What to do if my father was killed in a DUI accident and the settlement was over $300,000?

However the man had no insurance so the judge said that I would receive the man’s mother’s house after she passes. What is the process after she passes and is there a way for them to get out of payment if for instance they change names on the deed. Also, if the house is not worth the settlement amount am I entitled the rest of the settlement?

Asked on February 18, 2013 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can easily get out of this: all they have to do is NOT pass the house to him, whether at her death or otherwise. So, for example, if she sells the house, or leaves it to someone else in  her will, he will not get it, and therefore you cannot get it; that's because the mother (or anyone else who buys or otherwise receives the house) was not a party to the lawsuit and is not affected by it. Only the man who killed your father and who agreed to settle the case is bound by the settlement, so it only affects assets that actually come into his hands.

If you have a settlement for a given amount and do not receive that amount for any reason, you should be able to sue on the settlement and then seek to collect the money otherwise, such as by garnishing wages, executing on personal property (e.g. having vehicles of his seized and sold), levying on his bank account, etc. However, as a practical matter, if he has few assets, little money, and not much income, you may not be able to collect.

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