Sadly, nearly 5,000 riders lose their lives in motorcycle accidents each year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you recently lost a loved one in a Clarksburg motorcycle accident, a wrongful death claim can allow you to recover compensation for your damages.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are numerous causes of motorcycle accidents, some related to driver error, some to rider error, and some related to both. In other cases, the accident isn’t necessarily the result of anything the rider or a driver did, but rather some sort of bike, tire, or part malfunction, road condition, or weather factor.
Some of the causes of motorcycle accidents are listed below.
- Drivers’ failure to see the rider
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Slippery roads, from ice, rain, or snow
- Road hazards and debris
- Distraction or inattention
- Rider inexperience
- Right-of-way mistakes
One common type of motorcycle accident occurs when drivers make a left turn. In 41 percent of crashes that involved a motorcycle and another motor vehicle in 2012, the accident occurred when the driver is turning left as the rider is going straight, passing, or overtaking the other vehicles, according to the NHTSA.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is a claim filed against a party responsible for your loved one’s death in order to recover financial compensation for your loss.
If another party’s action contributed to your loved one’s accident, the personal representative of your loved one’s estate may file a wrongful death claim with the courts against that party. In West Virginia, wrongful death claims are filed by the personal representative on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Any damages collected will be distributed to the eligible beneficiaries, which may include the parties listed below.
- In some cases, parents, siblings, and other people who were dependent upon the deceased for support
Elements Necessary to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim
Not all deaths warrant a wrongful death claim. There must be certain elements present in order to file and win a claim.
- Your loved one’s death was caused by the other party’s negligence. In other words, the motorcycle accident has to be someone else’s fault (or, at least, partial fault). For instance, if your loved one was riding his bike according to normal traffic rules, and a driver ran a red light and hit him, the driver was acting negligently and should be liable for damages. Also consider how your loved one's partial negligence (such as use of motorcycle safety equipment) may affect a claim.
- You have to be an eligible survivor, as per West Virginia laws. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, consult a wrongful death attorney.
- You need to have suffered actual losses as a result of your loved one’s death. Losses include things such as loss of income, loss of benefits, as well as emotional and psychological losses.
You will need to collect evidence to support your case and share it with your attorney or representative. Your attorney can also help you gather evidence. This can include items related to the accident itself (e.g., police reports and traffic cam footage), as well as evidence that proves your financial and emotional losses (e.g., tax returns and testimonies from your mental health provider).
Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Attorney in Clarksburg
If you’ve recently lost your loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, we offer you our sincere condolences. Our door is open to discuss any legal questions or needs you may have in regard to filing a wrongful death claim.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation for families of victims in Clarksburg. Feel free to contact the Miley Legal Group today to schedule an appointment at your convenience: 304-931-4088.