October 16, 2017
In Indiana, you have to prove that you have “financial responsibility” in case of a car accident. For most Hoosiers who don’t have millions of dollars lying around, that means purchasing car insurance.
But what does Indiana law say about motorcycle insurance? If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, will it affect your claim if you’re uninsured?
Indiana’s Laws on Motorcycle Insurance
Just like with car insurance, Indiana motorcyclists must demonstrate “financial responsibility” in case of an accident. Most Hoosiers choose to do that by purchasing motorcycle insurance.
In Indiana, the minimum requirements for motorcycle insurance are:
- Bodily Injury: $25,000 for one person, $50,000 total for more than one person
- Property Damage: $10,000
Typically, you’ll need proof of insurance or financial responsibility to register and title your motorcycle. But let’s say that, for some reason, you’re uninsured when you get injured in an accident. What happens next?
The BMV will send you a Certificate of Compliance, asking you to prove that you have insurance. If you’re unable to do so, your motorcycle license (or motorcycle endorsement, as it’s also known in Indiana) will be suspended for 90 days. If this isn’t the first time you’ve been caught without insurance in a three-year period, your license will likely be suspended for one year. Your suspension will continue until you can demonstrate proof of insurance and you pay any reinstatement fees.
How Will It Affect Your Claim?
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you probably have sustained property damage to your bike, and you may have suffered injuries. How will your uninsured status affect your claim?
For example, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident because a person driving a car barreled through a red light, most (if not all) of the fault will likely be assigned to them, not you.
Why is this good news? If you’re uninsured and the other driver is 100 percent at fault for the accident, you should be able to get your damages covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That means your medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and other damages should be covered, even though you’re uninsured.
However, this isn’t something to bank on. Because Indiana is a fault state, fault is often split between both parties. If the other driver is mostly at fault, you can expect to recover most of your damages from their insurance, but not all.
For example, if your damages equal $100,000 total and the other driver is 75 percent at fault, you can expect to recover $75,000 from their insurance company. If you had insurance, you could go to them to cover the remaining $25,000. Unfortunately, if you’re uninsured, you’ll likely have to cover that $25,000 on your own.
The bad news is that if you’re more than 51 percent at fault, you won’t be able to recover anything from the other driver’s insurance company. Not only will you have your own damages to consider, but you’ll likely be responsible for a percentage of the other driver’s damages as well. If you’re at fault and you have insurance, the other driver will go through your insurance to recover. If you don’t have insurance, however, both you and the other driver are left in a tough situation. The other driver may choose to go after your personal finances in an attempt to recover.
This is all also under the assumption that the person who’s at fault for the accident has insurance. If both parties are uninsured, you may not be able to recover at all. There’s also no guarantee that the other driver has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage even if they are insured. Although all Indiana car insurance policies are required to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, a person may choose to waive that coverage in writing at time of purchase. If the other driver’s insurance company refuses to compensate the other driver because you were uninsured, they may again turn to your personal wealth in an attempt to recover.
Although being uninsured may not affect your claim if you’re 0 percent at fault and the at-fault driver is fully insured, it’s too big of a risk to ride without insurance. It’s also worth noting that you won’t receive any compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to go toward your reinstatement fees if your license is suspended (and it typically will be suspended, regardless of fault).
Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Indiana law requires you to demonstrate “financial responsibility” in the event of an accident. If you’re like most Hoosiers, that means having auto insurance, no matter if you’re driving a car or riding a motorcycle. If you’re not insured, purchase insurance immediately or else commit to not riding your motorcycle or driving your vehicle until you do so.
However, if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, an Indiana motorcycle accident attorney may be able to help. You may be able to recover some (if not all) of your damages if you were not at fault for the accident. Call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation.