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TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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I got in an accident on Valentines Day 2012, a lady ran into

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I got in an accident on Valentine's Day 2012, a lady ran into the back of me and had a heart attack and died at the hospital. Her insurance company is not wanting to pay because they are saying it was an "act of god." I am thinking about going after her estate. Should I write her husband a letter and tell him I am going after his estate to pay for my chiropractor's bill and my car damages? Or should I file a claim with the probate court against their estate?
Hi,

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about this situation.

Under California Law, an Act of God is an affirmative defense to a claim for personal injuries in a car accident. You would have to establish that the damages you incurred were the result of the negligence of the deceased woman. Because the wreck occurred not as a result of her negligence, but as a result of an Act of God (i.e., her heart attack), this will be a powerful defense if you attempted to sue the estate, and unless some other evidence arises regarding her negligence, you would not win the lawsuit.

That being said, it would be appropriate to first write her husband a demand letter and state that you intend to sue the estate. If a settlement is not offered, you would file your lawsuit as a claim in probate court against the estate.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Please also consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated for my work by the website.

Thanks,
ZDN
TexLaw and 2 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One of the officers at the scene told me she had a medical condition. Should I write her husband and tell him I'm going after his estate if he doesn't let his insurance company know that she had a medical condition?

You won't be able to go after his estate. You can only go after her estate. I'm assuming that the husband is the administrator of her estate. You might be able to make a case that it was negligent of her to be driving with her medical condition.

I would write a letter to both the insurance company and the husband and state that you believe she was negligent for driving under her condition and that you intend on suing the estate should the insurance company not pay the claim.

This will put pressure on the insurance company to settle. Of course, the best pressure is always filing the lawsuit.

Please let me know if you need further information. Please also consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question.

Thanks,
ZDN
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should I ask her husband if she had a medical condition? And if so he should tell the insurance company so this can be taken care of and I wouldn't have to file a claim against his estate. It was her fault and I shouldn't be the one to pay out of pocket. This has cost me 3700 dollars so far.

I think so. The insurance company doesn't have to settle the case even if the husband asks them to. However, it would be helpful to talk to him and ask him for his help on this matter in an effort to avoid having to file a lawsuit.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So if the husband said that she had a medical condition, wouldn't the insurance company have to pay, period?

No, the insurance company may decide to defend on the basis of an Act of God defense even with the issue of a medical condition out there. The burden of proof is on you to show that she was negligent by driving with a heart condition. It's not a very easy case to win.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If she had a heart condition and had a heart attack when she ran into the back of me, that is her fault. If she had a heart condition that is what happens, you have a heart attack. That is not an act of god. I'm not an attorney but that would be an easy case if she had a heart condition. And if this is not the case, then the insurance companies can say ANYTHING is an act of god and get away with it. That is ridiculous.

I disagree that its any easy case. You have to prove that she was being negligent by driving with a heart condition. That means you have to show that no reasonable person would drive if they have a heart condition like the one she had. Common experience will tell you that people drive with heart conditions all the time. So, to convince a jury that this was negligent is not going to be as easy as it sounds. Also, you are going to probably need a doctor come and testify as an expert witness about why it would be negligent and that she should have known not to be driving in her condition. That can be expensive unfortunately. It's not a necessity, but it would be the best way to establish liability in a case like this.

I'm just trying to warn you about what to expect. I think is a b.s. move by the insurance company to deny this claim. But insurance companies ROUTINELY do this sort of thing. It's scandalous really.

Good Luck and let me know if you need any further information and please consider rating my answer positively so that I'm compensated by the website for my work on your question.

Thanks,
ZDN
TexLaw and 2 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you

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