Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Riverdale
Losing a loved one to a motorcycle accident can be devastating. When that death was the result of somebody else’s negligence, you may be wondering what action you could take to hold the negligent person accountable.
A qualified attorney experienced in fatal motorcycle accidents in Riverdale can help. Call as soon as possible to find out whether bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is a viable option for your family.
Motorcycle Wrecks Could Support Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If another driver was driving under the influence, driving while distracted, driving recklessly, or did not allow a motorcycle the use of their lane, the bereaved family could have the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Other parties could also be liable for a biker’s wrongful death. If a commercial vehicle was involved, the driver’s employer likely has responsibility through the doctrine of vicarious liability. Additionally, if a mechanical failure contributed to the fatal motorcycle wreck, the manufacturer could be liable.
Process of Bringing a Wrongful Death Action
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §51-4-2 sets forth specific rules about who may file a lawsuit alleging wrongful death, what damages the family might seek, and how the proceeds must be divided. A knowledgeable Riverdale attorney could help ensure everyone has realistic expectations of the process following a fatal motorcycle accident.
Who Files Suit?
If the biker was legally married when they died, the surviving spouse must bring the wrongful death action. However, if there is no surviving spouse, surviving children could bring the suit. If the decedent did not have a spouse or children, their parents or legal guardian could file an action for wrongful death. In all other cases, the administrator of the decedent’s estate must bring the lawsuit.
What Damages are Available?
The plaintiffs in a wrongful death action are entitled to receive a sum equal to the amount the decedent would have earned during the rest of their expected lifespan. The family also could seek damages to reimburse the value of the services the motorcyclist provided to their household, such as yard work, childcare, housekeeping, and vehicle maintenance.
The negligent party also may pay for the intangible losses the decedent suffered because of their death.
How are Damages Divided?
If a spouse and children survive the biker, the spouse must share the proceeds of a wrongful death action with the children, but regardless of the number of children, the spouse gets at least one-third of the funds.
When the decedent left children but no spouse, the children divide the proceeds equally. Children who were born out of wedlock also have equal rights to those born within a marriage.
Estate Must Claim Certain Damages
Although a family member is usually the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit, the law requires the administrator of the deceased biker’s estate to sue. Often, the same family member who brings the wrongful death action is also the estate’s administrator, but this is not always the case.
The administrator could sue on behalf of the estate to receive payment for the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Unlike the damages the family receives from their lawsuit, money that the estate administrator receives could be applied to pay the estate’s debts. Any remaining funds could be distributed to the family members.
Seek an Attorney Experienced in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Riverdale
Someone else’s negligence often contributes to motorcycle crashes, but making sure there are consequences for their actions could offer some relief.
If you lost someone in a fatal motorcycle accident in Riverdale, a compassionate attorney could help your family decide your best next steps. There is limited time available to pursue a wrongful death action, so it is best to act quickly to preserve all your rights. Schedule a consultation today.