Visitor Question

Death of a motorcycle driver…

Submitted By: Bill (Philadelphia, PA)

I was driving in a truck hauling furniture in the back when the rope and cord broke, causing a piece of the furniture to fall in the road. I called 911 immediately while several cars swerved around the piece of furniture.

Before the police arrived, a driver of a motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed hit an SUV and was ejected. He was not wearing a helmet nor was the motorcycle registered or inspected. Also, toxicology reports showed he had several controlled substances in his system.

I was issued a citation three months after the accident for carrying an unsafe load. Is his family entitled to sue me in civil court? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Bill,

Anyone can sue a party regardless of the reason. It’s up to the civil court to sort out the veracity of the facts. As far as liability, it sounds as though you did your best to advise the police and remedy any additional accidents that could have occurred.

The real issue is what the motorcycle did to lead to his own fate; Consider the “but for” question. Can it be said that “but for” the piece of furniture falling, the motorcycle driver would not have had his accident? Likely not. It sounds as though his intoxication contributed to, if not caused, his accident which lead to his death.

As I said at the beginning, anyone can be sued, but this does not sound like a strong case for the family of the motorcycle driver.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 5, 2010

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