ots of attention is given to motorcycle drivers who get involved in a motor vehicle collision. Sometimes these crashes are caused by drivers of passenger vehicles. But many motorcycle accidents occur because of driver error without anyone else being involved. Of course, drivers in one-vehicle motorcycle accidents are usually held responsible for their own injuries and/or bike damage. However, it’s easy to forget that they are also responsible for what happens to their passengers as well.
Two different motorcycle accidents involving passengers occurred this past weekend. In Adams County a few miles east of Quincy, a 47-year old man was driving a 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle with a 58-year old woman on the back of it on Saturday evening. About 6:30pm, the man lost control of the Harley on a curve on State Street about a quarter mile east of Ehrhardt Road near the Burton Cave Nature Preserve. The bike ran off the road and crashed, and both riders had to be taken to Blessing Hospital with injuries.
About eight hours later, another motorcycle accident claimed the lives of both riders in Wheeling. A 26-year old Wheeling man was driving and a 23-year old Deerfield woman was a passenger on a 2009 Suzuki motorcycle just west of the Potawatomi Woods. The bike collided with a utility pole near the intersection of Center Street and South Milwaukee Avenue. The man died at the scene, while the woman succumbed to her injuries later at a nearby hospital.
As tragic as both of these motorcycle accidents are, the drivers are ultimately liable for the injuries to or death of their passengers. The 58-year old woman can file a personal injury lawsuit against the Harley driver to receive compensation for all of her medical costs related to the crash (as well as for any lost wages from missing work). And the family of the 23-year old woman has grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of the Wheeling man for burial costs, lost future wages, and damages for pain and suffering.