A passenger on a motorcycle will generally be viewed similarly to a passenger in an automobile for purposes of liability for damages. The passenger would not be responsible for the driver’s negligence, but if a passenger is injured or killed, the injured person or the estate of a deceased motorcycle passenger may bring a claim for damages. In a fatal accident, the estate of the decedent may bring a wrongful death action as defined by the law of the state where the action is filed. The procedure in New York is generally similar to the procedure for wrongful death actions in all of the other states.
A potential wrongful death action exists with respect to the recent death of a 27-year-old woman who had been riding as a passenger on a motorcycle in the Bronx at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 12. The male operator of the cycle lost control in the 1100 block of Commerce Avenue and crashed into a fence, according to the New York City Police Department. Both the driver and his passenger were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where the woman was declared dead.
Generally, when a driver of any vehicle loses control, it is due to the driver’s carelessness in some form or another. It may be because of impairment, speeding, reckless driving, distraction or even falling asleep. All of these factors can be a negligent cause of the accident. Where there is more than one driver who may be a contributing factor in the accident, then liability and payment may be apportioned between the negligent parties pursuant to New York law.
Motorcycles are required to be insured in New York, as they are in all states. The system of insurance coverage for motorcycles is also similar in most states. Generally, if there is no insurance to cover the claims arising out of a fatal accident, the driver will suffer a suspension of his or her driver’s license until any judgment entered against a driver is paid and satisfied.
Source: abc7ny.com, “Woman killed in motorcycle accident in Unionport in the Bronx“, Sept. 12, 2015