We offer our condolences if you’ve suffered the tragic loss of a loved one killed in a motorcycle accident. No amount of compensation is going to make up for your suffering. However, it can help you find closure and achieve justice. Holding those who caused the accident accountable for their negligence could help with your healing.
A motorcycle attorney with the Jones Law Group stands ready to help in many ways. We’ve handled these cases for a long time, and we know there continues to be a bias against riders. But we also know how to defeat that bias and help our clients obtain the money they deserve.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe a death caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person or entity. The deceased person’s estate representative can bring a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death.
The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for the deceased person’s survivors. This compensation can include financial support for the survivors, medical and funeral expenses reimbursement, and compensation for the loss of the deceased person’s love, companionship, and guidance.
Motorcycle Accident Fatality Statistics
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motorcycle riders are nearly 30 times more likely than those in passenger cars to die in a crash. They’re five times more likely to suffer an injury.
Unfortunately, Florida has seen its fair share of motorcycle accident fatalities. Deaths have more than doubled over the last two decades, although there has been a bit of a decline since 2015, when 584 riders died. Still, an average of 550 motorcyclists died in accidents between 2016-2021.
Types of Accidents that Cause a Fatality
- Head-on collisions – This is arguably the deadliest form of car/motorcycle collision, often resulting in severe injuries or death for the motorcyclist.
- Left-turn accidents – These occur when a car or truck makes a left turn at an intersection and collides with a motorcycle that is going straight through the intersection.
- Run-off-road accidents – Off-road accidents typically happen when motorcyclists lose control of their bikes and run off the road, often resulting in severe injuries or death.
- Rear-end collisions – This happens when a vehicle crashes into the rear of a motorcycle, often due to traffic that has suddenly slowed or come to a stop.
All these types of accidents can cause severe injuries or death to motorcyclists. The lack of protective barriers, such as the car body and airbags, makes riders more vulnerable.
Types of Injuries that Cause a Fatality
Many kinds of motorcycle accident injuries can be fatal, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries – Injuries to the brain caused by a traumatic impact, such as when a motorcyclist’s head hits the pavement or another object, can lead to severe brain damage and death.
- Spinal cord injuries – These are injuries to the spinal cord that can cause partial or complete paralysis. A spinal cord injury can result in permanent physical disabilities and death.
- Chest and abdominal injuries – Injuries to the chest or abdominal organs that can cause internal bleeding, organ damage and death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Florida, an attorney, or another personal representative of the deceased’s estate, can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased had a will or estate plan, they would likely have chosen the representative. If they didn’t, or there was no will/estate plan, the court may appoint one.
The personal representative can seek damages on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and the following surviving family members:
Many complexities are often involved in determining who can receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced attorney can clear up any confusion you may have.
What Damages Can You Recover on Behalf of Your Loved One?
The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can seek damages on behalf of the estate and the surviving family members. The types of damages recoverable through a wrongful death lawsuit can include the following:
- Medical expenses – Any expenses incurred by the deceased person due to the accident or injury that led to their death can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Funeral and burial expenses – In a wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs can also recover the cost of the deceased person’s funeral and burial in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Loss of income – The lost income of the deceased person can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. This income can include the deceased person’s salary, wages, other forms of income, and any future income that the deceased person would have earned if they had not died.
- Loss of companionship and support – The surviving family members can seek compensation for the loss of companionship, guidance, and support they would have received from the deceased person if they were still alive.
- Pain and suffering – The estate can also recover damages for pain and suffering endured by the decedent before their death.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is two years from the date of the death. If the deceased’s representative fails to file a lawsuit within this time, the court will most likely dismiss the case, and the survivors will not be able to recover damages.
Consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure the claim is filed within the timeframe. An attorney can also ensure that the cause of death is properly investigated and that the statute of limitations is not impacted.