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Can I Sue After a Motorcycle Accident?

Woman injured from a motorcycle 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 with a personal injury lawyer.

How Much Can You Sue For a Motorcycle Accident?

The amount you can sue for after a motorcycle accident depends on the nature of the accident, who was at fault, and your injuries. If the accident was caused by someone else, you can seek compensation for damages you received as a direct result of the crash.

The most considerable amount typically comes from compensation for medical expenses since injuries to motorcyclists are usually severe. How much you can receive depends on the following factors:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Estimated Loss of Future Earnings
  • Rehabilitation Costs
  • Prescription Medication
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property Damage

Medical Expenses

You will be fully compensated for all accumulated medical bills along with future medical expenses that you may receive to treat any accident-related injuries.

Lost Wages

The time you spend unable to work while recovering from your injuries is time that you are not earning your regular income.

You may be using up your allotted sick time or disability, but these often pay a reduced rate and might not last long enough for your recovery. You may lose your job entirely. You should be compensated for these financial losses.

Estimated Loss of Future Earnings

If you have to work at a reduced capacity due to injuries caused by the accident, you can claim your loss of future earnings.

Rehabilitation Costs

Depending on the nature of your injuries, there is a strong possibility that you will require some type of rehabilitation. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain management, and psychotherapy are some examples of rehabilitation.

Prescription Medication

The cost of medicines that your doctors prescribe for you because of your accident will be reimbursed. This amount includes the cost of medication you will be required to take long-term as long as it directly results from the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Common injuries such as road rash are excruciating and often leave noticeable scars. All pain and even emotional damage will receive a value for your compensation.

Property Damage

Your motorcycle, accessories, gear, and whatever else you had with you that was damaged during the accident will be added up for the cost of repair, replacement, or any reduction in value.

Who Will the Lawsuit Be Against and How Long Do I Have to File?

The people injured in a motorcycle accident have the right to seek compensation from whoever was responsible for the crash.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is five years. The case may not be settled within those five years, but the official filing date must be within that time frame.

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. The claim must be filed within three years of the victim’s death, which may differ from the date of the accident.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Missouri 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 Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The deceased’s family typically seeks compensation on the victim’s behalf.

Missouri law is specific about who can file a wrongful death claim: the deceased’s spouse, parents, and children are the first eligible to file a claim. Grandchildren may also file if the victim has no living children.

Second in line are the siblings and their descendants if there are no living members of the first group. If nobody is alive from either group, a person arguably entitled to the proceeds of the claim may request to be a plaintiff ad litem.

The court would have to appoint this person as such to handle the claim.

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 Missouri is three 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.

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 Perfect Goodbyes, the average cost for a funeral in Missouri is $6,391 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 motorcyclists ride far from home. 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 riders travel 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, not least because 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 Accident

Motorcycle accidents are horrific, but with advancements in safety gear and the rider’s skill, many motorcyclists survive the initial crash.

Unfortunately, some riders 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 depended 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 riders 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 responsible for providing care for a child, senior, or disabled person at least 50% of the time. Missouri 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, while a spouse is losing a companion, support, and consortium. They are losing future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

Call For a Free Consultation With the St. Louis Injury Law Firm

The attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer understand how difficult it is to recover from a motorcycle accident. If you have been injured, call (314) 231-4100 today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

If your loved one was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident, we are so sorry for your loss, and we are here to help. We will take care of your case and ensure your family receives the best possible outcome.

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