Whether your spouse recently died in a motorcycle accident or passed away years ago, you are not alone. Fatalities among motorcycle riders are growing quickly. Less than a decade ago, an alarming 73 motorcycle owners out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles in the United States died while riding their motorcycle. Even more alarming is the fact this number is growing.
While nothing can bring back your loved one, there are some facts you need to know that can help you get the compensation you deserve to help you with funeral costs, grievance counseling, and the lost income your spouse would have provided for your family.
1. Don't Speak to the Insurance Company Just Yet
If the death was recent, and you haven't spoken to your insurance company or the company of another driver involved in the accident, then don't. The first thing you should do is call a motorcycle accident lawyer, and then let him or her speak to the companies when it is time. You are grieving, and this is not the time for you to have to speak about what you think may have or may not have happened during the accident, whether you were there or not.
The insurance company of the other party involved in the accident is never on your side, as all they are after is finding information to try to claim your spouse was at fault for the accident. Your spouse's insurance company is surprisingly not one-hundred percent on your side either. Both companies are only interested in paying out as little money as possible to everyone involved, and even if you say something potentially happened before or during the accident that is later proven wrong, then they can still try to use it against you later in court to lessen what they have to pay you or the other party.
2. Statute of Limitations Requires Fast Action
When filing a wrongful death or personal injury claim, which is what you will likely be filing to receive compensation after your spouse's death, you must file within the state's statute of limitations. This time period varies by state, so you must look into your specific state's statute of limitations period before filing a lawsuit. NOLO.com has a handy chart listing the statute of limitations for injury suits, although when working against the clock, always double check to make sure your state's laws haven't changed since the chart was published.
Even if your state's statute of limitations has passed for a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit, there are much longer statutes of limitations for criminal cases, such as involuntary manslaughter, which could be considered when your spouse died while riding a motorcycle. These timelines vary by state as well, but an example is Ohio, which has a 20-year statute of limitations for involuntary manslaughter cases.
A good rule of thumb it to just act as quickly as possible, no matter what statute you think your case may fall under. You likely won't know exactly what type of case you have until you consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
3. Never Get Rid of Important Evidence
Everyone grieves in different ways, and to avoid having to look at your spouse's damaged helmet or clothing that was worn during the accident, you may be tempted to discard of them. It is important to keep these items. Instead of discarding them, take photos of them along with the scene of the accident after it occurs, then store the items somewhere out-of-sight, yet accessible when you need them as evidence in your case.
There may be many items that you think may or may not be evidence needed during your case, but when in doubt, keep it. Evidence is key to proving exactly what happened during the accident, and even small items, like a broken necklace, can help your lawyer piece together exactly what happened when the accident occurred. This can help your case and your peace-of-mind.
When a spouse dies, it is always a difficult time. Although you are grieving, it is important to remember these guidelines if your spouse died during a motorcycle accident. Your spouse would have wanted you to lessen your suffering after his or her death by consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney to pursue a wrongful death case against whoever caused the accident that ended their life.
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