Motorcycle accidents are often life-altering and traumatic. People can forget just how dangerous they can become and that severe and even deadly motorcycle crashes can occur. Other motorists drive recklessly, speed, get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or drive distracted, leading to many accidents some fatal.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the victims, their families, and the entire community are often devastated. Countless people must deal with grief and sudden loss in the wake of these deadly accidents.
If you recently lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you are familiar with this. You might wonder how you will ever live your everyday life again. It will take time, and there are no quick fixes, but you can learn to cope and rebuild your life. Meeting with a compassionate fatal motorcycle accident attorney is one step many families find helpful after losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident.
Some of the most common causes of fatal vehicle crashes include:
- Distracted drivers: Many serious and deadly accidents happen when motorist are using their phones, speaking with their passengers, or eating
- Reckless drivers: Reckless drivers can cause deadly crashes by making unsafe lane changes, speeding, and tailgating
- Exhausted drivers: Drivers sometimes fall asleep behind the wheel leading up to a deadly wreck. This happens a lot due to overworked truck drivers and people who work night shifts
- Intoxicated drivers: Nearly 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve a drunk driver, as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Defective vehicles: If your motorcycle or another vehicle on the road had a malfunctioning part, it can result in a fatal crash
- Motorists switching lanes or merging without looking or slowing down
- Motorists failing to yield the right of way and turning in front of motorcyclists
When a motor vehicle accident leads to a death, the family members of those who died suffer emotionally and, often, financially.
United States Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- Motorcycle accidents are 28 times more likely to result in fatalities per vehicle miles traveled. Riders are also four times more likely to suffer an injury.
- Motorcycles only make up 3 percent of the registered vehicles in the U.S. but account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Motorcycle fatalities increased by 11 percent in a recent year, from 5,044 to 5,579.
- The number of older motorcycle rider deaths (55 and above) increased over the past decades—from three percent in 1975 to 27 percent today.
- Most motorcycle deaths occur between June to September. Each month accounts for at least 12 percent or more of the total motorcycle accident fatality count.
- Motorcycle helmets decrease the risk of head injuries by 69 percent and the risk of fatalities by 42 percent
- Helmets save approximately $2.7 billion in annual economic costs, though they cannot always protect from a fatal head injury
What Is a Wrongful Death?
All states have a wrongful death statute, but each state can define wrongful death slightly differently. Wrongful death is generally a death caused by the negligence, inattentiveness, default, or wrongful act of another person or party. If the deceased victim were alive with the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for their injury, the family usually has the right to file a wrongful death suit under the same conditions after their death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Since the deceased person cannot file a lawsuit for their own death, the motorcycle law must state who can do so on their behalf. Typically, no matter the state, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit first goes to any surviving spouse, children, and parents of the person who died. However, it may also go to the decedent’s personal representative designated in their will or who the court appoints.
Many states allow adult children to file a wrongful death lawsuit for their parents’ deaths. In some states, surviving siblings can file a lawsuit for the loss of their biological or adopted brother or sister. If no one else in the family is living, sometimes aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews can file a wrongful death lawsuit for their deceased family member.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under state laws, those who must file a wrongful death claim only have a set amount of time to exercise this legal right. The clock usually begins ticking on the date of their death, not the date of their injury (if they suffered an injury before dying). So, if an accident or injury occurred and your loved one didn’t die on the same day, the clock doesn’t start ticking until the day they die.
Also note that if the party responsible for your loved one’s death is a government entity, you typically only have one year or less from the date of their death to file a wrongful death claim. In addition, you may also have less time if the deceased person is a minor child. However, both of these deadlines will depend on state laws.
When you hire an experienced fatal motorcycle accident attorney, they will know what deadline applies to your claim and ensure you file it on time. If you fail to file such a claim on time, you lose your right to do so and won’t recover the compensation you potentially should have received.
How a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help?
Suppose you lost a loved one or sustained a severe injury in a crash because of another driver’s carelessness and negligence. In that case, you have a legal right to hold that driver accountable for their actions. A lawyer can’t turn back the clock to make things as they were before the motorcycle accident. However, we help you obtain compensation for the awful, unexpected losses the crash caused in your life.
