Man Killed in Lake Berryessa Motorcycle Accident
A Winters man was killed in a Lake Berryessa motorcycle accident on the afternoon of August 3, 2019. The collision occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 128 and Wragg Canyon Road, near Lake Berryessa. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), a man was riding his motorcycle in the area. For unknown reasons, he reportedly lost control and crashed into a tree. Sadly, the biker was declared deceased at the scene shortly after. Officials have identified the decedent as 64-year-old Russell Layton of Winters. We would like to take the time to express our sincere thoughts and condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Layton.
Who is Responsible for a Lake Berryessa Motorcycle Accident?
There is a wide array of factors involved in a motorcycle accident. Often, others may be to blame for a crash. Such parties include:
- Government Entity: California roads are designed and maintained by government agencies. This means if a road defect caused a biker to be injured or killed, the injured motorcyclist or family of the deceased may be able to seek recovery from that government entity. Some of these road hazards include poor design, grooves in the roadway, and uneven gravel. Conversely, these types of claims are subject to strict criteria and deadlines. Those affected by such situations will need an experienced attorney in bringing cases of this nature.
- Motorcycle Manufacturer: California law allows injured people and families of decedents to claim damages for the losses they have suffered due to a defective motorcycle. When an accident is caused by defective motorcycle parts and equipment, the manufacturer may be subject to strict legal liability. In other words, it must be proven in an auto products liability case that there was a defect in the bike that resulted in injury or death.
- Phantom Vehicle: A phantom vehicle is an unidentified car that causes property damage, bodily injury, or death to another person without any physical contact. In a motorcycle accident, a phantom vehicle may pull out in front of a biker or drift into the motorcyclist’s lane, causing that rider to lose control and crash. Having witness statements and video surveillance in such cases is critical. This may allow injured bikers or families of decedents to recover compensation from the uninsured motorist provision of their own auto insurance policy. This is only possible if the responsible driver is not located.
If a family is unsure about what caused their loved one’s death in a motorcycle accident, an experienced attorney can help. A lawyer can examine the facts and build a strong case for compensation.
What Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Case?
Once a family member comes forward, and files for wrongful death, these economic and noneconomic damages may be claimed:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Emotional suffering and mental anguish related to a sudden loss of someone you love
- Expenses for medical care, if the deceased was treated before his or her passing (this can be claimed through a survival action)
- Loss of care, companionship, guidance, and protection for family members, including children
- Loss of future financial support the decedent would have provided to the family
- Lost future financial support, inheritance, and benefits such as pension or 401k
For more information on wrongful death claims, watch the below video.
How a Lawyer Can Help a Family
A family should focus their efforts and time on picking up the pieces of their lives and the grieving process. Surviving family members should not have to spend their day feeling frustrated and stressed with handling negotiations from unsympathetic insurance claims adjusters. A Winters wrongful death attorney can help in times like these by conducting an independent investigation of the fatal accident. An attorney can also look into what other forms of insurance coverage are available for survivors. Once the insurer has been contacted, the attorney will negotiate on a family’s behalf to reach a favorable outcome, or file a lawsuit, if necessary.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Winters
I’m Ed Smith, a Winters personal injury attorney. The loss of a loved one is devastating. The grief is often worsened when the death is unexpected and caused by the carelessness of someone else. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by the negligent acts of another driver or entity, please call me at (530) 392-9400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly advice.
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