Have you recently been informed of the passing of a treasured family member? Did your loved one pass away due to fatal motorcycle accident injuries? If so, you may have the opportunity to take action against those responsible.
A compassionate Lakeland personal injury lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC can help you ensure the liable party is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Contact our team for a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how fatal motorcycle accident wrongful death claims work, the value of your damages, and who to sue for causing your loved one’s death.
Ways Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Occur
Your fatal motorcycle accident attorney in Lakeland, TN, at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, will get started on your case by examining how the motorcycle crash occurred. Motorcycle wrecks can happen in multiple ways, and the cause of your loved one’s crash will help determine who is responsible for their death.
In some instances, fatal motorcycle accidents happen because of negligent drivers. Any driver who fails to operate their vehicle safely is accountable if they cause another motorist’s death. Examples of careless driving could include:
- Following a motorcycle too closely
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Refusing to stop at traffic lights or stop signs
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Distracted driving
- Driving impaired
- Drowsy driving
- Road rage and aggressive driving
Other causes of fatal motorcycle accidents could include:
- Faulty or malfunctioning motorcycle or motor vehicle parts
- Over-serving or selling alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated
- Failure to make necessary repairs to the roadways
- Failure to properly secure road construction zones
- Using cheap, faulty, or defective parts during repairs
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Culpability for Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Lakeland
In reviewing how your loved one’s deaths occurred, your fatal motorcycle accident lawyer in Lakeland, TN, will ascertain liability for their death. The cause of the crash will identify all potentially liable parties.
For example, if another motorist caused the accident, your attorney will file a lawsuit against them and a claim with their insurance company where applicable. However, negligent motorists are not the only cause of fatal motorcycle accidents. Other parties who could share blame depending on how the accident occurred include:
- The city of Lakeland
- The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
- Other municipalities
- Other government agencies and officials
- Motor vehicle dealerships and executives
- Motorcycle and vehicle maintenance technicians and safety inspectors
- Motorcycle and motor vehicle parts designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors
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Evidence to Prove Negligence and Liability
Your Lakeland fatal motorcycle accident attorney can use several types of evidence to prove the defendant’s liability. Examples of such evidence could include:
- Video surveillance of the collision
- Testimony from bystanders and witnesses
- Testimonies from experts, including accident reconstructionists
- Police reports and crash data from electronic data recording devices, also called black boxes
- Copies of the defendant’s cell phone and blood alcohol concentration test records
- Personal journal entries
- Testimony from friends and family members
- Copies of the defendants driving record
- Copies of safety inspection and maintenance logs
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How to Demand Justice for Your Loved One’s Passing
There are multiple ways you can fight for justice when you lose a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident. However, this generally includes filing a claim with an insurance company, pursuing a wrongful death action, or combining both.
File an Insurance Claim
Tennessee follows fault-based insurance laws. When someone else causes your accident, you file a claim with their insurance company. Since you are acting on behalf of the decedent, you can file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider.
Insurance settlements often cover vehicle repairs and medical bills, but that is about it. Families hoping for justice may not get the most out of their case by filing an insurance claim alone. Since insurance companies are looking for opportunities to reduce or deny settlement, your fatal motorcycle accident attorney in Lakeland should handle these negotiations on your behalf.
File a Wrongful Death Claim
Under Tenn. Code §20-5-106, you can file a wrongful death claim when someone else causes the death of your loved one. This is similar to a personal injury lawsuit the decedent would have had the right to file if they had not passed away from their injuries.
However, only certain parties can file wrongful death actions. First, the decedent’s surviving spouse has the right to pursue the claim. However, if the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, the following parties have the right to move forward with the claim in the following order:
- The decedent’s surviving adult children
- The decedent’s surviving adult next of kin
- The executor or personal representative of the decedent’s estate
- The decedent’s surviving parents if they were providing for the deceased at the time of their death
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Statute of Limitations for Fatal Motorcycle Accident Claims in Lakeland
The statute of limitations for fatal motorcycle accident wrongful death cases in Tennessee requires the lawsuit to be filed no later than one year from the decedent’s death under Tenn. Code §28-3-104. If the claim is not filed within this time, the surviving family members will lose the chance to file the wrongful death action.
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How Surviving Family Members Are Compensated
No matter who filed the wrongful death claim, all damages are awarded to the decedent’s surviving family members. The damages your family could win will vary due to the type of claim you file and policy limits.
Recoverable Damages in Insurance Settlements
Your fatal motorcycle accident attorney will handle your insurance claim on your behalf. Insurance settlements in fatal motorcycle accidents generally only offer compensation for:
- Motorcycle repairs
- Motorcycle replacement fees
- Diminished value of the motorcycle
- The gap in the value of the bike and what the motorcycle owner owed
- The decedent’s medical expenses
Potential Recoverable Damages in a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Surviving family members can recover other damages by filing a fatal motorcycle accident wrongful death action. Examples of recoverable losses include:
- The decedent’s funeral and burial costs
- The decedent’s lost income
- The surviving family members loss of the decedent’s time, love, guidance, protection, companionship, care, and society
Meet with a Fatal Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Lakeland for Help Today
Whether you are filing a claim with the insurance company or bringing your case to court through a wrongful death action, the individual or entity who caused your loved one’s death should pay. The criminal court system will handle any charges the defendant will face.
However, you can also ensure they are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law by filing a civil lawsuit. Learn more about how you can demand justice when you reach out to a dedicated Lakeland fatal motorcycle accident lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. Complete our convenient contact form or call our office to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today.