Filing a Wrongful Death Suit after a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
There were 482 motorcycle fatalities in Texas in 2011, and many of them were caused by the negligence of another driver. When your loved one is wrongfully killed in a fatal motorcycle accident, your family has the right to seek compensation for your loss through a wrongful death claim.
Collect Evidence to Prove the Motorcycle Accident Death Was the Fault of another PartyA wrongful death claim stems from another party being liable for the fatal injury of your loved one. If your loved one was operating a motorcycle legally and without hazardous or reckless behavior and another person or company's misconduct led to the accident, that other party may be found at fault for the fatal motorcycle accident.
Evidence necessary in a fatal motorcycle accident claim includes official documentation of the accident and death, witness statements, and medical reports. You will find it helpful to obtain copies of the police report, coroner's report, death certificate, and any footage or photos of the accident scene. Witnesses of the accident typically are listed on the police report, although you may have to contact the authorities for more information on how to get in touch with them for a statement to support your claim.
In the event a defective bike part was to blame for the motorcycle accident death, you will need to ensure the bike is not destroyed or tampered with after the accident. Make sure the wreckage is stored at a secure facility so it can be studied and analyzed further for any design flaws or malfunctions that may be the fault of a negligent manufacturer.
Determine Who Will Bring the Wrongful Death ClaimThe Texas code allows for a surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased motorcyclist to bring a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. In cases where the motorcyclist is gravely injured but does not die immediately, the family may have filed a personal injury claim on his or her behalf already. If the family member dies before the injury claim is settled, a representative of the deceased's beneficiaries (spouse, children or parents) may continue the personal injury claim as a wrongful death claim in what is known as a survival action.
In either case, time is a major factor in your family's ability to collect damages and losses resulting from your loved one's unexpected and unwarranted death. The Texas statute of limitations only allows for two years to pass following your loved one's death before your ability to file a claim for compensation expires. In the event the spouse, children or parents of the deceased do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the death, an executor or administrator of the deceased's estate may bring the wrongful death action to court.
Recovering Damages in a Fatal Motorcycle AccidentFamilies who have lost loved ones in a fatal motorcycle accident may be eligible for compensation related to their financial and emotional losses. The cost of medical care accrued due to the accident, as well as the deceased's lost wage earning potential, factor into the family's financial losses.
Emotional losses are also a major source of compensation in a wrongful death claim, although they are harder to quantify. Families may be able to seek damages for a loss of consortium for a surviving spouse and a loss of emotional support and guidance for children. Parents can claim a loss of companionship and support from their deceased child.
Once a wrongful death settlement is paid, the representative who brought the claim will be responsible for distributing the settlement fairly among the beneficiaries.