Motorcyclists have little to no protection against the force of the impact in an accident. Although helmets may help reduce head injuries among motorcyclists, they do not fully protect a rider against the possibility of death in a serious collision involving high speeds or significant force. While no amount of money can truly make up for the loss of a loved one, there are financial burdens that survivors may face after the death of a family member. If a loved one was killed in a fatal crash, Folsom motorcycle accident lawyer Travis G. Black may be able to help you recover compensation.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
If your loved one died in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death action. This type of civil lawsuit is brought if someone dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity. A wrongful death case is separate from a criminal trial, but it may be affected by the findings in a criminal case. Due to different standards of proof, a defendant may be acquitted of homicide-related charges in criminal court but still be found liable in civil court. However, you should not wait to see how the criminal case turns out before consulting and retaining your own wrongful death lawyer.
In order to recover damages in a civil lawsuit based on a fatal motorcycle accident, you will likely need to establish a driver’s negligence. This means that you will need to show that the driver failed to use reasonable care and that this failure was the legal cause of your loved one’s death. California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This may be a tricky issue in a fatal motorcycle accident case because the victim is no longer there to testify about what happened. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to show why the accident was someone else’s fault.
Motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet in California. If your loved one failed to wear a helmet, the defense is likely to argue that they were comparatively at fault. If the jury agrees, this means that damages will be reduced by your loved one’s percentage of fault. A motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet may result in more serious injuries. However, if wearing a helmet would not have made a difference regarding whether your loved one would have survived, it may have no impact on the compensation award. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an expert to testify that the helmet would not have prevented the victim’s death.
Specific family members are permitted to bring a wrongful death claim. In most cases, you may bring a claim if you are a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child of the victim. In some cases, people who were heirs, such as parents or stepchildren, or who were financially dependent on the deceased person may have a right to bring a claim.
Consult a California Wrongful Death Lawyer
It is important to consult an experienced California wrongful death lawyer if you have lost a loved one in a fatal collision. Our principal, Travis G. Black, is a compassionate and tenacious advocate for families who have lost loved ones due to other people’s negligence. Based in Folsom, he formerly worked in the insurance industry and can bring his insight to bear on your case. Contact us online or call Black & DePaoli at 916-962-2896 to set up a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer.