Does A Motorcycle Passenger Have to Sue the Motorcycle Driver After a Crash?

My boyfriend had a wreck on his motorcycle a few weeks ago after a car illegally turned in front of him and he hit the side of it.  I was a passenger on the motorcycle and received a badly broken arm and severe road rash as a result of the wreck.  I talked to the insurance adjuster for the driver of the car and she told me it was my boyfriend’s fault and I need to sue him.  I saw the whole thing – my boyfriend did nothing wrong and the car turned right in front of us when just as we entered the intersection.  Do I have to sue my boyfriend to get my bills paid?

You have asked a complicated question, the answer to which can only be given after facts in addition to those stated in your question have been uncovered.

Generally speaking, the answer to your question is "no," you do not have to sue your boyfriend.  If you believe that the driver of the car is at fault, then you need only sue the driver (and perhaps the owner) of the car.

It is possible, however, that if a lawsuit is filed the other driver will blame your boyfriend.  It this happens, then you will have to decide whether or not to sue him.  If you do not, then a jury can assign some percentage of the responsibility for the accident to your boyfriend if the driver proves that the accident was partially or completely your boyfriend’s fault.

A finding of fault on your boyfriend has consequences for you.  If, for example, your boyfriend is determined to be 50% at fault in the crash, the amount of  damages you can recover will be reduced by 50%.  Why?   Because you choose not to sue your boyfriend and it was later determined that he was partially at fault for the wreck and your injuries.  

Let me hasten to add that the mere fact that this can occur does not mean that you must or even should sue your boyfriend.  There are many things that must be taken into consideration before making such a decision.  An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can gather the information that is necessary to help you make an appropriate decision.

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