Losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident is a tragedy no one wants to experience. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle accident fatalities are steadily increasing each year nationwide.
If your loved one was killed in a Huntsville motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are not alone and might be owed compensation. Although no amount of money can bring your loved one back, our skilled motorcycle death attorneys want to help your family demand compensation for the financial and emotional burdens you face – as well as a measure of justice for the deceased.
Contact Morris, King, & Hodge, P.C., to discuss how we can help during a free and confidential consultation.
Why You Need Our Firm After a Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Huntsville
When you’re searching for a motorcycle wrongful death lawyer, experience is critical. Our firm has fought for injured victims and their families in North Alabama since 1966. We have received the Preeminent award from Martindale-Hubbell, a rating reserved for the top law firms in the country.
Since the motorcyclist is no longer alive to tell their story, we must rely on other sources, such as physical evidence, medical records, and witness testimony, to build the case. You need an attorney who will exhaust every possible source of evidence to build a comprehensive picture of what happened before, during, and after the accident.
Wrongful death claims can involve a lot of money, so the stakes are high. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will fight hard to avoid paying you a fair settlement. Holding the at-fault driver financially accountable can help your family cover expenses related to the untimely death while you work to put your life back together.
Our firm has extensive experience with high-stakes motorcycle accident cases. We have won over $125,500,000 in verdicts and settlements for our clients. In one case, we reached a $2.5 million settlement against a backhoe driver who collided with a motorcyclist, causing fatal injuries. Another case resulted in a $700,000 settlement when a motorcyclist died because another driver failed to yield.
Common Causes and Types of Motorcycle Crashes in Huntsville
Operating a motorcycle requires a significant amount of skill and technique. Most motorcyclists know the inherent risks of riding a motorcycle and work hard to develop safe riding skills. However, other drivers who do not take road safety seriously pose a significant danger to even the most experienced motorcyclists.
Some common factors contributing to motorcycle accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Excessive speed
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Inattention to surroundings
Motorcyclists are more susceptible to some types of accidents than drivers of other vehicles.
Common types of accidents that often occur because drivers may not be on the lookout for a motorcycle include:
- Other vehicles turning left into the path of an oncoming motorcycle
- Sideswipes, especially from unsafe lane changes
- T-bone collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims in Alabama
Alabama law allows the personal representative of the estate named in the deceased person’s will to file a wrongful death claim. If there is no will, the court can appoint a personal representative. Wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the estate.
Unlike wrongful death claims in many other states, in Alabama, the focus of the claim is not on the decedent’s injuries and suffering. There will be no award to specifically compensate for the losses incurred by the decedent and the surviving family. Compensation will not explicitly cover costs such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost future earnings, or other lost benefits.
Instead, a judge can award punitive damages. They will hear testimony about the wrongdoing that led to the death. As in other states, punitive damages are intended to serve as a punishment to the wrongdoer and a deterrent to prevent others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. The punitive damage award will be paid directly to the heirs of the estate.
Deadline for Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Motorcycle Crash in Huntsville
Alabama law requires the personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death. We recommend starting the legal process as soon as possible to avoid missing deadlines and to capture evidence while it is readily available. Many families find pursuing justice for their lost loved one to be a beneficial part of the grieving process.
Facts and Figures About Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles do not offer much protection for the riders. This increased exposure makes motorcyclists especially vulnerable to severe injuries and death when accidents occur.
- NHTSA reports that around 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.
- A recent study by NHTSA showed that 66 percent of motorcyclists were not speeding at the time of the accident. This statistic supports their earlier findings from the 1980s that the average speed of the vehicles involved in a motorcycle accident is only 30 MPH. Even collisions at slow speeds can be fatal to motorcyclists.
- NHTSA reported 5,579 motorcycle accident fatalities in the United States in one recent year, with 78 fatalities in Alabama alone.
- According to NHTSA, motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents 28 times more frequently than passenger vehicle occupants.
How We Can Help Your Family Deal with a Loved One’s Death in a Motorcycle Crash
The weeks and months after you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident can be difficult. Planning a funeral and managing the deceased individual’s finances takes a lot of energy, especially during such an emotional time.
The motorcycle death attorneys at Morris, King, and Hodge, P.C. understand what you are going through. We can provide the strong legal support you need during these challenging weeks and months. Our attorneys are ready to evaluate the entire case, develop a legal strategy to pursue compensation for your loved one’s death, and work to hold the negligent party accountable for your loss. Many of our clients express gratitude for our compassionate legal services and for helping them find closure regarding the loss of their loved one.
Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you, too.