Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Louisville, KY and Southern Indiana
I get it. Motorcycles are fun, adventurous and a way of life. The problem is that motorcycles, when a car accident happens, afford little to no protection to the motorcyclists. As a result, a car wreck even with a small car can be deadly to the motorcyclists.
Most of the motorcycle accidents I have handled as a personal injury lawyer, have involved serious injuries requiring surgery, large medical expenses and sometimes unfortunately death. In fact, I just resolved an injury claim wherein again, the motorcyclist was my client and he had multiple surgeries from the wreck; and the health plan had paid over $450,000 in medical expenses on behalf of the motorcyclist. This is why in the event of a motorcycle wreck, I always recommend seeking help from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Louisville who has handled motorcycle wrecks throughout his or her career.
However, when looking for a good personal injury lawyer to handle a motorcycle wreck, this is what you want to understand. From minute one, most of the motorcycle wrecks I handle are essentially stretching a dollar bill. In other words, the medical bills alone, incurred by the injured motorcyclist, far exceed the applicable insurance coverage. As a result, a good injury lawyer has to look for every way possible to reduce those medical bills, potentially be willing to accept a lesser fee and negotiate down the subrogation interests of the health plan. If you are talking to an injury lawyer about your motorcycle accident and he does not express these concepts to you, think twice. There is a reason I give all my clients my cell phone number. So we can get it right from the start.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF BEFORE THE MOTORCYCLE WRECK OCCURS.
#1) Did you know that it is legal to drive in Kentucky and Indiana with insurance coverage as little as $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident? What does that mean?
The state minimum for car insurance in Kentucky and Indiana is $25,000 which means, the at-fault driver can legally have as little as $25,000 of insurance on his vehicle; without violating the law. In other words, the common belief that the at-fault driver is responsible for all my medical bills and my injuries is simply wrong! That is a misconception about the law regarding motor vehicle accidents. There is nothing in Kentucky motor vehicle law that guarantees you the other driver has enough insurance to pay your medical bills or your claim for pain and suffering.
Yes, an injured motorcycle rider can sue the at-faut driver and get a judgment saying the at-fault driver owes the motorcyclist millions. However, a judgment is essentially a court-document that says someone owes you money, nothing more! A judgment allows you to take steps against the at-fault driver, for example a wage garnishment, to collect the money that is owed. But how do you do a wage garnishment if the at-fault driver does not have a job? Similarly, the at-fault driver has to own a house for you to try and collect against your judgment against the house. Very simply, when it comes to personal injury law, we find that most people who have very little insurance also have very few assets (e.g., a home, stocks, etc.), that they are trying to protect. So essentially, if you understand the old phrase that “you can’t get blood from a turnip”, you understand the need for uninsured and underinsured coverage on your motorcycle, insurance policy.
So, to put it succinctly, before the motorcycle wreck ever happens, put at least $100,000 of uninsured motorist insurance and $100,000 of underinsured motorist insurance, on your motorcycle insurance. Notice I put that above sentence in bold. Why? Because if you don’t read anything else, that is good advice that will help protect you no matter whom you choose at your personal injury lawyer.
MY INITIAL PHONE CALL WITH THE INJURED MOTORCYCLIST.
The number you see on this website is truly my cell phone. It has been on the internet for years. Why? Because motorcycle wrecks can be complicated, and I want to hear the facts of the wreck directly from the injured motorcyclist. As a good personal injury lawyer who has handled motorcycle wrecks over his career, the factors listed below are the issues I am trying to evaluate when I am looking at a serious, motorcycle accident:
- Was the at-fault driver insured and how much was he insured for?Essentially, if the motorcyclist was injured by a 1980 Chevrolet, we are probably in trouble as there may be little insurance to pay for my client’s injuries. However, if that same motorcyclist was hit by a commercial vehicle, there may be more than enough insurance and we may not even need to involve my client’s motorcycle insurance at all.
- If the at-fault driver was uninsured, was the vehicle he was driving insured or did someone else own the vehicle? If you borrow my car, the insurance on my vehicle is primary and your insurance is secondary to my insurance; meaning your insurance does not come into play into the insurance on the vehicle is exhausted. In other words, I have to look for insurance on both the driver and the at-fault vehicle. Either one can cover my client’s injury claim.
