If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident and the at-fault party does not have insurance, you might have options for pursuing financial awards. First, you could consider filing an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. If you do not have that option, you might have success filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable driver.
Motorcycle accidents often result in severe and life-threatening injuries that can lead to long-term health and financial struggles for the victims. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), motorcycle accidents led to 89,000 injuries and 5,172 fatalities in 2017, leading to billions of dollars in personal and societal losses. If the at-fault party in your motorcycle accident did not have insurance, an attorney could help you consider your options.
States Determine Who Pays for Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
The party responsible for paying damages in a motorcycle accident varies by state. Each state has its requirements for the types and limits of insurance a driver must carry, and they use one of two processes for recovering damages for victims.
Some states require that each party use their insurance policies to cover their damages. These states typically mandate personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL), but they give drivers the option of selecting additional coverage. If you have motorcycle insurance in a no-fault state, your insurance company should provide your financial recovery.
However, if your damages exceed your coverage amounts, and the accident resulted from another driver’s negligence, you might qualify for additional compensation from the at-fault party. What happens next depends on if the at-fault party does not have insurance.
Fault or Tort States
Fault states, also known as tort states, require the liable driver to cover damages resulting from the accident. To determine liability, insurance companies usually start investigating the crash right away. They may then offer the victims a settlement shortly after the accident occurs—often before the victim has a chance to calculate their losses. Unfortunately, victims often accept these settlements, only to find that they do not cover the extent of their damages.
In fault states, dealing with an uninsured driver presents a more significant challenge. Because your insurance policy typically does not cover you in this situation, you might have to find other ways to pursue financial recovery.
What You Can Do if the At-Fault Party Does Not Have Insurance
If an uninsured driver caused your accident, you might still have options, including filing an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party for the damages caused by their negligence.
File Against Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If the liable party in your motorcycle accident does not have insurance, you can seek financial recovery through your insurance with an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. These types of policies allow victims to pursue compensation for damages when the other driver has no insurance. According to Forbes, UM policies could cover:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
Some states require drivers to carry UM insurance, while in other states, drivers can choose elective UM coverage to protect themselves—especially if they live in a fault state. However, not all insurance companies offer this type of policy, and not all drivers carry it. If you do not have a UM policy, adding it to your insurance after the accident will not help as it does not work retroactively. In these cases, you might consider seeking financial awards from the defendant directly.
File a Lawsuit Against the Liable Party
If the driver responsible for covering the losses you suffered in your motorcycle accident does not carry insurance, you have a right to file a lawsuit against them for compensation. However, if the driver does not have insurance, they likely will not have the financial means to pay for your injuries.
In some cases, the court might set up a payment plan, but these usually require the defendant to pay you small amounts on a regular basis. Unless you or your lawyer suspect that the defendant has the assets to provide you with a settlement, pursuing recovery from them directly often does not end successfully.
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC to Get Started
You may find it challenging to determine the next best step in your case, especially if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident and learned that the at-fault party does not have insurance. At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, our lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation to help you weigh your options and decide upon the appropriate approach to managing your case.
We work on a contingency basis, so you do not pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you. Call our legal team today at 800-959-1444 to speak with a staff member about your free case evaluation.