When a motorcycle collides with a much larger and heavier vehicle, the results are often catastrophic for the operator and any passengers on the bike. Because of the severity of these injuries, it is important to retain a specialist lawyer who will be able to advocate on your behalf for adequate compensation.

Local news reported that an elderly resident of the West Palm Beach area was killed while riding his motorcycle on Kanner Highway.

Motorcyclist killed on highway north of West Palm Beach

The Florida Highway Patrol believes that the 88 year old victim was travelling eastbound through Stuart on the highway near Cove Road when he was suddenly struck in the rear by a 34 year old male driving a Chrysler Pacifica sedan.

Officers from the Martin County Sheriff’s Department responded to Cove Road Eastbound, and entirely shut the road down for several hours afterwards. Drivers were advised to avoid the area due to severe congestion. Shortly after the crash, rescue crews arrived and transported the victim to Martin Memorial Hospital South, where he died. An exact cause of the accident is unknown and the incident is still under investigation.

What is the process to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident?

Motorcycle accidents are generally treated the same way as any other motor vehicle accident from a legal standpoint. The attorney for the plaintiff will file a civil lawsuit against the defendant driver who caused the accident and try to get them to pay for injuries. However, as a practical matter, crashes that affect motorcycle riders are much more likely to result in serious medical problems or death due to the lack of protection and safety features on bikes compared to cars.

The victim or their family should contact a local specialist attorney and explain the situation. After a brief initial meeting, the lawyer can explain more about what will happen next and request any other information that may be needed for the case. This might include medical records, bills related to injuries and repairs, statements from witnesses, and proof of time missed from work.

Fatal accidents and lawsuits

The news story above mentions a motorist who was killed by another driver. The state may choose to file criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter if the driver at fault acted recklessly or intentionally. However, it is always possible to file a separate civil wrongful death lawsuit regardless of whether a criminal case is tied to the same event, or if the defendant is convicted. This type of civil case has special rules regarding the timeframe for the lawsuit and the damages the defendant must pay to the victim’s family members.

Florida law states that the wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death of the plaintiff. This shorter time limit means that a lawyer should be contacted as soon as realistically possible after an accident. Usually, the deceased person’s spouse, parents, or children will be able to bring the lawsuit, as only certain family members are allowed to bring the case and receive any money paid out on their relative’s behalf.

An important aspect of dealing with the aftermath of any fatal accident is paying for things like medical and funeral expenses. These damages can be awarded through a jury trial or settlement agreement after the wrongful death lawsuit. There is also the possibility of non-economic damages which are less tangible but significant because they represent the emotional struggle and continued pain that the family must endure. A deceased person’s future lost wages can be calculated as well. This can be important because multiplying someone’s annual salary by years or decades will potentially result in a judgment of millions of dollars.

Why do attorneys need to specialize in this area of practice?

Almost all lawyers are specialists in the legal profession today. There are very few generalist lawyers who handle all kinds of cases, especially in major metro areas like West Palm Beach. Lawyers who specialize in auto accidents and personal injury claims will know how to handle your case in a way that provides the best chance of success. An attorney who has years of experience in tort law and wrongful death cases will know how to address your situation proficiently. They will know the local courts, know what kind of documentation is necessary to support their claims, and know how to make a winning argument.

Learn more about what you can do to get help after an accident

To learn more about the possibility of filing a lawsuit or taking other actions after a motorcycle collision in the West Palm Beach area, contact Smith and Vanture. They will provide all of the information a victim and their family needs to begin the process of suing the person at fault.