Motorcycle accidents are common in Florida, unfortunately. The Florida Department of Highway Safety reports about 9,100 recent motorcycle crashes in one single year statewide. NHTSA said that riders are 28 times more likely to be injured in a crash than people in passenger vehicles.
Even though riding motorcycles can be dangerous for the passenger, most injury articles focus on the driver. When seeking personal injury payments for motorcycle injuries from a driver, things may differ from one rider to the next. In some cases, injury is sought from more than one party. This is because riders are much more vulnerable due to their lack of control over the bike.
Laws About Florida Motorcycle Passengers
There are a few motorcycle laws directed at passengers; most of them pertain to motorcycle operators. For example, there is a law that prohibits passengers from riding single-rider bikes.
If the operator has an insurance policy of at least $10,000 for personal injury coverage, then anyone over 21 is not required to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding. Although we have respect for the rights of an adult rider to make their own decision about wearing a helmet, we urge caution.
If you sustain head injuries after riding without a helmet, it will likely be used against you by the defense. Here are some general requirements for motorcycle passengers:
- Children are allowed to ride motorcycles, but unlike adults, they must wear a helmet.
- Installation of footrests for passengers on two-person motorcycles, and they should be able to reach the pegs with their feet. The reason for this is to improve the balance of the bike for the driver.
Although it is not illegal for a motorcycle passenger to ride intoxicated, it’s generally inadvisable to do so. From a personal injury lawyer’s point of view, the case could be more difficult if there is evidence that their intoxication contributed to the crash. This also applies if the passenger distracts the driver, sustains injury due to negligence, or cannot hold on safely because of their impairment.
Florida Motorcycle Passenger Injury Liability
All Florida motorcycle accident personal injury claims are different. If representing a passenger, a Central Florida personal injury lawyer may investigate the different parties, insurers, and applicable laws involved:
- The driver of the motorcycle
- The driver of the other vehicle involved (if applicable)
- The owner of either the other vehicle or the motorcycle (if not the same as the operator)
- The manufacturer of the protective gear, motorcycle, or its parts (if a defect caused the motorcycle accident)
- Florida’s Dram Shop Law, F.S. 768.125: Establishments can be held liable if they served alcohol to any drivers involved in the crash who were known alcoholics or under the age of 21
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, especially if the selected coverage is “stacking.”
Regardless of fault, the operator’s own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage may be applied to their passengers. But, to obtain this coverage from the motorcyclist’s personal injury protection, negligence must be proven. If there were no defects in the bike, equipment, or other vehicles involved, the personal injury claim would be against the motorcycle operator. Negligence can only be established if it’s proven that they failed to use reasonable caution, which resulted in your injuries.
Here are some examples:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Distracted driving
- Failure to maintain their motorcycle (worn-out tires, worn down sprocket, etc.)
- Reckless driving
- Other traffic law violations
Also, you might be looking at a case against more than one party if multiple vehicles were involved. Because fault is not always 100 percent clear, both drivers would be named as defendants. Manufacturers may also be held liable for defective parts that exacerbated your motorcycle accident by causing the operator to lose control.
Injured in an Central Florida Motorcycle Accident without a Helmet?
If you or a relative recently survived a motorcycle crash but weren’t wearing a helmet when the accident occurred, be sure to contact the skilled attorneys of Jordan Law. Florida law gives you the right to decide whether you want to wear one or not, and we respect your choice. Our legal team has years of experience representing injured riders from Lake, Osceola County, Orange and Seminole County, FL. We understand the struggles you are facing right now because of your sustained injuries, whether you wore a helmet or not doesn’t excuse the negligent actions of the other party involved.
Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about what rights you have to recover compensation.