September 12, 2022
Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle passengers are just as vulnerable to accidents and injuries as riders. According to the National Safety Council, motorcycle rider and passenger fatalities increased from 2019 to 2020 by 11%. With over 114,000 registered motorcycles in Alabama, it’s important for passengers to fully understand their rights to compensation when injured in a motorcycle accident.

Learn your rights as a motorcycle passenger and how The Vance Law Firm can help you get compensation for injuries you suffer in a collision.

What Are Your Rights as a Motorcycle Passenger in Alabama?

Like motorcycle drivers, motorcycle passengers have the right to seek compensation for injuries and losses sustained in an accident. To receive compensation, a passenger can file a personal injury claim against the party or parties who caused the accident.

If you suffer damages in a motorcycle accident, you may consider filing a claim with the motorcycle driver’s insurance or the other driver’s insurance. You may also be able to file a claim with the manufacturer of a defective motorcycle part or helmet. You can work with a skilled attorney to determine liability for the accident and learn your legal options for compensation.

Alabama Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

As a passenger, you may be hesitant to file a claim against an at-fault driver you know personally. However, all Alabama motorcycle riders must have a minimum liability insurance policy to protect other road users after an accident. By filing a claim against the rider’s insurance policy, you can recover damages from the insurer without taking money directly from the rider.

The minimum insurance liability requirements in Alabama are commonly known as 25/50/25, which means:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 for all body injury liabilities in a single accident.
  • $25,000 maximum property damage per accident.

These minimums mean that if your damages are less than $25,000, the liable party’s insurance can offer full coverage.

What compensation are motorcycle passengers entitled to?

Alabama permits motorcycle accident victims to claim three types of compensation:

  • Economic Damages: Economic damages are compensation for monetary losses incurred due to an accident. These include tangible costs like medical expenses, loss of income, future treatment costs, future loss of income, and repair costs.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages refer to non-quantifiable compensation for losses that don’t have a tangible cost, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive Damages: You may be able to file for punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for wanton or reckless behavior. However, punitive damages are rare and only awarded if the defendant is proven to have acted intentionally.

Personal Injury Damage Caps in Alabama

Some states cap personal injury damages, limiting the compensation injured parties can recover after an accident. There is no cap on economic or non-economic damages in Alabama, so you can receive as much compensation as you deserve.

However, punitive damages are limited to three times the value of the compensatory damages, up to a maximum hard cap of $1.5 million. There are also municipality caps for incidents involving governmental bodies of $100,000 per accident victim and $300,000 per accident.

Possible Liable Parties for a Passenger Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you suffer injuries in an accident as a motorcycle passenger, you can file a personal injury claim against the party who caused your damages to get compensation. Most often, the liable parties in a motorcycle accident are the motorcycle driver, the driver of another vehicle, or a motorcycle parts manufacturer.

For example, if the motorcycle driver is speeding or driving aggressively, they may be liable for the incident. You can work with your lawyer to determine if their actions caused the crash and file a claim with their insurance policy.

For a successful claim, you must prove that the operator breached their duty of care to ride safely and that their negligence caused your injuries. Proving negligence is evidence-based, so it’s essential to gather information in the aftermath of an accident, such as witness statements, police reports, medical bill receipts, and doctor’s reports, and share them with your lawyer as soon as possible.

If another driver causes your crash, for example, the driver of a passenger vehicle texts while driving and runs into the motorcycle you’re riding on, you can file a claim against their insurance policy for damages.

If the motorcycle crash happened due to a malfunctioning motorcycle part or a faulty helmet, you could work with your attorney to prove the manufacturer is at fault.

Filing a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident

If you suffer injuries in an accident while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, you have a legal right to seek compensation. Work with an experienced Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyer from The Vance Law Firm to help you understand your rights and take the correct steps to get a settlement for your injuries.

At The Vance Law Firm, we strongly advocate for motorcycle accident victims. We understand the bias insurance adjusters and jurors often hold against motorcycle riders and passengers.

The Vance Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t be charged any fees until our team secures compensation for your accident. Schedule a free case review with The Vance Law Firm today by calling our offices or submitting an online request.

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