Motorcyclists using Car Insurance to Cover The Personal Injury Claim Motorcyclists using Car Insurance to Cover The Personal Injury Claim
Jim Desmond Law Office,PLLC

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Jim Desmond Law Office,PLLC

Can your car insurance cover you when you are injured in a motorcycle wreck?

Yes.  We may be able to use your car insurance to cover your medical bills and personal injury claim even though you were injured while riding your motorcycle.

Most car insurance policies have an exclusion for motorcycles. This means that most of the time, your car insurance will be completely off the hook when you are riding your motorcycle. However, all insurance policies are not drafted the same way so when I have an injured motorcyclist who is severely injured, I have to review the automobile insurance policy to make sure it does not apply to my client’s motorcycle wreck.

If The At Fault Party Is Uninsured, Does That Mean I Do Not Have An Injury Claim?

No. It means we have to track down insurance coverage to cover your claim. Insurance might exist on either the at-fault driver or the vehicle he was operating. As a result, we have to make sure both are truly uninsured. Also, we need to look to both your motorcycle insurance and your car insurance for uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage basically gives us a means to recover money on your behalf even if the at-fault driver proves to have no money or declares bankruptcy.

What If The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Coverage Is Inadequate To Cover My Medical Expenses?

My best guess is that the insurance company has a policy limit of $25,000. This means that they only insure the at-fault driver up to that amount and no matter how good of a personal injury claim you might have, they won’t pay you anything above that limit. If this is the case, we have to look for underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle insurance and your car insurance. Underinsured motorist lets us recover money from the at-fault driver, or his insurance carrier, and they proceed against your own insurance on the grounds that we did not recover the full value of your personal injury claim from the at-fault driver. In essence, underinsured motorist coverage gives us another pocket to recover from.

Why Do I Need A Personal Injury Attorney If I Am Making A Claim Against My Own Insurance For Uninsured Or Underinsured Benefits?

For one thing, all underinsured motorist policies tend to lay out a procedure that has to be followed or the claim will be barred. Most of the time that procedure mirrors the requirements of the State statute. If those procedures are not followed, you can forfeit your right to recover underinsured motorist benefits. This is why I would never suggest you accept an offer from a liability carrier without first consulting a personal injury lawyer to see if you have an underinsured motorist claim.

How Does No-Fault Insurance Work With Motorcycle Accidents?

If you are in my car and we are hit by a drunk driver while waiting for a stoplight to change, my insurance company owes you $10,000 of medical expense and lost wage coverage. It does not matter that I was not at fault in causing the accident. They have to pay the no-fault benefits and try to recover them from the drunk driver’s insurance company. This is what is meant by no-fault insurance. The insurance company for the vehicle you are in covers your medical bills up to $10,000 regardless of who caused the car wreck.

Kentucky law says in exchange for this right to recover no-fault benefits, the injured person gives up the right to recover the first $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages; rather, the right of recovering these expenses becomes the right of the insurance carrier, a.k.a. the PIP carrier. So if there is no PIP carrier because you were driving your car illegally without insurance, you still lose the right to recover the first $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. In essence, the statute is punishing you for not having your vehicle properly insured.

As unfair as it is, Kentucky law acts like a motorcycle operator is an uninsured driver. As a motorcycle operator or a motorcycle passenger, Kentucky law says you are not entitled to PIP insurance unless you specifically purchased it for your motorcycle. See KRS 304.39-040(4). Most motorcyclists don’t purchase PIP coverage as it is expensive insurance and they operate under the misconception that the other driver will pay all of their medical bills.

As a result, if you are riding a motorcycle and you did not purchase PIP coverage, KRS 304.39.060 controls. This statute says it is not your right but the right of the PIP carrier to recover the first $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. In other words, even though your motorcycle is lawfully insured, Kentucky law is going to penalize you as soon as you get on that motorcycle, treat you like your motorcycle was completely uninsured and not allow you to recover the first $10,000 of your medical expenses and/or lost wages. This is why a good personal injury lawyer has to find ways to minimize your medical bills and this penalty. By doing so, they potentially increase the amount of your net recovery from your personal injury claim.

Can A Passenger On A Motorcycle Recover Their Medical Bills From The At-Fault Driver?

Yes. KRS 304.39-040 says a passenger on a motorcycle is not entitled to PIP coverage. However, KRS 304.39-060(2)(c) says a passenger can recover her medical expenses and lost wages in tort. In other words, your passenger has a personal injury claim for the full amount of their medical bills against the at-fault driver.

For more information on Using Car Insurance In A Motorcycle Wreck, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (502) 609-7657 today.