Can Family Members File a Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of a Loved One Killed in a Motorcycle Accident?

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Motorcycle accidents tend to be very dangerous. Usually, while the victim suffers pretty serious injuries, they do survive. However, sometimes, things end tragically. If your loved one has died as a result of a motorcycle accident, you need to contact an experienced injury lawyer in Hickory, North Carolina.

If you lose a loved one in a motorcycle crash, the last thing you should worry about is filing insurance claims and dealing with lawyers. You need to focus on grieving and taking care of your family. This is why it’s best if you hire a skilled motorcycle lawyer in North Carolina to handle the legal side of things for you.

North Carolina has wrongful death statute that protects your family at times like this. This statute covers any case in which someone dies as the result of another person’s negligence. It’s similar to a personal injury case, however, the victim isn’t alive to file their own claim for damages. In these cases, the family of the deceased has a right to demand damages from the responsible party.

If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in North Carolina. They’ll work hard to get your family the justice you deserve.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is when someone dies as the result of another person’s negligence. In order to prevail in a wrongful death case, you need to prove they were negligent. This means your Hickory wrongful death attorney needs to show the following:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care – Depending on the situation, this shouldn’t be hard to prove. For example, all drivers have a duty to obey the traffic laws. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, your Hickory injury lawyer will have to prove the defendant was careless or committed a traffic violation.
  • They breached this duty – In the motorcycle accident example above, you’d could prove breach by showing they were speeding or drunk at the time of the crash.
  • The victim was injured – Clearly, if your loved one died, they suffered an injury. Your lawyer can introduce medical records to prove the victim was injured.
  • Their injuries and resulting death were caused by the defendant’s breach – This can be difficult. The defendant’s lawyer will try to prove that something other than the defendant’s behavior caused the victim’s death.

As long as you can prove these four (4) elements, you should have a prima facie case for wrongful death. It’s not difficult to prove that your loved one died. The hard part is showing that their death was the result of the defendant’s breach of duty.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in North Carolina?

Unlike some other states, in North Carolina, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. Whoever is appointed the personal representative will be the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Your North Carolina wrongful death attorney will technically represent the personal representative. However, whatever damages are collected will go into the decedent’s estate. Whoever is named as heirs in the estate will be the ones who benefit from the lawsuit.

What Kind of Damages are Demanded in Wrongful Death Cases?

If the personal representative wins their claim for wrongful death, they’ll collect certain damages on behalf of the victim’s estate. Your Hickory wrongful death lawyer will demand the following damages:

  • Medical Bills – This includes hospital, pharmacy and hospice expenses.
  • Pain and Suffering – These damages are limited to the pain and suffering experienced by the victim before they died. It’s not intended to compensate the family for their pain and suffering.
  • Funeral and Burial expenses
  • Lost Income – Whatever the decedent would’ve earned had they been able to work until retirement age is what your lawyer will demand.
  • Loss of the decedent’s services and companionship
  • Punitive Damages – In some cases, if you can prove the defendant’s behavior was willful or malicious, you can demand punitive damages.

Your Hickory, North Carolina personal injury lawyer will make sure your family gets as much compensation as possible.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in North Carolina

If your loved one has died in any sort of accident, you may have a claim for wrongful death. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Harman Law and schedule your consultation today. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.

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