Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be devastating. It can end up causing a lot of economic damages and physical harm to the person involved in such a situation. In an accident, insurance coverage is crucial in your reimbursement. However, if the at-fault motorist has no coverage, it can be hard to get compensated as the victim. These situations require the intervention of a reliable attorney to have you reimbursed for your injuries. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm offers legal services to uninsured motorists and ensures that they get compensated accordingly.
California Motorcycle Liability Insurance Requirements
California laws require all registered motorcycles to have insurance. The DMV states that insurance will help a driver and rider pay for injuries or damages that may result from an accident they have caused.
Your motorcycle insurance policy should include liability insurance to ensure to abide by California laws. This kind of insurance helps you cover for the property or bodily injury damages that result from your negligence. The minimum coverage for liability insurance is as follows:
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person
- $30,000 for total injury or death if the accident caused multiple injuries
- $5,000 for property damages
Facts You Should Know About California Motorcycle Insurance
There are several facts that anyone holding or seeking California motorcycle insurance should know. This is to ensure that one makes the right decision and knows what to expect after an accident. Here are several facts you should know about California motorcycle insurance.
A Standard Auto Insurance Policy Does Cover Your Motorcycle
Auto Insurance Policy will be a suitable option if you own a car, SUV, or truck other than your motorcycle. Although this kind of coverage might cover most of your transportation means, it does not cover for your bike. California laws require you to have separate insurance for your bike, especially the motorcycle liability insurance. This will provide the legal advantage of riding your bike.
Motorcycle Liability Insurance Does Not Cover Any Expenses Incurred in a Collision Out of Your Fault
Your motorcycle liability insurance can only cover for the injuries and damages incurred by other parties after an accident that you were at fault. Therefore, the costs and injuries that you suffered after the accident will not be considered if you have the minimum policy limits in California.
In such a case, insurance companies suggest that one should get comprehensive motorcycle insurance coverage. Comprehensive insurance gives a motorcyclist the confidence and peace of that that he or she is financially protected after an accident. Such kind of coverage covers the damages or repairs for your bike, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive coverage also pays for a non-collision mishap, such as vandalizing or stealing of your motorcycle. Please note, you must meet your deductible before any claim.
Uninsured or Underinsured Coverage Can be a Smart Investment
You can decide to add an underinsured or uninsured coverage into your policy and have it work perfectly well. Such types of coverage offer financial protection in case you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, but the at-fault party does not have any insurance coverage or does not have one at all. Typically, when you are involved in an accident where the other party is at-fault, the respective party should take liability for your damages.
If you are found at-fault of the accident, you will have all your expenses covered, but only to the policy’s limit. Ideally, you are required to cover for your costs, but if you are underinsured or uninsured, you will have the assurance of your coverage.
You Need to Have Proof of Insurance When Riding Your Motorcycle
It can be a hassle to carry information about your insurance every time you are riding a bike. However, if you get pulled without the insurance proof, you might end up fined with $100 to $200. For a repeat offense, you might be fined up to $500.
Your bike might have limited areas to store insurance information. However, one suitable solution would be something that you have to carry anytime you are riding. This includes your gear bag, helmet, or wallet.
You Might Have Your Motorcycle Impounded if Caught Without Insurance
Other than incurring levying fines, police officers might impound your motorcycle if they find out that you are riding without insurance. In that case, you might have to pay additional fees to retrieve the bike from the impounding lot. You must also provide proof of your insurance if you want to regain your motorcycle.
Non-Economic Damages Cannot be Covered if You Have no Motorcycle Insurance
Under Proposition 213, you cannot recover non-economic damages if you do not have mandatory liability insurance. Non-economic costs include disability, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and disfigurement.
Standard Motorcycle Insurance Policies Do Not Consider Modified Bikes
Motorcyclist enthusiasts love to do tricks to their bikes, through different types of modification. A regular motorcycle insurance policy does not recover these modifications, the optional modification augmentations made, or the purchased aftermarket performance parts. However, with additional coverage, you can have your motorcycle insured, although you must have the receipts needed to determine the value of modification.
Dirt Bikes Do Not Necessarily Need Motorcycle Insurance
Owning a dirt bike does not legally bound you to purchase and maintain liability insurance. California laws do not mandate insurance to what it considers as “off-highway vehicles,” such as four-wheelers, due buggies, and dirt bikes. However, you could still buy insurance coverage for your motorcycle to cover it from vandalism or damages in case of a collision.
