Motorcycle Passenger Injuries
Motorcycle passengers often face more danger than operators since they have no protection from the elements or other vehicles on the road.
With no control of the situation, motorcycle passengers are 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 personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for motorcycle accident victims harmed through someone else's negligence.
Contact our motorcycle accident lawyers 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.
Injured motorcycle passengers have a legal right to receive financial compensation for their injuries. The rights extend even if they were motorbike passengers in single-motorbike crashes caused by the bikers' negligence.
Motorcycle Rider Fault for Injuries Caused to a Passenger
Many motorbike accidents do not involve other vehicles, making the biker at fault for the accident. Although not all accidents are due to recklessness or intentional negligence, the passenger 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 accidents that resulted in a fatality were single-vehicle accidents, causing over 2,000 motorbike driver deaths. Many of these deaths were passengers who were just along for the ride.
A driver takes a passenger on a motorbike for a drive. A long ride on the back of a motorbike can be fun. But it's essential to take some precautions before you hit the road. The body language of a passenger on a motorbike can be just as important as the rider's.
When it comes to motorcycles, the best passenger is the one who trusts their driver because it allows the driver to focus on the road and drive safely. A good passenger also needs to be aware of the rider's blind spots and signals.
The parking lot can be a dangerous place for a motorbike passenger. When parking, always choose a spot that is well-lit and visible to other drivers.
The passenger can lean right to help the driver lean the motorbike into turns. The passenger also can shift their weight to the right when going over bumps to help balance the bike and keep it stable.
Additionally, right shoulder placement can help prevent injury in a collision with a vehicle or object.
The Body Language Between the Rider and the Passenger
A motorbike passenger needs to know how to communicate with the driver using hand signals so that the driver can focus on the road and not be distracted by trying to look or hear what the passenger is trying to say.
Hand signals are an important way to communicate with other drivers, and they're the law in some states.
No matter how experienced a motorbike driver you are, riding a motorbike always involves risks. It doesn't matter if you are riding alone or with a passenger – any time you get on your bike, you expect there is always the possibility of an accident.
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.
How to Be a Good Motorbike Passenger
Whether you ride on the back of your friend's bike or a rented motorcycle while on vacation, always remember to be a good passenger.
First, when you mount a motorbike, ensure that you are properly secured with a seatbelt or other protective restraint. It is also important to always ride in a position that ensures visibility and balance.
Second, avoid sudden movements while riding and always communicate with the rider to let them know of any changes in your position.
Grab on tight when you ride as a motorbike passenger! It's essential to be prepared before you ride and know what to expect while riding and having fun.
Motorcycle Passenger Seats
Your body is probably pretty sore after your ride on the motorbike. Being a passenger can be challenging, and it's essential to prepare yourself by taking some safety precautions and wearing the right gear, such as gloves and a helmet.
The body takes a lot of strain when riding, so you need to be sure that you're comfortable and have a good grip.
The added weight of a passenger can put added strain on your motorbike. Ensure that you and your passenger are prepared before hitting the road.
Sit on the motorbike seat behind the driver, holding onto the handgrips. Lean back and enjoy the ride! Be careful not to lean too far back or to the sides, or you could fall off. However, you shouldn't sit on the edge of the seat but rather in the center.
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 located just below the rider's seat.
The Motorcyclists Riding Gear
It's advisable to wear long pants, gloves, and a long-sleeved jacket for protection from the possibility of accidents and cushion yourself from the sun and debris. The leather pants are a sturdy and robust material that can protect your legs from sustaining injuries if you fall off while riding.
A helmet is an essential protective gear for anyone planning to ride as a passenger on a motorbike.
The leather jacket is the most common and popular item of motorbike gear. It is made of natural materials that are both tough and flexible, and it provides good abrasion resistance in the event of a fall.
A denim jacket or leather jacket to protect your arms, a pair of jeans to cover your legs, and a full-face helmet are essential for any motorbike passenger.
Motorcycles Hot Exhaust Pipes
Denim jeans and shirts are the best clothing to wear to protect you from being burned by the motorbike engine, and exhaust pipes should an accident occur and the bike falls on you.
A Roll Off Test
A roll-off test is a procedure used to determine the stability of a motorbike passenger. During the test, a person sits on the back of a motorbike and holds onto the handlebars. The motorbike is then driven forward, and the passenger must try to keep their balance.
The Belt Loops Use
The belt loops of motorcycle manufacturers have always been a point of contention for riders. While most modern bikes are equipped with seatbelts, some still lack them and rely on strong leather straps that loop around the rider's waist.
The belts have been proven to prevent riders from falling off their bikes, but they can also be dangerous if they are not used properly.
Common Causes of a Motorcycle Accident
Nearly all motorbike crashes can be prevented when one or more motor vehicle drivers or motorcycle riders remain alert while sharing the roadway.
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.
