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Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Greenville and Spartanburg Lawyer for Motor Vehicle Collision Victims

Motorcycle accidents are often devastating for the victims. Although the openness of motorcycles is part of their attraction and enjoyment, it leaves a rider exposed to external elements. In 2013, over 4,000 motorcyclists across the U.S. lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, according to the Institute for Highway Safety. The federal government has also reported that the number of motorcycle deaths that occurred in 2013 was 26 times the number of fatalities that occurred in car accidents. In many cases, the motorcyclist was not at fault for the crash. Motorists often fail to exercise appropriate care when driving near motorcyclists, such as traveling too closely or failing to see the motorcyclist altogether. If you have lost a family member in a fatal crash, you may be entitled to compensation. For guidance on your options, Greenville and Spartanburg motorcycle accident attorney Patrick E. Knie is available to assist you.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Motorcycle Crash

Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-51-10, the administrator of a decedent’s estate can file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s surviving spouse or children, seeking compensation for the loss. If there is no surviving spouse or child, the decedent’s parents or heirs at law can be named as the beneficiaries in the lawsuit.

The first step in recovering compensation for the loss of your loved one is establishing that the defendant failed to exercise due care at the time of the crash. The level of caution that a reasonable and ordinary person would use in a similar situation informs this standard of care. It can change depending on the weather, road, and traffic conditions at issue at the time of the crash. Common examples of breaching the duty of care include distracted driving, speeding, and failing to yield the right of way. Many motorcycle crashes happen at intersections, for example, when a driver making a left turn fails to see an oncoming rider and broadsides the motorcycle.

In the event that the plaintiff can prove that the defendant violated a statute at the time of the accident, the plaintiff may be able to use the negligence per se doctrine. Under this principle, a rebuttable presumption arises that the defendant failed to meet the applicable standard of care.

After demonstrating that the defendant was negligent at the time of the accident, the plaintiff must tie this negligence to the decedent’s death and show that he or she would not have died but for the defendant’s negligence. Due to the complexity of motorcycle crashes, an accident reconstruction specialist is often necessary to help recreate the collision and explain exactly how the defendant’s conduct resulted in it.

Finally, the plaintiff must prove the amount of damages that he or she is seeking in the claim. There are many types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death action, including burial expenses, funeral costs, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and the loss of the decedent’s society, companionship, and love.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Greenville or Spartanburg

The last thing that a grieving family wants to handle on their own is navigating the judicial system. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, a motor vehicle collision lawyer can guide you and your family through each step of the claim and fight aggressively for the settlement or the judgment that you deserve. Although no amount of money can ever truly compensate you for the loss of your loved one, it can ease the financial burden resulting from the loss and give you a sense that justice has been served. Spartanburg and Greenville motorcycle accident lawyer Patrick E. Knie proudly serves people throughout South Carolina, including in Spartanburg, Laurens, Greenville, Cherokee, and Union Counties. Call us at (864) 582-5118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.