A Motorcycle Passenger’s Guide to Liability

A Motorcycle Passenger’s Guide to Liability

As a passenger on someone else’s motorcycle, your safety is in their hands, and you’ll likely expect not to be subjected to a dangerous motorcycle accident. However, even when accompanying a trusted motorcyclist, crashes can happen—when they do, you’ll want to know who’s to blame for your injuries in the eyes of the law, and who you can get compensation from.

The Motorcyclist’s Responsibility

It’s important for you to exercise caution, but it’s ultimately the motorcyclist’s legal responsibility to make sure that both of you are safe. Even if you make an unsafe decision, such as to not wear a helmet, it’s still partially the driver’s fault if they let you ride with them without taking proper precautions.

  • Passengers of 18 years old or younger need to wear a helmet in Arizona. Even if you’re above 18, it’s advisable to wear a helmet, as failing to do so will make you partially liable for any head injuries you sustain.
  • Passengers can only accompany drivers with a complete license. A permit is not sufficient.
  • Passengers can only ride on motorcycles with a passenger seat and proper footrests.

Other motorcycle laws vary by state, but in general, if the biker has made an irresponsible decision and causes a crash, you can file a claim against them to pursue compensation. Alternatively, in the event that another vehicle hits you by no fault of the motorcyclist’s, you’ll be able to recover your damages from them instead, as though you were a driver yourself. 

Fault in Complex Collisions

If the motorcyclist you’re riding with gets into a collision with another driver and you’re injured as a result, it becomes far harder to assign blame. Arizona also uses a comparative fault system, meaning that if you were partially responsible for your injuries or the accident (such as if you distracted the motorcyclist or weren’t wearing a helmet), your settlement will be reduced in direct proportion to your level of fault. For example, if not wearing a helmet caused half of your injuries, you’ll only receive half of your total recoveries during the settlement process. Additionally, Arizona is a “pure” comparative fault state, meaning that there’s no cut-off point for your recoveries; even if you’re ninety percent to blame for your condition, you can still file for the remaining ten percent of your settlement.

A Motorcycle Passenger’s Guide to LiabilityThe operator might also have a separate claim to make against the other vehicle’s driver or vice versa. In complex cases like these, you’ll end up juggling claims against multiple parties, who will also each be trying to minimize their fault in the accident—this added paperwork and contention is more than a simple headache for most, so seeking help from an experienced accident attorney is strongly advised.

Motorcycle Accident Claims in Arizona

As a passenger, you have the same right to compensation for your injuries, suffering, and financial damages that any other motorist has. Escamilla Law Group can help. An experienced Arizona motorcycle accident attorney can handle your case on your behalf, juggling the details of complex collision cases and maximizing your settlement, all while minimizing your time and energy spent. Contact us at (623) 321-0566 to talk to an attorney about your case and schedule your free consultation.