5 Ways Motorcycle Insurance Claims are Different

In many ways, filing a claim after a motorcycle wreck is similar to that of a car wreck. But there are a few things that could make the process more complicated. Being aware of these potential differences with your motorcycle insurance claim can increase the chances that you’re treated fairly throughout your claims process.

And of course, since we’re injury attorneys – we’d like to tell you that it’s free to call us at any time about what happened to you. There’s no risk or obligation to get our legal opinion on your options.

With that, here are 5 ways a motorcycle insurance claim may be different:

  1. Injuries may be more serious
  2. Damages may be higher
  3. Some people may have negative biases about motorcyclists
  4. Policy differences
  5. At-fault party might not be another driver

You’re More Likely to be Seriously Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident

It’s obvious that you’re more likely to get seriously hurt or even killed in a motorcycle accident than a car accident. A motorcycle is a much smaller vehicle and there’s little to protect a cyclist from the force of a collision. Consider that in a crash, the driver may walk away while the motorcyclist is ambulanced to the nearest hospital.

When a motorcyclist is injured, he or she may be unable to attend to some critical steps following the collision. For instance:

  • Taking photos
  • Gathering witness information
  • Talking to the police to provide his or her version of events

It’s also not uncommon for an at-fault motorist to flee the scene. Any of these things can negatively impact a motorcyclist’s accident insurance claim.

The Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Tend to be High

Damages are all the ways you’ve been harmed in an accident. This can include both financial harms as well as pain, suffering, and other intangibles. Given that a motorcyclist is more likely to be injured, the damages can be high.

Consider some of the possible damages in a motorcycle accident:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • PTSD, anxiety, and depression
  • Pain and suffering

In the unfortunate event a motorcyclist is killed, the damages only increase. It’s possible a family has lost their primary wage-earner. You’ve also got funeral and burial expenses to pay for. On top of the indescribable loss of a loved one.

Motorcycle claims tend to have higher settlement values because of the high damages. In other words, the more damages you’ve experienced, the higher the potential compensation you could receive in an insurance claim. Of course, insurance companies know this and will often lowball motorcyclists or get them to settle their cases quickly.

People Often Have Biases Against Motorcyclists

Unfortunately, many people carry biases against motorcyclists. For instance, they may think that a motorcyclist:

  • Speeds
  • Takes risks
  • Is more likely to have caused an accident
  • Engages in illegal behavior
  • Has associations with criminal groups, such as gangs

These biases, if they are held by an insurance agent or a jury, have the potential to negatively impact your insurance claim. For instance, an insurance agent may have a difficult time believing that you weren’t at least partially to blame for your crash.

Your Motorcycle Insurance Policy Limits May Differ from Your Auto Policy

While you likely have you motorcycle insurance policy through the same company as your auto policy, your limits and coverages may be different.

In the past, you didn’t have to carry any insurance to ride a motorcycle in Washington. That changed in 2019 when a law was put into place requiring all motorcyclists to carry the same minimum liability as any other motorist. Yet, liability only pays for the damage or injuries you cause others.

There are a few extra, optional coverage types that are important to have when you are a motorcyclist. You may have these on your car insurance policy, but it’s important that they also are added to your motorcycle insurance policy.

  • Collision. If you cause an accident, collision will cover repairs to your own motorcycle.
  • Comprehensive. If your motorcycle is damaged or destroyed due to a cause other than a collision, comprehensive kicks in. Examples could include theft, vandalism, or weather.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP). PIP will cover your medical bills regardless of fault. See our post on Understanding PIP for more details on how this helpful coverage works.
  • Underinsured and Uninsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM). If the driver who struck you has no insurance or not enough insurance, UM/UIM coverage can fill that gap. It can also be used in the event of a hit-and-run accident. We feel this insurance add-on is essential for any motorcyclist. Remember, a motorcycle accident tends to have high damages. Having UM/UIM coverage can make a huge difference in the financial outcome of a crash.

Of course, the best time to make sure you have these coverages in place on your motorcycle policy is before a crash. No matter what, reach out to your insurance agent to learn more about your policy.

The At-Fault Party May Not Always be Another Driver

Sometimes, it’s not another driver that caused your motorcycle accident at all. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to take legal action against another party entirely.

Consider these motorcycle crash causes:

  • Dangerous road conditions. Bridge grates, uneven road surfaces, and potholes are just a few of the many hazards motorcyclists face. Sometimes, you could file a claim with a city or municipality if you believe they failed to address or warn you of a hazard and it caused your accident.
  • Motorcycle defect. If a defect in your bike caused your accident, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. It’s also possible you could have a product liability claim on top of a collision claim. For instance, suppose a driver struck you and a defect in your helmet caused you greater injury than you would have had otherwise. In this case, you may be able to file a claim against the driver and the helmet manufacturer.

Please understand that lawsuits against a city or manufacturer are complicated. Your best bet is to consult with a top-rated personal injury attorney who can determine if you have a case.

Involve an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been seriously hurt in a motorcycle crash, it’s a good idea to reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer. It’s always free for an initial consultation with a lawyer from our team. Plus, we only charge a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement.

Some of the ways we can help you include:

  • Gather key evidence in your case
  • File and manage the motorcycle insurance claim on your behalf
  • Pursue all available sources of compensation possible for you
  • Negotiate and advise on any settlement offers
  • File a lawsuit if we feel we can get a better amount in court

To get started, give us a call at 253-272-5226 or fill out the short form on our website.

For more reading on this topic, see our posts on Top Causes of Motorcycle Crashes and our Guide to Washington State Motorcycle Laws.

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