Motorcycle passengers often face more danger than motorcycle operators since they have no protection from the elements or other vehicles on the road.
With no control over the situation, the passenger in a motorcycle is helpless to prevent or stop what may occur and are victims regardless of who caused the accident.
Were you injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our motorcycle accident lawyers are legal advocates for victims involved in the crash and harmed by someone else’s negligence.
The injured party has a legal right to receive financial compensation for their injuries. The rights extend even if they were motorbike passengers in a single-vehicle accident caused by the motorcycle operator’s negligence.
Contact a Chicago motorcycle passenger injury attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Motorcycle Rider Held Liable for the Motorcycle Accident
Many motorbike accidents are one-vehicle accidents and do not involve other vehicles, putting the biker at fault for the accident. Although not all accidents are due to recklessness or intentional negligence, the passenger on a motorcycle is still just a victim in these cases.
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed that 43% of motorcycle accident cases that resulted in a fatality only had one vehicle involved in the accident, causing over 2,000 motorbike driver deaths. Many of these deaths involved a passenger on a motorcycle who was just along for the ride.
When the motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the crash
If the motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the crash, then you will most likely be seeking compensation from the bike operator for damages that include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and wrongful death.
The situation can get more complicated if more than one vehicle is involved in the accident. Still, it also means that the responsibility for compensation can shift or even be shared. You will generally file claims for personal injury damages against both the motorcycle operator and the other car involved unless it is clear that only one of the operators was at fault.
It is important to realize that a two-vehicle motorcycle accident can occur even when the motorcycle does not hit the other car.
The Challenge of Operating a Motorbike
A bike makes for a fast and convenient mode of transportation, but it can be dangerous to ride as a passenger if you are not careful.
The balance and control required to ride a motorbike make it an incredibly exhilarating experience. However, riding as a passenger adds a level of complexity and danger.
The passenger’s weight and center of gravity are high, making riding a motorbike more difficult.
Motorcycle Passenger Seats
Your body is likely sore after riding your motorbike. Being a passenger can be challenging, and it’s essential to prepare by taking some safety precautions and wearing the right gear, such as gloves and a helmet.
A backrest or pad can be a helpful accessory when riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. You can rest your feet on the footpegs below the rider’s seat.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The causes of motorbike accidents often involve distracted driving, inattention, or failing to yield to the motorcyclist’s right of way, even in a one-vehicle accident.
There are two leading causes of only-vehicle motorcycle accidents:
- The motorcyclist negligently crashes (wipes out) or hits something, like a tree or a parked car
- The motorcycle crashes or hits something because of a mechanical defect or fault in the motorcycle
If the motorcyclist or a passenger fails to wear protective gear, riding boots to protect the legs, or a motor helmet at the time of the accident, the injuries can be catastrophic.
Injuries Sustained by Motorcycle Passengers
A motorcycle passenger can suffer various injuries, including:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones such as ankle bones
- Crushing injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Wrongful death
Holding the Motorcycle Manufacturer Responsible
In some cases, a motorcyclist or passenger can be severely injured when an accident occurs due to the motorcycle’s design or mechanical defect.
Other times, defective motorcycle helmets or protective equipment failure could lead to devastating injuries, fatalities, and even death if the motorcycle were the only vehicle involved in a collision.
When the motorcycle’s defective design, equipment failures such as a helmet, or inadequate manufacturer protective warning cause injury to a motorbike’s driver or passenger, there may be grounds for a product liability claim.
Injured victims have the right to file a personal injury claim against negligent manufacturers or other liable parties if some defect or fault in the motorcycle caused the accident.
If you or the motorcycle operator believe that the accident occurred due to a defect with the motorcycle, you will want to talk to a knowledgeable products liability attorney immediately.
Injured Motorcycle Passenger: Helmets Save Lives
According to NHTSA, helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives in 2019. Helmets are an excellent defense against head injuries that impact hard surfaces during collisions, but they won’t prevent a motorcycle rider from becoming injured..
In many cases, the severity of head injuries a rider and passenger suffers is due to their failure to wear helmets or protective gear. In nearly half of the motorcycle fatalities, the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet.
According to NHTSA, during 2019 alone, 4,950 motorcycle riders were killed in accidents, and an additional 96,000 sustained serious injuries. Many times, these crashes involved losing a loving family member.
