A 71-year-old motorcycle rider was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Roanoke County, Virginia. According to WDBJ7, the woman was riding her motorcycle, a 2008 Honda VT750, and was headed north when the incident occurred. She lost control of the motorcycle, struck the guard rail and was killed in the resulting accident. The specific cause of the crash still remains under investigation.
This victim was one of many motorcyclists who will lose their lives during the course of this year as a result of accident injuries.
The number of motorcycle riders killed in accidents has been on the rise, with Governors' Highway Safety Association reporting a 10 percent increase in fatalities among motorcycle riders during the past year. GHSA is calling the dramatic increase in fatalities a "surge," indicating death rates may continue rising in 2016 as motorists drive more miles on the road.
With so many motorcycle accidents causing fatalities, it is important to understand what happens after a fatal motorcycle accident.
When motorcycle crashes are fatal, it is possible for family members to make wrongful death claims under some circumstances. In the recent single vehicle accident, there is no other driver for the family to blame. However, if some malfunction with the motorcycle was the cause of the accident or contributed to the victim suffering worse injuries, the family of the victim would potentially be able to make a damage claim against the motorcycle manufacturer.
If there is another driver whose negligence and/or carelessness was the cause of the deadly motorcycle accident, the family of the victim could be compensated for wrongful death damages through a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.
In a case against a careless driver, the family of a crash victim has to prove the other driver was the direct cause of the motorcyclist's death and would need to show the fatality happened because the driver was unreasonably careless or violated some safety rule.
When a wrongful death claim arises from a deadly motorcycle accident, the case can sometimes settle. Whatever insurance company represents the driver who caused the crash may make a settlement offer to the family. The family can determine whether to accept this offer, depending upon whether it seems the money is enough to provide for funeral costs as well as for loss of the deceased's companionship and any medical costs which were incurred to provide aid to the victim.
If there is not a successful settlement negotiation, the wrongful death claim based on the deadly motorcycle accident could progress to trial. This would mean the victim's family would need to prove their entitlement to wrongful death compensation under Virginia laws.