When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, the injuries are almost always severe and life altering. Each year in Pennsylvania there is approximately 4,000 accidents involving motorcycles and approximately 98% of the bikers involved will be injured; 5% will die. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident than those in passenger cars. Frighteningly, in the many instances I have represented seriously injured bikers, the biker has done nothing wrong. Often, the injury occurs when another driver turns left in front of an oncoming biker. The 2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute reports that a whopping 42% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight.
Of course the primary reason for severe injuries and death in these accidents is that a motorcycle offers little protection when a collision occurs.
Motorcyclists are ineligible to recover medical bills, wage loss, or property damage under their passenger automobile insurance coverage. Since there is a recognized greater risk of injury for motorcyclists, to insure such a risk would greatly increase the premiums all drivers would pay.
Therefore, to be properly protected, a motorcyclist should have a separate motorcycle policy with similar, or even more extensive coverage, than what he/she has in passenger insurance coverage. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that a motorcyclist be insured. The law requires that the biker have at least $15,000 in bodily injury protection (which coverage protects you if sued by someone you cause injury to), and $5,000 in property damage. That’s it! And that is not nearly enough.
Although expensive, it is imperative, given the risks to you and your family when driving a motorcycle, that you buy insurance coverage much greater than the state required minimum levels. You should purchase medical coverage to pay for the medical expenses you might have if injured. You should buy underinsured and uninsured coverage to compensate you if hurt by another driver who has little or no coverage. Please refer to our website for “Automobile Accident & Insurance Issues” for a complete explanation of what coverage is available. On our website go to – Our Expertise-Personal Injury Litigation – Automobile Accidents & Insurance Issues.
If you are reading this and own a motorcycle or contemplate owning one, please contact Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta at 215.914.2222 to help guide you in the all important decision as to what insurance coverage to purchase for your motorcycle. Your future may depend on it.