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Can You Sue as an Injured Motorcycle Passenger?


Riding on a motorcycle as a passenger can be a fun and enjoyable experience. But it can also be dangerous. Unfortunately, since passengers are not in control of the vehicle, there is very little they can do to prevent an accident. If you were hurt as a motorcycle passenger, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover compensation for your injuries.     

Liability for Passenger Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accident injuries are often much more severe than those suffered in a car accident. Unlike motor vehicles, motorcycles are not surrounded by a steel frame — and they don’t have any other safeguards from the roadway in the event of a collision. This lack of protection can lead to serious and debilitating injuries or even fatality, even if a helmet is worn. 

Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, one or more parties may be liable for the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Parties who may be held responsible in a personal injury lawsuit for a motorcycle accident can include the following:

  • The motorcycle operator — If the motorcycle operator was careless or reckless, they may be held accountable for their actions in a lawsuit. For example, speeding, failure to observe traffic control devices, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in the operator’s liability.
  • A driver of another vehicle — When a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, truck, SUV, or another large vehicle, the resulting injuries can be devastating. If the driver of another vehicle failed to keep a lookout for others on the road, changed lanes carelessly, or was negligent in another way, they may be named in a personal injury lawsuit. 
  • The motorcycle manufacturer — If the accident was caused by a defective motorcycle part or a flawed model was placed on the market, the manufacturer may incur liability under the theory of products liability.   
  • A municipality — Sometimes, defects in the roadway are to blame for a motorcycle accident. If a municipality had notice of a hazardous condition such as potholes or depressions and failed to timely remedy it, they may be held legally responsible for injuries that arose as a result. 

If you were in a motorcycle accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. Certain injuries, such as brain damage, internal bleeding, and soft tissue injuries may not become apparent until days or weeks later. By going to the emergency room and getting the medical help you need, doctors can rule out any internal injuries and begin you on a course of treatment. Importantly, medical documentation is vital for any personal injury claim you may file against the negligent party.

Compensation for Motorcycle Passenger Accident Victims 

Motorcycles are not covered under New York’s no-fault law. This means that if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you cannot rely on no-fault benefits to cover your medical expenses or lost wages as you would in a car crash. However, you can still pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover your economic damages, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering. Families who have lost loved ones in a motorcycle accident may also be entitled to seek compensation in a wrongful death action.

Motorcycle accident injuries can be catastrophic and cause permanent disability. By filing a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident, you might be eligible to recover compensation for your hospital bills, doctor visits, the costs of medication and physical rehabilitation, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred. You may also be entitled to the wages you lost due to having missed time from work as a result of the accident — and future lost earnings if your injuries prevent you from being employed. In addition, monetary compensation for non-economic damages may be awarded, including the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life you suffered due to the accident.    

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

Motorcycle passengers can suffer severe injuries and permanent disability. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another, an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has more than 30 years of experience advocating for the rights of accident victims — and securing the monetary recovery they deserve.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.