Riding as a passenger on a motorcycle can be dangerous, especially if the passenger does not know the operator or their driving habits. While most motorcyclists are responsible drivers, that simply is not always the case. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 40 percent of all Maryland motorcycle accidents are the fault of the motorcyclist. In Maryland, common causes of motorcycle accidents include speeding or aggressive driving, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving.
When someone is injured as a passenger in a Maryland motorcycle accident, they may have a claim against several parties, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. In accidents involving more than one vehicle, a passenger can pursue a personal injury claim against the drivers of any of the other vehicles involved in the accident.
In addition, a motorcycle passenger can bring a claim against the operator of the motorcycle. While this may seem unusual because it is likely that a motorcycle passenger and rider know each other, accident claims against friends and family members are not uncommon. Accident victims should not be discouraged from pursuing a claim for compensation, regardless of the at-fault party, because the operator’s insurance company will likely be responsible for any damages.
Under Maryland law, all motorists must maintain the following amount of insurance.
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $30,000 minimum per person/$60,000 minimum per accident
- Property damage coverage: $15,000 minimum
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury protection: $30,000 minimum per person/$60,000 minimum per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage protection: $15,000 minimum
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $2,500
If a Maryland motorcyclist is legally insured, the insurance policy acts as a contract requiring the insurance company to defend the insured against the type of liability covered in the policy. Typically, a single-vehicle accident is covered, as is physical injury to a passenger. In addition, if an injured passenger has an insurance policy of their own – even if it does not list the motorcycle as a covered vehicle – the passenger may be able to obtain compensation under their own policy’s underinsured motorist protection clause if coverage is insufficient or unavailable under the operator’s policy.
Of course, because motorcycle injuries can be severe, the minimum of legally required insurance rarely adequately compensates an accident victim for their injuries. For this reason, it is generally advisable that motorists obtain more than the bare minimum amount of insurance coverage. That way, in the event that the at-fault motorist has insufficient insurance, an accident victim’s policy will provide ample coverage.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC for assistance. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we pride ourselves in providing aggressive and comprehensive representation to Maryland motorcycle accident victims. We understand the difficulties motorcycle accident victims face throughout the recovery process, and cater our representation according to the needs of each of our clients. We also handle all types of auto accident cases across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.