Motorcycle accidents often leave operators and passengers suffering serious injury, facing huge medical bills and the inability to work for an extended period of time. Even so, the last thing many want to do is sue a friend or loved one. What you need to understand is that while you may need to bring a claim against your friend or family member, it’s not them who pays compensation for your injuries. It’s the insurer(s).
These cases are not unheard of, and in fact, are quite common. (If you think about it, as a passenger, with whom are you most likely to be riding? Not a stranger, but probably someone who is or once was close to you.) In a recent motorcycle accident case in New Jersey, the ex-girlfriend of a state assemblyman filed a lawsuit against him, alleging his negligence in exceeding the speed limit resulted in his losing control of the motorcycle when the pair approached stopped traffic ahead. Defendant told the local Daily Journal newspaper that allegation was untrue because there had been no citation issued. (This is not exactly true, however, because an investigating officer’s decision to cite or not for a traffic violation is not the final word on whether someone was negligent in a personal injury lawsuit; that call is made by the court.) Cases involving exes may be a bit more adversarial than others, but nonetheless generally do not involve plaintiff seeking direct compensation from defendant.
The reason defendants are named is because plaintiffs can’t directly sue insurers. They must file a claim for damages against the person who is actually negligent, and then obtain compensation from the entity required to indemnify/ cover those losses on behalf of the defendant. Continue reading