What You Should Do When Hit by An Uninsured Motorist
Once you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you should consider several factors to ensure that everything goes according to the law. Here is a step-by-step guide on what you should do when hit by an uninsured motorist.
Step 1: Call a Police Officer at the Accident Scene
If you are involved in an accident, it is always essential to reach out to a police officer. However, it is crucial to contact a police officer if an uninsured motorist hits you. With the police record and report generated from the accident, this will go into a long way into ensuring that your expenses get covered smoothly.
You should also take pictures of the damages, location of the accident, skid marks, and other details of the scene.
Step 2: Exchange Information
The police will take the information from other drivers involved in the scene of the accident. However, it is relevant to receive information from the at-fault driver. At this point, you will learn that one does not have any coverage. Ensure that you get all the information related to the at-fault driver and the witnesses involved in the accident.
Step 3: Contact Your Insurance Company
The specific considerations that your insurance company will take depend on a couple of factors. This includes the level of damages incurred and the specifics of your insurance policy. If you have already had uninsured motorcycle insurance, your insurance company will cover most of your expenses. If you do not have an uninsured plan, your agent should help you in the next procedure.
Step 4: Take Care of Yourself
You are likely to incur some medical expenses once you get involved in an accident. In normal circumstances, the at-fault party usually takes the responsibility of your costs and covers all your losses. However, since they do not have any insurance, your insurance coverage will be responsible for your medical bills. Once again, your insurance company will only cover most of the expenses if you have uninsured coverage.
What You Should Avoid After a Collision
As much as you are expected to consider several factors after colliding with an uninsured motorist, there are certain aspects that you should not consider as well. These considerations are as follows:
Do Not Accept Money
Since the at-fault motorist does not have insurance, they might try to lure you with some form of compensation to avoid facing hefty fines or fees. If you accept any offer from them, you might end up incurring additional costs at the end since you are not sure of your expenses, which might end up rising when calculated.
Do Not Leave the Scene Immediately
As long as you are not severely injured, you should remain at the scene of the accident until the police solve everything. Leaving the scene of the accident will have you labeled as a hit-or-run motorist, and this may lead to additional charges being introduced against you. Also, it might affect the investigation since your decision to leave the accident might make the investigators assume that you are guilty.
Avoid Making Claim on Who is at Fault
Although you might be the victim of an accident, you might be filled with rage and fear and impelled to push the blame on the motorist. However, such a consideration is not necessary since it might affect the investigation process or reveal a different story. You should try talking everything about the accident with your attorney.
Refuse to Seek Medical Attention
Minor accidents might be jarring, and you might want to resume your regular lives. Even so, your claim for compensation would be affected if you do not have any record that can prove your injuries. It is necessary to visit a health professional even if you feel well, hate the hospital, or you want to forget about the accident.
Failing to Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company is the best option when you are seeking compensation for your injuries. They are in a better position of handling the compensation process together with your attorney more than you could do alone. Your insurance company should respond immediately to your call and send an agent to assess your situation.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Under various insurance policies, anyone involved in an accident should notify the insurance company after an accident, despite who is responsible for the accident. However, under California laws, you are supposed to file an SR-1 California accident report form with the Department of Motor Vehicle within ten days after getting involved in the accident. Please note, you are required to make the filing if the damages incurred exceeds $1,000. If you fail to report to the DMV, you will be risking a suspension of your driver’s license.
Once you have reported your accident, your insurance company will use the report provided by the police, photographs, and witness statement to determine who is at fault for the accident. The decision that the insurance company makes is not the final word since the other party has the right to file a lawsuit to challenge the decision made by the insurer.
Additionally, you can have your injuries or damages taken care of through government health insurance or private insurance. However, your health insurance company will have the right to be reimbursed by the uninsured motorist. This is referred to as the California insurer’s subrogation.
How a Subrogation Works in an Uninsured Motorist Case
If your insurance company makes a payment under the uninsured motor vehicle coverage, they have the right to recover the amount of their payment to the responsible motorist. In that case, you must transfer the right to recover to the insurance company and surrender all the legal papers needed. Your insurance company has the right to recover the money or damages caused by the uninsured motorist.
How Fault is Determined in a Motorcycle Accident
Once an accident occurs, you might not be able to determine who is responsible for the accident. However, under California Negligence Laws, a negligent driver should be held accountable for the accident. In a car-motorcycle accident, the negligent driver should be held responsible for the injuries that you sustain.
