Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Claims in Colorado

Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Claim

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 11, 2023


Each year, over 5,000 individuals are killed in motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyses and reports motorcycle accident trends and data across the United States.

Deaths are not confined to any one age group. Around half of all fatalities occur among those under the age of 40, with the other half occurring in the population beyond 40. Around 40% of fatalities are believed to have included a biker or rider who was not wearing a helmet.

While this is a concerning figure, it does not imply that wearing a helmet would necessarily have stopped the motorcycle or rider from dying. Obtaining such a number would take extra investigation and a more in-depth examination of facts and data that NHTSA and other reporting agencies may not have readily accessible.

Fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 8 million motorcycles on the road each year. Along with the roughly 5,000 fatalities, the NHTSA claims that around 90,000 other motorcyclists are wounded in motorcycle accidents each year. Over a quarter of the fatalities included a motorcycle rider who was not legally licensed.

These figures illustrate the range and depth of motorcycle accident-related injuries and fatalities. However, the growth, dip, or status quo of statistics mean nothing to the family of a motorcyclist who died due to another driver’s irresponsibility.

Colorado, the pursuit of a wrongful death claim for a motorcyclist, is controlled by Colorado Statutes Chapter 768. Section 768.17 of the Colorado Statutes defines the objective of the Colorado Wrongful Death Act as follows:

The state’s official policy is to transfer the blame for wrongful death from the decedent’s survivors to the perpetrator.

As previously stated, the wrongful death statute placed the blame for the loss squarely on the irresponsible party. It was enacted to protect the survivors of motorcyclists killed in motorcycle accidents. In most situations that are followed via a claim or lawsuit, insurance firms will be engaged on behalf of the irresponsible driver or the Uninsured Motorist carrier.

Certainly, no amount of money or insurance will ever be sufficient to repay a bereaved family in the event of a fatal motorcycle accident. On the other hand, our civil court system provides a way and mechanism for pursuing such claims. It should be emphasized that, although rules exist in the form of the Colorado Wrongful Death Act, no precise method or financial calculation is required to determine the compensation or value of a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the statutory survivors. Each instance or claim should be considered independently based on its facts and merits and then presented appropriately. Even when a motorcycle accident results in death, insurance firms intervene to defend the case and take efforts and activities to minimize the surviving family members’ recovery.

Even when the careless driver’s guilt or blame is evident, wrongful death claims are challenging. As such, the family of the dead biker should obtain counsel, assistance, and legal representation to ensure that each surviving family member’s rights under Colorado Statutes and Estate Laws are appropriately preserved and enforced.

A motorcycle rider’s or motorcyclist’s life might end prematurely due to another driver’s carelessness or fault. Motorcycle crashes may be highly distressing for motorcyclists due to the size                      gap between motorcycles and passenger/commercial motor cars. It’s heartbreaking to witness a rider who was brimming with vitality and love for family, community, and country die due to another person’s irresponsible driving.

When a motorcyclist is killed in a motorcycle accident in the state of Colorado, the rider’s statutory survivors may file a Colorado Wrongful Death claim or lawsuit. Some certain regulations and processes must be followed to

Seek a lawsuit or claim for wrongful death. Colorado Statutes – Parties, section 768.20, specifies as follows:

The action shall be filed by the decedent’s representative, who shall seek recovery of any damages, as stipulated in this act, caused by the injury that resulted in death on behalf of the decedent’s survivors and estate. When a decedent dies as a consequence of a personal injury, no action for personal injury shall survive, and any such action proceeding at the time of death will be dismissed.

Cases involving fatal motorcycle accidents are handled differently than those involving a survivor. Most of the time, the damages are calculated based on the survivor’s loss of the family member. Damages may be awarded for medical expenses, burial costs, and loss of net accumulations, which is effectively the amount the dead would have saved or invested throughout his or her lifetime. However, in most instances, the emphasis is on the emotional agony and sorrow endured by surviving family members who qualify as statutory survivors under the Colorado Wrongful Death Act.

A tragic motorcycle accident may have a cascading impact across the family, neighborhood, and community, and it often does. However, the law limits the recoverable damages to the following relatives: Spouse of the dead; Minor child of the decedent; Adult child of the decedent if no surviving spouse exists; Parent of a minor kid; and Parent of adult children (if there are no other statutory survivors).

It should be emphasized that a minor kid is defined as a youngster under the age of 25 for the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. The Colorado Wrongful Death Act makes no distinction between the rights of an adopted kid and the decedent’s biological child.

