Around 8.6 million motorcycles are registered in the United States, according to IIHS reports from 2021. Many motorcycles are designed to carry a rider and a passenger on a single bike, and many motorcycles are also suited for a passenger sidecar. Motorcycling is a popular pastime in California and a preferred method of travel by many people. However, motorcyclists and their passengers are not free from harm nor sustaining a severe injury in a collision.
Motorcycle passengers may wonder about their rights after sustaining injuries in a California motorcycle accident. At Younglove Law Group, our dedicated team of professional personal injury lawyers are skilled advocates who can guide you through the process of filing a claim following an accident.
What Are California Motorcycle Passenger Laws?
Passengers on motorcycles have rights after an accident just as those riding in a vehicle do. There is no legal age limit to ride a motorcycle as a passenger in California. However, some laws outline how bikers should ride a motorcycle and what is required when riding with passengers.
California Vehicle Code 27800 states:
“It is unlawful for a driver of a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle to carry any other person thereon, except on a seat securely fastened to the machine at the rear of the driver and provided with footrests, or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle and designed for the purpose of carrying a passenger. Every passenger on a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle shall keep his feet on the footrests while such vehicle is in motion.”
In addition to appropriate motorcycle riding regulations for passengers, California law also requires all motorcycle riders to wear a U.S. DOT-compliant motorcycle safety helmet. The DMV also highly recommends that motorcyclists and passengers wear face and eye protection as well as additional protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants.
Am I Covered as a Passenger Riding a Motorcycle?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident as a passenger, you might be wondering what your options are and if you are covered under a given policy. Depending on the type of coverage a liable driver has, you may receive compensation and coverage once negligence is determined.
If the amount exceeds the guidelines of their active policy, their responsibility may be to still compensate your bodily injury and damages through an injury claim. However, it is important to understand California’s comparative negligence rule and how this is used to determine who is responsible for the cost and compensation owed to you as an injured passenger. Depending on the claim result, your insurance policy or the motorcycle driver’s policy may also cover the injuries and expenses from the accident.
Can I File a Claim if I Am an Injured Passenger in a Motorcycle Collision?
In an at-fault state such as California, pure comparative negligence is used in determining fault. An injured person can recover damages even if they share a percentage of fault in an accident. If you were riding a motorcycle with friends or family members, you may be wondering if you would be filing a claim against them. However, this may not be the case. Your own insurance may cover you as a passenger.
In many cases, the responsible, liable party will cover the costs of damages, bodily injuries, property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and mental or emotional suffering. If you were injured in a collision with a driver on the road, they are responsible for compensating for those damages through their insurance company. By filing a personal injury claim within the two-year deadline, you can pursue compensation and take legal action.
What if I Share Fault During an Accident?
In some instances, a passenger and motorcycle operator may share negligence in an accident, regardless of who is injured. If you were not wearing a helmet, riding improperly, or the operator of the bike was not following the traffic laws, there may be room for the other party to discredit the negligence presented in a claim. This can be the case for motorcycle riders that take part in lane splitting when it results in a serious accident.
Even if you share a percentage of the negligence in an accident, you still have the right to seek the compensation owed to you. A skilled injury attorney who understands California laws and how to build an expert strategy for your claim can help you win your case.
A California Attorney Helps You File a Claim After You Are Injured in an Accident
Our team at Younglove Law Group is prepared to continue helping clients after an accident. We provide the resources and evaluate police reports, injury documentation, insurance coverages, and other necessary components to a successful injury claim. You do not have to settle for a low settlement offer from the responsible party’s insurance company. Trusting a skilled lawyer at Younglove Law Group helps you go through the claims process, court proceedings, and any other aspects your case may require to be resolved. To schedule your free consultation after a motorcycle accident, you may fill out our contact form or call (949) 691-3660.