Many questions may surface following a highway accident involving an injured motorcycle passenger. Do I have a right to recover for my injuries since I was willingly participating in a “dangerous” activity? Do I sue the driver of the motorcycle? And because it is often a close friend or family member at the helm, will this ruin our relationship?
Riding on the back of a motorcycle with a trusted companion at the front is most often nothing more than an enjoyable and pleasant experience. Since the passenger is not in control of the bike, it is much easier to take in the sights and scenery on a road trip. Most of the time, motorcycle riding is a fun and safe activity, however, as we all know, any time we enter the highway, no matter the vehicle, risks are present. On a motorcycle, environmental factors that would not present a danger to four-wheel vehicles such as loose gravel, compound the accident risks involved with riding on two wheels.
If an accident does occur and you, as a motorcycle passenger are injured, you do have a right to recover for your injuries in many cases. A passenger very rarely contributes to the fault of an accident, and therefore can either recover damages from another vehicle that was at fault (say a Toyota cut off the motorcycle), or the motorcycle driver if fault for the accident rests with him or her.
If it turns out that your friend or family member who was in control of the bike is found to be at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, he or she may be responsible for your medical bills, any wage loss that you incur and your pain and suffering. The good news is this is why we pay for auto/motorcycle insurance. In the vast majority of cases, although a lawsuit may name your loved one as a “defendant”, it will be his or her insurance company that pays for everything, and the driver will have no loss of any personal assets. It is important to remember this fact, and there is no reason for your rightful recovery of damages should damage a close relationship.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call me at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.