Are Motorcycle Passengers Entitled to Compensation After Accidents?
Yes, motorcycle passengers are entitled to compensation if they’re injured in a single-vehicle or multi-vehicle motorcycle accident. These cases can be emotionally difficult, especially when the riders who was responsible for your injuries is a friend, family member or significant other.
Your relationship with the rider shouldn’t stop you from seeking the compensation you need to cover medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. If the operator of a motorcycle is responsible for the injuries sustained by their passenger, the only way the passenger can access the insurance coverage on the motorcycle is to make a claim against the operator. That does not mean that you as the passenger are going after your friend’s, family member’s or significant other’s personal assets, it just means that you want their insurance to do what they were paid to do; cover your claim.
In multi-vehicle accidents where another driver on the road is responsible for injuring a motorcycle passenger, the passenger’s claim is against the other driver. If the other driver does not have enough insurance to cover the value of the claim, the passenger may also be protected by the underinsured motorist coverage on the motorcycle on which they were a passenger. If a passenger is injured in an accident where both another driver and the motorcycle operator are determined to be at fault, then the passenger’s claim is against both of them.
Another important thing for motorcycle passengers to know is that if they are injured in a motorcycle accident they may be protected by the uninsured or underinsured insurance policies on their own motor vehicles. That is why it is critical that if you are injured as a passenger on a motorcycle, or if you as the operator of a motorcycle have a passenger who was injured, you consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you practically can; and certainly, before you speak with any insurance company.
Remember that regardless of whether you are a passenger or an operator, the amount of insurance coverage available to you on behalf of the negligent party depends of the amount of insurance coverage that they bought. The minimum coverage required in the states in which the Motorcycle Law Group practices are:
- Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia: $25,000 bodily injury per person/$50,000 per accident
- North Carolina: $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident
- West Virginia $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
This is why we at Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group encourage all riders to purchase higher limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Do not count on the at fault driver to carry enough insurance to cover your claim.
While it is technically possible to go after the responsible driver’s home, motorcycle, vehicles or accounts, doing so isn’t always easy, or even possible. Jointly owned assets, such as real estate, vehicles and accounts are often protected from being taken in a law suit. Additionally, the negligent party who has a judgment taken out against them can always seek the protection of bankruptcy. This is why it is so important to make sure that you have enough insurance coverage to protect yourself if someone else hurts you in a motorcycle accident.
f you’d like some professional advice on your insurance coverage to make sure you’re adequately protected in all types of accidents, whether as the driver or passenger, visit our Insurance Policy Review page.
Get Legal Help After Being Involved in a Motorcycle Accident as a Passenger
Juries often don’t understand motorcycle riders or passengers. Some jurors and judges assume motorcycle riders and passengers are fundamentally reckless just for getting on a motorcycle. That means jurors go into trials primed to believe the motorcyclist and/or the passenger was, if not completely at fault, at least partially responsible for being on a motorcycle in the first place.
Personal injury lawyers that are experienced in motorcycle accident injury cases know how to counter such biases not only in court, but with insurance adjusters. They also have strategies to make riders appear more responsible and sympathetic to jurors, judges and adjusters who may hold deep-seated biases against motorcyclists of all types.
The Motorcycle Law Group, the Firm that Rides®, is a personal injury and auto accident law firm with a practice emphasis on all types of motorcycle accidents. Our attorneys are riders, so they understand the unique challenges motorcycle riders and their passengers face when they’re trying to get compensation for accident injuries.