Losing a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident

February 23, 2024 | Gary Annes
Losing a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident

Losing a loved one is never easy – especially if their death was fully preventable. Sadly, that is often the case with fatal motorcycle accidents. In many situations, motorcycle crashes happen when other people drive carelessly, recklessly, or while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The force of a collision may cause a motorcycle operator or passenger to fall on the ground and suffer life-threatening injuries.

If you recently lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident that another driver caused, you need to consult an experienced and compassionate wrongful death lawyer near you right away. Your attorney can obtain a copy of the police report, review the accident circumstances, and determine your eligibility for filing a wrongful death claim.

Although no amount of money can ever compensate for the loss you and other family members experience, it can help to bring about a sense of closure and justice. Throughout the legal process, your attorney will do everything they can to maximize the wrongful death compensation you and your family deserve to recover.

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Where do Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Routinely Happen?

Fatal motorcycle crashes can occur in various locations. Traffic intersections are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, as the convergence of multiple traffic streams increases the likelihood of collisions. Left-turn accidents, where a driver negligently turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, are frequent at traffic intersections and a significant contributor to fatal crashes.

Bicycle collided with car on wet road. Emergency response, police, and insurance involved. Motorcycle accident with car.

Additionally, highways and freeways present their own set of challenges for motorcyclists. High speeds on these roads amplify the severity of accidents, and the lack of protective barriers for motorcyclists can lead to catastrophic outcomes.

Rural areas, characterized by winding roads and diverse terrain, also pose unique risks for motorcyclists. The lack of street lighting and limited visibility can make it challenging for other drivers to navigate safely, increasing the likelihood of accidents with motorcycles. Gravel roads in rural settings further add to the danger, as motorcyclists may encounter unstable surfaces that compromise their control.

Urban environments present their own dangers despite having lower speeds compared to highways. Congested traffic, frequent stops, and the proximity of vehicles in close quarters create situations where motorcyclists may be less visible to other road users – especially when other motorists are inattentive.

Moreover, parking lots and driveways are surprisingly common locations for motorcycle accidents. Drivers pulling out of parking spaces or driveways may not anticipate the speed of an approaching motorcycle, leading to fatal collisions.

If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash that occurred in one of these locations, a wrongful death attorney can promptly investigate the accident circumstances and explore your legal options.

Common Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

Fatal motorcycle accidents can result from a complex interplay of various factors, often stemming from environmental conditions and the actions of other road users. Understanding these factors is crucial for implementing effective measures to reduce the incidence of fatal motorcycle crashes.

One significant contributor to fatal motorcycle accidents is reckless driving behavior. Speeding, aggressive maneuvering, and a lack of adherence to traffic rules increase the likelihood of motorcycle accidents. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs further affects a driver’s judgment and reaction time, preventing the driver from stopping in time to avoid hitting a motorcyclist and causing a fatal crash.

Visibility issues also contribute significantly to fatal motorcycle accidents, with many occurring when other road users fail to see or properly gauge the speed of an approaching motorcycle. This is particularly common at traffic intersections, where left-turn accidents may happen when drivers misjudge the distance and speed of an oncoming motorcycle.

Environmental factors also play a role in fatal motorcycle accidents. Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, or fog can reduce visibility and create slippery road surfaces, making it challenging for other drivers to control their vehicles. When these drivers speed up and commit other traffic law violations in inclement weather, they increase their chances of striking a motorcycle and causing fatal injuries.

Poor road conditions, including potholes or uneven surfaces, can further contribute to fatal motorcycle accidents, especially at higher speeds. Lack of proper signage, poorly designed traffic intersections, and the absence of safety barriers on highways can further increase the risks for motorcyclists.

The negligent behavior of other road users, particularly car and truck drivers, is also a significant factor in fatal motorcycle accidents. Failing to yield the right-of-way, distracted driving, and failing to check blind spots often contribute to fatal motorcycle collisions.

If you lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle crash that someone else caused, a compassionate wrongful death lawyer in your area can take the necessary steps to pursue the monetary recovery you deserve from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

In a fatal motorcycle accident case, the legal elements become even more critical as the consequences are severe and involve potential wrongful death claims. Similar to non-fatal accidents, key legal elements include negligence, liability, damages, insurance, legal procedures, and expert testimony.

Negligence is the foundational concept, and it becomes particularly poignant in fatal motorcycle accidents. Surviving family members, often referred to as plaintiffs, must demonstrate that the party responsible for the accident (or the defendant) acted negligently, breaching their duty of care and leading to the tragic outcome. This involves proving the legal elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages, just as in a non-fatal accident case.

Establishing liability is crucial for determining who is legally responsible for the fatal motorcycle accident. Factors such as traffic violations, reckless driving, or failure to adhere to road safety rules may contribute to determining liability. Investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident, collecting witness statements, and analyzing police reports are essential steps in this process.

Damages in a fatal motorcycle accident case extend beyond the immediate economic losses to include the emotional and financial effects on surviving family members. Damages may also include funeral expenses, loss of financial support, emotional distress, and the pain and suffering the decedent endured before their death. Calculating and documenting these damages is crucial for seeking appropriate compensation in a wrongful death claim.

