If your loved one has been killed by a motorcyclist, you will be wondering how it could have happened. If the motorcyclist had failed to obey traffic rules and your relative’s death had been in vain, then you may be considering filing a wrongful death claim against the rider.
A wrongful death claim can be made if someone has been killed as a result of another’s negligence. It won’t bring back your loved one, but it will help to serve as a lesson to the rider and provide much needed financial help to your family. Discuss your legal options with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Proving Negligence is the Key to a Wrongful Death Claim
It’s hard to imagine how a sensible motorcyclist could hit a pedestrian. If the pedestrian was walking on a sidewalk or crossing a road at a crosswalk, he or she has a legitimate right to be in that place in the expectation that road users yield the right of way to them.
Unfortunately, not all road users are sensible. A significant minority operate their vehicles, two and four wheeled, as if there were no road rules. Pedestrians get killed when vehicles are handled badly and become out of control, are ridden or driven when their occupants are drunk or just plain tired, amongst other reasons.
Whatever the reason for the fatal accident your relative was involved in, as long as negligence was involved, there is a good chance of filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent rider. Wrongful death claims are civil claims, which are a type of personal injury claim.
They depend on being able to prove that the deceased was killed by an act of negligence. This proof can be the single most difficult factor in obtaining a successful settlement.
What is Involved in a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Motorcycle Rider?
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a close relative of the deceased. It is primarily designed to compensate those who are dependent financially on the person killed and at the same time serve as a warning to the community that acts of negligence are not tolerated.
Each state has its own specific rules concerning who could be a beneficiary of a wrongful death claim, how long a claimant has to file a claim, and what the differences are between filing a wrongful death claim against a government entity and a non government entity.
Generally, the closest family members get priority when deciding on who benefits from a claim. For example, a surviving spouse is the first to benefit, followed by dependent children, then dependent parents.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is in the order of two to four years after the accident, depending on the state. Rules for claims against any government entity are tougher than against a non-government one.
Compensation allowed in a wrongful death claim includes:
- funeral expenses;
- medical costs if the accident victim died at some time after the accident;
- compensation for lost income as a result of the loss of a breadwinner;
- compensation for loss of companionship and affection;
- punitive damages (in some cases).
How a Lawyer Can Help With a Wrongful Death Claim
Losing a loved one to a senseless act like a motorcycle accident can be extremely upsetting, made worse by the realization that it should never have happened. It may seem just too hard to concentrate on preparing a wrongful death claim all by yourself, even if you know that it is justified by the circumstances of your loved one’s death.
You are advised to talk to a wrongful death lawyer before filing a claim and let the lawyer do the negotiating on your behalf. Complete the Free Evaluation form on this page to be connected with a lawyer that can help get your wrongful death claim started.