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Motorcycle Passenger Accident Claims Guide, How Much Compensation Could I Claim?

The risk of sustaining serious injuries if involved in a motorcycle accident whilst riding a motorcycle could be far greater than being in a car. This is because there are no seatbelts and no outside shell that would take the brunt of a hit, for example, possibly reducing injury severity or even saving lives. Motorcyclists are also less visible to other road users with their bikes being so narrow in comparison to other vehicles.

Accidents that are minor may result in generally milder, temporary injuries. However more serious accidents can result in severe injuries possibly with pro-longed or even permanent health problems or disabilities, and some injuries may also be fatal.

Motorcycle passenger accident claims

Motorcycle passenger accident claims

Pillion passengers have no control over the motorcycle at all and therefore have to put their trust in the biker to be observant and ride safely with care in an attempt to avoid any potential accidents. If an accident occurs through no fault of the pillion passenger, they may be entitled to make a motorcycle accident claim. For these types of road accidents using a personal injury lawyer is recommended where possible.

If you or a loved one has been hurt after being a pillion passenger involved in an accident, you may be able to claim for compensation. Legal Expert has a team of expert personal injury lawyers that would be able to look at your case for you, advise you on the best course of action, and even take on your claim for you. You can contact Legal Expert on 0800 073 8804 and we will be happy to talk you through the claims process.

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A Guide To Motorcycle Passenger Accident Claims

This motorcycle accident passenger claims guide has been produced to help any motorcycle passengers who have been hurt through no fault of their own, understand the process of making a claim for compensation.

Making a motorcycle injury claim can be a complex process as there are many variables and legalities involved. In order for a claim to be a success, the onus generally is on the drivers to provide evidence proving the liability of the defendant. Liability, however, isn’t always easy to determine as a number of factors may have resulted in a motorbike accident. Passengers are generally victims and will either claim from negligent road user or the motorcyclist.

In this guide, we talk about the various causes of accidents involving motorcycles, the motorcyclist’s duty of care to their passengers, how to make sure the law is being followed as a motorcyclist with a passenger, and what steps the motorcyclist might take before riding with passengers. We also discuss what additional risks are involved when riding as a pillion passenger and what type of injuries could be sustained in an accident. Then we look at how much compensation you could be awarded, what additional damages could be claimed for, and if there are any exceptions to how much you could claim. Lastly, the guide looks at how having a no win, no fee solicitor could be advantageous, and how you can start your claim.

What Is A Motorcycle Passenger Accident

A motorcycle passenger accident is when a pillion passenger of a motorcycle is involved in an accident. Whether the motorcycle passenger was involved in a collision, an accident involving poor road conditions, or in an accident whilst overtaking, for example, they could make a motorcycle accident claim for physical and psychological injury. Accidents involving motorcyclists and their passengers can happen due to many different reasons. Whether or not it was the motorcyclist’s fault themselves, another driver, pedestrian, cyclist, or poor road conditions perhaps, if a pillion passenger is injured, there could be cause for a claim.

Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can range from minor to very severe or even fatal. Some injuries may only consist of bruising, cuts and scrapes, or simple fractures, but more severe injuries may include complicated fractures, serious head injuries, or damage to the spinal cord.

A motorcycle passenger has no control over the motorcyclist’s actions or of other drivers, and so if they are hurt in an accident, in most circumstances someone else could be held responsible.

Motorcycle Accident Casualty Facts And Statistics

Records from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that across the world in 2013, over 286,000 motorcyclists were killed in a road traffic accident.

According to the RoSPA Road Safety Research, in 2016 there were 19,297 motorcyclists injured in road traffic accidents that were reported in Great Britain. Out of the 19,297, 5,553 motorcyclists sustained serious injuries and 319 died. Although only around 1% of road users in Great Britain are motorcyclists, they account for around 18% of fatalities. This is due to a number of reasons such as being less visible and not having any safety features such as an airbag or seatbelt, or metal shell around them. In actual fact, statistics show that motorcyclists are around 38 times more likely to die in a road traffic accident in comparison to someone travelling in a car. Rural roads are shown to be more dangerous for motorcyclists with 66% of fatalities happening on these types of roads. The summer tends to be when most motorcyclist accidents occur.

Motorcyclists’ Duty Of Care To Passengers

As road users, motorcyclists have a duty of care to ride in a safe and careful manner, doing everything that they can to ensure safety on the road. In just the same way, motorcyclists also have a duty of care to any passengers to protect them from harm at all times to the best of their ability from potential dangers or hazards on the roads. Firstly, they must make sure that they hold a full motorcycle license that is appropriate for the bike being ridden. They must also have the correct insurance that must also include pillion cover as well. The motorcycle MOT must also be up to date.

Breaches Of Motorcyclists’ Duty Of Care:

If you have been injured riding a motorcycle as a passenger due to the rider acting negligently, they could be deemed responsible because of their breach of duty of care. In order for you to successfully make a claim, you would need to prove the breach of duty of care. To do this you need to provide evidence and it may be helpful to first look at the Highway Code as many accidents involve breaking the rules of the Highway Code.