For you to recover the damages incurred in such an accident, you must prove the element of the crime to verify that the uninsured driver was negligent. The elements of negligence are as follows:
- That the motorist owed you the duty of care
- That the motorist breached the duty of care through an act of negligence, and
- The driver’s act of negligence is a substantial factor towards your injuries
Please note, in California, motorists owe the duty of care to the motorcyclist. Generally, whoever is operating a vehicle on the road owes the duty of care to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and other drivers. Therefore, if the driver acts in a way that does not guarantee the safety of other people using the road, he or she might end up liable for any injuries incurred by the victim.
When explaining that a motorist breached a duty of care, this means that one did not consider the basic requirements needed in maintaining safety on the road. These factors are as follows:
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Disregard of traffic or weather conditions
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
Negligence Per Se
In other situations, you do not have to show that the at-fault motorist acted negligently to claim compensation. If the motorist was violating traffic laws and regulations intended to prevent such accidents, this might be considered as negligence per se.
Negligence per se might be presumed according to the violation of:
- An ordinance, like a traffic violation
- Statute, or
The injured party must show the following to prove negligence per se:
- That the at-fault party violated an ordinance, statute, or regulation
- The violation led to your injury
- Your injuries resulted from an action that the law, ordinance or regulation that is meant to prevent
- You were a member of the group that the rules, ordinance, or statute is intended to protect
Some of the aspect that demonstrates negligence per se include:
- Failure to yield
- Texting while driving
- Reckless driving
- Poor maintenance of your vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Running at a stop sign
Comparative Fault Law
In some cases, you might be involved in causing an accident as a motorcyclist. Although you are not required to admit fault, investigations might reveal your involvement in the accident. In such a situation, the comparative fault law usually applies.
Under this law, both parties involved in an accident share fault in the accident. The jury or the court rewards the damages according to the level of involvement of both parties. For instance, if the driver takes a 60% blame for the accident, he or she will receive a 40% compensation, which counts as your percentage fault of the accident.
How Compensation is Calculated
Ideally, the amount that you are entitled to compensation is the total of the expenses incurred in your injuries. When your insurance company is calculating the value of your injuries, it can be tricky since there is no market value of the expenses that you incur. However, if the adjuster has the right elements, he or she can easily manage to handle the calculation.
Please note, since you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you are not eligible for non-economic damages but restricted to costs such as:
- Medical bills and other expenses
- Lost wages and other lost income
Calculating the medical bills and lost wages is quite simple. The calculation is quite straightforward, although several variables determine how much you deserve to be compensated. These variables are as follows:
- A broad assessment of your injuries and the timeline that you expect a full recovery
- A realistic picture of your ability and limitation to work if you are not likely to recover from the injuries fully
- A thorough assessment of your current employment duties and prospective employment duties that would arise within your course of employment
- A reasonable forecast of the amount that you would reasonably expect if you were not injured, or comparison with an estimate of the income you could logically receive after the injury
- Any promotion that you would have received on the course of your employment
- Your life-expectancy
When to Involve an Attorney
Your insurance company should compensate for your damages after getting involved in a car-motorcycle accident with an uninsured motorist. However, the insurance company does not give the best offer off its bat in most situations. Therefore, there is a likelihood of negotiating for maximum compensation. The only suitable way to settle your compensation is through a lawsuit. Such a situation will require you to choose a reliable attorney.
When picking the best attorney for your case, you need to take note of a few factors. These factors are as follows:
Experience and Focus
To select a reliable attorney for your injury claim, you must be sure that one is experienced and focused. The essential aspect of having an experienced attorney is the ability to handle anything that your insurance company might bring along. Before you decide on a specific attorney, you should understand the focus of his or her practice. The attorney should be skilled and experienced in matters related to personal injury claims.
Check the Testimonials and Reviews of Your Target Attorney
The testimonies and reviews provided by past clients can give a clear picture of the kind of attorney that you expect. The reviews and testimonies will provide information on any lousy experience or stress that a particular attorney might have caused to clients, and help you avoid such a lawyer.
Evaluate the Level of Accessibility of Your Target Attorney
The accessibility of your attorney has a lot to do with the success of your case. A reasonable attorney should find enough time to discuss your case, making accessibility as a crucial aspect of your case. Therefore, you should look for an attorney with a reputation of keeping in touch with his or her lawyers and utilizing suitable communication means to reach out to clients.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
Finding compensation after being hit by an uninsured motorist can be a hard task. It requires someone with a sound legal background to be compensated as required. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can guarantee excellent legal services to anyone involved in a motorcycle accident. Contact us at 619-625-8707 and let us help you if you have been injured in California.