Settling the Toledo wrongful death car accident case proved beneficial to the client on three fronts: keeping her home, keeping her children, and helping her grieve properly. This would not have been possible without the help of an attorney because her late husband had died intestate. Fortunately, the client had reached out to experienced attorneys familiar with wrongful death cases. If you feel as though you need help settling your claim, an experienced attorney may be a good choice when looking for peace of mind.
The first step we took to attempt resolution outside of court was contacting the insurance company, letting them know that our office was representing the client and her children, and asking them to provide us with information about how much money was available under the policy to determine the collectible amount. If it had been a larger sum of money, then we would have moved into building our case and calculating the damages in this particular matter. Unfortunately, they only had $100,000 and the insurance company was going to offer that up as a full and final settlement at the beginning of the case.
Through our office, settling the Toledo wrongful death car accident case was easier. The client and the defendant reached an out of court settlement. There was no mediation or any face-to-face negotiation between our client or the defendant in this matter. The defendant actually was criminally responsible for this case, was prosecuted, and served jail time for this car accident as it was a second driving under the influence offense on their record. The client never dealt with that person individually. She worked through our office and we worked directly with the insurance company.
We opened an estate with the probate court on the day that the client came to our office, and she was appointed the administrator of the estate. Once she received the offer of the policy limit of $100,000, we had to file paperwork notifying the court that an offer had been made, how much that offer was, and what money was going to be subtracted from that initial $100,000.For example, there are the attorney’s fees. In this case, there were three separate attorneys’ offices working on this case. We had an office that worked on obtaining guardianship of the minor children, the two children who were not the client’s biological children. We had another office that prepared the estate accounting and probate paperwork, and then our office dealt with the insurance company for the personal injury portion of that claim. All three of those offices submitted their fees to the court for review as well as their case expenses. We spent less than $1,500 because there was little paperwork in wrongful death cases and we tried to keep the case expenses as low as possible. All of that information was given to the court and then they proposed how the rest of the funds would be distributed. The client’s main concern was putting the house in her own name and having to go through the proper channels to show that she was able to obtain a mortgage and pay for those mortgage payments on her own now that she would be living there as a single individual. When she came to our office, she had relatively low credit, so we paired her with a counselor for tips on how to raise her credit. She went through all of those steps, did a phenomenal job, and in less than two weeks she had raised her credit almost 100 points. That was really helpful, but it still was not enough to show the mortgage company that she would be able to afford the house. We were able to make a proposal to the probate court that showed she would receive 100 percent of the wrongful death proceeds and we would not allocate any money to the minor children. That is not a traditional approach. In most wrongful death cases, a probate court would not approve such as settlement. In this case, they did approve it because we provided them with information that the five minor children, the deceased’s minor children, would receive $20,000 each from a life insurance policy that he had in place at the time of his passing through his employer.
The client was not listed as a beneficiary on that life insurance policy, so the court took that into account. They valued each child’s portion of that life insurance policy and realized that, due to the children’s ages, they would have almost double that amount by the time they reached 18. Therefore, the probate court awarded the client 100 percent of the wrongful death proceeds and with that money she was able to purchase the house outright from the mortgage company. We were able to achieve both goals that she had when she came to us: getting guardianship over the children that were not her biological offspring and making sure that she was able to stay in the home that she shared with her late husband.
In this particular case, the victim of the Toledo wrongful death car accident passed away in September of 2017 and the case settled just two months shy of the one year anniversary of his death. That is a relatively quick settlement, even for a wrongful death case. In fact, this case would have settled much sooner but was stalled because it took law enforcement a while to finalize the crash report, possibly due to the impending criminal charges that were brought against the wrongdoer. It took them nearly six months before they could finalize the crash report and we were unable to accept the settlement from the insurance company until the crash report was released. While settling the Toledo wrongful death car accident case, this delay was helpful because it allowed her time to complete the proper steps and paperwork for the mortgage company.
For our client, settling the Toledo wrongful death car accident case was critical for her to continue her way of life, take care of her children, and keep her home. Fortunately, she was working with attorneys who were familiar with these cases. Even more so, this particular case was settled relatively quickly and allowed the client to grieve properly. If you find yourself in a similar situation, it could benefit you to consult with an attorney. Reach out to speak to experienced legal counsel today.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC