Motorcycle Passenger

When You’re Involved in a Motorcycle Crash as a Passenger

The most important thing to do after a motorcycle accident, whether you are the driver or passenger, is to seek prompt medical attention. Even if you don’t have obvious injuries, adrenaline after an accident can mask problems that can flare later. If another party is at fault for your accident—even the motorcycle operator—you may be entitled to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Our Virginia personal injury firm represents victims of motorcycle accidents and fights for the compensation they deserve under the law.

Motorcycle crashes can result in devastating injuries and even death. While the thrill of riding on the back of a bike can be exhilarating, each year more than 1600 people in Virginia are injured or killed in motorcycle accidents. If you were riding on the back of a motorcycle and were involved in a crash, you should document as much as you can at the crash site and go to a hospital for an examination, even if you feel fine.

Types of Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Injuries after motorcycle crashes range from minor to severe and debilitating, with over 5,500 people killed each year while riding a motorcycle.

Types of injuries often sustained in a motorcycle crash can include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Lacerations (cuts)
  • Severe bruising and road rash
  • Nerve damage to the arm (“Biker’s Arm”)

Treatment of these injuries can be costly and can financially devastate a person or their family. If the worst happens and a loved one is killed in a crash, families can be left with expensive medical bills for treatment provided in an attempt to save the person’s life.

Fault and Insurance in a Motorcycle Crash

If someone else is at fault for your motorcycle accident in Virginia, they can be held accountable for covering your financial losses. However, Virginia law is particularly strict about fault with a “contributory negligence" statute that states if you share any percentage of fault for an accident, even a minor percentage, the person who is primarily at fault cannot be held liable for the accident. You must prove that another person or even a third party is 100% responsible for the crash.

While operators are often at fault for motorcycle accidents, there are instances where the driver of another vehicle is entirely at fault for the accident or even cases where a parts manufacturer or repair shop is responsible for a malfunction on the bike that caused the accident. 

Determining fault in a motorcycle crash is also important because vehicle insurance is not required by law. It doesn’t mean someone cannot be held responsible if they are negligent, but it means that instead of their insurance paying for damages, the person themselves is responsible for paying damages. We recommend all drivers and operators in Virginia carry insurance, including uninsured motorist coverage, which would pay out if someone else is responsible for your accident but they don’t have insurance.

The Importance of Recovering Damages after a Motorcycle Accident

Under Virginia law, victims of motorcycle crashes have the right to attempt to recover “damages” or costs incurred as a result of the accident. Damages can include recovery of costs for medical treatment, doctor or therapy visits, medical equipment, recovery of wages from missed work due to the accident and/or subsequent medical appointments, and costs for pain and suffering.  

Motorcycle Accident Law Firm

Some passengers may be reluctant to pursue an accident case if they have a close relationship with the operator. But, as a passenger, you still have the legal right to be compensated for your losses if the crash was someone else’s fault. If you were hurt in an accident as a motorcycle passenger, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands every aspect of Virginia law so they can work with you to recover damages. 

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