Liable for crash after unauthorized use?
This question is for anyone familiar with PA and/or NY motorcycle liability. I'd consult a lawyer, but I can just about guarantee I'd just be told I need to fork over money to retain "just in case".
To make a long story only somewhat long, I sold my gsxr to a friend. He was unable to secure a loan, so since I trusted him at the time, I held the title and drafted a payment contract. He was also to get motorcycle insurance in his name, and I dropped mine. Needless to say, things went sour.
I find out through a contact this past summer that my bike was crashed yet I wasn't informed. From what I could find out, he let one of his friends ride it, who claims that a truck cut him off on the highway and forced him to lay it down. He apparently managed to limp the bike back to a relative's house without immediately seeking help or calling the police. Moderate (but inexpensive) damage to the bike, moderate (but expensive) injuries to the rider. I found out within a day, tried to get info from my friend and the rider but neither would tell me anything, just said they'd take care of it. I called the police in the area who said no crash was reported. My friend (who apparently had let the insurance lapse prior to the crash) got the bike fixed, and the rider underwent several surgeries for road rash. He had no health insurance and ended up losing his job since he was off for so long.
Now 8 months later, I'm being told by several sources that the rider is planning to sue me for the crash by claiming that I was responsible for the bike and insurance coverage because I'm the legal owner. I live in PA, where the bike is registered, and my understanding is that motorcycle insurance doesn't cover medical bills anyway, and even then, vehicle insurance follows the operator not the owner. He is a NY resident, and the crash happened in NY, so I'm not sure if the laws are any different.
Can I be held liable for the crash? I have several texts from my friend apologizing for letting the insurance lapse and admitting he knew nobody else was supposed to be on it, but the rider can always say he never knew. There's no police report, and no real indication that the crash even happened where and when they claim or under the conditions they say.
I don't want to hear about how dumb I am for trusting someone with my motorcycle. Believe me, I know. Just wondering if anyone familiar with the laws can tell me if I can actually be sued because someone took my bike without my permission.