The law in the State of Washington allows the two surviving car crash victims to pursue compensation for their injuries, but in doing so, they must depart from the established procedure that they would have used had the driver who crossed the centerline lived. According to Gourley Law Group, upon the death of a person, his or her estate usually passes through the probate process. The decedent’s assets are inventoried, and a value is placed on them. The debts of creditors are also paid. After that, the probate court enters an order distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.
As soon as the driver who is said to have crossed the centerline died, the injured survivors became possible creditors. The personal representative (executor) of the decedent’s estate is required to give the survivors of the crash notice that the estate has been opened along with the deadline for filing claims against the estate. Failure to file a timely probate claim will probably operate to forfeit any rights that the victims might have against the other driver’s estate. If they don’t receive a probate notice, they can file a claim anyway. If no estate was opened, as potential creditors of the estate, they can petition the probate court to open an estate. They must act quickly though. Time limits apply.
A hearing on the survivors’ claims might be necessary to determine liability. Assuming that there is going to be a ruling in their favor, a determination can be made on any damages that they might recover. If the decedent had liability insurance, any damages awards would be paid from that coverage. If the decedent was uninsured or underinsured, assets from her estate might be available. Assuming that the victims had uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, claims might be made through that coverage too.