There’s no question that motorcycles are a faster and more exhilarating way to travel the busy roads of Florida. However, the compromise is the safety of the rider, and in the most unfortunate circumstances, a motorcycle accident may lead to fatal injuries.
The suffering placed upon the family of a motorcycle accident victim is huge and can come in many different forms and, in some cases, financial burden as a result. The victim could be an important or the sole financier of the family. Or, in other cases, they may have provided irreplaceable physical or emotional support for those around them.
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another party, then you may be able to sue for wrongful death and receive compensation. There is no way to replace someone after they are gone, but you do not need to suffer financially as a result.
Here at The Law Place, our team of skilled attorneys has combined experience worth over 75 years to ensure that you get the result you deserve. Our advice will ensure that you feel confident taking the next steps. Our lines are open 24 hours, 7 days, so contact us today for a free case evaluation at (941) 444-4444.
What Is Suing for Wrongful Death?
Suing for wrongful death is a way for the loved ones of a victim to receive compensation for the suffering they have faced. By proving negligence on the part of the responsible party, they can be held accountable for their actions, and the family can get the justice they deserve.
Often, a family is left to bear the financial burden that losing someone leaves. Funeral expenses and medical bills must all be paid for somehow, and it often falls on those closest to the victim. Furthermore, the gap left both financially and emotionally can be devastating for a family. Childcare, insurance policies, and mortgage repayments may suddenly fall onto the shoulders of one person. Not to mention the significant pain and suffering that affects everyone during their time of grief.
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, then we advise you to seek an experienced attorney. They will take on the responsibility of valuing the damages you have faced and will advocate on your behalf. Most motorcycle accidents end with a settlement, meaning that you can likely avoid the stress that comes with a trial. Securing an appropriate settlement can come down to the experience of your wrongful death attorney. For this reason, it is imperative that you take the time to find a law firm that knows exactly what it is doing.
In the event that you are unhappy with the settlement you are offered, then there is always the option to take your case to trial. Whatever the outcome, you will need the support of an experienced attorney to help you get the justice you deserve.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
As stated in Florida Statute 768.21, family members of the deceased have the right to sue for wrongful death. Furthermore, those who preside over the estate of the victim can also make a claim following a fatal motorcycle accident. This claim will be made on behalf of a victim. Whilst the general rule is that this can be done by either a family member or the elected representative, changes may occur in the details of the case, depending on the claimant.
Here is a list of those that are eligible to sue for wrongful death:
- The surviving spouse.
- Children of the deceased (both minor and adult).
- The representative of the deceased’s estate.
- Any other family member who received financial or emotional support from the victim.
How Do We Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than half of all the motorcycle accidents that occurred in 2013 involved another vehicle. Due to the size of motorcycles, they are often missed by drivers when they check their mirrors. Furthermore, the statistics show that alcohol is involved in motorcycle accidents almost half of the time. These are all examples of negligence and would allow the family of a victim to sue for wrongful death.
But how do we define negligence? According to Florida Statute 768.81, negligence is a breach of the duty of care that all drivers on the roads of Florida must adhere to. There are four elements that must be established in order to prove that negligence occurred:
- The driver had a duty of care.
- The driver breached this duty of care.
- The breach caused the accident.
- Injuries and damages were suffered as a result.
In order to prove negligence in a wrongful death case, an accident attorney will gather evidence. Here are some methods they may use to collect this evidence:
- Examining police and medical reports.
- Examining surveillance footage from the scene.
- Reviewing photos.
- Taking statements from witnesses.
- Going to the scene of the accident.
- Interviewing experts on case logistics.
Negligence can be both intentional and unintentional. This will be decided after a thorough investigation where all the evidence has been collected and examined. No matter the circumstances, all drivers have a duty to protect those traveling around them.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?
If you file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one, then you may be able to recover damages for those things you have lost. This includes:
- Expenses to cover funeral costs.
- Medical expenses.
- A decrease in income.
- Loss of consortium.
- A loss in inheritance.
- Emotional and mental suffering.
However, this is not to say that other damages faced may not be eligible for compensation. Non-economic damages, such as emotional suffering, are harder to determine. There are different factors that will be considered when determining a monetary value. Your interpretation may differ from that of the court. This is why it is vital to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer that has the ability to present a strong and persuasive case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Most states have a limit on the time you have to make your wrongful death case. In Florida Statute 95.11, it states that the surviving family members of a victim have up to two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The cause of death does not, generally speaking, change the statute of limitations. Of course, there are some exceptions, but motorcycle accidents are not included in these. Nonetheless, we advise that you contact an attorney for advice on this matter in order to avoid accidentally filing an untimely case.
How Are Wrongful Death Claims Paid Out?
The money recovered from a wrongful death case will generally be distributed amongst those that are part of the claim. All of those who rely on the deceased for support, both financial and emotional, are entitled to be a part of the case. Therefore, the surviving spouse, children, and parents can receive compensation. If a claim includes more than one party, determining how to share out the money will be a part of the claim itself.
Due to the diverse nature of families, there are no set rules for distributing this money. This is why all parties involved in a claim must determine the division of compensation. Generally speaking, spouses and children that are minors tend to receive sizeable portions of settlements. Adult children usually receive a lower number if there is a surviving spouse.
Of course, families do not always agree on such matters and have the right to object. An objection will then be taken to court, where a hearing will be held to decide on the fairness of the division. Usually, decisions will be based on the closeness of the relationship a claimant has to the victim, as well as their emotional or financial reliance on them.
The Law Place
Ensuring that your case is being handled by an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is paramount to your success. Families deserve to receive sufficient compensation after they lose a loved one in a wrongful death accident. Here at The Law Place, we understand the urgency of fair and skilled representation.
We will make sure that you get the advice you need to take the first steps towards justice. We have a no-strings-attached policy that will allow you to consult with one of our lawyers, getting all the information you need before you make any decisions. Our team of hardworking lawyers will use their shared experience spanning over decades to provide you with all the legal advice you will need. We want nothing more than what is best for you and your family.
Our lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, so call us now for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.