Motorcycle passengers, in addition to cycle operators, are often injured or killed in traffic accidents. Unsafe road conditions and construction zones, defective motorcycles and helmets, and the negligence of drivers of other motor vehicles may cause or contribute to motorcycle accidents and cycle passengers’ as well as operators’ injuries and deaths. The individuals and entities that may be held legally responsible for cycle operators’ injuries or deaths due to such causes may also be held liable for the injuries and deaths suffered by the operators’ passengers.

Motorcycle accidents and passenger injuries and deaths may also be caused or contributed to by the negligence of motorcycle operators. In these cases, the motorcycle operators—as well as any others whose negligence or defective products are found to have been a cause of passengers’ injuries and deaths—may be held legally responsible for the damages suffered by the injured passengers or deceased passengers’ families.

motorcycle passenger injuriesMotorcycle operators have a legal duty to take reasonable care for the safety of any riding passengers. The failure of a motorcycle operator to meet the duty of care owed to his or her passenger is considered negligence under the law. This failure to meet, or breach of, the duty of care can occur in many ways. Under most states’ laws, the violation of any traffic law or rule of the road by a motorcycle operator will be found to constitute negligence. Negligence can also occur in the absence of rule or law violations, when cycle operators fail to exercise due caution for passengers’ safety. Examples of operator negligence that may lead to accidents and passenger injuries and deaths include violating speed limits, driving too fast for road or weather conditions (despite driving within posted speed limits), driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances that affect driving ability, concentration, or judgment, violating passing laws or passing in an unsafe manner, engaging in lane-splitting (riding between two lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction), driving too closely behind other vehicles, driving in other vehicles’ blind spots, and otherwise driving in an inattentive, distracted, careless, or reckless manner.

Before a motorcycle operator may be found liable for a passenger’s injury or death, however, the plaintiff must establish that the motorcycle operator’s negligence was a cause of the passenger’s injuries or death and that the injured passenger (or deceased passenger’s family) suffered legally compensable damages as a result. Though some motorcycle operators may argue that the passenger assumed the risk of injury by consenting to ride as a cycle passenger, or that the passenger did something to cause or contribute to the accident or to his or her injuries, these defensive arguments are not likely to be successful. Cycle passengers are not considered under the law to assume the risk of injury or death caused by operator negligence (nor by another’s negligence or a defect in the motorcycle or the helmet worn by the passenger). In addition, unless a passenger engaged in overt behavior that distracted the operator, that caused the motorcycle to become unbalanced, or otherwise contributed to a collision or other injury-causing accident, the passenger may not be found to have negligently contributed to his or her own injuries.

Our national motorcycle-injury lawyers have extensive experience with motorcycle-accident cases, including those arising out of injuries or deaths of motorcycle passengers. If you have been injured or a loved one has died while riding as a motorcycle passenger, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or family member’s death. Though injured cycle passengers may be reluctant to seek such compensation from cycle operators who are friends or family members, be assured that most financial recoveries for passenger injuries and deaths are paid by insurance companies through motorcycle insurance obtained by cycle operators. Our nationally respected team of motorcycle-accident attorneys and paralegals are well-acquainted with the science and law applicable to motorcycle accidents. We work with the best experts in the field to reconstruct the accident in which you were involved, to determine the cause or causes of your accident, the extent and consequences of your injuries, and the identity of all who may be held responsible for your injuries or family member’s death.