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West Virginia man dies in strange motorcycle crash

A West Virginia man recently died following a motorcycle accident. A hit-and-run pickup driver ran the motorcycle accident victim over following another motorcycle accident. The pickup truck left the scene of the accident, and the deceased victim's girlfriend, also riding on the motorcycle, was injured. According to authorities, the driver of the motorcycle had swerved to avoid a deer. Witnesses to the motorcycle accident were headed to provide aid when they witnessed the pickup run over the motorcycle driver. The pickup stopped briefly, and then continued on. Police are searching for the white pickup. and its driver, who never exited the vehicle. Police do not know if it was the crash or the pickup that killed the motorcyclist, who was not wearing a helmet.

In the case of a fatal motor cycle crash, the family members of the deceased may wish to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a form of a personal injury lawsuit. It will be necessary to prove that the party from whom damages are being sought is liable for negligence. To do this, the victim will need to establish that a relationship existed between the victim and the party that is being sued so that the defendant owed the victim a duty. As such, the victim will have to show that because of this relationship, the defendant was obligated to act in a certain way (or refrain from acting) towards the victim and failed to do so. This can be a simple as the duty drivers owe to follow rules of the roadway to prevent injury to others. Lastly, the failure to adhere to the duty must have caused the injuries the victim seeks compensation for.

In cases when the liability for the injuries is both due to a negligent party and the victim, the court will apportion the award of compensation for injuries according to a legal principle called comparative negligence. Because motorcylce accidents can result in catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head and neck injuries, brain injury, broken bones and even death, motorcycle accident victims and their loved ones can seek damages for injuries that are suffered.

In West Virginia, courts follow a modified comparative fault rule that does not allow an injured party to recover if they are 50% responsible for the accident. If they are less than 50% responsible, damages can be recovered but will be apportioned in an amount equal to fault.

For those injured in a motorcycle crash, or their loved ones, seeking damages from a negligent driver may be useful. It is important to understand in what circumstances a recovery might be made.

Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph, "Gilmer DPS officers seeking hit-and-run driver," Phillip Williams, Jan. 28, 2013.

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