People who have lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident should be mindful of the strict Florida statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Lawsuits that are not timely filed are subject to dismissal on procedural grounds, regardless of their merits. Furthermore, spoliation of evidence may hinder a thorough investigation if a claim is not filed soon after the accident.
Motor Vehicle Collision Attorneys Helping Stuart Families
Losing a loved one is never easy, regardless of the cause. When a death is caused by the negligent or reckless conduct of another driver, however, it can be even more difficult because of the knowledge that it did not need to happen. The loss of a spouse, parent, or child can leave those left behind with a significant financial burden, especially if the lost family member was the primary breadwinner. If your family has experienced a loss due to a fatal motorcycle accident, you probably have a lot of questions about your legal rights, including the procedure for filing suit against the responsible party. The Stuart fatal motorcycle accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help you get started.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
The same feeling of freedom that makes many people love riding motorcycles has an unfortunate side effect of making a rider much more vulnerable if a collision occurs. Tragically, hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts lose their lives on Florida roadways each year, and many others are permanently and severely injured. While some accidents are the result of a motorcyclist’s own error, many others are not. Drivers of cars, SUVs, and trucks do not always act in a reasonably prudent manner when encountering motorcycles, and the results are often tragic.
When a motorcyclist is killed in a fatal collision, his or her family has a right to seek compensation for their loved one’s loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Florida law, it may be possible for the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate to bring suit on behalf of the estate and the victim’s beneficiaries. The legal survivors of the person who died in the crash may also be able to assert a claim. The term “survivor” is defined under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute as including, depending on the situation, the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and other relatives who were dependent on the victim for support or services.
The damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation after a fatal motorcycle accident include loss of support, loss of services, medical expenses, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and lost net earnings to the victim’s estate. In order to recover these damages, however, the plaintiff must prove negligence against the defendant. This requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed a legal duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, that the plaintiff suffered actual damages, and that there was causation between the defendant’s breach and the damages incurred by the plaintiff.
In the event that the defendant was uninsured at the time of the accident or has insufficient liability insurance to fully compensate the plaintiff for his or her damages, the plaintiff may be able to seek additional payment through an uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy, if this type of policy was in effect at the time of the fatal motorcycle crash.