There are quite a few hazards that confront motorcyclists on Illinois roads. People on motorcycles might have to deal with slower-moving traffic, inclement weather, or vehicles that take up more than one lane. But unless a specific action by someone else causes a motorcycle accident, the operator of the bike is responsible for the safety of his or her passenger.
This is important to keep in mind as we look into a fatal motorcycle accident late last month in Jefferson County. Around 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday, June 29, an O’Fallon man was driving a Harley Davidson on which an O’Fallon woman was a passenger northbound on Interstate 57 just northwest of Mount Vernon. Near the interchange with Interstate 64, the bike exited a construction zone but reportedly hit some potholes in the roadway. The man lost control of the bike and was ejected into a guardrail, which caused his death. The woman suffered critical injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital.
Even though the driver lost his life, the passenger has a right to seek relief due to her injuries. So she can still choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the estate of the O’Fallon man (assuming that they are not husband and wife, which was not made clear in the article). This suit could allow the woman to collect reimbursement for ambulance charges, hospitalization expenses, treatments and surgeries, medications, and physical therapy sessions. She could also receive compensation for unearned wages due to work absenteeism, and perhaps monetary damages for pain and suffering as well.
However, if an investigation determines that the construction contractors might have somehow been negligent in maintaining the roadway – thus causing the potholes to remain dangerous – then the surviving family members might have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the contractor and perhaps the state of Illinois.