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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident

filing wrongful death

Motorcycle riders take numerous precautions to keep themselves safe on the roads. Despite such efforts, even the most cautious motorcyclists face inherent risks.

Accidents can leave victims with severe injuries and even result in fatalities. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering if you can file a wrongful death claim against the person (or entity) who caused the accident. 

McCoy & Sparks, seasoned Louisville wrongful death lawyers, shed light on what a wrongful death claim is, how to file one, and how to get the compensation your family deserves after a tragic accident. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Wrongful Death Claim? 

Kentucky’s wrongful death statute extends recourse to individuals and families grappling with the loss of loved ones due to another’s negligence. 

However, navigating the legal process of a fatal motorcycle accident claim requires you to follow specific rules governing the initiation and timing of wrongful death lawsuits.

To substantiate a motorcycle accident wrongful death claim within Kentucky’s legal framework, three crucial factors must be established:

  • Liability: It must be demonstrated that someone bears responsibility for the accident, indicating negligence or wrongdoing.
  • Legal Representation: The lawsuit must be initiated by a party entitled to seek compensation on behalf of the deceased, typically a spouse, child, or designated beneficiary.
  • Financial Impact: The loss of the deceased must result in a quantifiable monetary loss that significantly impacts the surviving family members.

Proving fault in a motorcycle accident presents inherent challenges, often compounded by attempts by insurance companies to deflect blame onto the motorcyclist.

Who Can File and Receive Compensation for Fatal Motorcycle Accidents?

In Kentucky, individual family members cannot independently pursue wrongful death claims. Instead, it falls upon the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file the lawsuit. 

kentucky laws

Kentucky law also outlines how compensation for wrongful death claims will be distributed within a family. The order of distribution is as follows:

  • Surviving Spouse: The spouse receives the entire award if no children survive.
  • Surviving Spouse and Children: In cases with spouses and children, the award is evenly divided between them.
  • Children Only: If no surviving spouse exists, children receive the entire compensation.
  • Parents: In the absence of a spouse or children, the deceased’s surviving parent(s) are entitled to the entire award.
  • No Spouse, Children, or Parents: Should none of the aforementioned parties survive, the award passes to the deceased’s estate, with distribution following the terms of the deceased’s will.

How Are Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Wrongful Death Damages Calculated?

The settlement amount for wrongful death cases is calculated by adding economic losses (like lost income) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering or loss of companionship). Unlike some jurisdictions, Kentucky does not limit the amount of a wrongful death award.

Damages in wrongful death claims encompass specific losses suffered by the victim and their survivors:

  • Lost earning capacity means the money the person could have made if they were still alive and working.
  • Funeral expenses are the costs for the funeral or cremation of the person who died.
  • Pre-death medical costs are the bills for medical treatment before the person died from the accident.
  • Pain and suffering provide compensation for the physical and emotional distress the person felt before they passed away.
  • Loss of consortium is when the family, like children or a spouse, loses the care and support of the person who died.
  • Punitive damages are awarded as punishment for misconduct or gross negligence, serving as punitive measures rather than direct compensation.

Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Wrongful Death Claim Related To a Fatal Motorcycle Accident

Kentucky law imposes a one-year statute of limitations for initiating wrongful death lawsuits, counted from either the date of death or the appointment of the estate’s representative.

There are a few rare exceptions to the statute of limitations for a fatal motorcycle accident, so it is important to contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. 

Tragic Motorcycle Accidents Highlight the Need for Wrongful Death Claims in Kentucky

motorcycle crash

The roads of Kentucky have been the scene of several heartbreaking motorcycle accidents recently, leaving families devastated and seeking justice through wrongful death claims.

In Berea, a 25-year-old man tragically lost his life when his Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a Chevrolet Silverado that turned into his path. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Madison County Coroner, while the driver of the Silverado was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Just days earlier, in the small town of Littcarr, a 65-year-old man was killed when a car crossed the center line of Route 160 and struck his motorcycle head-on. Despite being rushed to a nearby hospital, he succumbed to the injuries sustained in the devastating collision.

Another devastating loss occurred in Frankfort, where a 44-year-old Clark County resident was killed in a motorcycle crash with a pickup truck on Versailles Road. He was pronounced dead at the Frankfort Regional Medical Center, leaving his family and loved ones to grapple with the sudden and untimely loss of their loved one.

In the wake of these tragic incidents, the families of the deceased motorcyclists may seek justice and compensation through wrongful death claims. Wrongful death lawsuits can provide families with financial support to cover medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of income, as well as hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.

Connect with McCoy & Sparks: Experienced Wrongful Death Advocates

At McCoy & Sparks, our top-rated personal injury attorneys will work to get you the justice you deserve. Our experienced legal team has extensive knowledge of Kentucky law and a proven track record of maximizing damages recovered for people like you. We are based in Bardstown, but we represent clients throughout Central Kentucky.

Call for a free consultation if you have lost a loved one due to a fatal motorcycle accident and believe you may have a wrongful death case. Call 844-4KY-WINS or contact us online.