A motorcycle accident can happen in a moment. All it takes is for one negligent driver to take their attention away from the road to lead to tragedy and devastation. While motorcyclists can try to avoid accidents by using safety equipment and following the rules of the road, it may not be enough if other drivers are reckless.
A motorcyclist should carry motorcycle insurance. The law requires motorcyclists to maintain certain policy limits. You will need to check local ordinances to ensure you meet the minimum policy limits for your state and county.
Carrying motorcycle insurance is one thing. However, using the benefits within the insurance policy is a separate item. Insurance companies often take advantage of motorcycle drivers and their ignorance of what their policy covers.
They do not want to pay you the compensation you deserve when an accident happens. However, they are more willing to negotiate with a local motorcycle accident attorney. Even if the insurance company continues to give you a hard time, a motorcycle accident attorney can negotiate and take legal action to protect your rights.
Before buying a policy, you should know what the policy includes and covers within your policy. There are variables from policy to policy, but we outline the basics here. The critical difference from policy to policy is the maximum compensation limits. You must consider all coverage options even if you are not legally required to have them. When an accident happens, you may have wished you had opted for a specific coverage option.
You should also educate yourself on how helmet laws can affect your claim. Whether you are legally required to wear a helmet or not, you should do so for safety reasons. A helmet and other safety gear undeniably lessen the extent of some injuries. Consult with a motorcycle accident attorney in your area for more information on your insurance and legal options after an accident.
What is Collision Insurance?
Collision insurance is similar to liability insurance. The critical difference is collision insurance will also cover motorcycle repairs. This insurance coverage is only usable when the motorcycle driver causes the accident. You will also access this coverage if an outside force that no one could foresee caused the accident. A factor outside of the driver’s control is dangerous weather.
While you can repair your motorcycle with this insurance coverage, drivers will still need to pay the insurance deductible. You will also need to work with a certified repair shop the insurance company refers you to.
What is Comprehensive Insurance?
This coverage option is similar to collision insurance but covers situations where the motorcycle is damaged, but another vehicle is not involved.
Some common examples include:
- Falling trees
You can repair or replace your motorcycle when you have this coverage option. After an incident, you need to contact your insurance company and work with them to get compensation for the damage to your bike. These claims can be tricky, and while you may want to work with the insurance company solely, you should seek advice from a motorcycle accident attorney who handles motorcycle damage claims.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Another coverage option that can help you cover immediate costs associated with the accident is PIP coverage. PIP policy benefits can cover lost wages and some medical expenses. There must be an injury present to tap into this policy benefit, and there are also limits to consider. Many drivers are already familiar with this insurance coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some insurance companies offer underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Even though all drivers on the road must carry insurance, many do not. While there are steep penalties for not having insurance, drivers will still get on the road.
In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in a motorcycle accident with an uninsured motorist, you can tap into these benefits. While you have the option to pursue compensation from the negligent party individually, it is unlikely you can recover much. If the other person cannot afford car insurance, they cannot afford to pay you for your damages out of pocket.
The same is true for a driver who does not have sufficient insurance coverage. Your insurance company can advise you on what coverage and how much compensation you can obtain after an accident with an underinsured driver. While they have some, the other driver will likely reach their policy limits quickly after a severe accident. Luckily, you can tap into this coverage when their policy reaches its limit.
Other Motorcycle Coverage Available
Other coverage options are specific to motorcycle drivers. These are specific to motorcycles, and not every insurance company offers them.
You need to check with your insurance provider to ensure they offer these coverage options.
- Added equipment coverage: This coverage option works alongside comprehensive converge to cover the costs of personal items. If you have any accessories like helmets, seats, and radios, this will fall into this category.
- Original equipment manufacturer parts coverage: Motorcycles need to use original parts to run. This coverage option ensures that any replacement parts used are authentic and manufacturer-specific when an accident happens.
- Personal item coverage: Like cars, motorcycles have places to store personal items. These items are susceptible to sustaining damage or even becoming unrepairable. You will have to replace these times, especially if they are critical to your daily life. A motorcyclist can recover compensation for any personal items lost or damaged in an accident.
