Motorcycle passengers are dependent upon the driver to look out for their safety. Passengers are vulnerable because they have little or no control over how the bike is driven and because there is a substantial risk they could be thrown from the bike when an accident happens.
Unfortunately, motorcycle passengers face a substantially greater risk of injury when compared with passengers in a car.
If an injury happens, or if a passenger is killed, the victim or his family members must understand how Connecticut law applies to protect their rights.
Passenger Rights After Motorcycle Accident Deaths and Injuries
One recent accident in Connecticut illustrates the tragic consequences to passengers when they are riding on a motorcycle and a collision happens. CT Post reported on the accident, in which a passenger aboard a motorcycle sustained critical injuries.
The passenger is a 32-year-old woman from Stratford, CT. She was on the back of a motorcycle with a 31-year-old driver. They were traveling along Route 8 in a southbound direction on a Sunday. The driver of the motorcycle was repeatedly trying to change lanes just to the south of Exit 11 on Route 8. The motorcycle driver was allegedly going at a high rate of speed as he attempted to change lanes.
The motorcycle driver lost control of the motorcycle while changing lanes, and the bike crashed in the median. Both the driver of the motorcycle and the passenger were ejected from the bike and landed on the median.
Both the driver of the motorcycle and the passenger sustained serious injuries, and were listed in critical condition, according to preliminary crash reports. The motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the single car accident, and no law enforcement action had been taken at the time the accident was reported in the news. The crash was under investigation.
Because the injuries sustained by the driver and the passenger were critical, it is likely the passenger (and the driver) will end up incurring significant medical expenses as a result.
In a single vehicle accident in which a motorcycle driver is likely to blame for the crash, the motorcycle driver typically has little or no recourse against anyone for crash losses. In rare cases, the motorcycle may have been defective or a problem with road design may have led to the crash. Under these circumstances, the victim could pursue a claim against the bike maker or agency responsible for the roads.
For the passenger, however, the actions of the motorcycle driver may have been the direct contributing cause of the injuries which occurred. The passenger could potentially pursue a case for serious injury compensation, or the family members of a passenger who died could likely pursue a claim for wrongful death damages.
Passenger who are victims should be able to prevail in injury claims as long as they can show the motorcycle driver's negligent actions were the direct cause of serious harm.