Wrongful Death Claims after a Fatal Motorcycle Crash
Losing a loved one is extremely painful and difficult to accept – especially when that loss is a direct result of someone else’s negligence in a motorcycle accident. Under Florida law, a “wrongful death” is a death that is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, omission, or default of another. Wrongful death cases in Florida are governed by statute and the law of negligence.
In a wrongful death case, the claim is typically brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate and is filed against the person or entity causing the death. Most wrongful death actions are brought on behalf of a deceased husband, wife, child, parent, or sibling.
If someone you love was killed in a motorcycle accident as a result of another person’s negligence, our experienced and compassionate Florida wrongful death attorneys are here to help.
The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Motorcycle accidents usually occur as a result of drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, or negligent driving, and can lead to the death or serious injury of a loved one. Since a motorcycle operator and any passengers are directly exposed to the ground and have little protection around them (with the possible exception of motorcycle helmets), injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents can be life-threatening and severe.
In addition to motorcycle accidents, some other common causes of wrongful deaths include the following:
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Negligent supervision
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Defective medical devices
- Defective drugs
An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney will be able to ascertain whether a valid basis for a wrongful death case exists under your individual circumstances.
Statute of Limitations
Florida, like all other jurisdictions in the United States, provides time limitations, called statutes of limitations, on legal claims – including wrongful death cases. Statutes of limitations prevent evidence from growing stale and ensure that potential witnesses will be available for trial. If a wrongful death claim is not filed by (or on) the statute of limitations deadline, a claimant is forever barred from filing a claim or seeking monetary compensation for the wrongful death.
Who is the Defendant in a Wrongful Death Case?
In a wrongful death case, the defendant is usually the individual who negligently caused the death, the individual plus his or her insurance company, the insurance company only, or a governmental entity, such as a city or county. In cases where a negligent driver collided with a motorcycle, the negligent driver is usually the primary defendant. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to ascertain all potential defendants in your wrongful death case.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
In the State of Florida, wrongful death cases often involve negligence law. More specifically, the wrongful death claimant must demonstrate that the decedent was owed a duty of care and that the defendant breached this duty, legally and proximately resulting in the decedent’s death. What follows is a brief explanation of the four “elements” of negligence which must be proved by the claimant in a wrongful death case. An experienced wrongful death attorney can assist you with proving all of the elements of your wrongful death claim.
Duty of Care – This means that the decedent was owed a legal duty by the defendant. For example, in the context of a motor vehicle accident, a defendant driver owes the decedent motorcyclist – and all other drivers on the road – a duty to drive carefully and to act as a reasonably prudent driver would under the same or similar circumstances. An attorney will be able to ascertain the extent of the duty owed by the defendant to the decedent under the circumstances.
Breach (or Violation) of the Duty of Care – This means that the defendant violated (or breached) the standard of care owed to the decedent under the circumstances. For example, if a driver negligently ran a red light and collided with a motorcyclist in a traffic intersection, that act could amount to negligence on the part of the driver.
Causation – The decedent must show that the defendant’s breach of the standard of care legally and proximately resulted in the decedent’s death and other damages.
Damages – Damages for wrongful death cases in Florida typically consist of economic damages, as well as non-economic damages. A wrongful death attorney will be able to assist you with proving damages and can determine which types of damages are applicable to an individual case. The most common types of damages sought in wrongful death cases include the following:
- Medical costs – including emergency hospital treatment, physical therapy, and other medical expenses leading up to the decedent’s death
- Ongoing medical costs – including costs for family therapy following the decedent’s death
- Lost income/wages – including the decedent’s lost wages (up to the time of death) and potential future earnings
- Pain and suffering – including pain and suffering leading up to the time of the decedent’s death
- Funeral expenses – including all costs and expenses associated with the decedent’s funeral
Contact a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today for an Initial Consultation
If a loved one has died in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need experienced legal representation on your side to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys have the legal knowledge and expertise to negotiate with the insurance company and litigate your case to the fullest.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with the Dolman Law Group, please call us today or contact us online.