You can sue for wrongful death in a motorcycle accident claim if you represent the estate of the deceased, and another party was liable for the accident. A lawyer can help you determine liability.
Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Due to Negligence
In 2017, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Motorcycles are notoriously dangerous, but motorcycle accidents often happen because other drivers are not paying careful attention to their surroundings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that more than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 involved a collision with another moving vehicle. Because motorcycles are smaller and take up less space on the road, other drivers sometimes fail to see them. When another vehicle changes lanes, the driver might not signal or check their vehicle’s blind spot where it is easy for a motorcycle to hide from view.
The NHTSA also reports that approximately 43 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve alcohol, and one-third of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes result from other motorists turning into the motorcycle’s path.
When another driver’s negligence causes one or more fatalities in a motorcycle accident or injuries that lead to fatalities, the estate of the deceased may wish to sue for wrongful death. Normally, the deceased’s estate includes immediate family members, such as their surviving spouse or partner, children, or parents.
If no immediate family members exist, or they do not wish to file a lawsuit, the executor of the estate may file. State laws vary on who can sue for wrongful death, so check the laws where you live.
What a Lawyer Must Prove in a Wrongful Death Case
To file a lawsuit for wrongful death, a lawyer must prove liability. To prove liability, a lawyer must show that the liable party was negligent in their duty to drive responsibly. Another driver might have been negligent if they:
- Drove while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Were distracted by texting or another activity while driving
- Fell asleep at the wheel
- Were speeding or driving aggressively or recklessly
- Failed to yield to an oncoming driver
A lawyer can attempt to prove negligence by first collecting evidence. They may collect evidence by:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Looking over documentation such as police and medical reports
- Visiting the accident scene
- Reconstructing the accident
- Looking at video surveillance from the area
- Examining photos
- Speaking with experts who also may be willing to testify
Sometimes the negligible party is not another driver but someone else. If a defective motorcycle part caused an individual’s death, a company or manufacturer might be to blame, and a product liability case may follow. Once an attorney establishes liability, they can attempt to recover damages on your behalf.
Recoverable Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Claim
When you sue for wrongful death in a motorcycle accident claim, you might be able to recover some of your losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a loved one’s income
- Grief and mental anguish
There may be other recoverable damages not included on this list. A lawyer can detail all your recoverable damages and put a dollar amount on them, even if they are noneconomic damages.
A dollar amount can be difficult to ascertain for noneconomic damages, such as grief and mental anguish or pain and suffering. Each loss is different, and many factors go into determining the dollar amount. Courts can also interpret them differently. A lawyer can help determine a recoverable dollar amount.
If the accident occurred in a no-fault state, the liable party’s insurance company could pay personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits. However, you may still be able to file a motorcycle accident liability claim against the at-fault party.
A lawyer might tell you never to speak with an insurance company or adjuster by yourself. Adjusters have the insurance company’s interests in mind and want to make a profit. They do not want to pay on a claim and, if they do, they aim to pay as little as possible.
A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and manage all communications with an insurance company so that you don’t have to. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not pay a settlement or fails to pay a fair settlement, a lawyer could opt to take the case to court. Your attorney can keep you informed of each step in the litigation process, and they will not stop fighting until you are satisfied.
Call Ben Crump Law Firm, PLLC Today
All states have different statutes of limitations, which is the time allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Sometimes the time varies depending on the circumstances. Because of this, you do not want to wait too long to file a claim. Investigations and litigation also can take a good amount of time, and once the time has elapsed, you might not ever be able to file a claim.
If you are interested in suing for wrongful death due to a motorcycle accident, a lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, might be able to help. Call (800) 924-3113 for a free consultation.
You do not have to worry about legal fees. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay anything upfront or out of pocket. We collect our fee from any settlement we obtain for you.