If you are injured while riding on a motorcycle as a passenger, you may be able to recover damages by working with a motorcycle accident lawyer. The circumstances of what happened may dictate the claims that are available and the potential defendants.
Your Rights in a Motorcycle Passenger Injury Claim
Passengers have no control over motorcycles, and there is little that they can do to prevent motorcycle accidents. Passengers who are injured in motorcycle accidents may be able to file lawsuits against the motorcycle operators, the drivers of other vehicles, their own insurance companies, or the parties that are responsible for the maintenance of the roads on which their accidents occurred. A motorcycle accident attorney may review the facts to determine the appropriate defendants that should be named and the likelihood of a passenger’s success in the resulting claims.
Single Motorcycle Accidents That Don’t Involve Other Vehicles
If your accident involved only the motorcycle on which you were a passenger, the motorcycle’s operator may be liable if he or she was driving recklessly. Examples may include speeding, driving too fast for the road conditions, running stop signs, running other traffic control devices, or driving while impaired. Motorcycle operators owe a duty of care to their passengers and to others who are traveling on the road around them to exercise reasonable care in the safe operation of their motorcycles. If a motorcyclist violates this duty, and that violation results in an accident that causes a passenger harm, the driver may be liable to pay damages in a personal injury lawsuit filed against them by the passenger.
It is important to note that passengers also have duties of care when they ride on motorcycles. If passengers contribute to the accidents’ causes, they may be partially liable for the resulting accidents. Some examples include leaning too far when the motorcycle is stopped in traffic or distracting the driver. Passengers who engage in these kinds of actions while they are riding may share a portion of any liability. Their part of the fault will be allocated as a percentage of the total, and any award that they may receive will be reduced by that percentage.
Accidents Involving Other Vehicles
Many motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles, and these accidents are just as likely to cause serious injuries to the motorcycle operators and their passengers. It is common for two-vehicle motorcycle accidents to happen when other drivers fail to see oncoming motorcycles and turn out in front of them. In some cases, collisions happen when drivers change lanes into the paths of motorcyclists without first checking to see if the lanes are clear. In cases in which the other vehicle’s driver causes the accident, a motorcycle passenger may file a lawsuit in which he or she names the driver as the defendant. If both the motorcycle operator and the driver share some blame, the motorcycle passenger may name both the operator and the driver of the other vehicle as defendants. If the accident includes multiple at-fault drivers, they may all be held liable for the motorcycle passenger’s injury.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents involving vehicles that strike motorcycles sometimes happen. In these cases, an injured passenger may seek to recover damages from the motorcycle operator’s uninsured motorists coverage or possibly through his or her own uninsured motorists coverage.
Road defects, such as potholes, loose gravel, harsh seams, and grooves in the roadway, pose significant hazards to motorcycles. Defects may cause motorcycles to veer and lose control, resulting in injuries to the operators and the passengers. In such cases, the party that is responsible for maintaining the road may be liable, including a town, county, or other governmental entity. A motorcycle accident injury lawyer can review whether governmental immunity statutes apply and advise you accordingly.