If a member of your family has been killed in a motorcycle accident and someone else was liable, you, another relative, or a representative of your loved one’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
A family member or a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death claim, depending on the circumstances. State laws differ on the question of which family members may sue for wrongful death and whether some relatives may file a claim before others can.
Some states only let immediate family members, such as a spouse and children, file a wrongful death claim, while others allow more distant relatives to sue in some cases. Sometimes, individuals who are not related to the deceased person by blood, marriage, or adoption may file a wrongful death claim under certain circumstances.
Sometimes, only one family member is allowed to bring a wrongful death claim. If multiple relatives sue, a court may consolidate the actions into one claim.
If the deceased person had a will, a personal representative or an executor will be appointed to manage the estate. In some cases, if a personal representative is appointed, that individual, not family members, will have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Some states do not allow family members to sue directly and only allow a representative of the estate to sue.
What Types of Compensation You Can Seek
You and your family could be entitled to monetary compensation for losses that resulted from your loved one’s death. You may obtain compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, the loss of financial support that your loved one would have provided, and the loss of an expected inheritance.
An attorney may consult economic professionals to estimate how much money your family member likely would have earned had your family member not died. The decedent’s employment status at the time of death, previous employment, age, education, and other factors can all play a role in calculating a financial award.
You may also be able to seek compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one experienced before he or she died. A survival action is meant to provide compensation for a victim’s personal injury, and the action survives that person’s death.
What You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death in a motorcycle accident claim must establish that a person died because of someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing and that surviving family members suffered financial losses as a result. Negligence is when someone does not comply with the standard of care that is expected of them in a given situation. Sometimes they act poorly or not at all, as per the Legal Information Institute (LII).
Further, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person, that they breached that duty, and that the breach of the duty of care caused the victim’s death.
In a wrongful death claim, both sides will have an opportunity to present evidence. A claim may be filed separately from and in addition to criminal charges. The burden of proof can be lower in a civil action, such as a wrongful death claim, than in a criminal case.
A Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Represent You
If your loved one died in a motorcycle accident due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation.
A wrongful death lawyer can negotiate a settlement with counsel representing the other party and help you avoid a lengthy and expensive trial. If you and your lawyer think it is necessary, you can take your case to court to continue to fight for a fair amount of compensation on behalf of the victim and the other survivors.
Some firms operate on a contingency basis. This means that if they represent you in a wrongful death action, they will not charge you any money upfront. The law firm will only charge you if they obtain a financial award on your behalf through negotiations or a trial.
Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer
The statute of limitations requires survivors and representatives to file a wrongful death claim within a specific period of time. If that deadline is missed, you may not be able to collect compensation. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins on the date the victim died. Under some circumstances, the statute of limitations may be tolled or extended.
Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 223-5115 to discuss laws in your state and how we may be able to help you with your wrongful death in a motorcycle accident claim.