Many motorcycle riders are passionate about their bikes, but motorcycles also come with extreme hazards, mostly at the hands of other drivers. While other vehicles on the road have the protection and safety of enclosed steel cages, motorcycles, by their very nature, fully expose riders. Most motorcycle riders have no more protection than their helmet and the clothes they are wearing.
Too often, this combination has catastrophic consequences. If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. Speak with a trusted and compassionate Florida motorcycle accident injury lawyer to learn about your options.
Motorcycle Accident Deaths
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, more than one person dies in a motorcycle crash every day. In fact, nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in Florida are motorcyclists. This staggering statistic shows just how dangerous it can be to ride a motorcycle when other drivers fail to pay attention.
Motorcycles are not inherently dangerous. They provide less protection than cars and trucks do but that alone does not make them more deadly. What makes motorcycles more deadly is human error.
Causes of Motorcycle Accident Deaths
Human error causes about 90 percent of all traffic crashes. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death of the rider. Because motorcycles provide little inherent protection to the rider, death can result from even seemingly minor accidents.
When people park in a parking lot or parallel park on a street, they often do not look in their side mirror before opening their car door. If a motorcycle is riding by, the motorcycle can slam into the opened door, sending the rider into the air. This often results in serious injuries or death.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Any vehicle on the road is required to drive safely and, when making lane changes, make sure there is no other vehicle in their way. Many drivers do not look closely enough for motorcycles and can slam into them when making a lane change. The motorcycle rider can be knocked off their bike or sent catapulting into another vehicle on the road.
One of the most common reasons for any traffic accident, speeding can have deadly consequences for motorcycle riders hit by a speeding car. At high speeds, any impact with a motorcycle can cause the rider to fall off or be pushed violently into oncoming traffic.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Another common cause of traffic accidents, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can reduce a driver’s ability to react to situations on the road. This slowed reaction time can mean that they do not avoid a collision with a motorcycle, which can cause grave injuries to the rider.
While motorcycles are small vehicles and can stop quickly, they also require better balance because they only have two wheels. If a driver in front of a motorcycle rider stops suddenly, that can cause the motorcycle rider to lose control, fall over, or swerve into oncoming traffic.
The Surviving Family’s Rights
Getting a call or a knock on the door letting you know that a loved one has died is not an experience anyone wants. Even when a motorcyclist takes every precaution to ensure their safety, they cannot control other drivers and their mistakes. Knowing that you can take proactive steps to help your family get through this challenging time may bring some comfort.
When you lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, you likely feel a lot of anger and frustration. Knowing that your loved one did not have to die is a gut-wrenching feeling that may never completely fade. Channeling your anger and frustration into a wrongful death claim could give you some relief.
Filing a Florida wrongful death claim after your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident may seem like the last thing you want to worry about right now. Your focus is on your family and grieving the loss of your loved one. But it’s important that you take action and that you take action quickly.
In Florida, not just anyone can bring a wrongful death claim. In Florida, eligible family members include:
- The deceased’s spouse;
- The deceased’s children, if they are 25 or older; and
- The deceased’s parents.
Other relatives may also be eligible to sue but only after the parties listed above have had a chance to file a wrongful death claim. These lawsuits will result in the estate remaining open and any proceeds collected from the lawsuit will go into the estate and be distributed according to the deceased’s will, after paying any medical and funeral expenses.
No amount of money can bring your loved one back. But it can help you and your family remain financially secure and not have to worry about the bills related to your loved one’s death. To try and achieve that goal, speak with a Florida wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Proving Wrongful Death
A wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver in your loved one’s motorcycle accident is the legal process through which you attempt to hold the negligent driver accountable and collect compensation from them. To prove that someone else caused your loved one’s death, you need to prove the four elements of a Florida wrongful death claim: negligence, breach, causation, and damages.
Negligence occurs when someone else acts unreasonably in a given situation. When driving a car, a person is possibly negligent if they broke some rule of the road that caused an accident. To prove that the driver who caused your loved one’s death was negligent, you will need to show that they were driving in an unreasonably unsafe manner. This could include driving drunk, speeding, running a stoplight, or many other careless actions or failure to act.
Each driver on the road owes other drivers a duty of care to drive safely. If the other driver was driving in an unsafe manner, they may have breached the duty of care they owed to your loved one.
Besides proving that the other driver breached their duty of care to drive safely, you will also need to prove that the other driver’s actions were the cause of your loved one’s death. For example, if another driver ran a red light and T-boned your loved one’s motorcycle and they died, the other driver’s actions were likely the actual cause of your loved one’s death.
The final step in a successful wrongful death claim is showing that you have suffered damages. This comes in many forms and may include funeral costs and loss of potential income.
The point of filing a Florida wrongful death claim against the negligent driver who caused your loved one’s death is to collect compensation from them. We know that there is no amount of compensation that can take away your pain and suffering or that can bring your loved one back. But we do know that you face potentially massive bills as a result of the motorcycle accident. That is not something you should have to concern yourself with at this difficult time.
In your claim, your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of consortium;
- Lost financial support;
- Hospital expenses;
- Final medical expenses;
- Burial costs;
- Funeral costs;
- Loss of potential earnings; and
- Loss of inheritance.
While these financial losses can seem trivial, you must keep everything in perspective. Your loved one may have had injuries that required extensive medical treatment. Even though your loved one succumbed to their injuries, the hospital, doctor, and medical bills still need to be paid. That’s why you must speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Florida as soon as possible. What you need right now is compassionate legal advice and support to help you get through this emotionally challenging time.
Your best bet to collect maximum compensation is to partner with a Florida attorney who has experience dealing with motorcycle accident deaths. These cases are not simple and are often extremely emotional. You need to focus on getting through this tough time, being with your family, and remembering your loved one. Let us deal with the legal complexities and work toward getting you maximum compensation.
File Your Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Soon
Every state has a time limit that requires surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim within a certain time after the death occurred. In Florida, it is just two years. If you miss this important filing deadline, you could miss out on your opportunity to collect compensation from the at-fault driver.
The more time that goes by, the more likely it is that evidence will go missing and witnesses will forget what they saw. This is vital information to your wrongful death claim. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the sooner you can shed the legal burden and worry.
Partner With a Compassionate and Aggressive Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one at any time is a traumatic experience. Having a loved one taken so abruptly in a preventable motorcycle accident is simply tragic. You may face a mountain of medical bills, funeral costs, and other financial obligations that you are unsure of how to meet. This is all on top of the emotional roller coaster you’re probably experiencing, along with anger and frustration.
Thankfully, you have options available to you. But along with strict timelines for filing your claim, there are many rules and procedures that you must follow, making your ability to recover compensation in a wrongful death claim more challenging.
Partnering with a skilled and experienced Florida motorcycle accident wrongful death lawyer can be the solution you need. While you spend time with family and grieve, your legal team can get to work trying to get you maximum compensation for the untimely loss of your loved one.