Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Fatal motorcycle accidents have trended dangerously upward in Georgia during recent years. They have increased by nearly 70 percent from 2002 to 2008. Tragically, many riders lose their lives in foreseeable collisions that could have been avoided if a motorist had acted carefully. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver, you deserve justice and compensation. The compassionate motorcycle crash attorney Terrence R. Bethune has helped countless grieving families in the Atlanta area pursue those goals.
FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT TO SEEK COMPENSATION
Just as an injured rider can pursue compensation for his or her harm, the family of a motorcyclist killed by a negligent driver can seek to hold that driver accountable. Georgia’s wrongful death statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2, allows certain members of the decedent’s family to file a claim. If the deceased rider is survived by a spouse, the spouse has the sole right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is no spouse, the statute gives this right to other surviving family members. If you have questions about which family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit, contact an experienced attorney.
A wrongful death claim can be thought of as a type of injury lawsuit. In other words, it usually relies on proving that the defendant’s negligence caused the decedent’s harm and subsequent death. For the defendant to be held liable, Georgia law requires the victim’s family to show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, breached that duty, caused the victim’s death, and forced the victim and his or her family to incur damages. These elements are the same as those required to prove a typical injury lawsuit.
Technically, there are two claims that could arise out of fatal motorcycle accidents. A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by either the decedent’s family or the decedent’s estate. The difference between these actions lies in the types of damages sought.
According to Georgia law, the wrongful death lawsuit may seek damages that are intended to compensate for the “full value” of the decedent’s life. “Full value” in this context has two separate components. First, the plaintiff may seek economic damages that resulted from the decedent’s death, such as a lifetime of lost wages. Second, the plaintiff may seek non-economic damages. These are defined in wrongful death cases as the intangible benefits of living. In determining the amount of these damages, the jury considers relationships with family, enjoyment of life, and other subjective factors.
Alternately the decedent’s estate can seek damages for the costs of the injuries that the decedent sustained before death. These include medical bills, pain and suffering of which the victim was conscious, and funeral expenses.
GRIEVING FAMILIES CAN CONSULT AN ATLANTA INJURY ATTORNEY
Losing a loved family member can be a crushing blow to absorb. Atlanta injury lawyer Terrence R. Bethune has devoted his practice to helping Georgia residents who suffered an unexpected bereavement because of someone else’s carelessness. We can help you determine who is responsible and hold them accountable. Call (800) 465-8733 or visit our contact page to start a conversation with us at no initial cost to you.