Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling experience, yet there are inherent dangers. Along with the rising popularity of motorcycles due to their small size and fuel efficiency, the number of motorcycle fatalities has increased. The NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has tracked motorcycle accident fatalities since 1975. The NHTSA's found that there were 5,154 motorcycle-related deaths in 2007, which is the highest amount of motorcycle fatalities since the administration began tracking this data. The number of deaths from motorcycle accidents was 6.6 percent less in 2006 and 144 percent less in 1997.
Approximately 50 percent of motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities involved one or more other automobiles. A lot of cases were due to the other driver's negligence. Anybody whose loved one has died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident where another driver was at fault should consider filing a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Death Suits
There is no sum of money that can replace someone's life or bring solace to his or her loved ones. However, the sudden loss of life from a motorcycle accident can leave the deceased driver's family with a substantial financial burden. Therefore, the negligent driver should be held monetarily responsible. By definition of the law, next of kin is considered a person's spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Any of the aforementioned family members may file a wrongful death claim against the driver whose negligence caused the motorcycle accident. Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, the deceased driver's next of kin may be financially compensated for:
- Emotional distress and other non-monetary damages
- Loss of the deceased's future income and support
- Loss of the deceased's retirement and medical benefits
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Other monetary damages
Single-Driver Motorcycle Accidents and Wrongful Death
As previously mentioned, approximately 50 percent of motorcycle-related deaths involve other drivers. Although another driver's negligence is the cause of the most wrongful death cases, single-driver motorcycle accidents may also be caused by negligent factors such as roads that are poorly maintained or motorcycle parts that are defective. In these cases, the motorcyclist's next of kin can also file a claim for wrongful death. Some common examples of poor road conditions and defective motorcycle parts are:
- Absent, damaged or faded road signs
- Accumulated road debris
- Brake failure
- Blown tires
- Broken or stuck accelerators
- Defective parts in the fuel system
- Deficient water drainage
- Seat failure
Those whose loved one died in a single-driver motorcycle accident due to mechanical failures or certain road conditions may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death against the motorcycle's manufacturer or the government agency that oversees the road's maintenance.