Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

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Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

Yes, someone in your family most likely has the right to sue for wrongful death if your loved one died from injuries in a Michigan motorcycle accident. If another driver caused the fatal crash, the victim’s personal representative will pursue financial damages for the expenses and losses experienced.

Understanding the process and legal considerations for suing for wrongful death in a motorcycle accident claim in Michigan will help you decide if this is the best option for you and your family. To learn more, talk to a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer or their team during a free consultation.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Michigan Motorcycle Accidents

When a motorcyclist suffers fatal injuries or dies from complications of their motorcycle accident injuries, the case might support a wrongful death lawsuit. Under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act, a successful lawsuit is possible when the death occurs because of a “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.”

Based on this, a motorcyclist’s fatal accident might be a wrongful death when another party’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions caused their crash. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Driving errors
  • Violating traffic laws
  • Negligence behind the wheel
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Issues with road design, construction, or maintenance

If an accident occurred because of any of these reasons and the victim passed away, the case will likely support a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, a survival action might be possible as well.

Who is liable for the injuries, death, and resulting economic losses depends greatly on the circumstances. Some of the most common examples are other drivers and companies or government agencies responsible for road maintenance.

Who Can File a Michigan Wrongful Death Claim Based on a Motorcycle Accident?

All wrongful death lawsuits in Michigan must be filed by the victim’s personal representative. Other names for this party include the executor of the will and the administrator of the estate. For the purposes of Michigan’s wrongful death law, they are the decedent’s personal representative. However, all these phrases refer to the same person.

The personal representative could be an immediate family member. However, this is not always true. Regardless of their identity, they file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for the immediate family. This could include a surviving spouse, a spouse and children, or the individual’s parents.

Key Elements of Your Michigan Motorcycle Crash Wrongful Death Claim

To recover compensation based on your loved one’s wrongful death, you must have strong evidence to prove negligence or wrongdoing. There are four elements of negligence that must be present to hold the accused party responsible for your loved one’s death. This includes:

  1. Duty of care
  2. Breach of duty
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

In most cases, the duty of care comes from traffic laws. Other drivers have a duty of care to behave a certain way on the road. When they fail to do so—breach their duty—this can cause a collision. The victim suffers injuries, and these could be fatal.

Gathering Evidence

To show negligence or wrongdoing occurred, you will need to have a wealth of evidence that documents what happened and the role each party played. It is crucial to begin this investigation as soon as possible after your crash because some evidence is time sensitive. Timely evidence collection could change the outcome of your case.

Some common types of evidence used in fatal motorcycle accidents include:

  • Accident reports filed by responding police officers
  • Witness statements
  • Relevant medical records
  • Expert testimony
  • Video of the crash
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Documentation of damages

Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Claim in Michigan

It is difficult to know how much a case might be worth early in the investigation. An average payout in a motorcycle accident is impossible to calculate because of the many factors that affect the outcome. In a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, this could include:

  • The victim’s age
  • Their job and earning capacity
  • Their life expectancy
  • Their relationship to survivors
  • Whether the case settles or goes to trial
  • The experience of the lawyer managing the case

In general, the payout in a wrongful death case includes both economic and non-economic damages. These are clearly outlined and explained in the Michigan Wrongful Death Act. They include:

  • Economic Damages: Medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of financial support, and loss of benefits
  • Non-Economic Damages: Reasonable compensation for any conscious pain and suffering, loss of society suffered by family members, and loss of the companionship of the deceased

When you work with an attorney to handle the case, they will identify, catalog, and estimate the value of each type of damages. Then, they will seek fair compensation based on their evidence and experience.

Navigating the Legal Process Based on a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Case

Once you have strong evidence to show what occurred, how the accused party is liable, and how much your case is worth, it is time to demand fair compensation from the insurance carrier or file a lawsuit to hold the at-fault party accountable.

Generally, Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805 gives you three years to manage this process. However, there are additional deadlines that could apply. This is especially true if the liable party is a government agency or municipality.

Many cases settle without needing to go to trial. A Michigan personal injury lawyer often negotiates fair settlements with the insurance carrier representing the at-fault driver or another liable party. This allows you to recover compensation without needing to navigate litigation or go through a trial.

Still, some cases require this to recover the compensation your family needs and deserves. Your attorney will offer guidance and implement a legal strategy to maximize your compensation and fight for an appropriate payout for your family.

What Is the Role of a Wrongful Death Lawyer in a Michigan Fatal Motorcycle Crash Case?

When you hire a wrongful death lawyer to manage a case based on your loved one’s fatal motorcycle accident, they will handle the legal case from start to finish. This includes investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and representing your family’s best interests.

You can expect them to provide advice, guidance, and support every step of the way. Choosing an attorney who handles motorcycle accidents regularly is key since there are differences in how insurance works in these cases.

Challenges in Wrongful Death Motorcycle Claims

Sometimes, finding or preserving the evidence you need to successfully prove fault or establish the extent of damages after a fatal motorcycle crash is difficult. You could also face allegations that your loved one assumed the risk by riding in a certain way or without specific protective gear. The insurance carrier could even try to blame them for the crash.

If this happens to you and your family, you will want an attorney on your side to help. They will know how to handle the insurance carrier, mitigate the allegations, and develop a case that convinces the insurer or judge and jury to award fair compensation.

Talk to Our Team About Your Family’s Michigan Wrongful Death Motorcycle Case

Christensen Law provides free consultations for families who lost loved ones in Michigan motorcycle accidents. You can also check out our motorcycle insurance guide online. It will answer many of your questions about these cases. Call now for a free consultation.