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Home » Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in California » Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than the average motorist in California. As a result, deadly accidents occur far too often. If you lost someone you love in a fatal motorcycle accident, you need a legal team with an experienced attorney you can trust to bring justice to the person liable for your losses. Financial compensation cannot restore what you lost, but at the very least, the personal injury system can help ease some economic consequences.

lawyer for fatal motorcycle crash

Who Is Liable for a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?

California has a fault-based system that governs auto accident cases. Therefore, to hold the at-fault party reliable for your accident, you must identify how their actions apply to the three elements of a negligence claim:

  • Did they owe your loved one and other motorists a duty of care? 
  • Did they breach that duty by violating traffic laws?
  • Did their breach of duty result in the accident that caused your loved one’s fatal injuries?

If the answer is yes to each question, that person is responsible for the financial and emotional pain you now suffer, as well as the deceased’s physical and emotional suffering while they were alive. To better understand the type of traffic violations that can lead to a fatal motorcycle accident, consider some of the most common causes.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Most motorcycle accidents are the result of collisions with other, larger vehicles. Some common cases attorneys handle involve:

  • Head-on collisions with cars or trucks. This aggressive type of crash accounts for most fatal accidents involving motorcycles. They often occur at intersections when drivers rush to beat the red light or do not stop for a stop sign.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcoholDriving already requires increased alertness, but using drugs or drinking before significantly decreases reaction time and ability to focus. An intoxicated driver is an even greater risk to a motorcyclist, whose small size makes them less visible on the road.
  • Vehicles making left-hand turns. Making a left-hand turn at a green light without an arrow signal requires the driver to wait until the road clears. A common mistake people make is not looking out for motorcyclists. As a result, an alarming number of fatal accidents occur during these turns.
  • Road hazardsFallen debris, uneven surfaces, potholes and wet pavement are all more dangerous for motorcyclists than anyone else on the road. Sometimes the fault applies to no one, but fallen debris and poor road conditions could have a liable party.

Once you identify who is responsible for your loved one’s accident and death, you can file a claim with their insurance company or a lawsuit against them in civil court. However, California law restricts the ability to file a wrongful death claim for certain family members.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim for a Fatal Motorcycle Accident in California?

Understandably, the ability to claim financial compensation for someone’s death is unavailable to every family member or friend. California’s wrongful death statute limits that service to the following:

  • A surviving domestic partner or spouse
  • Surviving children, including adopted and stepchildren
  • Surviving grandchildren of the victim whose parent is also deceased

If no one in these three categories survives the motorcycle accident victims, anyone entitled to the property in the deceased’s estate would be eligible. This can include siblings, parents or other relatives. In addition, parents and legal guardians have the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of an underage child killed in a fatal motorcycle accident.

What Damages Can You Recover From a Wrongful Death Case?

The civil court uses the term damages to define the losses you incur due to the driver’s negligent action. In a wrongful death case, these differ slightly from a standard personal injury claim. Additionally, there are two types of damages potentially available. Compensatory damages include the economic and non-economic losses you suffer, and punitive damages are a financial punishment for the defendant.

Economic Damages

Economic losses have absolute monetary value and are calculable using tangible evidence, such as bills and pay stubs. Some common examples include the following:

  • The cost of the deceased medical expenses related to the accident
  • The total value of lost wages the deceased contributed to your household
  • Lost inheritance if you were a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate or any gifts you expected
  • The cost of repairing or replacing the deceased’s damaged property
  • The loss of benefits, such as health insurance and retirement funding

You can also claim the funeral and burial or cremation expenses. Again, a fatal motorcycle accident lawyer will help you collect all the evidence you need to support these damages and any others unique to your circumstances.

Non-Economic Damages

California personal injury law also recognizes how a fatal accident can impact the surviving family mentally and emotionally. To accommodate for that aspect of your loss, you can claim the following non-economic damages:

  • The loss of companionship
  • The loss of the love, support, society, guidance and nurturing the deceased provided
  • The physical and emotional pain and suffering your loved one endured from their injuries and medical treatment before death
  • The loss of comfort, care and moral support the deceased provided
  • The loss of intimate enjoyment if the deceased was your spouse

California has no universal cap for damages in a wrongful death case involving a fatal motorcycle accident. However, consider enlisting the help of a motorcycle accident attorney to ensure you adequately value your losses.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rare in auto accident cases, but a wrongful death is the most extreme consequence of a collision. The court may order a defendant to pay punitive damages as punishment for particularly egregious behavior or a display of gross negligence. For example, if the at-fault party was under the influence or driving recklessly, that may constitute gross negligence. If they intentionally hit your loved one, that would most likely result in an order of punitive damages.

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You?

When you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your case, the first thing they do is investigate the accident to find evidence supporting negligence and damages. An experienced attorney will guide you through the legal process, complete all the administrative work, talk to the insurance company in your place and negotiate for a fast and fair settlement. They also offer compassion, understanding and aggressive representation. A wrongful death is the worst form of personal injury, and a seasoned attorney knows the importance of fighting relentlessly for justice.

When Should You Contact a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

If you lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, it is never too soon to reach out to an attorney at Johnson Attorneys Group. Our approach to providing quality representation is through a personalized system where we review your case’s details and gather a solid understanding of your situation. In addition, we offer 24/7 access to your team of legal professionals to ensure someone is always there to answer your questions and keep you feeling comfortable with the legal process. Our job is to protect your rights and hold the negligent driver accountable for their access. Contact Johnson Attorneys Group at (800) 208-3538 to schedule a free case evaluation and talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer today.

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