Visitor Question

Motorcycle Passenger Killed in Accident…

Submitted By: Ryan (New Orleans, LA)

Myself and a passenger were riding on my motorcycle when a car pulled out in front of us. I was unable to stop and hit the car on the drivers side door. I sustained several injuries and my passenger died. The driver of the car was found at fault for the accident by the police at the scene.

My questions is: can my passenger’s family sue me since she died? Like I said, I was not found at fault for the accident and my passenger was wearing a full set of protective equipment (i.e. helmet, leather jacket, pants and riding glasses). Thanks for any info you can give.

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.

Answer

Dear Ryan,

Unfortunately yes, the passenger’s family can sue you. Whether they will ultimately prevail remains to be seen.

If your motorcycle license was expired, or like many riders, at the time of the accident you only had a regular operator’s license; or

If you had previous motorcycle accidents; or

If you were speeding (whether or not the police cited your for doing so); or

If the family believes you were negligent in any manner, their lawsuit will be stronger.

If in the alternative, the evidence shows you were completely innocent of any infraction including negligence, then their lawsuit, if they file one, will not be very strong.

Regardless, you can be assured they will probably sue you. Why? Because you have liability insurance – Hopefully.

The family has nothing to lose and everything to gain by suing you. If they do, regardless of any infraction or negligence, there is a good possibility your insurance company will settle.

Make sure if you are served with a lawsuit you turn it over to your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company will provide legal representation for you at no cost.

As long as any judgement against you is less than your policy limits you will not incur any financial liability.

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: February 6, 2012

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