One minute you are riding your friend’s motorcycle through the gorgeous Georgia scenery, and the next minute, someone slams into you. First, you deal with your injuries, and then you wonder who is going to pay your medical bills and the property damage.
Who is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident
Liability for a motorcycle accident will depend on the facts of each case. We have to determine what caused the accident and who is responsible. To hold someone liable for your damages, we have to prove all three of these factors:
- Duty of care. The defendant must have owed you a duty of care. This element is a simple matter to establish because everyone operating a motor vehicle has a legal duty of care to everyone else on the road and in harm's way, like the other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and people on bicycles and motorcycles. All drivers must follow the rules of the road and drive cautiously.
- Breach of the duty of care. It is negligence when someone fails to perform at the level of the legal duty of care. Let's say that a driver was talking on his cell phone and not giving his full attention to the road. Engaging in that behavior while driving is negligence.
- Causation. The negligence must be the thing that caused the accident and your injuries. If the driver ran into the motorcycle you were operating because he was distracted by his phone call, his negligence caused the crash and the harm to you. This scenario satisfies all three required elements for holding the automobile driver responsible for your losses.
Whose Insurance Will Cover Your Losses
The insurance coverage that will be available will depend on the facts of your case. In general, you might have these options:
- The at-fault driver's insurance should pay for your damages. The problem arises when the at-fault driver does not have valid auto insurance or has the bare minimum of coverage, which does not pay all of your losses.
- The motorcycle owner’s insurance. Since you are driving someone else's motorcycle, the owner’s policy is likely to cover some, if not all of your damages.
- Even though you are not driving your own vehicle, your motor vehicle insurance might cover you when you are operating someone else's vehicle.
- In addition to the standard coverage of your auto policy, you might get some compensation from your medical payments (MedPay) coverage.
- If you carry optional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, these policy add-ons can help to pay your losses if the other driver has little or no liability coverage.
- Your health insurance might pick up some of your medical bills, but this is not guaranteed. Many health insurance policies, such as coverage through your employer, deny coverage for motor vehicle accidents.
Types of Damages for an Accident on Someone Else's Motorcycle
These accidents fall under the category of personal injury cases. As such, you can generally pursue the same kinds of losses as you could for any other personal injury case. Every case is different, and the damages you can recover will depend on the unique facts of your case. Some of the common damages people seek in accidents on someone else's motorcycle can include:
- Medical expenses, to pay for the reasonable cost of medical treatment you needed because of your injuries.
- Lost wages, to recoup the income you lost because of the wreck and recuperation time.
- Future medical expenses, if your doctor believes that you will need future medical treatment because of your injuries.
- Long-term care, if you sustained catastrophic injuries that leave you in need of daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
- Decreased earning capacity, if the wreck leaves you incapable of making as much money as before.
- Disability, if you can no longer maintain employment to support yourself because of the injuries.
- Pain and suffering, to compensate you for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced.
- Other intangible damages, like loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and your spouse's claim for loss of consortium.
You do not have to sort through these damages categories and figure out the ones for which you might be eligible. At S. Burke Law, we take care of those issues for our clients. We will gather the evidence to build your case, and then we will negotiate with the insurance company.
Getting Legal Help for a Crash on Someone Else's Motorcycle
We know that insurance issues can be complicated and overwhelming. The good news is that you might qualify for compensation from more than one insurance policy. The bad news is that it can be frustrating to deal with insurance adjusters. Do not worry; we evaluate the insurance questions for our clients and deal directly with the insurance companies.
You do not have to come up with money to pay upfront legal fees. We handle motor vehicle accident cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we get paid out of the settlement or award at the end. You can call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.