There are several very unique characteristics of motorcycle accidents that many lawyers are not familiar with. The most significant aspect of motorcycle accidents is that the no-fault law does not apply. This can have very drastic consequences for an injured person. Remember, with automobile accidents, New York State has a mandatory no-fault law. This means that the driver and passengers in a vehicle will automatically have their medical bills paid by the insurance company for the vehicle. This is the rule, no matter who was at fault. There is no such requirement and motorcycle accidents. Many motorcyclists are surprised to find out that if an accident happens, their own insurance will not pay their medical bills. So, all motorcyclists should be very conscious of making sure that they have health insurance at all times.
The other problem with there being no no-fault coverage available in motorcycle accidents is that there is no automatic coverage for lost wages. This is another benefit of the no-fault law and regular automobile insurance coverage. If the injuries sustained are significant enough where a driver or even a passenger in a motor vehicle cannot return to work, the insurance coverage on the vehicle will pay a certain percentage of the lost wages incurred. Because this is not available in motorcycle situations, we strongly suggest that motorcyclists carry some type of private disability insurance policy that would provide lost wage payments in the situation.
We have often seen many injured motorcyclists assume that their medical bills would be covered by their own motorcycle policy or even the insurance policy on the at fault driver that caused the collision. Unfortunately, that at fault driver’s insurance company is not obligated to pay the injured motorcyclist’s medical bills unless a lawsuit is brought and there is a court determination that the at fault driver is responsible. This will often leave the motorcyclist in a dire situation of needing his or her medical bills immediately to be paid. Again, we suggest that health insurance be kept up to date.
Another significant difference between motorcycle accident cases and automobile accident cases is that, generally, there is no SUM coverage available. SUM coverage is something that you can buy from your auto insurance company that protects you in the event that the at fault driver has low liability limits. Traditionally, in an automobile accident case, and injured person can actually recover from his or her own insurance company if the driver that caused the injury does not have enough insurance to fully compensate the injured driver. Many motorcyclists think that the SUM coverage carries over to motorcycle accident situations. But it generally does not.
Our office has handled many motorcycle accident cases over the years. They often must be handled as soon as possible because the insurance situation can be very different from the normal automobile accident case. We would be honored to help you or your family.