North Carolina Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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A black-and-white photo of the aftermath of a motorcycle colliding with a car with a helmet on the ground.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020, there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes per vehicle miles driven.

Clearly, riding motorcycles is a dangerous activity, yet many riders would not travel any other way when given the option. Some people ride for pleasure while others ride out of necessity, but no matter the reasons, motorcycle riders are exposed to all the dangers around them.

The main danger they face is other vehicles sharing the road.

The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by people driving cars and not seeing the motorcycle until it is too late. Changing lanes, making turns across oncoming traffic, and pulling out into traffic from a side street are common causes of accidents involving motorcycles.

Motorcyclists do not have the benefit of being surrounded by a metal frame or crumple zones. They have no seatbelts or airbags.

The only safety features they have are their helmets, clothing, and their own skill and maneuverability to avoid potential accidents. Indeed, motorcyclists are at a disadvantage for safety when they come in contact with another vehicle.

Riders are, therefore, at a higher risk of severe injury or death from an accident. Anyone who has been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else has the option to sue the at-fault driver personally for damages.

Most riders file a personal injury claim when seeking compensation for their injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The best way to decide if you should sue after a motorcycle accident is to discuss your accident and claims with a personal injury lawyer.

How Can a North Carolina Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help With My Case?

The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters understand how tragic it is to have a family member unexpectedly torn from your life, and we fight passionately to ensure that you get everything that you are legally entitled to receive.

We hold the party at fault for your family member’s death accountable for their actions by thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine exactly what happened to cause the fatality.

Can I Sue if My Family Member Was Killed in a Motorcycle Wreck?

When someone dies due to a motorcycle accident, a family member or representative may file a lawsuit for wrongful death against the driver at fault for the accident. According to the North Carolina Statute, the claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death, which may differ from the date of the accident.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to North Carolina Law, a wrongful death occurs when the victim could have collected compensation for damages caused by the accident if the victim had not passed away. Therefore, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the party whose negligent or intentional actions caused the crash that claimed the victim’s life.

If the victim had survived the accident and been able to file a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death claim is warranted.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in North Carolina?

The deceased’s family typically seeks compensation on the victim’s behalf. North Carolina law is specific about who can file a wrongful death claim.

The deceased’s personal representative is the only one who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This personal representative is typically the executor of the victim’s estate.

If the victim did not leave a will naming an executor, the family may petition the court to appoint a personal representative to handle the claim. This person is typically the surviving spouse, parent, or adult child.

The lawsuit is filed for compensation on behalf of the victim’s estate and beneficiaries, who normally include the spouse and children of the deceased.

When Does a Wrongful Death Claim Have to Be Filed?

There is a limit to how long someone has to file a claim. This limit is called a statute of limitations and is a set law.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina is two years from the date of the death. Once this time has passed, a case can no longer be filed.

Please remember that it takes time to properly prepare a claim or lawsuit before it is ready to be filed.

Early consultation with an experienced wrongful death motorcycle accident lawyer is important to ensure that your case is properly prepared and filed before the statute of limitations expires. A thorough investigation of the accident and the collection of evidence take time.

There are also some exceptions to the statute that your lawyer will be able to guide you through, if applicable.

What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed In a Wrongful Death Case?

The deceased motorcyclist’s family is the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, the court will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s claimed damages.

The determination of the value of the award for damages potentially includes the following factors:

  • Funeral Expenses
  • Transportation Of the Deceased
  • Burial or Cremation Expenses
  • Medical Bills For the Deceased As a Result of the Accident
  • Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased
  • Whether the Deceased Was a Caregiver
  • A Reasonable Value For Non-Economic Damages

Funeral Expenses

According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is over $8,000 and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider. Motorcycle accidents are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.

Transportation of the Deceased

Many people travel far from home on their motorcycles. The cost to bring them home varies wildly depending upon the following criteria:

  • Distance They Must Travel
  • Fees for Shipping Arrangements
  • Method of Transportation
  • Weight of the Deceased

Distance They Must Travel

Some people ride their motorcycles around their hometown, while others take epic road trips. It is possible that the accident occurred on a rented motorcycle while the rider was on vacation on the other side of the world.

According to Funeral Wise, the average cost to ship a body by land within the United States is between $1 and $4 per mile.

Fees for Shipping Arrangements

Funeral homes typically handle the shipping and receiving arrangements on behalf of the family for a fee. This cost can start at $500 and go up to $5000 or more.

