Motorcycle operators often have passengers ride along for the fun of riding a motorcycle without the responsibility of owning one. When people think of motorcycle crashes, they often think about the motorcyclist who could be injured due to the actions of a negligent driver. However, passengers on motorcycles can also suffer serious injuries or death because of the negligence of another party. What are a motorcycle passenger’s rights to compensation for his injuries?
Motorcycle Passenger’s Rights to Obtain Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Crash
A passenger on a motorcycle only rarely causes a crash by his own negligent actions. In most cases, it will be the motorcycle driver, another motorist, or another party who causes the wreck. A passenger faces the same dangers of being seriously injured as the rider in that he only has the protection of his clothes and his helmet in an accident. However, he has no control in preventing or avoiding a wreck.
When a passenger suffers injuries, he may pursue a claim for compensation against the negligent party. Possible parties who could be liable for compensating him include:
- Motorcycle rider. In some cases, the motorcycle rider could have caused the crash by speeding, driving while intoxicated, improperly changing lanes, or other negligent behaviors. While the rider is often a friend or family member, an injured passenger has a right to and should file a claim with the rider’s insurance company to obtain compensation for his medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Driver of another vehicle. If a driver of another vehicle was negligent in causing the crash, a passenger would seek compensation from this driver. When both the motorcycle rider and the driver of another vehicle were negligent, a passenger should file a claim with both of their insurance companies.
- Municipality. A motorcycle crash could be caused by a road defect, such as potholes, bridge defects, or problems with asphalt surfaces, that motorcycles have more difficulty than passenger vehicles navigating. The municipality responsible for the road could be liable for compensating a victim if this caused his injuries. These cases have special notice and time periods to sue, so a passenger should contact an experienced motorcycle crash attorney as soon as possible when a municipality could face liability.
- Negligent repair or manufacturer defect. If a motorcycle crash was caused by the negligent repair of the motorcycle or another vehicle involved in the wreck, the mechanic or repair facility could be responsible for compensating accident victims. When a part on the motorcycle or other vehicle was designed or manufactured defectively, a passenger could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
- Own insurance company. If a passenger purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under his automobile insurance policy, he could file a claim for damages he was not able to recover from negligent parties with his own insurance company.
How Motorcycle Riders Can Help Prevent Passenger Injuries
In addition to driving safely when a passenger is riding along, a motorcycle rider can take steps to protect his passengers. Some of the ways he can prevent a crash include:
- Be certain that a passenger wears protective gear and a DOT-approved helmet.
- Ensure that the passenger does not engage in distracting behaviors.
- Educate the passenger on how he can be a safe passenger and how his body position can affect the motorcycle’s position and driver’s control of the motorcycle.
- Practice riding together on a short trip in less traffic before riding on a highway or busy streets.
Were you injured as a passenger on a motorcycle? Fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn about your legal options.
Category: Motorcyle Accidents
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