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When a motorcycle accident occurs, there is always a strong focus on the operator of the motorcycle and the passengers of the vehicle. Often overlooked is the passenger of the motorcycle.
Recently, our car accident attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. have been getting a lot of questions as to whether a passenger of a motorcycle can get compensation after an accident. To answer this question, our lawyers have written this article to give you a clear picture of what rights a motorcycle passenger has after an accident.
Can a Passenger of a Motorcycle Accident Get Compensation?
The short answer to this question is yes, they can. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint who is responsible for covering the damages. There are two different scenarios that change who is at fault for the accident.
However, before we go through these scenarios, it is important to understand that the person making the claim has to be able to prove two things: liability and damages.
Liability determines who is at fault for the accident. This could be the operator of the motorcycle, another driver for another vehicle, or the motorcycle manufacturer if a defect was found.
Damages are injuries, medical expenses, and destruction of personal property that were a direct result of the accident.
Scenario 1: Only the Motorcycle Was Involved
If the motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the accident, then negligence played a part somewhere. What needs to be determined is whether it was the driver of the motorcycle that caused the accident or the manufacturer that was responsible due to a defect.
This can be done with an overview of how the accident happened:
For example, say you decide to go out on a ride with your buddy. However, your friend is driving too fast and takes a turn too quickly, causing the motorcycle to wipe out and run into a tree. The operator of the motorcycle would be considered at fault as they were not taking care to follow the speed limit set in place to keep you and the operator safe.
However, if the operator was driving properly and wipes out because the brakes were not working properly, this could be a mechanical defect, making it the responsibility of the manufacturer.
In either case, contacting a trusted motorcycle accident attorney can ensure that you get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.
Scenario 2: There Was More Than One Vehicle Involved
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident with one or more vehicles, then generally you would file a claim against all of the drivers involved. This is the case if, and only if, it can be proven that only one of the operators was negligent, which resulted in the whole accident.
Unlike other vehicles, where it traditionally takes a collision with another vehicle to be considered a car accident, a motorcycle accident can occur even if the car doesn’t hit the motorcycle. Motorcycles have less protection and stability than a car, so if a driver suddenly cuts off the operator of a motorcycle and causes them to wipe out, the driver of the car is still responsible for the damages and medical expenses.
By law, drivers of motor vehicles are required to give more care towards motorcyclists, as they are not as protected as vehicles. This means giving them at least two car lengths of distance while driving behind or when changing lanes to get in front of, just as they would another car. This helps ensure that motorcyclists are safe on the road.
Scenario 2 Special Case; Hit and Run Accidents
Unfortunately, while a driver should stop and check on the driver and any passengers if they notice that a motorcycle accident was caused because of their actions, this doesn’t always happen. Negligent drivers will often drive away if they didn’t actually hit the motorcycle, or sometimes even if they did. In this case, neither the driver nor the passenger will be able to bring a claim against the negligent driver.
However, you may be able to make a claim for a hit-and-run accident under your or the driver of the motorcycle’s uninsured driver’s insurance. If you need help or are not sure what to do in a hit-and-run accident, please contact your trusted Arlington hit-and-run accident attorneys for more information.
How to File Motorcycle Accident Claim
Whether you are the operator or the passenger of a motorcycle during an accident, always contact a motorcycle accident attorney. The team at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. can help you file a claim against the negligent parties involved or handle the insurance companies in the case of a hit and run accident.
If you feel that the accident occurred due to a defect with the motorcycle, our team can also help you take the necessary steps to get the suspected defective part tested and bring a claim against the manufacturer.
In this case, it is important to remember that the motorcycle should not be repaired until after you have spoken with an attorney and the motorcycle has been looked over. This way, we can collect the best evidence to prove your claim that it was a defective part that caused the accident, not the operator.
Contact your trusted Arlington motorcycle and car accident attorneys today to go over your case. We offer a free no-obligation consultation so that we can help you decide which direction would be best for your case.