While motorcycles can be an enjoyable past-time, a motorcycle accident can prove costly. Because of the level of exposure bikers face while on the roads, even a relatively minor accident can cause serious or even fatal injuries--a biker is no match for a car he or she collides with. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver, you know the impact his or her death can have on your life.
You might face extreme financial difficulty, particularly if you were dependent upon your loved one's earnings to survive. Medical bills and the cost of a funeral are expensive.
If you are struggling to manage everything following the death of a loved one in Washington or Oregon and you wish to seek fair compensation, the team of attorneys at Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards PS may be able to help.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
When a person is killed due to the negligent or reckless actions of another individual, the victim's personal representative may bring an action against the at-fault party for the wrongful death of their loved one. A wrongful death action seeks to offset the financial struggle that family members face following the death of their loved one, as well as to compensate them for the losses they suffer as a result of their loved one's death.
Potential Compensation in a Wrongful Death Action
If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident due to someone else's negligence, you may be able to recover financial compensation, or "damages", by filing a wrongful death action. Possible damages that you might be entitled to for the death of your loved one include:
- Funeral and burial costs: The average cost of a funeral in the United States is $10,000.00. Caskets or even cremation alone can cost thousands. Graveside services and flowers are costly, too. If you lost a loved one suddenly, it is likely you weren't anticipating a funeral expense, and you may not be prepared to pay for one. In a wrongful death action, you are entitled to be awarded reasonable funeral costs for the burial or cremation of your loved one.
- Medical expenses: If your loved one did not pass away at the scene of the accident, then you may be left facing high medical bills for end-of-life care. If you are overwhelmed by medical bills following your loved one's death, a wrongful death lawsuit is an option to enable you to be compensated for those bills.
- Loss of your loved one's financial support: If you relied on your loved one's income when he or she was alive, then you may find yourself in financial straits following his or her death, particularly where your loved one was the sole income earner or the breadwinner of your family. You may not be able to pay your bills or support your family without that income. A successful wrongful death action is an option that could ultimately alleviate the financial hardship you are facing after the death of your loved one by providing compensation for the loss of income suffered as a result of your loved one's death.
- Loss of companionship: While funeral costs and lost income can be quantified with a tangible number, the relationship you shared with him or her cannot. Money can't substitute the bond a child shared with his father, or the love a wife provided to her husband. While no one can put a price on your loved one's life, loss of companionship will be taken into account in a wrongful death action and you may seek an award of additional compensation for that loss.
Time is Limited--Don't Wait too Long to File a Claim
Following the death of someone you love in a fatal motorcycle accident, a wrongful death action may be the furthest thing from your mind. While you need time to grieve, it's important to speak with an attorney as soon as you are able to regarding your loved one's death. Legal time restrictions called "statutes of limitations" in addition to other potential time limitations limit the time frame within which you can file a case. In many cases, in both Washington and Oregon, a person has three years to file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. But there are exceptions, depending on the circumstances.
While three years may sound like a long time, don't delay contacting an attorney; it can take a significant amount of time to gather enough evidence to properly prosecute a wrongful death lawsuit. Don't find yourself wishing that you had contacted an attorney sooner. After the statute of limitations has run, it is likely impossible to file an effective lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses.
Need Help? Contact Us Today
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one due to a motorcycle accident in Washington or Oregon, the dedicated team of attorneys at Schauermann Thayer are standing by to help.
Don't try to navigate a wrongful death action on your own--trust a firm which has built a reputation of dependability and accountability in Washington and Oregon. To speak with an attorney about your case, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (360) 695-4244 today.