Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are complex events that can have tragic consequences. Sometimes a motorcyclist is seriously or fatally injured, while a driver of a larger vehicle walks away unharmed. A huge percentage of motorcycle accidents result in injuries or death to a motorcyclist. There is no significant buffer between a motorcyclist and the pavement or another vehicle. Sometimes a motorcyclist is ejected from the motorcycle and can hit other vehicles or objects in a secondary collision. If a loved one was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Bill Berenson is a Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyer who is ready to protect your rights in settlement negotiations or the courtroom.Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles do not protect riders and passengers as much as a car protects occupants. Often, motorcycles are agile and can stop quickly, but they are also harder for drivers of larger vehicles to see. There are many different reasons why fatal motorcycle accidents happen, but one of these reasons is because drivers of larger vehicles are distracted and fail to be alert to the possibility of a motorcyclist in a blind spot or approaching them. A fatal motorcycle accident can be a result of a driver’s failure to signal, failure to yield, drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, or aggressive driving.Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim
Under Texas Statute section 71.001, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought if someone’s wrongful act, carelessness, default, unskillfulness, or neglect caused another person’s death. In Texas, a spouse, child, or parent of someone who died as a result of negligence or misconduct can file a wrongful death claim. They can file as a group or individually. If they do not file within three months of the decedent’s death, the decedent’s personal representative or executor can sue, except when the surviving family member specifically asks that the wrongful death lawsuit not be filed.
Wrongful death lawsuits are distinct from criminal homicide cases. A criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A wrongful death lawsuit requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence. Accordingly, a negligent driver who kills a motorcyclist could be acquitted of criminal charges while still being found liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.Wrongful Death Damages
In a Texas wrongful death lawsuit, survivors may be able to recover economic and noneconomic losses, including lost wages, lost earning capacity, lost counsel and advice provided by the decedent, emotional anguish, physical pain and suffering, and lost love and companionship. In certain Texas wrongful death lawsuits, it may be possible for an injury attorney to recover exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are also called punitive damages in other states. These are damages intended to punish a wrongdoer and deter future similar conduct. They are not typically awarded in motor vehicle accident cases, but they might be appropriate in a drunk driving case. For example, if your husband was killed by a drunk driver who ran a red light, it might be appropriate to request punitive damages.
The damages that are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit will be divided among the surviving family members. The court determines the proportions by which the damages should be divided.Contact a Fort Worth Attorney to Discuss a Motorcycle Wreck
Under most circumstances, you have only two years from the date of a fatal motorcycle accident to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Also, evidence may vanish quickly, and memories of witnesses may fade, so it is important to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible after a fatal motorcycle accident. Bill Berenson represents families of motorcycle accident victims in cities such as Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Arlington, Addison, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, and Frisco, as well as other areas of Tarrant, Dallas, Harris, Bexar, Collin, Denton, Hood, Lubbock, Parker, and Travis Counties. Call us at 888-801-8585 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation about a motorcycle accident case.