Fatal Bike Accidents
In the past few decades we have become a more health and environmentally conscious culture. People are increasingly leaving their car in the garage and biking to work or other commitments. It’s good for the environment, it’s an easy way to get exercise, and as traffic builds up across the country, it’s often the fastest way to get somewhere. However, using a bike is not without risk.
When a loved one is killed while riding their bike, you must act quickly. As you have seen on our other pages that discuss wrongful death suits, the most important thing in the early stages of a case is evidence preservation. Here is the truth with bicycle cases: many of the drivers who hit the biker are not charged with the crime.
Even if the driver is not charged, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an investigation done by the police. However, if the police make the determination that the driver was not acting recklessly, like a drunk driver they may stop their investigation there. Evidence could be missed.
There are certain things that we look for in a fatal bicyclist case. We want to find out what the conditions of the road were at the time. How was the visibility? This is crucial because a bicycle should have reflectors on it that are designed to attract the human eye even when it is pitch black out.
At the same time, there are often video cameras that might have captured the incident. Those cameras only store the footage for a short period of time. It’s important to seek out video as soon as possible.Comparative Fault
If the bicyclist was driving without reflectors and it was night at the time they were riding on a very busy road, a jury may find that the cyclist was at least partially at fault for the collision. This is especially true when you consider the general bias that the general public has against bicyclists. Even though bicycles are entitled to use the road, many jurors will find any reason to blame the biker. However, just because the injured party was at fault, does not mean they are not entitled to compensation.
Massachusetts is a comparative fault state. Meaning, as long as the cyclist is less than 51% at fault when compared to the driver (or drivers) who struck them, they can receive money for their injuries. In this case, the money would go to the individual who brought the wrongful death suit. This is usually a spouse, child, or parent of the person who was killed.Damages for a Homemaker/ Stay at Home Parent
So what are the damages? The jury or the fact-finder will have to consider hypothetically how long the individual could have worked, how much money they would have made, and things of this nature. In situations where the victim has a long work history, it might be easier to put a number on that.
However, things are harder to quantify where the deceased individual was a homemaker or a stay at home parent. In Massachusetts, the jury is supposed to consider the following:
- Circumstances of the homemaker’s spouse and children;
- The services the decedent would have performed for the spouse and children;
- Their finances and health at the time of the collision;
- The intellectual, moral, and physical guidance and assistance they would have given the children had they not been killed; and
- What it would have cost to pay for substitute services for the homemaker given the life expectancy of the spouse and children.
There is too much at stake during a wrongful death suit to have anyone except for the best. Marcotte Law Firm is the best. Call us today for a free consultation, (978) 458 - 1229.