Fatal motorcycle accidents may have a long-term effect on the survivors. Damages or compensation are calculated in part based on the statutory survivor’s connection with the deceased. A case is examined based on the relationship’s quality and the survivor’s projected emotional loss throughout his or her lifetime. While the Colorado Statutes include many details and processes, there is no set formula for determining the amount of money to be paid to each statutory survivor of the dead. In certain instances, the number of damages or compensation recovered may be dictated by the amount of liability insurance available for the claim or case.

For instance, suppose the at-fault motorist has a $50,000 bodily injury insurance coverage. The worth of the survivor’s grief and suffering often surpasses $50,000 in the majority of Colorado Wrongful Death claims. However, most wrongful death cases are settled for the policy limits if no other assets exist to compensate the survivor for his or her losses.

Motorcycle fatalities provide a variety of concerns and difficulties. As such, the motorcyclist’s family should seek counsel, advice, and legal representation from an experienced Colorado Motorcycle Accident Attorney.

What is the Colorado Statute for Wrongful Death? How Does It Function?

What is an Act of Wrongful Death? How does Colorado’s system work? Both of these are good questions. The wrongful death statute details which may file a court action for the tragic death of a family member, the types of damages that may be sought, and who qualify as beneficiaries or survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit. Businesses and insurance companies have their counsel; a family member coping with the stressful aftermath of a loved one’s unfortunate death should, as well.

Wrongful death statutes are not always fair or reasonable. Certain sections of wrongful death statutes have been challenged in court, but most challenges have been dismissed. The state legislature’s statutory framework is the legislation of the state of Colorado. It must be followed to pursue a claim for compensation and damages when a loved one dies due to another’s fault or carelessness.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the standard of evidence is comparable to that in other civil suits. By a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must establish the facts supporting the wrongful death case’s components. This is the level of evidence known as “more probable than not,” distinct from the standard of proof necessary in criminal prosecution. The authors would define predominance as being equal to or more than 51%. In criminal trials, the prosecutor’s burden of evidence must be shown “beyond a reasonable doubt.” (more than or equal to 99 percent) While the burden of evidence is lower in a civil case, establishing that carelessness was the “more probable than not” cause of death may sometimes be difficult in a civil case.

What Factors Are Considered in Colorado When Awarding Damages/Compensation for the Wrongful Death of a Relative?

When a person dies due to another person’s negligence or carelessness, a corporation, or a governmental organization, the decedent’s surviving family members (usually the decedent’s spouse, parents, and children) often face several problems and barriers. When a death occurs as a result of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or even intentional acts, the surviving family members should consider seeking legal advice and consultation from a Colorado Motorcycle Accident Attorney to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim or case to recover damages for the accident/injury victim’s wrongful death.

As Colorado Motorcycle Accident Attorneys, we are often asked the following question:

How are damages assessed or evaluated for a person who loses a family member due to the fault or carelessness of others?

In some ways, you can never really quantify or compute the loss or death of a loved one caused by a driver’s negligence or carelessness. This is not a legal response but rather a practical and moral one. Damages and loss linked with a family member’s death may never be anticipated or anticipated before the unfortunate occurrence. Colorado case law and Colorado statutes provide certain criteria and standards for calculating such damages for eligible surviving family members.

A judge or jury may consider the following considerations when determining the number of damages to award in a wrongful death case:

The nature of the relationship between the decedent and the surviving family member(s);

The amount of time spent between the decedent and the surviving family member(s);

The statistical life expectancy of the injury victim who died had the car accident never occurred;

The life expectancy of the surviving family member(s);

Numerous more aspects may be examined as well. Each wrongful death case must be examined independently of the others based on its unique facts and circumstances. Every family member’s greatest fear is to have to say “goodbye” and attend a loved one’s funeral, even more so when the motorcycle tragedy might have been avoided. Speeding, driver distraction, and other acts of carelessness or inattention constitute negligent driving. When a person is killed or seriously wounded in a motorcycle accident, the family often faces several concerns and obstacles. It’s stressful enough to cope with the accident itself. Still, there are often extra pressures associated with medical treatment, medical costs, and, in the event of a death, the loss of the loved one and the tremendous effect it may have on family and friends.

When a person dies due to another party’s carelessness, the victim’s surviving family members may pursue a claim for the victim’s wrongful death. The Colorado Wrongful Death Act describes the types of damages that may be recovered and the family members who qualify as “survivors” to receive compensation or damages in a wrongful death action.

