A video making the rounds of the internet the last few weeks details a tragic motorcycle accident death. Taken from the helmet cam of a biker who is cut off by the driver of a small car, the video runs as the biker clips the front fender of the vehicle, and is thrown to his death.
Judging from the video alone, the driver of the car was at fault for turning in front of the motorcycle, and not giving the biker enough space before making the turn, potentially making this a case of negligence on the driver’s part.
As a husband and father with a family of my own, I naturally viewed this heartbreaking video thinking of the emotional trauma his family is experiencing in the wake of his motorcycle accident death, and I sincerely hope that they have access to resources and competent representation that can bring them some measure of closure and justice.
As a long time New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney, I know how difficult and complex wrongful death claims can become.
Complications in wrongful motorcycle accident death claims
While, on the video, it seems pretty clear that the driver of the car was plainly in the wrong, according to some accounts the motorcyclist was traveling approximately 97 miles per hour when he struck the car!
This is a good example of the type of detail that can make obtaining compensation in a wrongful death claim more complicated than it often appears on the surface.
If the defense can demonstrate that the biker was partially in the wrong – speeding in this case – the family’s potential damages will be lowered accordingly.
What exactly is wrongful death, who is eligible, and what is covered?
New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act defines a wrongful death as one caused by the negligence or misconduct of an individual or company. In the case of a motorcycle accident death such as the one captured in the video, the driver of the car may be found to have been driving negligently when he or she turned in front of the bike.
In general, the spouse, children, or parents of the victim are eligible to recover damages in a wrongful death claim. Depending on the facts of the case, grandparents or other extended family members may be eligible to recover as well.
A specialized New Jersey motorcycle injury lawyer for medical bills may be able to assist survivors in the recovery of any medical expenses the deceased have incurred in the wake of the accident, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
Lost earnings and benefits (like pension benefits or medical or health insurance) may sometimes be recovered also. In some cases the monetary value of household services such as cleaning, and of parental guidance, nurturing, and care may be recovered.
Computations for these damages are based on the deceased individual’s life expectancy, an estimation of how long they would have worked, the life expectancies of beneficiaries, and the amount of time a beneficiary might be a minor.
Emotional distress as a result of a motorcycle accident death
The Wrongful Death Act does not cover emotional distress incurred as a result of a loved one’s death. However, an experienced motorcycle injury attorney for pain and suffering may be able to assist survivors in exploring alternative tort options for the negligent infliction of emotional distress.
To pursue this course of action, survivors are typically required to have an immediate or marital family relationship with the deceased, as well as to have witnessed the accident.
All these factors and complexities are in play when a motorcycle accident death claim is filed. A successful claim depends upon your attorney having a thorough understanding of the nuances of New Jersey’s wrongful death statutes, and experience handling these types of cases.
I understand that in the wake of losing someone close to you, stress and emotions are running high. Call Lee Gaber, Esq. at 1-888-292-5352 (888-cycle-law) to speak with a compassionate, experienced New Jersey motorcycle injury lawyer.
There is no charge for your consultation if your accident took place in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.