When a person dies in a bicycle accident as the result of the negligence or wrongful action of someone else, surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim against the person who was at fault. Bicycle accident wrongful death claims can involve large damage amounts, and as such, are often up against an aggressive defense by the insurance company.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident, call Cordisco & Saile, LLC today at 215-642-2335. Our attorneys do not want you to go through this difficult time alone. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your wrongful death claim today.
Who can file a wrongful death claim? Who can benefit?
While only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death, any of the following parties can benefit from the claim:
- Surviving spouse: A surviving spouse can recover compensation for contributions the decedent would have made to the household, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of support, funeral and burial costs, and medical expenses of the deceased (if the decedent required hospitalization prior to death).
- Surviving children: Surviving children can recover compensation for loss of guidance, loss of support, and mental anguish. Children included adopted
- Surviving parents: If the person who died in the bicycle accident was a minor, the surviving parents might have a valid wrongful death claim (parents of adult children will likely be unable to file a claim). The parents might able to recover damages for the emotional trauma of losing their child and the loss of the companionship of the child.
Note: If the personal representative does not bring a claim within six months of the death, any person “entitled by law to recover damages” can file a claim.
The insurer or court will distribute damages per state intestacy laws.
How do I prove my case?
Three things are necessary for a wrongful death claim:
- Someone or something (other than your deceased loved one) must have mostly at fault (more than 51 percent) in the fatal bicycle accident. The accident report and the work of accident reconstruction experts will be helpful in proving fault. Eyewitness testimony and video surveillance camera footage from the area can also be useful.
- The surviving person must have a relationship that is within the degree required by law. This can, but does not always, include a spouse, a minor child, or parent.
- There must be a financial loss caused by the death. (For example, an emancipated child would likely be unable to recover compensation from a wrongful death claim.)
What defenses are there to a wrongful death claim from a fatal bicycle accident?
Wrongful death claims can cost insurance companies tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, so you can expect an aggressive defense against your claim.
In many cases, the insurance company will try to blame your deceased loved one for the fatal bicycle accident, or at the very least argue that your loved one might not have been killed if he or she had done something different.
For example, if your loved one was not wearing a helmet that complied with the law, the insurance company may argue that he or she would not have died if he or she had been wearing one. The insurer will claim that the failure to wear a helmet was negligent and that your loved one contributed to his or her death.
The insurance company may also claim that your loved one contributed to his or her death or if he or she was not following all the laws applicable to bicyclists. The insurer will try to reduce the amount of damages or even try to have the case dismissed based on this argument.
Where can I get help with my claim?
You need to be in very good hands if your loved one was killed in a fatal bicycle accident. You need a fearless team of bicycle accident lawyers on your side who will stand up to the insurance company and get you what you deserve. You can find that team at Cordisco & Saile LLC.
Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free consultation to evaluate your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim.