It just keeps happening. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to many of my clients, and thousands and thousands of other riders. Two weeks ago, it happened to a friend of mine. Before it happened, I had the talk with him. I warned him. No one seems to listen until it’s too late. Many motorcyclists don’t want to spend the extra fifty or hundred bucks. Now, I’m gonna tell all my readers. If it helps even one of you, then the time writing this will be well worth it.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about being involved in a motorcycle accident with an uninsured driver. Most motorcyclists have insurance. But many of us don’t carry uninsured coverage. This is especially true for motorcyclists who have paid off their bike entirely. Many carry only liability insurance. They are confident that they will never get into an accident that is their fault. Or, they carry state minimum insurance coverage. This is what happened to me.
About ten years ago, back when I was in law school, I was in an accident with an uninsured driver. Other than having a bike that was totalled, a jacked-up knee, and having torn every ligament in my right shoulder, I wasn’t too worried. After all, I had “full coverage.” I soon found out that it wasn’t nearly enough. The negligent driver, who made a left turn in front of me from the right lane, cutting me off, colliding with my motorcycle, and sending me flying (and then to the hospital), had no insurance. I had comprehensive and collision, as well as liability and uninsured coverage (also known as UM or UMI, meaning Uninsured Motorist Insurance). But my UM coverage was only for $15,000. I pretty much spent this on the way to the hospital. My health insurance at the time was awful, and wouldn’t cover the surgery necessary to repair my shoulder.
To make matters worse, my motorcycle insurance company stuck it to me, and never paid me my deductible (by law, they should have, because I had UM coverage) and they only paid me for my out-of-pocket expenses, which of course did not take into account my need for future surgery. In short, I was left with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. On top of that, I had to go out of pocket to pay off the rest of my motorcycle loan. It was a disaster. I didn’t realize how badly they cheated me until years later, when I started to practice motorcycle accident law. If I had the right motorcycle accident attorney, things would have gone a lot better, but I still should have had much higher policy limits (under the circumstances, a $100,000 policy would have come in pretty handy).
Last week, my friend in Pittsburgh, PA, was hit from behind by an uninsured driver while riding his Harley-Davidson Low Rider. My friend only had liability insurance. Thankfully, his injuries were minor. But now he is stuck with medical bills, and thousands of dollars of repairs on his motorcycle. I’ve told him this could happen at least four or five times. Now, he believes me.
I have plenty of other friends riding their motorcycles in the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County, without UM coverage. I preach to them until I’m red in the face. Most of them don’t listen. And I hope I’m wrong, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before this comes back to bite them. If you ride a motorcycle long enough, no matter how good you are, no matter how safe you are, some negligent idiot in a car will find you. It’s happened to me, and to thousands of other safe motorcyclists.
If it happens to you, make sure you get an expert motorcycle accident lawyer to look out for your interests. And before it happens, make sure you have sufficient insurance. The last thing you need is to be paying money out of your pocket for years, because of someone else’s carelessness.