- Passenger liability insurance: If you have a passenger riding with you during an accident, they may also sustain injuries. Guest liability insurance is specific to passengers on motorcycles. It can cover lost wages and medical expenses that passengers incur. Not every state requires this coverage, but it is an excellent option.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
A motorcycle accident attorney is a must-have after an accident. Many motorcycle riders and other drivers on the road do not feel they need an attorney after an accident. This thought process is typical in minor accidents. While the insurance company is supposed to work for you, they often do not. Without a motorcycle accident attorney on your side, you can leave thousands of dollars on the table and lose your ability to file a claim.
A local motorcycle accident attorney wears many hats and can:
- Investigate your accident: One of the primary roles of a motorcycle accident attorney is to investigate your claim thoroughly. Your insurance company will conduct its investigation, which often does not paint a complete picture of the circumstances. Some concerns the insurance company will attempt to address are:
- How the accident happened
- What factors contributed to the accident
- Your injuries and treatment
- Damage to the motorcycle and estimated costs
- Financial losses resulting from the accident
- Negotiate: Another benefit of having a local motorcycle accident attorney is their role in negotiations. After an insurance investigation, the company will offer an initial settlement. You can accept this offer and be issued a check, or you can decline this offer and submit a counter offer. Most motorcyclists are unfamiliar with how to negotiate, but a motorcycle accident attorney is not. An attorney can submit a counteroffer and work to negotiate on your behalf until you reach a fair settlement offer.
- Represent you in litigation: If you cannot reach a settlement covering all of your expenses, the motorcycle accident attorney will move your case into litigation. The attorney can represent your interests through the entire litigation process. Remember, a case can settle before ever reaching trial, so do not fear the litigation process.
An attorney will also request any critical documentation and evidence to build your case. Evidence collection includes witness statements, police reports, medical files, pay stubs, and copies of insurance policies. An attorney will have invaluable resources and knowledge to assist you.
Determining Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
We mentioned some of the critical roles a motorcycle accident attorney plays but determining liability is a complex one. Depending on where you reside, fault will play a crucial role in how much compensation you receive.
The insurance company will base their entire decision on who was to blame for the accident. They will also often shift the blame, so they pay out less. If a motorcyclist is at fault for the accident, they don’t qualify for some benefits. Determining liability is a complex topic, and you will need a motorcycle accident attorney who can investigate your claim.
Once the liability issue is determined, the claim can proceed to the next step. Settlement negotiations can be long and challenging. Once you have established the foundation of liability and damages, the process becomes more manageable. It is essential to lower your expectations because negotiations do take time.
While you may think hiring an attorney can speed up the process, it is still necessary to be realistic. The insurance company will offer you a low settlement initially.
You can reject or accept this offer. A motorcycle accident attorney will likely advise you on your options and whether this is a fair settlement or not. You will then need to decide whether you wish to proceed with negotiations. If you proceed, the attorney will then go back and forth with the insurance company to find a fair number. You do not need to worry that the insurance has no wiggle room.
Remember they are a big company and there is always room to work. Your attorney will best advise you whether a settlement is fair and what the outcome will be if you continue the process.
What Else Do I Need to Know About a Motorcycle Accident?
Even though you have car insurance, it does not extend to your motorcycle. You cannot use the insurance interchangeably and will be left to pay for any damages you incur independently.
Purchasing a policy is not sufficient. You need to carry proof of insurance with you every time you ride your bike. Insurance policies also do not cover modified bikes. It may seem like a good idea to add aftermarket parts so that your bike looks cool, but they can affect your ability to obtain compensation in an accident.
You may have the option to purchase additional coverage for modified bikes, but this is not a sure thing. Consult with your insurance provider before making any motorcycle modifications. If you ride your motorcycle in another state, your insurance coverage must meet that state’s requirement.
An accident in another state is very complex and can take an extended period to resolve. No matter how simple or complex your motorcycle accident claim is, you need to discuss your options with a motorcycle accident attorney immediately.
The right attorney is ready to assist with every step of your insurance claim, so do not wait to start the process today.