With the onset of the summer, more motorcycle riders can be found on the roads. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were about 8.4 million motorcycle riders on the road in 2014 and 4,586 motorcyclists died from wrecks that same year. Of the 4,586 that were killed in a motorcycle crash, 39% were not wearing helmets. Further, according to the National Highway Safety Administration and the statistics we have for motorcycle wrecks in 2013, a motorcyclist is 26 more times more likely to die in an automobile crash than the passenger of a car and five times more likely to be injured. http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes.
So again, my legal advice for motorcyclists before they are ever involved in a motorcycle wreck is to have at least $100,000 per person of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle policy.
Why? First, no matter what the law attempts to achieve, there is no guarantee that the driver of a motor vehicle is properly insured. Second, because of how motor vehicle, insurance law works in Kentucky and Indiana law, a distracted driver can plow into the back of a motorcyclist, send that motorcyclist to the hospital for multiple surgeries costing thousands in medical bills and still only have a minimum amount of insurance coverage.
Kentucky and Indiana law do not guarantee that an at-fault driver has enough insurance coverage to pay your injury related medical bills, much less your claim for pain and suffering. Both Kentucky and Indiana only require a driver to carry $25,000 per person of liability coverage on their vehicle.
So when the at-fault driver only has $25,000 in insurance coverage on his vehicle and your medical bills total over $70,000, you will want to pursue an underinsured motorist claim against your insurance company. An underinsured motorist claim will allege that the value of your personal injury claim exceeds the $25,000 of insurance coverage on the distracted driver. However, unless you purchase this type of insurance coverage before the motorcycle wreck occurs, your insurance company is not responsible for the balance of your personal injury claim and/or the damages caused by the other driver.
Yes, you can sue an at-fault driver for all your injuries, surgeries and damages arising from a motorcycle wreck. However, a judgment is a piece of paper that says someone owes you money, nothing more. So if I have a judgment against you for $200,000 but you have $500 in your bank account, what is that judgment really worth?
Lastly, recall that underinsured motorist coverage can pay your medical bills, lost wages, personal injury claim and your claim for pain and suffering. These are damages you or a family member may have incurred.; whether you use a personal injury lawyer or not, this kind of coverage. So yes, it is worth the extra cost.