Do i have any legal recourse if the at-fault driver was killed and underinsured?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do i have any legal recourse if the at-fault driver was killed and underinsured?

I was hit head on at full highway speed by a man who was texting and driving. The other driver died at the scene. He was unmarried and had minimum coverage. What can I do if the $15,000 max is not enough to settle my debt post accident?

Asked on March 8, 2019 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue his "estate," or the assets he left behind, and IF he left behind sufficient money or liquidatable assets to pay the rest of your loss, you could potentially recover your losses from the estate. But bear in mind that if he had minimum coverage, he may not have had much in the way of money or other assets (so you may not recover anything), and the only way to get at anything he left is by suing--and you generally have to file the lawsuit before knowing for sure if it's worth doing (since you can only get information about his estate's money and assets after you sue it).
Suing the estate is the only way to get any money, since 1) his insurer does not owe any more than the policy limits (e.g. $15k) and 2) your insurance would only pay if you have the appropriate types of coverage (e.g. collision for your car; your own liability coverage will pay nothing to you, since it pays out to others hurt by you).

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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