What Are Family Members’ Legal Rights in a Colorado Wrongful Death Case?

Colorado Every day, motorcycle accidents are recorded and seen in practically every neighborhood. Unfortunately, some of these collisions end in the death of the driver and/or a passenger. When a person is killed in a motorcycle accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if it can be proven that the victim died due to the carelessness of one or more of the other drivers involved in the accident.

As a passenger, there is seldom any guilt to assign. As such, where negligence is shown, the family of the dead passenger often has the legal right to seek the maximum amount of damages provided under the Colorado Wrongful Death Act.

Compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit may include damages for the pain and suffering endured by the surviving family members who can bring a claim under relevant state law. The family members who are considered “survivors” under Colorado law are determined in part by the deceased’s age, marital status, the age of the decedent’s surviving children (if any), and if parents survived the decedent.

Are There Any Restrictions or Caps on Wrongful Death Cases in Colorado?

Are there any monetary restrictions or ceilings on wrongful death claims involving the death of a driver or passenger in a Colorado Motorcycle Accident? As with many other issues that are often addressed to us, the answer to this one is… “that depends.” It is contingent upon various criteria, including the nature of the case, the defendants, insurance coverage, and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. There are no legal or legislative restrictions on damages in most Colorado Wrongful Death lawsuits involving motorcycle accidents. There are few exceptions to this general norm in cases involving wrongful death against a government agency in Colorado.

Practical considerations include the quantity of insurance coverage in place and the assets available to the defendant who causes a death covered under the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. For example, suppose a person is killed in a motorcycle accident, and the at-fault driver and owner only have

$100,000 in coverage. In that case, there is a fair possibility that a settlement or payment will be made in the amount of $100,000 – the automotive insurance policy limitations. Is $100,000 appropriate compensation for a person who has lost a family member due to another person’s thoughtless and irresponsible actions? The answer to this question is no. However, practical considerations are often considered when deciding on a settlement since each case is unique in its facts and circumstances.

Which Insurance Policies Cover Damages in a Wrongful Death Case Involved in a Colorado Motorcycle Accident?

When a person dies due to another’s reckless or negligent behavior, the qualifying remaining family members may seek compensation for their losses. When pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members may be entitled to seek several types of insurance.

Among the many forms of insurance available are the following:

Coverage for bodily injury. This coverage is offered to victims who have been harmed or whose loved ones have died due to another person’s irresponsible or reckless driving. The bodily injury coverage limits on a car insurance policy might range from $10,000 to well over $1,000,000. In the majority

Under Colorado’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, the car owner whose driver causes an accident that ends in death is also accountable. The amount of bodily injury insurance coverage will vary according to the policy (personal or commercial) and the premium paid by the car’s driver or owner.

Coverage for Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists (UM/UIM). As previously described in this book, when a wrongful death occurs, the dead individual’s estate may seek a UM/UIM insurance claim.

UM,/UIM coverage, which stands for the uninsured or underinsured motorist, may be sought by the estate of a dead person for a car inhabited by the injury victim at the time of the accident or a car owned by a resident relative of the injury victim. There may be many UM/UIM policies applicable to a single accident. UM/UIM coverage may be sought if a person is injured or killed as a result of the negligence of another driver/owner who either did not have bodily injury insurance coverage or had insufficient bodily injury coverage to compensate the decedent’s statutory survivors for their damages resulting from the decedent’s death.

For example, suppose the at-fault driver and owner had a $100,000 Bodily Injury insurance and the decedent’s survivors possessed a $50,000 Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. Suppose it can be shown that the victim died as a consequence of the at-fault driver’s/carelessness. In that case, the owner’s the Bodily Injury insurance adjuster will almost certainly pay the available $100,000 in Bodily Injury coverage. Following that, the Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance adjuster would likely pay out the $50,000 under UM/UIM coverage, presuming that the losses to the decedent’s remaining family members or estate merit such policy limitations being paid.

Self-Insurance. When a firm is “self-insured,” it implies it has a controlled pool of money set aside to cover claims against the company and its personnel. Typically, there is no insurance coverage in place, but the pool of money is meant to cover any accidents or losses caused by the business’s or its workers’ carelessness. If a small firm has a modest self-insured retainer, no insurance, or no assets, collecting a judgment against the small business may be rather difficult, even if a case of negligence or carelessness can be shown. Self-insured large corporations, such as Wal-Mart or Disney World, have abundant assets and resources to pay for a settlement or judgment for damages.


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