Causes Of Accidents Involving Motorcyclists

There are many possible causes of accidents involving motorcycles. A motorcycle accident may be due to an error made by the rider, another driver, or because of debris on the road or poor weather conditions for example. Although some accidents can’t be helped, the majority of accidents generally involve some sort of negligence. Causes of accidents may include:

  • Driving along rural roads and in particular when turning on a left bend – When riding around a left-hand bend it isn’t easy to judge the tightness of the curve of the bend. Also, you cannot see on-coming traffic which may have wandered over the centre line slightly particularly if a wide load.
  • Collisions at junctions – Due to the motorcycle’s size, they aren’t as easy to spot as a larger vehicle and therefore are particularly vulnerable at junctions, particularly T-junctions.
  • Overtaking – This requires a good judgement of speed and distance.
  • Loss of control – Shunts from other vehicles and problems with the road surface can cause a loss of control of the bike, as can misjudging bends in the road, or upcoming junctions when travelling at speed.
  • Filtering which is where motorcyclists filter in and out of the traffic ahead of them.

Following The Law When Riding With Passengers

Motorcyclists are not automatically legally allowed to carry passengers on the back of their bikes. There are certain motorcycle passenger laws that need to be followed in relation to carrying passengers on a motorcyclist, these include:

  • A full motorcyclist license is a must. A learner rider with a provisional license is not legally allowed to carry passengers.
  • The passenger must be provided with a secure seat on the motorcycle.
  • A pillion passenger must have been given a helmet to wear that is BSA approved.

Your life is in the hands of the motorcyclist you are riding with and they have a duty to take all steps to ensure your safety as much as possible. If you are injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you could be eligible to make a motorcycle passenger accident claim.

Steps To Take Before Taking A Passenger On Your Motorcycle

Before setting off on any journey, there are a few things that the motorcyclist should do to make sure that their passenger is as safe and secure as possible. This is especially important for passengers that are inexperienced. These include:

  • Ensuring that there is a pillion seat that is fit for use
  • They need to make sure that their passenger is wearing a suitable motorcycle helmet (just as they should be too)
  • The passenger should be able to reach the bike’s footrests, however, there isn’t a minimum age limit
  • It’s a good idea for the driver and passenger to establish a communication method whilst driving just in case
  • The motorcyclist should make sure the passenger knows how to sit and hold on when accelerating, going round corners, and breaking.

The passenger also holds an element of responsibility for their own safety too and should consider the following:

  • They should never distract the motorcyclist
  • They should ensure they are wearing the appropriate and suitable protective clothing and helmet
  • Whilst cornering or riding at a slower speed, the passenger should never suddenly shift their weight
  • They should always think sensibly before getting on the back of a motorcycle and exercise good judgement, for example, do they trust the rider? Is the rider fit and able to ride safely?

Additional Risks Associated With Riding As A Pillion Passenger

When riding on the back of a motorcycle, there are additional risks that are associated with riding as a pillion passenger that should be taken into consideration. These include:

  • Falling when going around a corner
  • Being forced off the back of the motorcycle
  • Risk of leg injuries
  • Risk of head injuries

The extra weight of the passenger can affect how the bike rides, for instance, it will be affected when braking, accelerating, and going around corners for example. The rider needs to take this into consideration before riding with a passenger. In some circumstances, the passenger themselves may cause the rider to lose control or be involved in a collision, but in the majority of cases, they are unlikely to be at fault.

Injuries In Motorcycle Passenger Accidents

There are various injuries that a pillion passenger might sustain when involved in a motorcycle accident. Some injuries can be fairly mild, whereas others can be very serious or even fatal. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Head Injury – These may range from a slight concussion to a traumatic brain injury such as severe brain damage
  • Neck Injury
  • Back Injury
  • Spinal Injury
  • Breaks
  • Fractures
  • Facial Fractures
  • Road Rash
  • Paralysis

Motorcycle Passenger Accident Compensation Calculator

There are a number of items which make up the final settlement amount of compensation. These items will vary with each case and differ from person to person. With this in mind, we cannot accurately predict exactly the amount of compensation you could possibly be awarded. However, we can show compensation award amounts by referring to the most recent Judicial College Guidelines.

