The Person Who Caused the Wreck Died. How Does That Affect My Rights?

I was hurt in a head-on automobile accident.  The driver that crossed the centerline and hit me died in the wreck.   Do I have legal rights against him even if he is dead?

Yes.   Although you can’t sue someone who is dead, you can sue his estate.   If an estate is not opened for him, you (through your lawyer) can petition the court to have an estate opened so that you can sue it and collect the monies you are entitled to recover.

The fact that the person who hit you died does not relieve his insurance company of the obligation to defend the case and pay the monies to you that you are entitled to receive under the law (up to the liability insurance policy limits).  To the extent that the value of your case exceeds the amount of insurance available, you will also have a claim against the assets of the deceased driver.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to help you through this process.   Remember that in Tennessee a personal injury claim must be filed against the responsible people within one year of the date of the accident.   Under these circumstances you will need act even more promptly than usual because the lawyer you hire will need to do extra work to get an estate opened for the decedent so that suit can be filed within one year of the date of the accident.