Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
If your loved one was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may be too weighed down with grief to think about practical matters. At some point, however, anxiety may set in about how you will keep up with your mortgage or rent, pay for a funeral, and cover any medical bills accrued before your loved one passed away. Certain family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia to recover compensation for the various losses associated with losing a loved one. Knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert can guide Atlanta residents through the process of asserting their rights.Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation
In Georgia, a "wrongful death" is a death that is caused by another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. Most motorcycle accidents arise out of negligence. To prove negligence, you will have to show that a driver owed a duty to use reasonable care but breached that duty and thereby caused injury or death to somebody else.
Generally, a decedent's family members or the representative of his or her estate brings a wrongful death lawsuit. The first person with priority to bring the suit is the spouse of the decedent. When a spouse and decedent have minor children, the children's interests must also be represented in court. If there is no spouse or child, the parents or a personal representative of the decedent's estate can bring the claim. The damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit are usually held for the benefit of the decedent's next of kin, even when the estate brings the action. If a spouse brings the claim for him or herself and children, the damages will be split among them, but no matter how many children there are the spouse always takes at least one-third of the recovery.
The damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death action usually include economic losses, such as the decedent's lost wages, and intangible losses like loss of care and companionship. They may also include purely financial losses that are directly related to the death, such as medical expenses and funeral expenses.
You should be aware that Georgia follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. If a motorcyclist was 49% or less at fault, the compensation may be reduced by an amount equal to his or her percentage of fault, but it will not be eliminated. For example, motorcyclists are required by state law to wear helmets. If the jury determines that a motorcyclist's failure to wear a helmet was 30% at fault for his or her death, and the damages are $1 million, the family may be able to recover up to $700,000 in compensation.Consult an Experienced Atlanta Lawyer after a Motorcycle Accident
Families in Atlanta who have lost a loved one in a devastating wreck can enlist motor vehicle collision attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert to explore their options and potentially take legal action on their behalf. Call us at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent families in Decatur as well as communities throughout DeKalb and Fulton Counties.