Motorcycle Passengers: A Brief Look at Liability Under Arizona Law

Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

Motorcycle operators and passengers face significant risks on Arizona roadways.  According to the Department of Public Safety, in 2016 alone there were 792 motorcycle collisions in the state, and 32 of them fatal.

Passengers who have been subjected to an unreasonable risk of injury have a right to recover compensation for the harm they suffered.  Successfully litigating the claim requires skilled advocacy.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon for assistance.

Specific Prohibitions and Requirements Involving Motorcycle Passengers in Arizona

Arizona law features a number of prohibitions that could impact your injury claims against the motorcycle operator:

  • Passengers must wear a helmet if they are below the age of 18 (though it’s important that you wear a helmet regardless, as the defendant is likely to argue that a failure to do so constitutes contributory negligence);
  • Passengers cannot ride with motorcycle operators who only have their permit, and not a license; and
  • Motorcycles must be equipped with a passenger seat and footrests to ensure that the passenger can ride safely.

For example, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having obtained their license (they only have a permit), they could be held liable for injuries that you suffer in an accident caused by their negligence.

Similarly, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having properly installed a passenger seat and footrests on the vehicle, and the lack thereof causes you to be harmed in a subsequent accident, then you would have an actionable claim against them under Arizona law.

Pursuing a Claim Against the Motorcycle Operator

As the injured motorcycle passenger, you may have several different claims against various defendants, including the motorcycle operator with whom you were riding.  Pursuing a claim against the motorcycle operator can be somewhat complicated, however, if you are also bringing a claim against another defendant, as you must be able to delineate fault between the parties.

For example, imagine that you are riding on the back of a motorcycle when the operator decides to take a sharp turn at an intersection without looking.  This leads to a left-hand turn collision with a car that causes you to suffer serious injuries.

Now, clearly the motorcycle operator was at-fault, and you would have a legitimate claim for damages against them, but you may also have a claim against the driver of the car — after all, perhaps they were distracted at the time of the accident and did not notice that you were passing in front of them.  Had they been paying attention, they could have stopped their car and prevented the collision.  In juggling claims against these two parties, you will have to wrestle with the issue of each party (the motorcycle operator and the car driver) arguing that they are “less” at-fault than the other.  Depending on the insurance coverage available to each defendant, this could have a significant impact on your ability to recover your damages in full.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Request a Free Consultation

If you have been injured as a motorcycle passenger in Arizona, then you may have a right to compensation under the law.  Depending on the circumstances of the accident, motorcycle passengers may have actionable claims against a number of different parties, from the operator of their own vehicle to various third-parties (i.e., other drivers, manufacturers, property owners, etc.).

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over seven decades of combined experience providing specialized representation to injured plaintiffs involved in motor vehicle accident disputes, including accidents that involve a passenger on the back of a motorcycle.  These types of disputes are unique, challenging, and full of opportunity for those who understand how to properly navigate them.

Ready to move forward?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to request a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.  We will evaluate your claims and work with you to identify possible avenues for recovery.

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