Frequently Asked Questions - Your Rights Under Florida's Motorcycle Insurance Law
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best thing you can do. A personal injury attorney is able to advise you on your benefits and your rights and what you could be entitled to for any pain and suffering you may have sustained. In order to be compensated for an injury claim in the State of Florida, you must sustain a permanent injury. If you do not sustain a permanent injury, the insurance company may offer you a very small settlement which is considered a “nuisance claim” to get you to sign a release which states that you waive all rights to ever sue the insurance company or their insured again for any injuries which arise from your accident. Insurance companies offer these small amounts in the hopes that you will go away without filing a significant injury claim. If you do have injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident, you should always consult with a doctor or seek emergency medical treatment at your nearest emergency room just to be on the safe side. If you do sustain injuries but you have already signed a release waiving your rights to file a claim against the insurance company, you will never be able to go back and file an injury claim, no matter how bad your injuries become.
Motorcycle insurance coverage is not mandatory in Florida but when if you do purchase a motorcycle policy, you need to take into consideration that you will probably need as much coverage as you can afford. That being said, the minimum insurance coverage you can purchase to have a valid, legal insurance policy is $10,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident for one person and $20,000.00 in bodily injury coverage for two people, and $10,000.00 in property damage which covers damage to another vehicle should you cause an accident or property that you damage in the result of you causing an accident. This coverage is considered full motorcycle insurance coverage in the State of Florida. This is very different from the state minimum for automobiles in which you must purchase $10,000.00 in personal injury protection and $10,000.00 in property damage coverage. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you are not entitled to personal injury protection coverage which provides $10,000.00 towards your medical bills, lost wages, prescriptions and mileage when you are involved in an automobile accident. If you can afford to, it is an excellent idea to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle, you can turn to your own insurance company for a settlement for any injury claim you wish to pursue, up to the policy limits that you choose. You can also choose to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage on your own policy to cover your motorcycle should you cause an accident, be involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or your motorcycle is damaged in a natural disaster, stolen or vandalized in any way unrelated to an accident.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another driver but you do not carry motorcycle insurance, you will need to set up a claim with the at fault insurance company so that you can proceed with your claim. You will be given a claim number and an adjuster’s contact information. The adjuster will be the person who will assist you with your claim and there may be a separate adjuster for your property damage claim. If you have suffered injuries from your motorcycle accident, you should be sure to ask the adjuster how much bodily injury coverage is available under the at fault party’s policy. Bodily injury coverage is not a mandatory coverage in the Sate of Florida, meaning that it is not required by law to be a coverage that everyone is required to carry on their policy. Bodily injury coverage is the portion of the at fault insurance companies’ coverage that you go through when you sue an insurance company for an injury claim. If there is no bodily injury coverage, you will be unable to pursue an injury claim through that insurance company. If you have purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle policy, you can then submit your claim through your own insurance carrier. If you are injured by someone who has a very minimal bodily injury policy and your injuries far exceed that amount, if the at fault insurance company offers you their entire policy limits to settle your claim, you can accept that amount and then proceed with the rest of your claim through your own insurance carrier. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident with someone who does not have bodily injury coverage and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle, unfortunately you are unable to pursue an injury claim through either insurance company.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, unless you have health insurance, all of your medical bills will remain outstanding until your case settles. If you have an attorney working for you on your claim, they will be able to find a doctor who is willing to treat you for your injuries without being paid up front and will wait until your case settles to be paid out of your settlement. If you do have health insurance and your health insurance pays for your medical treatment, your health insurance carrier will place a lien against your claim with the insurance company and will require any benefits paid to be reimbursed to them out of your settlement. If you do pursue an injury claim and submit your claim to the at fault insurance company for reimbursement, your attorney will negotiate your claim to get you the best settlement possible. If they are unable to settle your claim for what they believe your case is worth, your attorney will discuss with you the possibility of having to file a lawsuit against the insurance company for the full value of your claim. If you have pursued your claim and treated for your injuries but the insurance company still does not want to settle your claim for a respectable amount, the best thing you can do is consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on how best to proceed.