According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are around 28 times more likely to die in vehicle accidents compared with passenger car occupants. A motorcycle accident can quickly become deadly, which impacts the victim’s family members and other loved ones forever. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to sue for wrongful death damages.
Only certain family members are able to bring a wrongful death case in Georgia. If the motorcycle accident happened in Georgia, John Foy & Associates can help. Contact us today to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation and discuss the details. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule yours today.
Individuals Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death After a Motorcycle Accident
Only certain people are able to file a wrongful death case. In Georgia, the laws for wrongful death actions are covered under Georgia Code § 51-4-2. Wrongful death claims allow certain individuals to file a lawsuit against the person or party who was legally liable for the motorcycle accident that caused the death.
Those eligible to bring wrongful death cases include, in order:
- The spouse of the deceased person
- Any minor children the spouse and deceased person had (represented by the surviving spouse)
- Surviving parents or parent of the deceased person
- A representative for the deceased person’s estate
If a spouse brings a wrongful death case, they cannot receive less than one-third of the full financial recovery. It doesn’t matter how many minor children the couple has. The deceased person’s parents can only bring a wrongful death claim if the deceased had no surviving spouse or minor children. If none of these parties exist or are living, a representative for the deceased’s estate can bring the case.
If the estate representative recovers damages in the wrongful death claim, the damages will be held by the estate for the deceased’s next of kin to receive.
Damages Available in a Motorcycle Wrongful Death Claim
If you file a claim for wrongful death in a motorcycle accident case, the type of claim you bring will depend on your relationship to the deceased motorcyclist. If you are a surviving family member, you can bring a claim for the full value of the deceased’s life. This type of claim includes damages representing the deceased’s value of life like:
- Lost of expected income and benefits the deceased probably would have earned if they had not been killed in the motorcycle accident
- Loss of inheritance that resulted from the deceased’s death and
- Intangible benefits you would have otherwise received from the deceased, such as loss of companionship, loss of care, loss of nurturing, or loss of consortium
If a wrongful death claim is being brought by the deceased’s estate, the claim is meant to recover losses the deceased’s death caused to their estate like:
- Medical costs from the deceased’s last injury or illness resulting from the motorcycle accident
- Pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they died and
- Funeral and burial costs
You will need to ensure you can actually prove the damages you’re claiming. Otherwise, your case will not be seen as valid and you might have trouble getting compensation. You will also need to meet the same burden of proof that the deceased victim would have had to meet if they had survived the motorcycle accident.
It’s best to work with a wrongful death lawyer or motorcycle accident lawyer if you are bringing a wrongful death case after the loss of a loved one. Your lawyer can help you build a strong case and seek the recovery you need following your loss. They can work to show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the accident and the deceased death.
Someone Must Be to Blame for the Motorcycle Accident Death
To have a valid wrongful death claim, there must have been a negligent party in the accident (other than the deceased motorcyclist). The at-fault party is often another motorist that acted carelessly and caused the accident. Sometimes, the at-fault party is a government entity or business, depending on the conditions of the accident.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you gather evidence of the at-fault party’s negligence and how it caused the death (and resulting damages you are claiming).
Statute of Limitations to Sue for Wrongful Death
Most states only allow a certain period of time for you to bring a wrongful death case. In Georgia, you typically have to file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date the deceased died in the accident. If you wait any longer than the two-year mark, you will almost certainly lose the right to seek compensation.
There are certain situations where the timeline is “tolled” (or paused) in a wrongful death case. For example, if the deceased’s estate is not probated, the statute of limitations can be tolled for up to five years. A case can also be tolled if there is a criminal case ongoing that is related to the same events as your case. The statute of limitations would begin on the day the criminal case completes.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we are dedicated to helping families receive the compensation they need and deserve after the loss of a loved one in a motorcycle accident or any other injury accident. We have been working on wrongful death and motorcycle accident cases for more than 20 years, and we know what it takes to win.
Contact us today and we’ll get started with a FREE, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation. You’ll get matched with the best lawyer for your case, and you’ll be able to discuss the details of your case and how we can help.
To get started today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and begin helping you with your case.