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The Rights of Motorcycle Passengers in an Accident

Personal injury laws vary from state to state. Some states will require motorcycle operators to have their own specialized insurance and higher coverages due to their real potential for bodily harm. If bikers wear a helmet, they may be able to avoid having to purchase this motorcycle rider insurance. However, negligent drivers do not get excused from being liable just because motorcycle riders have insurance that applies to an accident. The question really becomes who was at fault in the crash in which the biker was injured. In some cases, there is comparative negligence, which means that the court must decide who was more at fault. Although bikers must follow the same traffic laws, they also need specialized training, licensing, and insurance riders to enjoy their rights to operate on the road. The problem is usually that all the other drivers on the road aren't watching for motorcyclists as they operate larger vehicles.

Did the rider have a motorcycle license?

Most states in the U.S. do require a motorcycle operator to add an endorsement to their driver's license regarding this specialized type of vehicle. A motorcycle is smaller and offers no protection against an impact. It also offers the biker limited visibility. If a motorcyclist does not have a special driving license for a motorcycle, he or she could be cited as having some responsibility for the crash. If the accident was completely the result of the other driver's negligence, then this would not be as important to the resolution of the case. You can take a motorcycle safety course to learn how to drive defensively and avoid many types of accidents. You must also avoid driving while tired, distracted, or impaired like all other motor vehicle operators.

Were you hurt as a motorcycle passenger?

When you are riding on a motorcycle as a passenger, there are many potential reasons why you may have a claim against the driver. These include:

  • The motorcycle operator did not have a special endorsement.
  • The motorcycle operator did not have the right amount of insurance or any insurance at all.
  • The motorcycle operator was cited in the crash.
  • The motorcycle operator was impaired.
  • The motorcycle operator did not have the right safety equipment.
  • The motorcycle was not in safe operating condition.

How to Make a Recovery for Your Injuries

When you are hurt as a passenger riding behind a motorcycle operator, you have different legal options to pursue. If you weren't at fault, you can bring a personal injury claim against the defendant driver and potentially against the motorcycle operator. Both of these drivers may be at fault. Some accidents also occur due to weather, construction zones, faulty vehicle parts (such as brakes or tires), or other third-party causes. 

When you sit down with a motorcycle accident lawyer, you can discuss what happened as recounted in the accident report. Your attorney can also hire an investigator to determine the other factors that contributed to the crash. Some motorcycle accident laws have recently been passed in some states that make the drivers of at-fault vehicles face stricter consequences for hitting bikers. These laws were designed to prevent accidents and to increase public education about biker safety. Such laws may or may not apply to the crash in which you were injured.

Seeking Legal Representation

When we review each motorcycle accident case, we consider whether the passenger had significant injuries. We also ask whether these injuries could have been prevented if the at-fault driver or motorcycle operator had acted in a more reasonable manner. We look at all the possible causes of the victim's injuries and help him or her determine the best course of action. If you were at fault in this crash, you might not have a viable claim. 

If you and your spouse decide to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, there are no guarantees you will make a recovery. Lawyers are not allowed to promise a certain financial outcome in this type of case. It's also important to seek medical treatment immediately and collect information about the medical bills and lost wages, which must be related to the crash. If you have a potential claim, you could also be entitled to collect damages for emotional pain and suffering and your reduced quality of life. 

Be sure to review your case with a competent attorney before talking to any insurance carrier. Although the insurance companies won't throw money at you because you were hurt due to someone else's negligence, you have a better chance of receiving compensation after you commission an experienced accident lawyer to handle this claim.

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