A Guide to Claiming Pillion Passenger Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a motorcycle accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a motorcycle accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Travelling by motorcycle can have its advantages but the chances of sustaining an injury in a motorbike accident are far greater than those of a car crash.

Both driver and pillion passenger on a motorcycle may be at risk of injury if involved in an accident. Injuries can range from bruises to broken bones and even serious head trauma.

Any motorcycle driver has a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of his passenger, but the passenger also needs to ensure he minimises any risks.

Motorbike pillion rider

Minimising the risk of injury on a motorbike

There are certain laws in place to help motorcycle safety:

  • The motorcycle must have an adequate pillion seat.
  • The passenger must be able to reach the footrests and only travel facing forwards.
  • The driver and passenger should agree on a means of communication.

Motorcyclists who have not passed their driving test may not carry a pillion passenger and anyone riding pillion must be provided with a BSA approved helmet.

What are the 'added' risks of riding pillion?

As well as the negligence of other motorists, motorcycle rider error can create risks for the pillion passenger. The driver may fail to take into account that having a pillion passenger changes the way a bike handles, how it balances and its suspension performance.

Common risks for pillion passengers include:

  • Being thrown off the back of a motorcycle
  • Falling when turning a corner
  • Leg injuries
  • Head injuries

Sometimes collisions may occur due to the pillion passenger doing something to cause the driver to lose control, but generally the passenger is unlikely to be at fault for the accident.

Does a pillion passenger always receive 100% compensation?

Although an accident may have occurred through no fault of the pillion passenger, there may be circumstances where the compensation may be reduced due to contributory negligence.

For instance a pillion passenger may contribute to his own injuries by riding on a motorcycle without the provided helmet. If it is regarded that the head injuries sustained would have been less serious had the claimant been wearing a helmet, then compensation may be reduced.

Another example is where a passenger mounted a motorcycle knowing that the driver had been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. If the accident occurred due to the driver being intoxicated and the claimant had willingly got onto the motorcycle, then he may be considered as being contributory negligent for the injuries sustained.

Do I have a pillion passenger injury claim?

You should be eligible to make a pillion passenger injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

Are there any exceptions?

If these two points don't apply to you, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will confirm whether you have a claim. We will not put you under any pressure to pursue a claim.

What if the road accident was my fault?

If you think you were partly responsible for the road accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.

In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.

For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.

Read more about when there is uncertainty as to who is to blame.

What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?

If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.

Read more

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a pillion passenger injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if the pillion passenger injury happened abroad?

Making a claim for a pillion passenger injury abroad can be more complicated. Any number of factors can affect the best way to go about making a claim. These include whether it was a package holiday, which country you were in and your insurance position. Please call us for more information.

How much compensation can I claim for a pillion passenger injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your pillion passenger injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your pillion passenger injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a pillion passenger injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a severe head injury can be £34,000

For a less serious arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.

However, if you have a severe head injury and a less serious arm injury, you would typically receive £34,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

Read more about multiple injury claims

What is the average injury compensation for a pillion passenger injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a pillion passenger injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your pillion passenger injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Pillion passenger injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a pillion passenger injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your pillion passenger injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a motorcycle pillion passenger injury claim take?

How long it can take to win compensation for a motorcycle accident can vary significantly.

For example, a simple liability accepted road accident claim can settle in a few months. However, if liability is denied a claim can take significantly longer. Usually, a road accident claim takes 4 to 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a pillion passenger injury after the law changes in April 2021?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2021.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your pillion passenger injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I get advice on treatment options?

As part of the pillion passenger injury claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee removes the risk from making a pillion passenger injury claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your pillion passenger injury.

What do I pay if I win my pillion passenger injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my pillion passenger injury claim?

If your pillion passenger injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in personal injury law cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

Call me back
  • Tick icon FREE consultation
  • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Pillion passenger injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a pillion passenger injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the pillion passenger injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your pillion passenger injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a pillion passenger injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim pillion passenger injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert