When someone else’s negligence leads to the death of a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident, surviving family members and friends are left to endure the pain of this shocking avoidable loss. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents carry a high fatality rate, and victims may suffer severe injuries that ultimately result in loss of life. Raleigh bicycle accident lawyer Carl Nagle and the team at Nagle & Associates maintain a legal practice focused on assisting people hurt by the carelessness of others. We help families dealing with the loss of a loved one by seeking compensation and aiming to hold all of the responsible parties accountable for the resulting harm. A successful wrongful death claim provides a means to recover monetary relief for the lost wages and costs of losing a loved one. Pursuing a wrongful death claim also provides a sense of justice to a grieving family. Mr. Nagle has successfully brought wrongful death claims on behalf of people throughout North Carolina in cities such as Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Asheville, and Wilmington.
Pursuing Compensation From At-Fault Parties After a Fatal Bicycle Accident
North Carolina provides a set of statutes that govern wrongful death claims, including a statute of limitations that fixes a two-year deadline to file a lawsuit. Following a fatal bicycle accident, the personal representative of the victim’s estate is the party who can file a claim that seeks damages for the estate and surviving family members. The personal representative may be a surviving spouse or parent, or in some cases an adult child.
Similar to a personal injury claim alleging negligence, a wrongful death action requires setting forth evidence which proves that the defendant acted in a manner that was negligent and violated a standard of reasonable care. The family members of the accident victim must prove that the defendant's actions caused the death of their loved one.
A fatal bicycle accident may take many forms, but they tend to be especially common at intersections and stop signs. Another frequent fact pattern is the rear end collision, where drivers simply fail to look for bicycle riders who have a clear legal right to occupy and share the roadway. According to North Carolina law, bicyclists carry the same responsibilities as drivers of passenger vehicles, and they must follow the rules of the road. Further, they enjoy the same rights as other drivers and they have an absolute right to share the road. In many cases, a motorist who causes a collision will have been largely at fault, but bicyclists who violate the right-of-way rules may face a challenge if the defendant in a wrongful death claim alleges that they contributed to the collision.
Contributory negligence bars recovery in an injury lawsuit in North Carolina if the victim contributed to the accident. A claim for wrongful death exists only if the victim would have had a claim for their injuries, had they survived. In other words, if the defendant could have asserted contributory negligence in a lawsuit brought by the bicyclist, they may assert it against their personal representative. Contributory negligence may be overcome in some situations by showing that the defendant had the “last clear chance” to avoid the harm.
The Wrongful Death Act sets forth the damages that may be recovered in a fatal accident claim. In addition to expenses for the treatment and hospital care of the victim, compensation for their pain and suffering before their death may be recovered. Additionally, surviving family members may recover income that the deceased bicyclist would have earned had they not been fatally injured in the accident. In cases involving particularly willful or wanton conduct, punitive damages may be available.
Contact a Skilled Raleigh Attorney to Discuss Your Wrongful Death Claim
At Nagle & Associates, we only handle traumatic injury cases arising from roadway accidents, and as a result, we have successfully brought many wrongful death claims involving extensive losses. When the death of a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident has left your family financially insecure, our office can help. Raleigh personal injury lawyer Carl Nagle can work with your family to help achieve a sense of security by asserting your legal rights. As a skilled wrongful death attorney, Mr. Nagle has helped people in Winston-Salem, Asheville, Wilmington, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Hickory, and other cities throughout Mecklenburg, Wake, Brunswick, Forsyth, Guilford, Durham, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Catawba Counties. Our firm focuses on maximizing financial compensation for our clients, and to further this goal, we charge a reduced legal fee of one-quarter of a settlement. You do not pay us unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact our office at (800) 411-1583 or fill out our online form to set up a free consultation with an attorney.