Passenger safety is one of the oft-overlooked parts of safe motorcycle riding and thousands of passengers sustain injuries or lose their lives every year because of negligence. Whether you were a passenger of a reckless motorcycle operator or a negligent driver caused the motorcycle accident, when you or a loved one suffer(s) serious injuries as a passenger on a motorcycle, one has a right to collect compensation for your injuries.
Passengers’ Rights to File an Injury Claim
Just as a passenger in a car would have the right to file a claim if injured, a motorcycle passenger has the same right to pursue compensation for his or her injuries after a crash.
But unlike other drivers, motorcycle operators do not have to carry medical benefits coverage that addresses the rider’s or a passenger’s medical expenses. Thus, a passenger who has this coverage on his or her own policy may opt to file a first-party claim against his or her own insurer to recover compensation for medical expenses.
While medical benefits coverage is not required, the operator of the motorcycle must carry the minimum liability coverage for motor vehicles. This means the accident is covered by at least $15,000 in bodily injury damages for one person and $30,000 for multiple injured parties. A passenger may pursue compensation for damages from the at-fault party’s liability insurance provided the passenger has full tort coverage or is seriously injured.
Further, Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws state that if an individual is more than 51 percent at fault for an accident and their injuries, he or she cannot collect damages. Therefore, if you were the primary cause of the accident (such as if you distracted the motorcycle operator) and your fault is greater than 50 percent, you may be unable to pursue compensation.
Determining Against Whom to File the Claim
Passengers seriously injured in a motorcycle crash must determine whom to hold liable for injuries and damages before they begin filing liability claims. In some cases it will be the motorcycle operator if he or she was operating the motorcycle in an unsafe manner. In other cases it will be the driver of another vehicle whose negligent actions caused the motorcycle to crash.
In cases where the driver of another vehicle was at fault, you may file a claim against that driver’s insurance company. If the motorcycle operator was at fault, you may file a claim against the motorcyclist’s liability insurance. But this can be emotionally distressing for passengers concerned about increasing a friend’s insurance rates. However, if the motorcyclist was at fault for the accident, his or her premiums will likely increase regardless of your claim.
Motorcycle Passengers Have the Right to Seek Justice for Their Injuries
No matter who was at fault for the accident, as the passenger of a motorcycle involved in a crash you have the right to seek compensation if you were seriously injured. At Cordisco & Saile, we help injured motorcycle passengers in Bensalem and nearby areas resolve their insurance claims and get back on the road to recovery. Call 215-642-2335 to set up an appointment to discuss the details of your case and how insurance and liability affects how you recover compensation if you’re seriously injured as a motorcycle passenger.