Method of Transportation

Air travel will cost more than ground transportation, but it is the most practical way to bring someone home from overseas. It is also the fastest method of transportation.

The cost of an international flight for human remains can exceed $10,000.

Weight of the Deceased

There is also an expense for the container that the body will travel in. Larger individuals will require a more sizable container for a more significant fee.

Burial or Cremation Expenses

Direct burials without the coat of a funeral added range between around $1,200 – $1,600. Cremation is approximately just under $1,000.

The cost for each method fluctuates depending on location and the type of coffin or urn chosen.

Medical Bills for the Deceased As a Result of the Car Accident

Motorcycle accidents are often horrific, but with advancements in standard safety gear and the rider’s own skills, many victims of car accidents survive the initial crash. Unfortunately, some victims still succumb to injuries and die in the hospital.

Any treatment they received before their death, including transportation to the hospital, will be charged to their estate. While families are not responsible for paying these expenses, medical bills are expensive and would take a large portion, if not all, of the deceased’s estate.

Some families could be left with nothing, especially if assets were only in the deceased’s name.

Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived

The income the deceased would have earned if the accident had not happened is also calculated in a claim for damages. This amount is significant to families who depend on the victim as the household’s primary income source.

Pain and Suffering of the Deceased

The family can also receive financial compensation for any pain the victim experienced from the accident until death. Some deaths happen instantly while other people experience extreme pain from their injuries, and they may have suffered for a long time before help arrived or if they were trapped somewhere.

Whether the Deceased Was a Caregiver

A caregiver is someone responsible for providing care for a child, senior, or disabled person at least 50% of the time. North Carolina Law states that the value of caregiving is worth 110% of the state’s average weekly wage at the time of death.

A Reasonable Value for Non-Economic Damages

Family members are owed compensation for the loss of their loved one. Non-economic damages are for the loss of the individual.

For example, a child who lost a parent also loses a guide, counselor, and comforter. A spouse is losing a companion, support, and consortium.

They are losing future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

Property Damages

The motorcycle the victim was riding will also have to be repaired, replaced, or otherwise compensated for the reduction in value. Anything that was on the bike that was harmed will be added to the list of damages.

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim Based on a Fatal Motorcycle Accident

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit that the victim’s personal representative or family may file for compensation for both monetary and non-monetary damages that they have suffered.

Calculating damages is a complicated process in wrongful death cases and includes the monetary value of the care and services that the deceased person would have provided if they had not been killed.

The surviving family members may also seek compensation for any expenses they incurred from the loss, such as medical and funeral expenses and loss of the deceased’s income. The North Carolina Wrongful Death Act also provides for the inclusion of the loss of the deceased’s guidance and comfort as well as their society and companionship.

If the victim’s death was caused by intentional acts or inactions, punitive damages may also be sought to serve as a punishment for the wrongdoing.

Wrongful death cases should begin as soon as possible after the accident for the following reasons:

  • So that the investigation can begin before any evidence is lost
  • To allow for medical experts to be consulted
  • For witnesses to be interviewed before their memories fade
  • North Carolina only allows two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim according to the statute of limitations

An experienced North Carolina wrongful death lawyer should be contacted right away following a motorcycle accident so that you get legal advice and know what your rights and options are. The knowledgeable attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson offer free consultations to families who have unexpectedly lost someone.

They offer aggressive legal help to make sure that you are compensated for the death of your loved one, especially if you depend on them financially and emotionally.

Contact a North Carolina Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Law Firm Today

The death of your loved one has been an unimaginable tragedy that nobody should have to endure. Any monetary compensation will not bring them back or ever be enough to make up for what you and your family have lost.

The most a wrongful death lawsuit can do is ease the financial burden that has been caused by the accident, and it may also bring a sense of closure when it is over.

The wrongful death motorcycle accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters know that losing someone in such a devastating way can leave your entire family feeling overwhelmed and shocked. The vulnerability of motorcyclists has led to far too many severe injuries and fatalities because of the negligence of another motorist.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers have over 65 years of combined legal experience, so we know how to handle a plethora of situations. Do not hesitate to give us a call to see how we can help.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are dedicated to getting you the best possible settlement for your case. Call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation.

We always treat our clients with compassion and understanding for their situations and provide our services free of charge until you get your payment. There is absolutely no risk to you, so call us as soon as possible so we can get started.

Let us handle the complex legal matters on your behalf so you can focus on what is most important: your family.