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How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work After a Crash

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The same financial responsibility rules apply to motorcycles and passenger cars in California, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you own or operate a motorcycle, you must maintain motorcycle insurance. Your automobile insurance does not cover your motorcycle. 

If you have had the misfortune of getting into a collision while on your motorcycle, you need to learn the answer to the question of “How does motorcycle insurance work after a crash?” A California personal injury attorney can explain your legal rights and advocate on your behalf with the insurance company and the at-fault driver. 

Minimum Coverage Does Not Cover Much

California law requires you to carry a small amount of liability insurance coverage that will pay for physical injuries to others and damage to their property if you cause an accident. This minimum coverage does not pay your medical bills, pain, and suffering, disfigurement, disability, or damage to your property. 

You have to buy additional coverage if you want your insurer to pay for things that minimum coverage does not include. For example, “medical payments” coverage can help with your medical bills if you get injured. “Uninsured motorist” coverage can pay some of your losses if the at-fault driver did not have insurance. “Underinsured motorist” is an optional type of insurance that can help pay your losses if the other driver caused the collision and his liability insurance is below the amount of your claim.

What Happens When Losses Exceed Insurance Coverage

The at-fault driver is legally responsible for the full amount of the losses, even if his insurance is not adequate to pay the claims from the collision. In that situation, the injured party has several options:

  • Make a claim against the injured person’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage from his own motor vehicle liability insurance policy, if he carries this optional coverage.
  • Submit some of his medical bills to his own “medical payments” add-on coverage.
  • Pursue the at-fault party for the number of losses the insurer did not pay, by filing a lawsuit in court seeking the difference. If the plaintiff (the injured person) wins the case, he can go after the defendant (at-fault party) for the amount the judge awards. The defendant’s personal assets can be at stake. If the defendant has an “umbrella” liability policy, it might pay the judgment.

Every case is different. You mig8ht have additional options in your situation.

The Liability Insurance Injury Claim Process in California

Whenever a person in California gets into a crash that involves more than $750 in property damage, or anyone sustained an injury, even if the injury seemed insignificant at the scene, the parties must report the accident. Your motor vehicle insurer will require you to notify them right after the incident, even if you did not cause the collision. 

The insurance companies of the drivers will assign claims adjusters to handle the accident claims. The adjuster for the other driver will likely contact you for information. You should work with a California personal injury attorney to protect your right to fair compensation for your losses and to prevent the adjuster from taking advantage of you. Contact our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.