Sun’s out, surfaces up, and you’re revved up and ready to hit the road but before you do, it’s important to remember a few facts about motorcycle safety and insurance coverage.
Accident statistics show that motorcyclists are ten times more likely to be injured–and a whopping 35 times more likely to die–than passengers in a car crash. However, motorcycle accidents are on the rise, given motorcycles’ increased popularity over the past several years.
More than half of all motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles and occur at intersections where the driver doesn’t see the motorcyclist. And more than two-thirds of motorcycle crashes result from excessive speed, but do not involve another vehicle.
A motorcyclist’s best defense against injury includes wearing protective clothing and a helmet (in New Jersey, a DOT, FMVSS 218-approved helmet is mandatory), obeying the laws, and driving defensively.
Clearly, motorcycle insurance is of paramount importance. A qualified insurance broker or agent can advise which coverage is best, based on your individual situation.
A standard policy covers liability and property damage (your responsibility for injuring another party and/or damage to another’s property.)
It also includes uninsured/underinsured(this guarantees coverage for your injuries if the other party either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully compensate you), collision (vehicle repair regardless of who is at fault), comprehensive (covers theft and/or damage caused by vandalism, flood or fire).
Traditionally, your medical bills incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident, would not be covered like a motor vehicle, but NJ laws have changed in the past couple of years.
Now you can purchase medical coverage, at an additional cost, if you don’t have major medical. Speak to your insurance broker regarding this.
Some Important Do’s and Don’ts:
- Don’t discuss your accident or injuries with anyone except your doctor or your insurer’s assigned Property Damage Adjuster
- Don’t give written or recorded statements to anyone especially insurance company representatives
- Do tell your Property Damage Adjuster about motorcycle damage, car rental, storage and towing costs
- Do lower damages on a towed vehicle by asking the storage yard to release your motorcycle to the insurance company, or to move it to a fee free location
- Do follow your doctor’s advice and don’t omit any information about your injuries so that all information is included in your medical records
- Do keep all doctor’s appointments, so as to avoid any gap in treatment which could reduce the value of your case
- Don’t sign any quick settlements offered by an insurance company without at least consulting an auto accident attorney first
- Do contact an auto accident attorney immediately if the insurance company treats you unfairly
- Do keep track of all medical bills and expense
- Do insure that your health insurance pays for all your medical bills to avoid being held personally responsible for paying them
Do obtain and preserve the following documents and evidence:
- Photographs showing your visible injuries and damage to your motorcycle
- Your motorcycle Repair Estimate, which includes your deductible
- Your Health Insurance Card (front and back)
- Your Motorcycle Liability Insurance Declaration Page
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses
- All medical, emergency room, hospital, and ambulance bills
- Any collection or late notices relevant to your case
Remember, safe is always better than sorry when it comes to motorcycles. While obeying the laws, driving defensively, and being properly equipped can help prevent accidents, when they do occur, it’s a well thought out insurance policy that can be the true life-saver.
At Schibell Law Firm we are specialized in handling motorcycle cases. We appear and sponsor numerous motorcycle events in the area. The next one is June 26th at The Cabin in Howell, NJ [March of Dimes event]. Come join us. We can answer any questions you might have.