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"Juan" is driving along on his way to work. At the same time, a terminally depressed woman commits suicide by jumping off a tall building. She ends up landing on the roof of Juan's car, a la the photograph "the most beautiful suicide", totaling it and causing him mental and physical injury, lost wages, etc.

What damages can Juan seek, and from whom? The woman who harmed him and his property is no longer alive, so I'm not sure how this would work.

2 Answers 2

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Legal rights against people who have died can be enforced against their probate estate, assuming a claim is made in the proper manner, within the deadline for filing claims.

Essentially, a claim can be presented to the personal representative (a.k.a. executor) of the deceased person's probate estate, or to the clerk of the court which would have primary jurisdiction over that person's probate estate if it is filed. See here. If no probate estate is opened, an interested party, such as a creditor, can open an estate of the decedent to have the decedent's assets reduced to cash to pay the claim. The exact process is rather complicated and really calls for hiring a lawyer.

In some circumstances, a liability insurance policy of a decedent can be sued in a "direct action" even if the claim is barred in a probate estate. But, intentional acts are not insurable.

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    @InHocSigno you can not insure yourself against suicide.
    – Trish
    Jan 8 at 23:12
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    If the deceased made a will but their estate has not enough money, does the debt sit on the beneficiaries? Jan 8 at 23:13
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    @WeatherVane No. The beneficiaries have no liability other than having the debt eat up their inheritance. If the estate is insolvent then the debt goes unpaid.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 8 at 23:14
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    @InHocSigno This is explained at rcslawfirm.com/insurance-coverage-articles/… with regard to Texas auto insurance, but all other forms of liability insurance follow the same rule. Insurance covers accidents of the insured, not intentional harms. Of course, the victim's insurance would still cover the loss to the extent that their insurance covered it and then their insurance company would get a right to sue the estate in subrogation.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 8 at 23:15
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    I doubt that the deceased intended to harm that vehicle or its driver. Jan 8 at 23:17
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The person committing suicide has an estate.

The moment a person dies, all their property enters their estate. Juan could sue the estate of the deceased to try to recover some fo the damage resulting from the deceased's last action in life.

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