Across the nation, motorcycle wrecks resulted in nearly 25 million emergency department visits from 2013 to 2021, including more than 100,000 hospitalizations. Multiple vehicles involved in the crash often lead to a higher fatality rate and extensive property damage.
NHTSA estimates that medical expenses for motorcyclist crash-related injuries cost $16 billion annually.
Motorcycle Crashes: Recovering Damages for Motorcycle Passenger Injuries
Even if the motorbike caused the accident, the passenger has legal rights to seek compensation for damages.
The same is true if the motorcyclist is to blame for the accident. Like in a passenger vehicle accident, the motorcycle driver is responsible for the passenger’s security.
There are a few reasons that a passenger may refrain from filing a claim. Most times, the person riding as a passenger on a bike has a close relationship with the motorcycle operator.
The injured passenger might be concerned about the cost of the accident to the motorbike operator. It is essential to remember that insurance is specifically designed to cover these motorcycle crashes.
Negotiating a Claim for Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Collision
When filing a claim against a motorcycle operator’s insurance company, the injured passenger is entitled to receive the maximum compensation they deserve. They must remember that the insurance company will pay up to the maximum limit of the driver’s policy if necessary.
In most cases, the operator does not pay for the damages. However, if the cost exceeds their policy, the passenger can also use their underinsured motorist policy to cover the difference if they have this coverage.
Motorcycle Passenger Injury FAQs
Our personal injury law firm understands that many families have unanswered questions about filing a compensation claim with an insurance company after a motorcycle accident. A reputable motorcycle accident injury attorney has answered some of those questions below.
Contact our law firm to talk about your specific case.
How common are motorcycle accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are relatively common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) , motorcycles are 26 times more likely to be in an accident than cars. Additionally, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be in a fatal accident than other operators.
What should I do if I’m in a motorcycle accident?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, handle the accident like all other collisions and call 911 for law enforcement and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) . Next, wait for EMTs to arrive to transport you to the local hospital, even if you believe you are not injured.
It may take hours or days for some injuries to appear through discomfort, bruising, confusion, infection, or internal bleeding. Therefore, only a competent emergency room or urgent care doctor can accurately diagnose your condition using the best diagnostic tools to determine if you are injured.
What is the number one cause of motorcycle crashes?
The leading cause of motorcycle crashes involves other motorists and commercial truck drivers making a left-hand turn into an oncoming bike’s right-of-way. These crashes often occur when the other motorists do not see the motorcyclist approaching and make a left-hand turn crashing into the front or side of the bike.
The results of passenger cars making a left-hand turn and crashing into a bike can be catastrophic, causing serious injuries to the biker and passenger or even wrongful death.
What are my rights as a passenger injured in a motorcycle accident?
If you ride as a passenger on a bike and are involved in an accident, you have legal options for compensation. In most cases, a biker carries insurance coverage for the passenger. However, the coverage might not be sufficient to pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, or funeral costs.
Depending on who was at fault for the accident, you could file a civil lawsuit against other drivers involved in the accident through multiple claims.
For example, accident reconstruction investigators might determine that another motorist cut off the bike or another car swerved into the bike lane, making them responsible for your injuries.
How much can you sue for after a motorcycle accident?
A report issued by the Jury Verdict Research Organization (Thomson Reuters Publishing) revealed the median jury verdict for a motorcycle injury case at trial is approximately $73,000, based on 2018 data.
However, some victims who have suffered severe injuries or wrongful death could receive hundreds of thousands or millions based on the unique circumstances of their case.
Hiring a Chicago Motorcycle Passenger Injury Attorney
Are you or do you know of any motorcycle accident victims? It is always beneficial to have a personal injury attorney to hear the facts of the case and negotiate the motorcycle accident claim whenever insurance companies are involved in paying for damages.
Our motorcycle passenger injury attorneys will gather evidence from the accident scene and talk with the local authorities to ensure they have all the information on the crash, especially if the other driver was at fault.
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC handle these types of motorbike and car accident claims for our clients on a contingency fee basis and will get the best possible financial outcome for your injuries.
Contact our law group at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle injury case. Our law firm’s discussions concerning your personal injury case remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.