver runs a red light and strikes your vehicle. The drunk driver suffers fatal injuries, and your children suffer injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Who should pay for your children’s medical bills? Because the drunk driver caused the accident, he or she should be legally liable for the injuries your children sustained, especially since alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident. In order to get the compensation you deserve, you will likely need to pursue a claim against the driver’s estate. Because this person is no longer living, the course of action you will take to file a claim will be different than if the driver had survived the accident.
After the accident, the deceased’s estate will go through probate court to determine its value and how creditors and debts are settled. Once these areas are fulfilled, beneficiaries or heirs will receive inheritances.
Once the estate goes to the probate process, the executor will notify all the potential creditors that the estate is being settled. Because your children suffered injuries at the hand of the deceased, you are considered a potential creditor and will need to notify the court.
Protect Your Claim
Because the probate process has strict rules regarding deadlines, it is important to file your claim against the estate within a certain timespan. Creditor claims involve filing legal documents with the probate court to notify them that you believe you are entitled to receive compensation from the estate.
Once your claim is filed with the court, it will still need to be decided whether your claim is valid. Investigators will determine if the accident was caused by the drunk driver and if your children’s injuries were directly caused by the accident. If you claim is approved, the courts will decide how you will be compensated. If the deceased had adequate insurance coverage to cover the medical costs for your children, you will receive compensation through the driver’s insurance. However, should the driver’s insurance coverage not be sufficient in covering the costs of medical care, only then will the deceased’s assets be available to you.
Depending on how much the estate is valued at, as well as how many creditors are in line to receive inheritance, your attorney will work to get your as much compensation from the estate as legally possible. Claims against the estate, such as your personal injury claim, are typically paid before heirs named in the will.
Contact Legal Assistance
Should you find yourself in a circumstance similar to the example above, contact the lawyers at Big Horn Law. Our personal injury attorneys know how to get you’re the compensation you deserve, and will be able to petition for you in court.