The number of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents declined last year, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA found 4,985 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2018, a 4.7% drop from the 2017 totals.

This decline is welcome, of course, but the new number still means nearly 5,000 people needlessly lost their lives, many of them leaving behind families. Many of these families must now cope not only with their grief, but with the economic costs that come with losing a family member, including loss of income.

It’s also important to note a long-term trend found by the NHTSA: Since 2009, fatal motorcycle accidents have declined 15% in rural areas, but have risen 33% in urban areas. There may be many explanations for this trend, but it suggests that these accidents are associated with crowded roadways.

Many motorcycle accidents are the result of another driver’s carelessness. Car drivers often fail to see motorcyclists and violate their right of way. Since motorcyclists are exposed in ways car occupants are not, they are highly vulnerable to any collision. Especially at higher speeds, any accident can easily lead to catastrophic injury or death for the motorcyclist.

When someone is killed due to another party’s negligence, the victim’s family may recover compensation for their damages through a wrongful death claim. A type of personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death claim is filed by a representative for the deceased, on behalf of the deceased’s immediate family members. These cases are difficult in many ways, but they can be powerful ways to help a family obtain justice after they have lost a loved one in a careless accident.