When you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may wonder about compensation. You may be aware that some people receive financial compensation after they are in an accident. But you may not know where the compensation comes from or who you file the claim against. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Pensacola, FL explain.
Who You Can Sue in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
There are many parties who may be named in a claim.
Here are 10 people you may file a lawsuit against for a motorcycle accident:
1. A vehicle driver
A vehicle driver may be liable if their negligence causes injury to a motorcyclist. The standard is whether the driver failed to use reasonable care. With motorcyclists having the same rights as other vehicles on the road, drivers must be considerate of motorcycles.
Even though motorcycles are smaller vehicles, all drivers must watch out for motorcycles that may be present. Violating the right of way or failing to leave sufficient following distance for the motorcycle are two examples of behavior that may be negligent. If a negligent driver causes injury to a motorcyclist, the victim may file a lawsuit against them.
2. The driver’s insurance or their insurance
The driver of the motor vehicle may have insurance that covers them if they are responsible for an accident. Even though bodily injury insurance is not required for motor vehicle owners in Florida, about half of Florida drivers voluntarily have this coverage. It may pay compensation to the motorcyclist if the driver is at fault for the accident.
A motorcyclist may have insurance, too. Even if the motorcyclist has their own insurance, it may not fairly pay them according to the terms of the policy. If that’s the case, it may be the motorcyclist’s insurer that they file the claim against. An insurer may be named in a lawsuit for a motorcycle accident if necessary to get a fair payment that the victim deserves.
3. A person who owned the vehicle
A person who voluntarily lends their car to someone else may be liable in a motorcycle crash. Even if the owner is not the one driving the vehicle, they may be liable for what someone does in a car they own. For parents lending the car to a minor child, liability extends to the parents.
The owner of a vehicle has a duty to see that their car is driven safely. This is not a duty that they can forgo or give up. Driving a vehicle is seen as a dangerous instrumentality, or dangerous just because of the nature of driving a vehicle and the potential for injury. There are liability limits that may apply. But in general, if you are in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the person who owns the vehicle.
4. An employer of the driver
There are thousands of commercial drivers on the road at any time. Often, these drivers operate vehicles that their employers own. If an employee causes a motorcycle accident, it may be the employer that is named in a lawsuit. This is often beneficial for a motorcycle accident victim since an employer is more likely to have the resources to pay damages than the individual driver.
5. The party responsible for road maintenance
A motorcycle crash may be caused by poorly designed or maintained roads. A government body or a utility company may be legally liable for a motorcycle crash if they allowed a dangerous road condition to exist that contributed to a crash.
Often, this is not immediately apparent following a crash. It may require investigation and an analysis of the contributing factors. If a government entity or other party is responsible for a dangerous road condition, they may be named in a motorcycle lawsuit.
6. The motorcycle manufacturer
A motorcycle manufacturer may be liable for a defective vehicle design or a manufacturing defect. Product liability laws hold manufacturers accountable for making safe products. If a design flaw affects all models, or if there is a single vehicle defect, the motorcycle manufacturer may be named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the victim.
7. The helmet manufacturer
Just like the motorcycle manufacturer is liable for a safe product, a helmet manufacturer may also be held accountable for an unsafe product. Investigating the function of the helmet may reveal defects. It may be possible to name the helmet manufacturer in a lawsuit if a flaw was a problem in the crash.
8. A pedestrian
Even pedestrians can act negligently and cause a crash. A pedestrian that is violating the right of way or interfering with traffic can be responsible for a crash. If a pedestrian makes you swerve, or if they directly cause a crash, they may be responsible for negligence and named in the lawsuit.
9. A rideshare company
If a rideshare company is involved, they may be the subject of a motorcycle accident claim. Rideshare companies often tout their liability insurance and coverage if one of their drivers is at fault in an accident. Our lawyers can help you with the specifics of a claim involving a rideshare company.
10. A motorcycle dealer or repair shop
A motorcycle dealer or repair shop may be responsible for negligent actions contributing to a motorcycle crash. For example, if a dealer sells a vehicle with known defects and doesn’t disclose those defects, they may be negligent. Similarly, a repair shop may be named in a lawsuit if they are negligent in their work in a way that causes the crash.
Naming Multiple Parties in a Motorcycle Lawsuit
Remember that you can name more than one party in a motorcycle lawsuit. The facts leading to a crash are often complex. There may be multiple parties who have legal fault. It’s important to name the correct parties and reference the appropriate causes of action. As part of our representation, our lawyers evaluate the parties who may be at fault and how to prepare your filing documents.
Florida No-Fault Rules and Applicability to Motorcycles
Motorcycles are not part of Florida’s no-fault scheme. (Florida Statutes § 627.736, § 627.737). That means they don’t have to meet an injury threshold to claim pain and suffering. Drivers in Florida are not required to carry bodily injury liability. A motorcyclist may look to the driver’s personal assets or their own PIP coverage and uninsured/underinsured coverage for benefits following a crash. Determining how the law applies and what insurance policies are involved may be critical to receiving compensation.
Know Who to Name in a Motorcycle Lawsuit
Naming the right parties in a motorcycle lawsuit happens at the very beginning of the case. It’s a critically important step for receiving the compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers at Stevenson Klotz Injury Attorneys can help you with the entire claims process. Let us evaluate who may be legally liable and what’s needed to name them in a lawsuit. Contact us today to talk about your claim.