What to Know if You Were a Passenger in a Motorcycle Accident

Riding through the beautiful landscape of the Treasure Coast can be exhilarating. But, as a passenger on a motorcycle, you’re completely vulnerable to the actions of the driver and other vehicles around you. If your spectacular sightseeing ride was cut short by the negligence of someone else, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Here, we’ll discuss what to know if you were a passenger in a motorcycle accident.

motorcycle rider with a passenger

Can a Passenger File a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?

Yes, you can file a claim to seek compensation for medical bills and other damages as a passenger in a motorcycle accident. When filing a claim, you should get as much information about your accident as possible. That way, you can properly explain what happened, who you believe was at fault, and why you want the claim. It helps to have some proof of the claims in writing, especially if you are filing with your insurance company. There are many different ways to file a claim. Some people choose to file a personal injury claim, while others file a wrongful death claim, depending on the circumstances of the motorcycle accident.

A motorcycle accident claim can be filed in a few different ways. You can file the claim on your own, or you can hire a lawyer to file the claim for you. It is highly advisable that you obtain the services of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. If you file the claim yourself, you could make a mistake that ends up costing you the compensation you deserve.

Who will be Held Liable for Injuries I Sustained in a Motorcycle Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are numerous possible paths that can be taken to establish who was at fault in a motorcycle accident. The investigation will look at these circumstances to determine who should be held liable:

  • The driver of the motorcycle — If the driver of the motorcycle was intoxicated or if it was a single-vehicle accident, then it may be determined that the driver is 100% responsible for the accident and solely liable. 
  • The driver of the other vehicle — If the other driver was acting in a negligent manner and found to be at fault, you would pursue a claim against their insurance company.
  • Both drivers contributed to the accident — If both drivers were partially responsible, it is possible that you could bring a claim against both drivers.
  • Defective parts on the motorcycle — If the accident was caused by a defective part on the motorcycle, you may be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the motorcycle. 
  • Faulty repairs on the motorcycle — If inferior parts were used to repair a motorcycle or they were not installed properly, you may be able to bring a claim against the repair shop.
  • Defects in the road and negligence of a public entity — If the accident was caused by the negligence of the public entity that maintains the road, you may be able to bring a claim against it.

As soon as an accident occurs it is very important that you know the Florida law establishing liability in an accident so that you can protect your rights. Florida follows the “pure comparative negligence” rule, meaning that if both parties are found to be partially to blame for the accident, the court will establish a percentage of fault to each side and adjust compensation claims based on the percentage. For example, if you are claiming damages of $50,000, but found to be 10% responsible, your award amount will be reduced by 10% to $45,000. 

Can a Passenger be Held Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?

While it is rare, there are some circumstances where a passenger may be found to be at least partially responsible for a motorcycle accident. These situations include:

  • The passenger was aware of the driver of the motorcycle being intoxicated or unlicensed, but you still chose to get on the bike.
  • The passenger was behaving in a reckless manner and distracted the driver.
  • The passenger was riding on a motorcycle that was not designed to accommodate two people.
  • The passenger failed to ride in sync with the driver. 

The insurance company may try to claim that under these circumstances, the passenger is responsible for their own injuries. In this case, the court or insurance company will refer back to the “pure comparative negligence” rule to determine if compensation is due.

As a Passenger, Can I Help Prevent a Motorcycle Accident?

Yes, passengers can play a pivotal role in preventing motorcycle accidents. The first step is to always follow the guidance the driver gives you. Learn the best practices for being a good motorcycle passenger and always be conscious of hazardous behaviors. Make sure that the motorcycle is equipped to handle a passenger as required by Florida law. This includes footrests and a permanently attached passenger seat

However, even the most cautious riders can find themselves in a dangerous situation. Therefore, you can help prevent injuries by always wearing the proper motorcycle gear including a helmet, long pants, ankle-high boots, a jacket, and other protective gear. 

After a Motorcycle Accident, What Should I Do as a Passenger?

First and foremost, were there serious or life-threatening injuries incurred? It is essential that you get the medical attention right away. This will help you determine the scope or extent of the injuries that were sustained. Be sure to keep records of all injuries, treatments, medications, and other vital medical information.

Second, were there witnesses to the accident? There are people who may try to tamper with the details of the motorcycle accident to make their own version of what really happened. This is why it is important for you to get as much information as possible regarding the accident, including the spot where it occurred, the information of other vehicles involved, and the behavior or attitude of the other driver or their passengers. Be sure to get witness information, take pictures or video of the accident scene, and detail as much information as you can about what lead up to the accident.

Third, never sign anything without first consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney. During the shock and confusion after an accident, you may be asked to sign documents that could harm your chances of receiving the full compensation you are entitled to. 

Fourth, never try to bargain or settle the claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If you want to avoid unnecessary expenses or losing some of your right to compensation, it is advisable for you to consult your lawyer who will be able to give you valuable advice about the best way to handle your motorcycle accident injury claims.

How to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Florida

In many of the cases that result in claims being filed against drivers and their insurance companies, it will help to hire an attorney. There are laws that protect the rights of motorcycle drivers and passengers in Florida who have been injured in a motorcycle accident. Even if you have insurance coverage, hiring a lawyer can help you get your medical bills paid for and file a claim against the other person or their insurance company. 

At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we are committed to providing you with the best legal support and guidance possible. We proudly serve the Treasure Coast area, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, and Okeechobee. Start working with a knowledgeable, experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Florida by scheduling your free virtual consultation or call us toll-free at (866) 460-1990.

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