- Does my client have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on his own insurance policy, motorcycle, or automobile policy, that we can recover from? Essentially, I am trying to get ready for the worst-cases scenario; one in which the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured. While most automobile insurance has an exclusion that says they don’t have to cover you while you are using a motorcycle, we still want to investigate this kind of insurance to make sure we recovered every penny we could for our client.
- Does my client have no-fault, med-pay or health insurance coverage that might cover his medical bills?Very simply, this inquiry is concerned with how I get my client, the injured motorcyclist, the treatment he needs. I want to do this in a way wherein I know my client will not be left with a lot of medical bills, still owing, once his personal injury claim is resolved.
- Are there any liens that will need to be satisfied out of my client’s injury settlement?If you have listened to any of my podcast or my videos, you have probably heard me say that a good personal injury lawyer has two jobs. First, he has to maximize the recovery on behalf of the injured client. Second, he has to minimize the deductions from that recovery for unpaid medical bills, attorney fees and health insurance subrogation claims. Typically, whatever type of insurance that pays the medical bills for an injured motorcyclist will have a right of subrogation. Essentially, a subrogation right means that if we recovered your medical bills from the at-fault party, they have a right to recover what they paid from your personal injury settlement. As a result, we want to know who will be paying your medical bills, and what their recovery rights they have, from day one.
#2) For Kentucky Motorcyclists ONLY, file a rejection of the no-fault coverage with the Kentucky Department of Insurance.
Let me be 100% clear, this advice only applies to an insurance policy for a motorcycle licensed in Kentucky. For any other kind of vehicle, I do NOT recommend you reject your no-fault coverage.
No-fault or PIP coverage is a big topic, and it is covered throughout this website. As a result, I am not going to explain it in depth but to overly simplify it, it is $10,000 of automatic, medical expense insurance from the insurance carrier for the vehicle you are occupying; when the wreck occurs. In exchange for the right to get this $10,000 of medical expense insurance, a motorist in Kentucky gives up the right to recover the first $10,000 of medical bills from the at-fault driver; that right of recovery, is transferred to the insurance company responsible for providing you with the no-fault insurance. So far, this makes sense as essentially, your car insurance has to pay the first $10,000 of medical bills so they have the right to recover the first $10,000 in medical bills from the at-fault party. Guess what? It does not work that way for motorcyclists!
No-fault coverage on a motorcycle, insurance policy is optional and is not automatic. In other words, the motorcyclist has to specifically buy this kind of insurance when he buys the insurance policy for his motorcycle. Because no-fault insurance on a motorcycle is expensive, most motorcyclist don’t buy optional, no-fault coverage. This means that even though their motorcycle is lawfully insured, they still cannot recover the first $10,000 in medical bills from the at-fault driver. So as soon as you get on a motorcycle in Kentucky, you are treated with the same penalty that an uninsured driver experiences; they cannot recover the first $10,000 of their medical bills even though they did nothing to cause the car wreck. Consequently, and to get around this penalty, this is the one time I recommend a person rejects their no-fault insurance.
As soon as you get your motorcycle, you should file a rejection of your no-fault, a.k.a. PIP benefits, with the Kentucky Department of Insurance. The rejection is not valid until it is has been filed the Department of Insurance. Make sure the rejection is limited to your motorcycle as you do not want to affect your car insurance or other vehicles. Essentially, once that rejection is filed, a motorcycle rider can recover the first $10,000 of his medical bills from the at-fault driver. This does mean you are going to want to ALWAYS have health insurance to pay your medical bills. Nevertheless, it eliminates a penalty imposed against motorcycle riders by law and allows you to recover all of your medical bills through your personal injury claim.
Motorcycle wrecks are complicated.
This is why I encourage you to contact me on my phone for immediate legal advice. As an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, I will give you the best possible advice for your injury claim. I understand it is a complicated situation and this is why I want to get you the right advice immediately and respond to your concerns, directly. The call and the initial meeting are free. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Kentucky, let’s do it right from day one. The same applies to a tractor trailer incident; in this instance, I will serve as your truck accident lawyer.