Motorcycle accidents can often be deadly for riders. Without the surrounding structure of a car and other safety equipment to keep them safe, a rider can sustain serious injuries in a motorcycle crash, especially when traveling at highway speeds. If you lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident in Maryland, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your loss and the financial damages their death caused you and your family.
Call the Maryland motorcycle accident wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our lawyers represent the families of deceased motorcycle accident victims and fight to get them compensation and justice from the at-fault parties. For a free legal consultation on your potential case, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
Suing for Deadly Motorcycle Accidents in Maryland
Victims of auto accidents are typically entitled to sue the driver who caused the crash to recover compensation for vehicle damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering that the crash caused. In the case of a deadly crash, the victim might not be able to file a lawsuit, but their surviving family typically can. The parents, children, or spouse of the deceased can typically file a lawsuit on their behalf. In addition, they can claim damages that they personally suffered from the death of a loved one.
These cases are often called “wrongful death” lawsuits, though this often combines two types of lawsuits: an action from wrongful death and a survival action. The distinction between the two is a technical legal issue; what is important to you is that your lawyer can help you determine which to file and make sure that they are filed properly to maximize the damages you can seek.
In addition to the damages your loved one would have been able to sue for – pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc. – you can also sue for harms you and your family faced from the crash. This often includes the lost support – both economic and intangible. That means suing for the deceased’s lost wages, lost companionship, lost counsel and emotional support, lost spousal services, and lost household tasks. You can also sue for other expenses incurred, such as funeral and burial costs. Many of these expenses and lost benefits would not have occurred if your loved one had survived the crash, so the parties responsible for the accident should pay for these costs.
After an auto accident, you might think that you need to file a claim with the insurance companies to get compensation for the damages. In many cases in Maryland, there is no requirement to go through insurance. Instead, you can file a lawsuit in court, especially if there was a death in the accident. This can open additional areas of damages, such as pain and suffering damages, that the insurance policy might not cover. When there is insurance that covers the at-fault driver, but you sue instead, the insurance company may still pay the damages and provide the defendant with a lawyer. These insurance companies will often try to settle claims at a reduced rate instead of going to trial, but your attorney can help counsel you on whether their settlement offers are fair or fall short of the damages you are entitled to claim.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Death Case in MD
To succeed in a lawsuit for wrongful death from a motorcycle accident, you typically must prove that the defendant was at fault for the crash and caused the death. To do so, you must generally prove four major elements of the case to show “negligence,” the basis of most wrongful death lawsuits:
- The defendant owed the victim a legal duty.
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused the injuries and death.
- The victim and their family suffered damages the court can order compensation for.
The legal duty discussed in this type of case can usually be supplied in two ways. First, all drivers on the road have a legal duty to conduct their vehicles with the care and skill that a reasonably prudent driver in their situation would. That means avoiding dangerous moves, driving at a reasonable speed, and keeping a proper lookout to avoid hitting other vehicles and pedestrians. Second, drivers are required to follow traffic laws. Tailgating, speeding, running red lights, failing to yield, and other violations of Maryland traffic law can put other drivers at risk and qualify as a breach of duty.
The specific facts of the crash will often define who was at fault and what they did wrong. In some cases, courts see both sides as having committed errors, which might be detrimental to your case in some lawsuits. It is vital to work with an attorney who can express what happened in terms of the defendant’s negligence and help protect your claim against counterclaims that the deceased caused the crash.
If you can prove that the at-fault driver caused the accident, you may be entitled to claim all damages that resulted from the accident. That includes the costs of injury and medical care and the effects on your family discussed above. You must also prove these damages in court before the court can award you compensation.
Call Our Maryland Motorcycle Wrongful Death Attorneys to Schedule a Free Consultation
If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident in Maryland, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. Our Maryland motorcycle wrongful death lawyers represent the families of victims of deadly motorcycle crashes and fight to get them compensation for the loss of a loved one. For a free legal consultation and more information about how to proceed with your case, call us today at (410) 694-7291