If you’re a bike rider and are hit by an uninsured motorist, it is very possible that your insurance policy written on your car will cover your injuries and losses on your motorcycle as well. This can be great news for you — if you know about it. The problem we’ve been seeing is that bike riders are not aware that they are covered, and their insurance representative is not telling them.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage Laws Differ From State To State
In Oklahoma, motor vehicle insurance providers are required by law to offer you uninsured motorists coverage. In fact, if you choose not to buy uninsured motorists coverage, you have to sign a waiver saying you were offered it and declined. In Arkansas, uninsured motorists coverage is included in your policy unless you sign a rejection form. (This should tell you how important this coverage is; if you don’t have it, call your insurance representative right now and get uninsured motorists coverage today.)
This type of coverage “goes with the person, not the vehicle” — that means if you purchase uninsured motorists coverage on your car, you automatically have it on your motorcycle. You don’t have to buy it again on your bike. So whether you are driving your car or riding your motorcycle, you are covered if you are hit by an uninsured motorist.
Some insurance companies, like Geico, write one policy to cover all your cars and a separate policy to cover motorcycles. So if you have a bike wreck and are dealing with your insurance representative — especially if it is not a local person — the insurance company might not realize that you have coverage, because policy numbers would be different and not necessarily tied together.
How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
Working with a personal injury lawyer can make this complicated process much easier on you. When you decide to let Carr & Carr Attorneys assist you, we will basically take all of your paperwork and then you don’t really have to do much after that except focus on getting better. We will work with the insurance company people on your behalf, eliminating daily calls. We will research your policies and determine what coverage you have and make sure it is used to benefit you in the best way possible.
If you are not represented by an attorney, your insurance company has a responsibility to make you aware of your coverage. Unfortunately, we’ve found many instances recently where bikers were not notified of their existing coverage — and had we not helped them, the injured riders would have assumed they had no coverage to help pay for their injuries and cycle repair.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
There are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably — uninsured motorist coverage and under-insured motorist coverage. They are abbreviated as UM/UIM. This type of insurance can pay for injuries to you and your passengers if you are in a wreck caused by a driver who does not have insurance and is found legally responsible for the wreck.
An uninsured/under-insured motorist is a driver who:
- does not have any insurance
- has insurance but it is insufficient to cover your damages
- has had their claim denied by their own insurance company because of coverage issues
- is not financially able to pay for the damage they have caused
- is a hit-and-run driver.
Before you just accept the idea that you don’t have proper coverage, investigate your situation further. Take time to learn what your rights are and don’t sign a settlement offer just because it is being offered to you quickly. Once you sign a settlement, you’ve lost the right to further negotiations. A personal injury attorney who works with bike accident victims might be able to help you gain compensation for:
- pain and suffering caused by your motorcycle wreck
- lost wages if your injury required you to be off work
- current and future medical costs for your crash-related injury
- problems caused by a permanent injury