UNDERSTANDING WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS AFTER MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
It's understandable if you experience some initial fear after finding out that your loved one has been riding a motorcycle. After all, motorcycles have a serious injury rate that is estimated to be 16 times that of cars. But no matter how you feel about motorcycles, you can't exactly force the people in your life to listen to you and forego motorcycles entirely, especially if they're adults.
But what happens if the worst occurs and you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident? The initial shock is obviously devastating. Yet on top of that grief, you may then be given medical bills, ambulance fees, and funeral expenses to deal with. This can be almost too much to bear, and you may feel as if there is no realistic way out. However, you do have options. Motorcycle accident attorneys do exist and can help you navigate the painful and complex grounds of a wrongful death lawsuit.
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit. It is essentially a claim against an individual who should be held responsible for a death. This is not the same thing as having someone prosecuted for murder or manslaughter. Rather, it's a civil action and seeks to prove that the death occurred because of another person's negligence or misconduct. Because this type of personal injury case is a civil case, the burden of proof is also lower, and the consequences are typically financial, though a judge can potentially enforce other penalties.
Usually, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the closest survivors who suffered harm due to the decedent's death. If someone happens to know a person who died in a motorcycle accident, they cannot make the decision regarding contacting motorcycle accident attorneys. Typically, spouses, children, and the parents of unmarried children are the most eligible to pursue wrongful death lawsuits. They will often pursue economic damages, which include funeral expenses, lost wages or household income, loss of financial support, and the lost prospect of inheritance. Noneconomic damages also may need to be covered. These would obviously include pain and suffering.
In very specific circumstances, a decedent may not immediately die following their motorcycle accident. They could bring on a personal injury lawsuit themselves and die due to the complications following their injuries during the lawsuit. A decedent's survivors can then maintain survival action, which would allow them to continue the lawsuit after it essentially transforms into a personal injury lawsuit.
WHEN SHOULD I SPEAK WITH A LAWYER?
The decision of when to speak with a lawyer following a death can be incredibly difficult. Nobody wants to feel as if they're hijacking their own mourning period. But it's important that those at fault for your loved one's death need to be held responsible. The issue with motorcycle accidents is that there is a lot of risk for the motorcyclists to be held responsible for the issue due to negative perceptions surrounding motorcycles, and the idea that motorcyclists are more responsible for the accidents that occur due to the risk they're taking.
It's therefore important that you get in touch with motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. These lawyers can help gather documentation related to the claim. Factors including how long it took for the other driver to report the accident can matter significantly. Looking into documentation can allow lawyers to understand the extent of the case and the claim in question. Your attorney will then investigate the accident, looking into things like dashcam and security footage, police records, and more. These are things that you cannot possibly handle yourself. Quite often, other drivers are at fault in motorcycle accidents. It's certainly worth exploring at a minimum.
DO I NEED TO UNDERGO A TRIAL?
You may be worried that contacting motorcycle accident attorneys will set you up for a long, emotionally arduous trial. But in fact, the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled pretrial. You don't have to commit to a traumatic process.
Losing a loved one is the worst thing that can happen to you. But you are owed justice. Call an attorney and begin to explore your options.