What can I do with a personal injury lawsuit/settlement if the plaintiff suddenly died? 24 Answers as of December 05, 2012

Is the plaintiff's daughter now authorized to act on behalf of her father?

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Was the death related to the accident? If so, you are in trouble, because it is now a wrongful death claim. If the death is NOT related to the accident, then the question is: Did someone take a deposition of the deceased plaintiff? If the answer is NO, then the case died with the plaintiff, because no one can testify to how the accident happened and what the damages are. If the answer is yes, then the case will proceed to trial.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/5/2012
Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A.
Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A. | Howard Mishkind
If the plaintiff dies you will need to consult with a probate attorney to open an estate so that the settlement can be finalized and the proceeds distributed in accordance with her will or if she did not have a will in accordance with Ohio Law.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/2/2012
Douglas J. Smith, Attorney
Douglas J. Smith, Attorney | Douglas Smith
Did an attorney file the lawsuit for personal injury or is it from an auto accident? If it is a pending insurance claim, I would think they are still obligated to settle anyway.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 12/2/2012
The Law Offices of Mark Wm. Hofgard, Esq.
The Law Offices of Mark Wm. Hofgard, Esq. | Mark William Hofgard
The daughter may or may not be authorized to represent the estate of the deceased. If the daughter is the personal representative of the estate, she may represent the estate.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/2/2012
The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
Someone must be appointed either by direction of the will where there is an executor or and administration, who would generally step into the shoes of the plaintiff. The plaintiff's attorney should set same up, get letters of administration so that he has the ability to have someone as a client. Once the case is settled you must again request the court to intervene to settle same.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/30/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Whoever takes over her father's estate will take over the case. You may need to open a probate.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The Executor of the estate is responsible for the claims you are bringing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    There is a procedure to substitute a plaintiff. If the daughter is the executor or trustee she can act for her deceased parent. The one benefit to you I recall from years ago is that a deceased person cannot recover for emotional distress damages.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Langer & Langer
    Langer & Langer | Jon Schmoll
    In Indiana if the plaintiff dies from causes not related to the collision, the case survives the plaintiff's death. If you have a written offer to settle the case, that offer is legally enforceable. It will be necessary to open an estate to have the court authorize the signing of a release.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    No...sue the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Settlement belongs to the estate of the decedent. If there is only one child it is simple. Your lawyer will know what to do.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Check with your local probate court to see if an administration of the plaintiff's estate is open. If so, the estate's personal representative or administrator should be authorized to act on behalf of the deceased plaintiff regarding a settlement of the lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    An estate must be set up with the probate court . The will appoint a relative to pursue the claim. The value may be limited by the short life of the father it the accident didn't cause his death.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    I have this exact situation currently in my office. Someone (daughter perhaps, could be someone else) has to be appointed as the representative of the estate (terminology varies depending if there was a will or not). If there is enough evidence to go forward, then the case can proceed. But it is possible that with the Plaintiff deceased, there might not otherwise be the necessary proof. So, once the estate representative is appointed, a decision has to be made as to whether to move forward, or drop the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Yes and no. the personal representative of the Defendant's estate is authorized to finish the case. This may or may not be the daughter. If no estate is ever opened, it might go away. If a lawyer is pursuing the case, the lawyer will likely find someone to open an estate and keep the claim alive.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    The Westerfield Law Firm
    The Westerfield Law Firm | Mark Westerfield
    In almost all cases, it is to your advantage to hire a lawyer for a personal injury case. Even with the percentage attorney fee, you will probably recover more if you have a lawyer working on your behalf. The insurance company adjusters are experienced and will only settle the case with you if it is to their advantage that means to your disadvantage. The answer to your question is that the claim survives the death. The daughter is probably the Executor of her father's estate. If there is insurance, it will still cover the claim even if the other party is deceased. In most cases, you can name the estate instead of the person. There may also be other people or companies that can be brought into the case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    Generally speaking, if the plaintiff dies before a settlement is reached (and signed "on the dotted line") or a judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the case passes with the plaintiff. UNLESS the death was caused in any way by the personal injuries. There may be some part of the case for a survival action - to pay medical bills etc. OR if the case can be converted into a wrongful death suit (but that is doubtful.)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    This is not an easy question to answer. There are many variables. When a plaintiff dies the "pain and suffering/emotional distress" portion of the claim dies with him. The case may continue for recovery of loss of earnings, medical expenses and for property loss, only. An Estate must be established to continue on with the case. (It is not difficult to establish an estate under these circumstances.) If, however, the injuries from the original accident caused or contributed to the person's death, the "personal injury" claim may be amended to be for wrongful death. Whether the daughter has such a claim cannot be determined from the information provided.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Ference & Associates LLC
    Ference & Associates LLC | Brian Samuel Malkin
    You need to open an estate and appoint an administrator and file a suggestion of death and end the Complaint. The administrator will continue in the shoes of the decedent plaintiff.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    If the plaintiff died, then a personal representative(executor) needs to be appointed by a court. That person would be authorized to accept the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Anderson, Bressman, and Hoffman, P.C., L.L.O | Ryan M. Hoffman
    The personal representative or executor of the estate would be authorized to bring a survival action.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Pinto Coates Kyre & Bowers, PLLC | Jon Ward
    In a circumstance in which someone who would have been entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit dies, the claim for personal injury becomes an asset of the decedent's estate. Thus, the administrator or executor of the estate will have the right to bring forward that claim (including filing suit, if necessary) on behalf of the estate, for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the estate (which may include children of the decedent). Basically, the person handling the estate has to bring that claim, and do so in a proper and timely manner. My suggestion would be to speak with that person (if you are not handling the estate). If you are handling the estate, you should seek legal advice and assistance.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    Consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/29/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    You would have to open a succession and have someone appointed as the succession representative. Then you will have to file a motion to substitute plaintiff with the succession representative.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/29/2012
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