Insurance also plays a significant role, and the available coverage of both parties involved can affect the legal proceedings. This may involve negotiations with insurance companies to determine the extent of coverage and compensation for the surviving family members.

Legal procedures, such as filing a wrongful death lawsuit, require timely action, considering applicable statutes of limitations. The legal process involves presenting evidence, witness testimony, and expert opinions to build a compelling case.

Expert testimony becomes even more vital in fatal motorcycle accident cases. Accident reconstruction experts may provide technical insights into the dynamics of the crash, while medical experts can offer opinions on the cause of death and the amount of suffering that the deceased endured.

Navigating the legal elements of a fatal motorcycle accident case is emotionally challenging and legally intricate. Seeking the experience of an attorney who regularly handles wrongful death claims is crucial to ensuring that the legal process is thorough and fair and advocates for the rights and compensation of the surviving family members.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim after a Motorcycle Crash?

The eligibility to file a wrongful death claim after a motorcycle crash depends upon the legal system, and it varies across jurisdictions. In general, close family members of the deceased are the primary individuals eligible to file such claims.

Injured motorcyclists lying on the road following an accident.
  • Spouses – A surviving spouse is commonly eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This includes husbands and wives who were legally married to the deceased at the time of the motorcycle crash.
  • Children – Children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted, or stepchildren, are often eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This can encompass minor children as well as adult children, depending upon the jurisdiction.
  • Parents – In some jurisdictions, parents of the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This can include biological parents, adoptive parents, or legal guardians, depending upon the circumstances.
  • Siblings – In certain cases, siblings of the deceased may have eligibility to file a wrongful death claim. However, this is less common and varies by jurisdiction.
  • Other Dependents – Individuals who were financially dependent upon the deceased, such as a life partner or anyone else who can establish a dependency, may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in certain jurisdictions.

The specific criteria and hierarchy of eligibility may differ based on local laws. Always consult a legal professional to accurately understand the eligibility requirements in a particular jurisdiction. Additionally, some jurisdictions may allow a representative of the deceased person's estate to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and beneficiaries.

Filing a wrongful death claim after a motorcycle crash is a sensitive and complex legal process. An experienced wrongful death lawyer near you can provide valuable guidance on eligibility, legal procedures, and the pursuit of compensation for surviving family members.

Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

Following a fatal motorcycle accident, surviving family members may be eligible to recover various damages. These damages aim to compensate for the financial losses and emotional suffering resulting from the loss of a loved one. The specific types of damages can vary based on the jurisdiction, circumstances, and nature of the accident. Some of the most common types of recoverable damages include compensation for:

  • Decedent’s Medical Expenses – If the deceased incurred medical expenses before succumbing to injuries in the motorcycle accident, these costs may be recoverable. This includes hospital bills, emergency medical services, and any other medical treatments received.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs – The costs associated with the funeral and burial arrangements are often recoverable. This includes expenses such as the funeral service, burial plot, casket, and other related costs.
  • Lost Income and Financial Support – Family members may be entitled to compensation for the loss of financial support resulting from the deceased's death. This includes lost income, benefits, and any other financial contributions the deceased would have provided to the family.
  • Loss of Consortium – This type of damage compensates surviving family members for the loss of companionship, care, and guidance that the deceased would have provided. It acknowledges the emotional and relational effects of the loss.
  • Pain and Suffering – In some jurisdictions, damages may be available for the pain and suffering that the deceased endured before succumbing to fatal injuries. This compensation reflects the physical and emotional distress that the individual experienced.
  • Property Damage – If the deceased's motorcycle or other property incurred damage in the accident, the cost of repairing or replacing the property may be recoverable.
  • Punitive Damages – Punitive damages may be available in certain cases involving egregious conduct or recklessness, such as drunk driving. These damages aim to punish the at-fault party and deter similar future behavior.
  • Legal Costs and Attorney Fees – In some jurisdictions, the prevailing party may recover legal costs and attorney fees associated with pursuing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

It's important to note that the availability and calculation of these damages can vary from case to case, and local laws may play a significant role. Seeking the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney is crucial to understanding the specific types and amounts of damages that may be recoverable in your case.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today 

If you recently lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you should consult a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer in your area right away.

Claimants typically have only two years from the accident date to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Therefore, you need to obtain legal help as quickly as possible. A skilled Chicago personal injury attorney can aggressively represent you throughout your legal matter and work hard to obtain the settlement or litigation compensation you and your family deserve.

After a tragic loss, you do not have to simply wonder what to do or how to protect your family’s rights. Instead, immediately consult a wrongful death attorney who handles fatal motorcycle accident claims.

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Gary Annes

Partner

Personal Injury Lawyer With Over Twenty Years Of Experience

Gary Annes, a partner at Abels & Annes, P.C., has dedicated over two decades to practicing personal injury law, specializing in auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse. Since earning his law degree in 1995, Gary has led numerous jury trials, and adeptly resolved cases through arbitration and mediation, securing millions in compensation for his clients.

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