Fatalities from Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are generally only protected by helmets and the clothing they are wearing. Because of this, most accidents they are involved in can be devastating. Especially on major roads such as I-64 and I-264. Therefore, it is not uncommon for these crashes to result in fatalities.
Just because a motorcycle lacks the protection a car provides does not mean that the family of a motorcyclist who was killed in an accident does not have rights. An attorney with experience working with families following fatalities from Virginia Beach motorcycle accidents can help. By working with a compassionate wrongful death attorney, you can fight for the justice you deserve.
When Can a Fatal Motorcycle Accident to a Wrongful Death Claim?
If there is a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach where the motorcyclist dies from the injuries they suffered in the wreck, then it becomes a wrongful death case rather than a personal injury case. This is true regardless of whether the person passed away immediately at the scene or did not die until later from the injuries suffered in the wreck.
One interesting aspect of wrongful death cases in Virginia is that no compensation is given to the surviving family for the conscious pain and suffering of the motorcyclist from the time of the wreck until the time they pass away. This is different than many other states where families can recover this area of compensation.
In a Virginia Beach motorcycle accident that results in the death of the biker, the damages are set forth by the Virginia statute governing wrongful death, which provides for damages for the surviving family members. The law also sets forth who is entitled to compensation. Typically, those bringing the claim are the husband or wife and the children of the motorcyclist who died. However, if there are no immediate family members, then the claimant can be the decedent’s parents or siblings.
The most important element of damages in a wrongful death motorcycle wreck is the loss of the relationship between the spouse or children and their family member who was killed. This can result in compensation for their mental anguish, grief, loss of services, and the loss of counsel that the person provided. To calculate this, the court will consider how much the family suffered due to the loss and how much they will continue to suffer for the rest of their life because of that loss. Additionally, the estate can also recover compensation for economic losses such as funeral bills and medical bills associated with the wreck.
Negligence in Fatal Motorbike Crashes
In a Virginia Beach motorcycle accident case, the basis of liability is almost always negligence. Negligence refers to the carelessness or failure to do as an ordinary person would be expected to do to keep others safe under specific circumstances. Negligence in the context of a motorcycle collision refers to the at-fault causing the collision due to a failure to drive safely.
On the other hand, intentional torts refer to someone deliberately running down another with their car. This is not typically covered by insurance policies in Virginia. If the insurance company can show that the wreck was not the result of negligence but was the result of an intentional, deliberate criminal act by a driver, then that driver’s insurance is not going to cover it. The victim’s underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage may cover the damages, but in Virginia, negligence is the basis upon which fault is established in motorcycle accidents.
Other than the other driver, the motorcycle manufacturer could also be liable depending on the circumstances. They must make sure the bike is reasonably safe for the purposes for which it is intended. Manufacturers are providing a warranty that the product is fit for the ordinary purposes for which it is intended when they sell it. When a consumer buys a motorcycle, they are entitled to have some assurance that the manufacturer has not negligently designed or manufactured the product. If a defect in the motorcycle caused a fatal collision, the estate may be able to hold the manufacturer accountable.
Helmet Laws in Virginia Beach
In Virginia Beach, a motorcyclist is supposed to wear some kind of protective helmet. The laws of Virginia Code, Section 46.2-910, state that every person operating a motorcycle shall wear a face shield, safety glasses, or goggles. Alternatively, they could have their motorcycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield at all times. In addition to the windshield or the safety goggles, operators and any passengers must also wear protective helmets.
The law is intended to make motorcycle wrecks less likely to result in serious head injuries or death. However, the assumption typically is the motorcyclists are going to be wearing a helmet when they are on a motorcycle and obeying the law, which means whether a person wore a helmet is usually not a factor in fatal Virginia Beach motorcycle accident cases.
Speak to an Attorney About Fatalities from Virginia Beach Motorcycle Accidents
Even if your loved one took every precaution while on their motorcycle, fatal accidents can still occur when a driver is negligent. Following the loss of a loved one, you have rights. Asserting those rights can help your family move forward following a tragic loss. An attorney who understands fatalities in Virginia Beach motorcycle accidents can help you weigh your options. Call today to set up a consultation with Cooper Hurley Lawyers to learn more.