In 2013—the most recent year for which motorcycle accident fatality statistics are available for all three states—152 people died in Illinois motorcycle accidents, 83 people died in Wisconsin motorcycle accidents, and 41 people died in Iowa motorcycle accidents. Many more people were left mourning the loss of their loved ones.

If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle crash, then you are likely grieving and feeling overwhelmed by your loss. There is help available for your family, but you need to know how to ask for it. You need learn more about your rights and about how to fight for your family’s recovery.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death case is more than just a fatal motorcycle accident. Personal injury attorneys use the phrase “wrongful death” in a special way, to indicate a death caused by the negligent action or willful misconduct of another person. Attorneys apply the phrase when another driver caused a fatal traffic accident, or when a mechanical defect in a motorcycle caused the death of a rider.

Wrongful Deaths Are Unique Motorcycle Injuries

Unlike other motorcycle accident injuries, a wrongful death case is one where the person who suffered the personal injury in the accident cannot initiate a lawsuit. Instead, it is up to the administrator of that person’s estate to file a lawsuit that could benefit the loved ones of the person who died.

Because it’s evident that someone died, you might expect that insurance adjusters readily pay off wrongful death settlements without the need for a personal injury attorney to get involved. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Insurance adjusters fight tooth-and-nail to limit payouts for wrongful death claims. Insurance companies know that the family is not at its strongest following the death of a beloved member, and they are willing to take advantage of your period of weakness.

Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

A lawsuit based on a wrongful death action will actually provide two classes or categories of damages, called the survival and the wrongful death components (or “actions”) of the case. It is common for a single lawsuit to include both components of the action, with the total damages or settlement divided among eligible people afterward.

Damages may include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering of the deceased person.
  • The costs of medical treatment and hospital care before death.
  • Funeral expense.
  • Past and future lost earnings.
  • Loss of companionship, solace, guidance, and consortium.
  • Lost services to the family or the household.
  • Family’s mental pain and suffering.
  • Burial and cemetery costs.
  • Lost economic support for family members, including any diminished inheritance from the estate.

Every state limits the amount of time that you have to file a wrongful death case. If you are considering filing a case then a motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through the legal minefield. We have a reputation for complete honesty with our clients and we would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.