For any parent, watching your child get behind the wheel of a car is a nerve-wracking experience. No matter how safe the car or how knowledgeable the driver, the dangers of driving are countless and unavoidable. Those dangers increase exponentially when motorcycles are involved, and it’s only natural for parents of motorcyclists to be permanently biting their nails whenever their loved ones go for a ride.
Tragically, despite parents’ hopes and prayers for their children’s safety, sometimes collisions do happen and lives are lost. Here in Florida on Monday, December 22nd, 18-year-old Shayne Breene was killed in an automobile accident when his motorcycle collided with an unspecified four-wheeled vehicle near Avon Park. Just a week later on December 29th, 25-year-old Kirk Steele was killed when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck in Fort Myers.
Whenever tragedies like these happen, they make us reevaluate how we deal with motorcycle collisions. In these cases, one thing is clear—responsible parties should always be held accountable.
What Can You Do?
When one of your loved ones is killed in a motorcycle accident, it can feel like all hope is lost. But even though it may feel almost impossible to do so, it’s worth it to muster the strength to fight back. Both to get the justice that your loved one deserves and because the compensation you receive can ease the burden of having to pay any medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses that come along with losing someone you love.
In order for a wrongful death claim to be filed, you will have to be able to show that the other driver was at fault in the accident. To prove fault, try consulting the Florida driving laws or looking at police reports that were filed at the time of the accident. If you find anything that suggests that the other driver was acting negligently, you may have a case. Negligence on the part of the other party can be proven if he or she was:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while fatigued
- Texting and driving
- Inexperienced behind the wheel
- Failing to obey common road rules, for instance ignoring stop signs or driving recklessly on the highway
A qualified lawyer will be able to discuss these and other factors with you in greater detail during a consultation.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim and Why File One?
Admittedly, it can sometimes be difficult for drivers in large cars to see motorcycles while they’re driving. But this does not absolve them of responsibility. On the contrary, it means that drivers of sedans, trucks, and other automobiles need to be even more careful while they’re driving and take extra time to look before they turn, back up, or switch lanes. If drivers fail to take the proper precautions or obey the rules of the road, they should be considered negligent and held accountable for any accidents that they cause.
A wrongful death claim is one that is filed if a person’s death can be proven to be the result of someone else’s recklessness or negligence. In many cases, deadly automobile accidents fall under the category of wrongful death. Under Florida law, family members who are entitled to file wrongful death claims include:
- Any relatives who were partially dependent on the decedent
Following deadly auto accidents, it can be extremely difficult for family members to file legal claims. Sometimes loved ones may feel that filing a lawsuit is too much trouble, too emotionally trying, too selfish, or, quite simply, pointless. After all, suing the negligent person isn’t going to bring your loved on back. But while that’s true, it’s important to realize that there are certain benefits that can come with filing a legal claim and winning your case. Some of these were discussed above, but not all of them.
- You can help cover funeral costs and other expenses related to your loved one’s death.
- You can help pay for medical expenses.
- You can offset income that you lose from missed work and from job loss if your deceased loved one was providing income for you.
- You can help prevent similar incidents from happening to other people.
- You can find closure.
Even though the process can seem daunting and unappealing, it is worth consulting an attorney to discuss your legal options. If you have lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident, don’t wait—call the law offices of Lawlor, Winston, White & Murphey and get the justice that you and your loved one deserve.
About the Author: Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”