At-fault driver in bodily injury accident, insured by State Farm, dies before lawsuit filed; no personal representative/estate. How to proceed?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 14, 2012

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Insurance Question from Bonny Doon, CA

Asked on 02/14/2012

At-fault driver in bodily injury accident, insured by State Farm, dies before lawsuit filed; no personal representative/estate. How to proceed? Defendant, State Farm insured, died but no probate proceeding open. Whom does plaintiff serve? Can substitute State Farm, which has accepted claim liability?

Answer given on February 19, 2012

If the person who caused the accident was insured, you should be able to have your attorney serve notice to State Farm if you cannot find any relative who is a part of the deceased person’s estate. State Farm would receive any notice of suit if their client was alive so they would be handling the suit accordingly. I presume you have an attorney and they should be aware as to how to handle this.If you don’t have an attorney, you are probably working with an adjuster from the insurance company. They will advise you how to proceed with submitting any bills for injury or property damage to your car. Since they have accepted liability there should not be any noticeable problems in resolving this issue. However, be aware that most insurance companies wait for all injury bills to be submitted before they offer any bodily injury settlement. The adjuster should explain the process to you.

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