Motorcycle on the road

Injured as a Motorcycle Passenger? Here’s What You Should Do

By Charles Smith

The warm, sunny climate of North Mississippi makes it an ideal place to ride a motorcycle — the rush of cool air as one zooms down the highway is a feeling that many in this region know and love. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle does place you at an increased risk of injury in the event of an accident. 

Motorcyclists have much less protection than car and truck drivers in the event of a crash. The fallout of motorcycle crashes often leaves those involved with large medical bills, as well as emotional and physical injuries. If you have been injured while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Protecting Yourself Before a Wreck

Motorcyclists and their passengers are at a much higher risk of injury in the case of a crash than drivers of and passengers in traditional motor vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, per mile traveled, people on motorcycles are almost 29 times more likely to be killed in a wreck than people riding in passenger cars. 

For this reason, it is imperative that you exercise discretion and exercise due caution before getting on a motorcycle. It’s not enough to merely know how to ride; you must understand the risks and prepare appropriately.

Most bikers are taught to wear protective gear, but many choose to overlook this precaution. Despite the fact that most states have mandatory helmet laws, it’s still common for bikers to travel with nothing between them and the road other than jeans and maybe a leather jacket.

Thankfully, the use of protective gear has risen over the last several years. For example, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, the use of helmets has risen to over 70% in recent years, compared to 54% in 2010. And considering that helmets can reduce head injury by 69%, protective gear should not be overlooked if you wish to prevent injury.

When it comes to preventing crashes entirely, you should never get on a motorcycle with someone you do not trust to drive safely, and you should also never get on a motorcycle with someone who is intoxicated. Common sense safety measures such as these are another overlooked safety measure, but their effectiveness cannot be overstated.

Who can be held liable in the event of a motorcycle wreck?

If you are a passenger in a motorcycle wreck, you may be eligible for financial compensation to cover the cost of some or all of the damages you have suffered. 

The way to determine who to seek compensation from is by figuring out which parties may have been totally or partially at fault for the wreck. It is possible to receive settlements from any or all of the following parties involved in a motorcycle accident:

  • The person driving the motorcycle
  • The driver of another vehicle (if one was involved)
  • Both the person driving the motorcycle and the other driver (if involved)
  • The company that manufactures the motorcycle or its parts
  • Your uninsured motorist carrier if the at fault party is uninsured or underinsured

Determining which of these parties is at fault in the event of an accident requires a moderate level of knowledge surrounding the relevant motorcycle laws. For instance, it is necessary to prove that the person driving the motorcycle was endangering their passenger by driving recklessly, speeding, or performing some other dangerous activity. 

In order to receive a settlement from the manufacturer, it is also necessary to demonstrate how the motorcycle or one of its parts malfunctioned. Figuring out exactly who is at fault and who might be held liable in a case like this can be difficult, which is why it is always a good idea to find trustworthy legal representation. 

Filing a Claim as a Motorcycle Passenger in North Mississippi

If you are a motorcycle passenger and you have been injured, either physically or psychologically, in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. 

The first thing you should do is seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys who are well-versed in traffic law. Our team of specialized attorneys can offer you legal advice and assist you in building the strongest case possible.

About the Author
Charles Nicholas Smith is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and is admitted to practice law in state courts in Mississippi and Tennessee. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi. Mr. Smith’s areas of practice include personal injury, criminal defense, and civil litigation, including contract disputes and actions under the Fair Debt Collections Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act. Mr. Smith was hired in 2010 at the Chatham Pittman Law Firm and is now a partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Smith through our contact form.