Type Of InjuryAward AmountComments
Death Full Awareness£11,770 - £22,350Severe orthopaedic / physical injuries followed by death within a couple of weeks.
Immediate unconsciousness followed by death£3,530 - £4,120Unconsciousness immediately after being injured followed by death around 6 weeks later.
Very Severe Brain Damage£264,650 - £379,100Severe damage to the brain resulting in permanent disabilities needing full time nursing care. Minimal response, if any, to the claimants environment, mainly an inability to communicate meaningfully, double incontinence.
Moderately Severe Brain Damage£205,580 - £264,650Severely disabled and dependant on others, needing full nursing care. Disabilities may be physical and life expectancy reduced largely.
Moderate Brain Damage£85,150 - £205,580The higher end of the bracket for cases where there is moderate -severe intellectual deficit, a personality change, effects on speech, sight, senses with increased risk of epilepsy developing. The lower end for cases where intellectual deficit is not as severe and concentration and memory affected. Ability to work reduced.
Less Severe Brain Damage£14,380 - £40,410With these injuries, the claimant will have made a good deal of recovery and may have returned to work and normal social activities. However, persisting problems may still exist such as poor concentration, memory and disinhibition of mood that can negatively affect future work prospects, leisure activities and lifestyle.
Minor Brain Damage£2,070 - £11,980Brain damage will be minimal, the amount of compensation will depend upon how severe the initial injury was, recovery time, any continuing symptoms present, or presence of headaches or not.
Severe Neck Injury£42,680 - £139,210The higher end of the bracket for those suffering incomplete paraplegia, suffers severe headaches unable to move neck hardly at all. The middle of the bracket for serious disc and cervical spine damage. The lower end for injuries such as severe fractures and dislocations, significant disability.
Moderate Neck Injury£7,410 - £36,120Injuries ranging from severe fractures or dislocations that may require spinal fusion surgery, to serious soft tissue injuries leading to permanent pain and on-going problems - accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing condition over a shorter period of time.
Minor Neck Injury£2,300 - £7,410Full recovery usually expected within 2 years. Award amount dependant on severity of initial injury, length of recovery time and any on-going health issues.
Severe Arm Injuries£36,770 - £122,860The top end of the bracket is for injuries that full short of amputation but leave one arm useless. The lower end for serious fractions that result in a permanent disability of one or both arms.
Less Severe Arm Injuries£18,020 - £36,770Initially there will have been significant disabilities but a good amount of recovery will have taken place.
Severe Leg Injuries£36,790 - £127,530The top end of the bracket is for injuries that full short of amputation but leave one leg useless. Further down the bracket, severe or complicated fractures with permanent disability.
Less Severe Leg Injuries£8,550 - £26,050The higher end of the bracket for fracture injuries where incomplete recovery has been made, lowering to less severe soft tissue injuries and simple fractures.
Minor Injuries£650 - £1,290Where full recovery is expected to be made within one month
Minor Injuries£1,290 - £2,300Where full recovery is expected to be made within three months

If you’d like to discuss your individual case in more detail, please call Legal Expert and we will be happy to help you with your inquiries.

Special Damages For Motorcycle Passenger Injury Claims

As mentioned earlier, compensation awards are made up of various items. These items usually come under two categories, General Damages and Special Damages. The General damages account for the physical and psychological injury, and the level of pain and suffering endured. The effect on the claimant’s lifestyle, work-life, and also the predicted length of recovery and future prognosis will all have a bearing on the amount awarded.

Special damages account for the financial costs and losses as a result of the motorcycle injury. These may include things such as medical expenses, travel expenses, care expenses, and loss of income.

Exceptions To How Much You Could Claim

In some circumstances, a claimant may not receive full compensation for their motorcycle injury, even though the accident was not their fault. This happens when the claimant may have contributed to their injury in some way. For example, if they had not been wearing a motorcycle helmet and suffered a head injury, although the accident was not caused by them, not wearing the helmet may have resulted in a more serious head injury.

No Win, No Fee Motorcycle Passenger Accident Claims

Making a claim can be expensive if utilising legal representation. However no win, no fee claims provide a solution to this. No win, no fee gives claimants a financial helping hand. Otherwise known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), when you use a personal injury solicitor that offers a no win, no fee policy, you are not required to make any payments to your solicitor either before or during the claiming process. If the solicitor successfully secures you a compensation award, they will ask for a small contribution to cover their legal costs. This would involve them taking a small percentage which is capped at 25% of the final compensation amount. If they are unsuccessful with your claim however, they will not ask you to pay any success fee.

Why Choose Us To Claim If Injured As A Pillion Passenger?

Legal Expert is a team of expert personal injury solicitors with many years of experience in the personal injury claims industry. We work to a high professional standard and give fantastic customer service. Some of the benefits of our service include:

  • Free consultancy session with a personal injury specialist
  • Free local medical to assess injuries
  • Free legal advice
  • No win, no fee policy
  • 100% dedication to your case

We have a great work ethic and always treat each individual case with the utmost importance. We understand that you are suffering and need the financial support of compensation to allow you to concentrate on your recovery. With this in mind, we work quickly but efficiently, making sure to build a strong case in order to secure you the maximum compensation amount that we can.

We are a friendly, honest team that is highly approachable and always happy to help you with any concerns or queries regarding your case, no matter how big or small they may seem. We will keep you informed every step of the way allowing you to concentrate on getting better.

Start Your Motorcycle Passenger Accident Claim

In order to get your motorcycle passenger accident claim started as soon as possible, contact us at Legal Expert on 0800 073 8804. We can offer you a free consultation where you can discuss in detail the nature of your claim.

Essential References

Death By Dangerous Driving – In this guide, we give up to date advice on what to do if a loved one has lost their life due to dangerous driving.

Motorcycle Accident Claims – This guide may provide additional information about the process of making a claim for being injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault.

Cycle Accident Claims – If you are a cyclist and have been injured due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, this guide may be of help.

NHS Head Injury And Concussion – Here you’ll find some information regarding head injuries and concussion.

Serious Head Injury Information – Further information from the NHS regarding serious head injuries.

Written by Howe

Edited by Melissa.

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