Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
The many miles of roadway and highways that stretch throughout Missouri offer motorcycle enthusiasts countless opportunities to enjoy the open road. In addition to the relaxation that this form of transportation provides, motorcycles can be a convenient way to go about your daily business. Despite these advantages, motorcycles present a certain element of danger because they lack the same infrastructure and protection from outside elements as the typical, enclosed car. The relatively small profile of a motorcycle also makes it difficult for some motorists to see them when changing lanes, merging, or traveling through intersections, leading to severe collisions, injuries, and even death. If you have tragically lost someone you love as the result of a crash in Columbia or the surrounding area, compassionate motorcycle accident attorney Matt Uhrig is here to help.Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim against a Careless Driver
A fatal motorcycle accident often gives rise to a wrongful death lawsuit. According to Missouri law, the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren have standing to bring this type of claim for the loss of their loved one. The decedent’s parents may also bring a claim to recover for their loss.
Wrongful death cases based on motor vehicle collisions are usually brought under a theory of negligence. The plaintiff must show that the driver who struck the motorcyclist failed to abide by the appropriate standard of care. The standard of care is a legal concept that sets a minimum level of care and attention that each of us must use in any situation. In ordinary situations, the standard requires us to use the same amount of ordinary care and skill that a reasonably prudent person would use in a similar circumstance. In a motorcycle accident, the standard may encompass several factors, such as whether it was raining or dark at the time of the accident, or whether there was heavy traffic. Both of these facts would probably alter the way a reasonably prudent person would operate his or her vehicle, thereby shaping the level of care that the defendant should have used at the time of the crash. If the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s conduct failed to meet the standard of care, the plaintiff has established a breach.
Next, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach was the direct cause of his or her damages. This element, known as causation, requires the plaintiff to show that but for the defendant’s failure to act according to the standard of care, he or she would not have suffered costs or losses. Many defendants will try to show that the injuries the plaintiff is claiming in the lawsuit did not arise from the crash, or that the accident was caused by the victim’s own negligence. However, even if the victim was partially responsible, his or her family potentially still can recover a lesser amount of damages.
Finally, a plaintiff who has established duty, breach, and causation can present the judge or jury with evidence supporting the damages that he or she is seeking in the lawsuit. Common examples include medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, the lost earning capacity of the victim, conscious pain and suffering before death, and damages based on the relationship between the victim and the family members bringing the claim. For example, the loss of companionship, consortium, and support may be a basis for compensation.Consult a Dedicated Columbia Attorney after a Motorcycle Accident
Losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident is a devastating experience for the victim’s family. Columbia lawyer Matt Uhrig has guided many families in bringing wrongful death claims in these tragic circumstances. We are ready to help you assert your rights against the person responsible for your loss. Matt Uhrig also represents individuals and families in other Missouri communities, including Ashland and Jefferson City. Call us at (573) 657-2050 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.