Rural Iowa At-Fault Driver Died, How do I get insurance from the deceased driver?

Why did they cross the center line?

According to the police report here is what we are told: This is another head-on collision where for some unknown reason the elderly driver crosses the center line when another vehicle is heading her way. Was it a cell phone that distracted the driver or some other gadget where their attention was centered? Whatever it was distracted driving is killing people. This one we may never know what distracted them, but you don’t just go over the center line if you’re paying attention to your driving. This driver is 73-years-old and age may be a reason or cause but before seeing all the evidence I wouldn’t totally discount other distractions as being possible causes. It looks like from the report that the 73-year-old woman died in the collision, although the formatting of this electronic report makes it a little difficult to be certain. The Globe Gazette, reporter Peggy Senzarino, does report that it is the driver from Garner, Sharlene Marie Reising who died. [Someone got an interesting photo. See the article.] The other driver, Anthony Boeckholt, 56 was from Titonka and he was injured enough to require the ambulance from Britt to take him to Hancock County Memorial Hospital.

So let’s talk about what happens in these cases where an at-fault driver dies. First understand because the driver is no longer alive you can’t serve them so starting a lawsuit will be different, because you will sue the estate by naming the estate and serving the administrator. If the at-fault driver had some accumulated assets the heirs will open an estate to legally change ownership of the assets, so before that happens the person injured by the at-fault driver needs to file a claim in the estate. As you can certainly see it takes a lawyer who has practiced in this area to understand how and when to file the claims and it takes a lawyer skilled in personal injury work to know how to collect the money. The insurance doesn’t go away when you die, it remains intact but the adjusters aren’t going to just send you the injured guy a check without getting the estate released. So unfortunately you will need at least one and perhaps two lawyers.

In my office I handle the personal injury and we use local attorneys (not my office) that handle the local estate work. We use local attorneys because they know the local probate judges and they too need to earn a living. It’s not easy being a country lawyer serving the people of rural Iowa and at the same time earning a living. I’m not here to put them out of business, but to work with them. On the other hand, local estate attorneys who handle personal injury work are barking up the wrong tree; it’s sort of like I would tell my former father-in-law, “I won’t try to plow your farm fields if you promise to stop trying to practice law.”

Looking back this accident, according to the report this accident occurred at 9:14 a.m. on a Thursday.

Minimal Crash Report:
 Case Number:
 2012026231
 Type:
 Fatality
 County:
 41
 Crash Date:
 05102012
 Time:
 0914
 Location:
 HWY 18 1 MILE EAST OF BRITT

 Vehicle 1 Year:
 2007
 Make:
 DODGE
 Type:
 GRAND CARAVAN
 Towed By:
 TRULSONS TO BRITT
 Driver Name:
 SHARLENE MARIE REISING
 Age:
 73
 City & State of Residence:
 GARNER,IA

 Vehicle 2 Year:
 2008
 Make:
 DODGE
 Type:
 RAM PICKUP
 Towed By:
 TRULSONS TO BRITT
 Driver Name:
 ANTHONY ELVIN BOECKHOLT
 Age:
 56
 City & State of Residence:
 TITONKA,IA
 Injury 1 Type:
 Fatality
 Name:
 SHARLENE MARIE REISING
 Age:
 73
 City & State of Residence:
 GARNER,IA
 seat belt Use:
 Yes
 Life saved by seat belt:
 No
 Transported To:
 CATALBO FUNERAL HOME
 Transported By:
 FUNERAL HOME

 Injury 2 Type:
 Injured
 Name:
 ANTHONY ELVIN BOECKHOLT
 Age:
 56
 City & State of Residence:
 TITONKA,IA
 seat belt Use:
 Yes
 Life saved by seat belt:
 Yes
 Transported To:
 HANCOCK MEM HOSP
 Transported By:
 BRITT AMBULANCE
 Summary:

   
VEH 1 WAS WB ON HWY 18 1 MILE E OF BRITT FOR UNKNOWN REASON CROSSED CENTER LINE AND STRUCK VEH 2 HEAD ON, ASSISTED BY HANCOCK COUNTY SHERIFF OFFICE, BRITT POLICE, WEST HANCOCK AMBULANCE, BRITT FIRE AND AMBULANCE

 Officer Name:
 SCOTT
 Post:
 08
 Assisted By:
 SEE SUMMARY
Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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