A wrongful death motorcycle accident lawsuit can also help pay for the high medical expenses and other costs incurred due to the crash. It can also help provide financial support for those who have lost an income because of an injury or an unforeseen death. Legal action might also help prevent a similar tragedy from happening to other families.
In fact, sometimes, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way to hold offenders liable for actions that put motorcyclists at risk.
Act Quickly After a Fatal Motorcycle Crash
If someone you love died in a motorcycle crash, you must act quickly by reaching out to an experienced attorney. The insurance company for the person who caused the accident will begin their accident investigation as soon as possible. They take their claims very seriously. You should take yours seriously as well.
It’s an arduous task to handle a wrongful death claim for a fatal accident on your own, especially if you don’t have the advantage of a professional legal background. You need a fatal motorcycle accident attorney working for you and your family.
Your Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Fights for Your Fair Compensation
Motorcycle accidents occur under numerous circumstances. Many of them involve the negligent or irresponsible behavior of another driver or other liable party. An experienced fatal motorcycle accident lawyer can serve as your legal guide and a trusted advocate after a deadly motorcycle crash. They can construct a robust case for you and fight to receive fair financial compensation for your immense losses on your behalf.
Although receiving compensation doesn’t decrease the pain of losing someone you care about, nor will it ever replace them, it can ease some of the stress brought about by your loss. You shouldn’t have to deal with financial stress at this challenging time.
What Damages Can Result From Fatal Motorcycle Accidents?
After a loved one loses their life in a motorcycle accident, there will be short- and long-term expenses and damages.
- Funeral and burial expenses: These costs can add up to thousands of dollars, depending on the type of service and burial chosen by the family.
- Medical bills: The expense of surgeries, hospitalization, and medications can be overwhelming, especially as the medical bills keep coming in.
- Loss of financial security: If you relied on your loved one’s income, health insurance, and other economic benefits, the loss of this financial support can significantly burden you and your family.
- Pain and suffering: The grieving process affects each aspect of your life, including your ability to go to work and concentrate and attend to other obligations. The pain you’re experiencing can often render you susceptible to a plethora of physical, psychological, social, and financial issues.
- Loss of companionship and affection: The sudden absence of a loved one is devastating. Missing the companionship and care of your deceased loved one can be harmful to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The Person Responsible for My Family Member’s Death Faces Criminal Charges. Can My Family Also Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Yes, you absolutely can still file a civil wrongful death lawsuit, as they are two different types of cases.
Many people think that wrongful death is the same as a murder charge, but this isn’t true. For example, a murder charge is a criminal act. With murder charges, the court must convict the accused by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, in a civil wrongful death action, the standard of proof is instead a preponderance of the evidence. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the party bringing the action must only establish that the at-fault party was more likely than not to have caused the death. The civil standard of proof is lower than the standard of proof in a criminal case.
Criminal cases and civil cases for a death are kept entirely separate. Civil and criminal courts don’t overlap, although lawyers may use some of the same evidence in each type of case. However, there is potential that the outcome of a criminal case can impact the outcome of the civil case but not always.
Criminal charges for murder, homicide, manslaughter, and the like are brought by the prosecuting lawyer on behalf of the state and are rooted in criminal law.
If convicted in criminal court, the party responsible for the death will face various consequences, depending on the severity of their conviction, such as:
- Suspension or revocation of their driver’s license
- Community service
Specific family members of the decedent bring a wrongful death lawsuit under civil law. Suppose the court finds the accused party at fault or liable for the death. In that case, they must pay a monetary award to the victim’s family or their estate. If they, or their insurance company, fail to pay this money, an experienced fatal motorcycle accident attorney can help the family members take further actions to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
A Compassionate Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
The sudden unexpected death of a loved one can be quite confusing, among other things. During this emotionally difficult time, you shouldn’t have to be confused or overwhelmed with wrongful death laws. A fatal motorcycle accident lawyer can handle the legal issues for you, explaining every step and what you need to know along the way. Contact a personal injury law firm in Denver as soon as possible after losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident to learn more about the legal remedies that may be available to you.