Can a child somehow be responsible for damages caused by a deceased parent?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2013

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Can a child somehow be responsible for damages caused by a deceased parent?

My wife’s absentee father recently passed away and we have received notice by mail that someone is attempting to sue his last wife, as well as his daughters, for damages from a 3 year old car accident.

Asked on March 29, 2013 under Accident Law, Alaska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father-in-law.

Your wife and your father-in-law's last wife are not personally liable for the auto accident if they were not the registered owners of the vehicle your father-in-law was driving.  They were named in the letter you received because your father-in-law's estate is liable for damages from the auto accident in which he was at fault.  The lawsuit should be against his estate.  It would be advisable to contact the auto insurance company  your father-in-law had at the time of the accident.  The auto insurance company might provide an attorney at no cost; however, that might not occur in this case since it involves the estate.  If the auto insurance company doesn't provide an attorney, then it would be advisable to speak with a probate attorney.

The lawsuit is being filed at this time because there is a three year statute of limitations in Alaska for filing a lawsuit in an auto accident case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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