My brother was involved in a car accident while being a registered driver on my insurance policy. The car in the wreck was in my name. The other driver involved in the accident filed a lawsuit against my brother for medical expenses. My brother died recently to something unrelated. As my insurance policy is not going to cover all of the medical expenses the other driver is after will I be the one responsible to cover the remaining balance?
My condolences on your loss.
In a motor vehicle accident:
- the at-fault driver is responsible for the damage caused,
- the owner may also be responsible in certain circumstances; for example, if the driver is an agent of the owner.
In the circumstances, the aggrieved person has sued the driver. The death of the defendant in a civil trial does not end the suit - it will continue against the estate of the deceased.
If the defendant has insurance, then that has nothing to do with the plaintiff. An insurer indemnified the insured - that is, up to the limit of the policy, they will mount a defence and pay out any successful claims against the insured. If the limit of the insurance is greater than the loss, great - the insured pays the excess and the insurer pays the claim. If the claim is greater than the cover, the insured pays the excess, the insurer pays up to the limit and the insured pays whatever is leftover. In this case, it means the estate of your brother is liable and cannot be distributed to the beneficiaries until this is resolved.
The plaintiff can, if they think they can win, sue the owner arguing that they are also liable. This may be something they will now consider.