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Who Can Be Held Liable If I’m Injured as a Passenger in a Motorcycle Accident?

Posted on November 13, 2023 in

As a cycle passenger, you don’t anticipate being involved in a crash. When accidents happen, passengers on a motorcycle can often be left wondering: who is responsible for my injuries? It could be the other driver, the driver of the motorcycle you were on, or a third party whose negligence caused the crash. It may be a combination of one or more of these that requires a fault allocation (based on percentages of fault divided among the different causes). Understanding liability in these situations is crucial, and that’s where Jensen Phelan Law Firm steps in. 

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident, various parties might be held liable. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. Jensen Phelan Law Firm, with our over half-century of combined personal injury law experience, offers the guidance and support you need.

Understanding Liability in Motorcycle Passenger Injuries

In most motorcycle accidents involving a passenger, the liability often falls upon either the motorcycle operator, another driver involved in the accident, or in some cases, even the entity responsible for road maintenance and repair or the manufacturer or repair service mechanic of the motorcycle or its parts. Each case is unique, and determining liability requires a thorough examination of the accident’s circumstances.

Liability of the Motorcycle Driver

The motorcycle driver may be liable if their actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, or operating under the influence, directly led to the accident. In legal terms, establishing their liability involves proving three elements: duty of care (the driver’s legal obligation to operate the motorcycle safely), breach of that duty (evidence that the driver’s actions were negligent or reckless), and causation (showing that this breach directly caused the accident and your resulting injuries). Proof of the actual damages is separate but required.

Liability of Other Vehicle Drivers

Other drivers involved in the accident can also be held liable. For instance, if a car driver fails to see the motorcycle and causes a collision, he or she may be responsible. Liability in such cases often hinges on demonstrating that the other driver violated traffic laws or drove carelessly, leading to the accident. This can involve gathering evidence like inspecting the accident scene (and taking photos), traffic camera footage, witness statements, and accident reports.

Liability of Government Entities for Road Conditions

Poor road conditions such as potholes, lack of proper signage, or neglected road maintenance can contribute to motorcycle accidents. In these cases, liability may fall on government entities responsible for road upkeep. Pursuing a claim against a government entity requires proving negligence in maintaining safe road conditions and short deadlines for providing notice of the claim(s) to the government entity due to requirements of Arizona statutes. These claims can be more complex due to sovereign immunity laws, which often protect government entities from lawsuits, and specific notice requirements that must be met to file a claim.

Manufacturer Liability

In some cases, the motorcycle or its parts may have manufacturing defects contributing to the accident. Here, the manufacturer can be held liable under product liability law. This requires demonstrating that a defect in the motorcycle or a part was directly responsible for the accident or exacerbated the injuries of the driver, passenger, or both.

Comparative Fault and Its Impact on Compensation

Arizona’s comparative fault system acknowledges that multiple parties, including the motorcycle driver, other vehicle drivers, or even the passenger themselves, can share responsibility for an accident. Under this system, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for not wearing a helmet, your compensation might be reduced by that percentage. 

Navigating Insurance and Legal Complexities After a Motorcycle Accident

After a motorcycle accident, dealing with insurance companies becomes an inevitable part of the process. This often involves negotiating with the insurance providers of all parties involved. In these negotiations, the specifics of the insurance policy of the motorcycle operator, the other drivers, and any other involved parties play a significant role in determining the compensation. The role of personal injury attorneys in these scenarios is vital. 

An experienced firm like Jensen Phelan Law Firm can handle the complexities of insurance policies and legal procedures with ease, ensuring that the injured passenger’s rights are protected. We have decades of experience with motorcycle (and bicycle) accidents. We can also assist in gathering necessary evidence, such as accident reports, medical records, and witness testimonies, which are crucial for substantiating your claim.

Call Jensen Phelan Law Firm If You Were A Passenger in a Motorcycle Accident

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, a local law firm, we pride ourselves on our client-focused approach, investing time and effort to achieve the best outcomes for you. With our over 50 years of experience in personal injury cases, trial preparedness, and a strong track record of client satisfaction and recovery, we are trusted and equipped to handle the nuances of your case.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident, don’t face this challenging time alone. Call (928) 778-2660 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.