Fatalities Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Overall, the numbers of motor vehicle accidents have gone down in Maine. Maine roads are among the safest in the country. However, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in Maine continues to be high. People don't know exactly why there are so many motorcycle fatalities, but a number of studies identify different factors: limited visibility, failure of other drivers to recognize motorcyclists as vehicles with equal rights on the road, failure to yield right of way, and motorcyclists' failures to use helmets. In spite of campaigns to improve motorcycle safety, fatalities continue. If a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced Maine motorcycle injury attorney can review the facts of your case.Wrongful Death and Survival Lawsuits in Maine
In Maine, both wrongful death and survival lawsuits may be brought in response to a motorcycle fatality. These have different statutes of limitations. A wrongful death lawsuit must be brought within 2 years and there are certain caps on damages. However, an accident victim's own cause of action for negligence, which has a six-year statute of limitations, and other claims can survive his or her death.
The estate of a deceased person can bring a survival action in the name of the personal representative. However, any damages recovered based on Maine's survival statute go to the estate, not to the personal representative as an individual. Like a decedent's house or car or any other asset, the damages will be distributed to those with a legal interest in the estate. The estate can only recover damages up to the point of death; under the survival statute, the jury cannot award losses for the death itself or subsequent losses for the family.
In contrast, a wrongful death case offers remedies for losses that flow from an untimely death. A wrongful death claim typically belongs to a surviving spouse or minor children or a deceased person's heirs if there is no surviving spouse nor minor children, and it enables them to recover for future benefits including lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, loss of comfort, society and companionship, emotional distress and in rare instances, punitive damages. The damages recoverable depend upon the relationship of the individual to the decedent. A spouse, for example, can recover for loss of consortium, whereas a sister who did not live with the decedent probably cannot.Fighting for Justice for Motorcyclists
When a spouse, parent or child is killed as a result of negligence, recklessness or a defective motorcycle, it can be difficult to deal with the grief. If your loved one offered you financial or other support, one of your concerns may be how you will support yourself now that your loved one is gone. Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to compensate families for the portion of their loss that has a financial value. Retain a trustworthy Maine motorcycle injury attorney to help obtain compensation for your losses after a motorcycle fatality. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1.800.804.2004 or via our online form.