It’s a scene every seasoned biker dreads: A driver isn’t paying attention – or worse, is drunk – and turns left right into you. It’s too late to stop, and the force of the impact throws you from your bike. You end up with life-threatening injuries (if you survive at all), while the driver walks away with mere scratches.
In 2013, this nightmare came to life for a motorcyclist who was killed at an intersection West Philadelphia, leaving behind a fiancée and two young children. The accident was recently back in the news as the drunk driver appealed a $3.1 million jury verdict against him.
Always watch out for left-turning vehicles
This case illustrates one of the biggest dangers motorcyclists face. Left-turning vehicles are responsible for roughly 42 percent of collisions with drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many drivers aren’t used to keeping an eye out for motorcyclists. They misjudge the biker’s speed and distance, or they don’t even notice the biker until it’s too late.
The legal aftermath of a fatal crash
For surviving family members, a wrongful death claim provides a way to get financial stability and closure after a fatal motorcycle accident. Significant damages may be available for not only funeral expenses and lost wages, but also for the physical and mental pain the victim suffered before passing away.
Proving pain and suffering can be difficult, however. Much may turn on:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Traffic camera footage
- Forensic and medical evidence
The West Philadelphia case was unusual in that the motorcyclist happened to be wearing a helmet camera that recorded part of the crash. The video was critical for establishing $1.8 million in damages that stemmed from the biker’s pain and suffering before his death.