No family is ever prepared for the tragedy of losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident, but every year, preventable accidents take the lives of thousands of riders on the road. In just a split second, the lives of an entire family can be changed due to a careless driver.
A deadly motorcycle crash often leaves survivors with a lot of questions, especially when it comes to dealing with the financial aftermath. Few families are really prepared for the sudden emergency medical bills and funeral costs when someone has been unexpectedly lost due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of another person. A wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party may be able to help the family recover from the costs that the accident caused.
Here’s what families need to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, including what a wrongful death lawsuit is, how to prove your case in a court of law, and how you can get legal help today.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Legally speaking, wrongful death occurs when a death is caused by someone else as a result of negligence, or a failure to take reasonable care or precaution against causing injury or death. For instance, a driver of an automobile is generally expected to keep an eye on the road, obey traffic laws, and avoid oncoming traffic. Someone who fails to perform these basic tasks while driving and causes an accident may be found legally liable for any harm that happens as a result, and be obligated by the court to pay survivors for any expenses related to the incident, as well as compensation for the loss of a valued family member.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal charge. While a defendant may be facing criminal charges from local, state, or federal authorities related to the accident, a criminal charge does not help the family recover financially. In order to receive compensation for the accident and loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim must be filed in civil court by the surviving spouse or other immediate family members.
Proving Your Wrongful Death Case
When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you and your attorney will generally focus on proving four fundamentals of a negligence lawsuit, including:
- Duty of care. You must show that the other driver had a duty of care with respect to the accident victim. This may include showing that the driver had an obligation to obey the law and rules of the road, including traffic signs and other markings intended to promote road safety.
- Breach of duty. After proving that a duty of care existed, it must be demonstrated that the other driver violated that duty in some fashion, showing that he or she was responsible for the accident.
- Cause of injury. The next step is to show that the breach of duty is what caused the injury or death to occur.
- Damages. After causation, it must be shown that there is some form of damage suffered for which the victim’s surviving family may be compensated.
Recoverable damages in a wrongful death lawsuit for which the surviving family may seek compensation can include hospital bills and emergency treatment costs; damage to property (such as the motorcycle); funeral expenses; lost wages; loss of support, companionship, or inheritance; and more. Your attorney will be able to analyze your specific situation to determine what your family may be eligible to receive compensation for.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of someone else, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We believe in helping families recover from tragic accidents that could have been prevented, and we’re here to stand up for your legal rights in a court of law. Arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals today by calling us on the telephone, sending an email through our contact form, or clicking the live chat box right now.