Injured Motorcycle Passengers Must Protect Their Legal Rights
By Sandra Dalton, Staff Writer
Information on motorcycle accidents tends to focus on motorcycle operators, so if you were injured as a passenger you may be uncertain where you stand legally and what you need to do to protect your right to compensation. Motorcycle riders, whether operators or passengers, are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed when involved in an accident than occupants of passenger vehicles. If you have been injured as a motorcycle passenger there are several potential source of compensation that can pay for your medical bills, lost income, and more.
Immediately After a Motorcycle Accident
The actions you take or fail to take immediately after a motorcycle accident can make or break your case, especially if you were a passenger. It is crucial that you call law enforcement and that you get medical attention, even if you don’t feel like you were seriously injured.
As a passenger, you need to make sure that your involvement in the accident is documented. Your name is not on the registration and you are not the one exchanging your identity and insurance information, so you need to be prepared to prove that you were an injured party if the insurance company tries to dispute it.
You need a medical assessment because you may be hurt far worse than you realize. And again, you’ll need to prove that your injuries were caused by the motorcycle accident. Symptoms of injuries including traumatic brain injury and soft tissue injuries can take days, weeks, or longer to surface and the insurance company may try to claim that those injuries were not a result of the accident.
If your injuries allow, gather all of the information you can while you are still at the scene, including names and contact information for any witnesses, and even witness statements if possible. Take pictures of the scene, any injuries, and damage to vehicles and objects such as guardrails and signposts.
Do not talk to insurance company representatives. Talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as you can. Most reputable accident attorneys offer a free initial consultation and represent injury victims on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with money to hire an attorney. Just call.
Who Pays for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Depending on several factors including where the accident occurred, who was at fault, and what kind of insurance coverage you have, there are several potential avenues of compensation. You may be able to collect from your own insurance company. If you were in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident you may be able to collect from the operator’s insurance company. If another driver was at fault, their insurance should pay.
Just be aware that when you are dealing with insurance companies you need an attorney to protect your rights. The insurance companies will try to deny or underpay your claim.
Motorcycle accidents can also be caused by motorcycle defects or roadway defects. If a defective motorcycle was to blame, your claim will fall under product liability. If a defective roadway was involved, your claim will be against a government entity, which means you will need to take action quickly.
If you were injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident, you can learn more about your rights and how you can recover damages for your losses by searching our directory to find a lawyer near you.