After someone is fatally injured in a motorcycle accident, the family of the deceased is often left not just emotionally distraught but also in a bad financial place. This is especially the case if there were exorbitant medical bills, or if the deceased was an income earner. A wrongful death lawsuit is a way for the aggrieved family members of a deceased accident victim to recover financially for their loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by the proper party in order for the court to hear the case. In Maryland, the law prefers that a “primary beneficiary” bring the lawsuit. A primary beneficiary is defined as a spouse, parent, or child. However, in some cases, even a person in one of these three categories will not be eligible. For example, a parent will not be permitted to bring a wrongful death action based on the death of their child if they were criminally involved in the child’s death.
If there is no primary beneficiary available to bring the lawsuit, a secondary beneficiary can file a case. A secondary beneficiary is a person who is related to the deceased by blood or marriage and who was “substantially dependent” on the deceased. In some cases, there is substantial litigation as to whether a party qualifies as a secondary beneficiary. Once a party has proven to the court that they are a proper party, they must then prove that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act caused the death of their loved one. This too can be complex, depending on the circumstances giving rise to the accident.
Fleeing Driver Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Accident
Earlier this month, a good example of an accident that may very well result in a wrongful death lawsuit occurred in Virginia, when one man was killed after he was struck by an allegedly drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. According to one Virginia news source, the accident took place at around five in the morning on Interstate 64 eastbound.
Evidently, a state trooper was on routine patrol on Interstate 64 eastbound when he found the accident victim along with his motorcycle on the side of the highway. The man was alive but suffering from life-threatening injuries. At around the same time, another motorist called 911, reporting the accident. The concerned citizen saw a 2009 Pontiac strike the motorcyclist and then drive off. That driver stayed behind with the fleeing motorist and gave police a description. Later that night, police located the vehicle at a 7-11.
The driver of the vehicle was arrested and charged with numerous crimes, including driving while intoxicated, involuntary manslaughter, driving on a suspended license, and fleeing the scene of an accident. Preliminary breath-alcohol tests indicated that the driver’s blood-alcohol content was between .15 and .20.
The motorcyclist was taken to Riverside Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time after his arrival. He left behind a wife and three young girls.
Are You Considering a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you have recently lost a loved one in any kind of Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits can be complex, however, and are best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. Whether it be an in-depth investigation, filing a critical pre-trial motion, or litigating a case through trial, the skilled advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have the dedication and experience necessary to bring any personal injury case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation. Calling is free, and you will not be charged for any of our services unless we are able to recover compensation for you.
More Blog Posts:
Former Episcopal Bishop in Baltimore Pleads Guilty to Automotive Manslaughter and Other Related Charges, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published October 7, 2015.
Bicyclist Struck by Drunk Driver Emphasizes Driver Education to Avoid Future Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 5, 2015.