According to the NHTSA, many motorcycle accident victims are harmed in crashes involving hitting potholes, illegal lane changes, and distracted driving. Another cause of the accident is traveling in inclement weather.
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 a Motorcycle Passenger
A motorcycle passenger can suffer various injuries, including:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- 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 lawsuit against negligent manufacturers or other liable parties for damages that include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and wrongful death.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are intended to protect all vehicle occupants during normal operation or accident events involving bikes, passenger cars,trucks,buses, or other motorized vehicles.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in an accident than occupants of other types of motor vehicles.
In addition, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43% of motorcycle rider fatalities occurred during single-vehicle crashes, with another 28% during multiple-vehicle crashes.
The NHTSA states that most crashes involving motorcycles are due to other car drivers violating the right of way. However, the motorcycle rider is also often at fault because of drunk driving or speeding.
Motorcycle Passenger Injuries: 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 seriously.
In many cases, the severity of head injuries suffered by a rider and passenger is due to their failure to wear helmets or protective gear. In nearly half of 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.
The NHTSA estimates that medical expenses for motorcyclist crash-related injuries cost $16 billion every year.
Motorcycle Crashes: Recovering Damages for Motorcycle Passenger Injuries
An injured motorbike passenger is entitled to have their damages covered by the person responsible for the accident. If other drivers were at fault, the injured passenger on a bike could pursue a claim against that motorist.
Even if the motorbike caused the accident, the passenger has legal rights to seek compensation for their damages.
The same is true if the motorcyclist is to blame for the accident. Just as in a passenger vehicle accident, the motorcycle driver is responsible for the passenger's security.
However, 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. However, it is essential to remember that insurance is specifically designed to cover these motorcycle crashes.
The Insurance Carrier Should Pay the Medical Bills, Not the Passenger
No injured passenger in a motorbike crash should feel obligated to pay for their medical expenses. Instead, the insurer will directly pay an injured motorbike passenger to cover medical bills, hospitalization costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Tips on Motorbike Protective Measures
The tips on riding as a passenger on a motorbike are essential for anyone who wants to ride safely and comfortably. Whether you're a newbie or an experienced rider, these tips may be helpful.
When you mount a motorbike as a passenger, it is crucial to ride safely and ensure the protection of yourself and the rider.
You must sit close to the driver, with your back straight and both feet rest on the footrests. You must not stand up or ride in a way that could unbalance or distract the rider.
Shift your weight back, so you are sitting on the rear seat of the motorcycle, and lean into the turn and forward when necessary.
A bike driver's leg should be at a 90-degree angle when resting on the footpeg to give the driver more control over the bike and helps to avoid fatigue. Make sure you pull the bike up so that the passenger can get on and off easily.
The Dangers of Potholes on the Road and Protecting the Passenger
The motorbike wheel can hit a pothole or some other obstacle on the road, causing a jarring ride for the passenger. Therefore, a bike passenger needs to wear protective gear such as a helmet.
Additionally, the wheels can also become caught in debris on the road, resulting in a spill for the rider and passenger. It is important to ride in areas with well-maintained roads to avoid this.
Pull over to the side of the road in a safe spot. Engaging the parking brake and putting the kickstand down before dismounting. Remove your helmet, then help your passenger remove theirs.
The motorbike driver's priority when riding a motorcycle is to ensure the passenger's safety by ensuring that the passenger is wearing a helmet.
The grab grips on the back of the motorbike seat are there for a reason, so use them! And don't forget to wear a helmet.
Keeping Your Feet Safe From the Motorbike Wheel
The feet are one of the most vulnerable parts of your body when riding a motorcycle, as they are constantly exposed to the elements and can easily slip off of the footpegs.
While there are a few different ways to keep your foot safe while riding, the most important thing is to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to avoid them.
One of the best ways to keep your feet safe while riding and having fun is to wear proper footwear made specifically for riding and not just any old pair of sneakers.
Riding shoes or boots should have a good grip to help keep your foot from slipping, and they should also be tough enough to cushion your foot in case of a fall.
Negotiating a Claim for Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Collision
When filing a claim against a motorcycle operator's insurance company, the passenger with the injuries is entitled to receive the maximum compensation they deserve. However, they need to 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.
How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are relatively common. According to the CDC, motorcycles are 26 times more likely to be in an accident than a car. 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 or not.
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 severe injuries to the biker and passenger or 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 amount of 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 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 Motorcycle Passenger Injury Attorney
It is always beneficial to have a personal injury attorney on your side to hear the facts of the case and negotiate your claim whenever insurance companies are involved in paying for personal injury damages. Unfortunately, auto insurance companies are not on your side and have a vested interest in paying as little as possible.
A motorbike passenger may also feel more comfortable not negotiating a claim against a personal acquaintance, even through their insurer.
The motorcycle accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC handle these types of motorbike 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 today 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.