Contact the Colorado Springs motorcycle accident wrongful death attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C. for caring, dedicated legal help.
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you need a compassionate and experienced law firm on your side. We know that you have enough on your plate right now. Grieving the loss of your loved one, supporting your family, and rebuilding your life requires your complete focus and attention. Let us shoulder the legal burdens for you during this time.
We can help you seek justice and hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions. While no amount of compensation could ever heal your pain, you should not have to endure unnecessary financial burdens on top of the grief you already carry.
How Do Motorcycle Fatalities Occur?
A motorcycle accident has the potential to result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities due to the unprotected status of a motorcyclist. In a motor vehicle, drivers and passengers are surrounded by a metal and glass cage. They have seat belts and airbags. A motorcyclist, on the other hand, has virtually no protection during an accident.
In the state of Colorado, helmets are only required for riders and passengers who are 18 and under. While serious or catastrophic injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident can lead to months, years, or a lifetime of medical interventions, rehabilitative therapies, and perhaps an inability to return to work, losing a loved one in a motorcycle crash is even worse.
What is Wrongful Death?
When another person exhibits negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, and that disregard causes the death of another human being, a wrongful death has occurred. A claim for this death may be filed by certain family members following a wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury lawsuit, but the injured person is no longer alive to pursue a personal injury claim.
Financial compensation is the result of a wrongful death lawsuit, as the defendant will be forced to pay loved ones left behind an amount of money determined by a judge (if the case goes to court). While a criminal homicide case can result in criminal penalties (like prison time), the result of a civil wrongful death claim is strictly monetary.
The defendant’s guilt is easier to prove in a wrongful death claim than in a criminal case. In a criminal case, it must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. In a wrongful death claim, the guilt of the defendant is shown by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means it’s more likely than not that the defendant was the cause of the death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim Following a Motorcycle Death?
Under Colorado law, during the first year following the victim’s death, only the surviving spouse can file a wrongful death claim unless the surviving spouse states in writing that the children of the decedent may file a claim or may join with him or her in filing a wrongful death claim. In the second year following the death, the surviving spouse, surviving children, or the eligible designated beneficiary along with the decedent’s children may file a wrongful death claim.
If the children of the deceased file a wrongful death claim, the surviving spouse and/or designated beneficiary have three months to join the wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased was unmarried, had no children, and had no designated beneficiary, the parents of the decedent may bring a wrongful death action.
What Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Losses of a plaintiff are divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can easily be proven and that cover actual financial losses associated with the death. Economic damages in the case of a motorcycle accident wrongful death could include lost wages lost benefits, and funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify because they are awarded for intangible losses such as grief, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship for spouses, or loss of parental guidance for children of the deceased.
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision as a result of the negligence of another person or entity, you have two years in which to file a wrongful death claim. In the case of hit-and-run vehicular homicide, you have four years to file the claim.