Does No Fault Insurance Cover Motorcycle Accidents?
All motorists in New Jersey are required to carry personal injury protection insurance, or PIP. PIP insurance provides compensation for some of the most common losses (such as medical bills and lost wages) sought by victims in accident claims.
New Jersey is a no-fault state. As a result, drivers are generally barred from suing other drivers after accidents. However, motorcyclists are not covered by PIP insurance.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help if you have been injured while riding a motorcycle in New Jersey. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free case review.
What Are the Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles in New Jersey?
Although motorcyclists do not qualify for PIP insurance, they must still meet the state requirements for liability insurance. If you ride a motorcycle in New Jersey, you must carry the following amounts of liability coverage (at minimum):
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $30,000 for per accident (bodily injury to more than one person)
- $5,000 for property damage
In the event of an accident where the motorcyclist is at fault, liability insurance covers the costs incurred by the victim(s). However, the rider’s damages are not covered by these insurance policies.
How Can Motorcyclists Pursue Compensation After an Accident?
After an accident, most drivers file a PIP claim with their own insurance company. Motorists in New Jersey do have the option to retain the right to sue, in which case they can file a claim against the at-fault driver for the damages they sustain from the accident. However, under the no-fault law, drivers who do not retain the right to sue can only pursue a fault-based claim if they suffer a serious injury or if their loved one is killed (a wrongful death claim).
Because motorcyclists are not covered by PIP insurance, motorcycle accident claims are quite different. Insurance may cover some of your losses if the other driver was not insured (an uninsured motorist claim) or if you have medical payments coverage.
However, your primary option for recovering compensation after a motorcycle accident is to file a claim against the at-fault driver.
Building a Motorcycle Accident Claim
The lack of no-fault insurance coverage for motorcyclists is something of a double-edged sword. Drivers who file a PIP claim can receive compensation for their losses without having to file a lawsuit or go to court.
However, the no-fault law limits both the circumstances when a driver can sue and the types of compensation available. PIP insurance covers all medical bills related to the accident, as well as up to 80 percent of lost wages if the claimant is unable to work. But other types of damages – such as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc. – are not covered at all by PIP.
Conversely, motorcyclists have the right to sue the driver who caused the accident regardless of the seriousness of their injuries. The damages they can recover through a fault-based claim are not limited by law, enabling motorcyclists to pursue full compensation for their losses.
That said, a favorable outcome is not guaranteed. It is in your best interest to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for assistance with the following aspects of your case:
1. Collecting Evidence
Most motorcyclists are too seriously injured to take photos, speak to witnesses, etc. after an accident. Your attorney can hire investigators to photograph the scene, take measurements, and perform additional tasks on your behalf.
2. Determining Fault
“Biker bias” is a common issue in motorcycle accident claims. Drivers will frequently claim that the motorcyclist’s carelessness – rather than their own – caused the crash.
Without strong evidence, it is difficult for riders to dispute these claims. By assessing photos of the accident scene, witness testimony, and other information, your lawyer can develop a claim that proves the driver was at fault.
3. Assessing Your Injuries
Catastrophic injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. These injuries can permanently affect your life in many different ways, from chronic pain to disability to emotional distress.
Your lawyer will review your medical records, consult with your doctors, and engage other medical experts to provide testimony on your injuries. This combination of documentary evidence and expert testimony is crucial for demonstrating how the accident has harmed you and what your injuries mean for the rest of your life.
4. Calculating Your Damages
Whereas PIP insurance only covers select economic damages up to certain levels, you can recover compensation for all of your losses in a fault-based claim. A motorcycle accident attorney can determine what types of losses you have suffered and the monetary value of your damages.
5. Pursuing Compensation
Your attorney may be able to achieve a fair settlement by negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. If you accept a settlement offer, you do not have to go to court.
However, in some cases it is worth taking your case to trial if it means a better result. It is important to work with an experienced trial attorney who can present your case in court and pursue full recovery of your damages.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Motorcyclists are often at a disadvantage in no-fault states like New Jersey. Because their injuries are not covered by PIP insurance, obtaining fair compensation can be difficult.
At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, our attorneys fully explore all avenues for recovering compensation after a motorcycle accident. We review the circumstances of the crash, collect evidence, negotiate with insurers, and – if necessary – take your case to trial.
Please call (201) 585-9111 today for a free case evaluation with Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. Our motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey.