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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering if any one has true knowledge of the following, not interested in just hear say or what they think is safe and or fair:
I did surgery on a fellow rider a few weeks ago. His crash was several months ago as this was one of several he has needed. He was T-boned by a car after the car ran a red light that they claimed was yellow. Sadly he also had minimum insurance and NO "under/unisured motorist coverage" and is paying dearly for it, it may bankrupt the poor fellow. Anyway thats a whole nother issue with many young immortal fellows (no offense).
My issue is he actually won and lost his lawsuit: He had an f/e kit, flushmounts, and had removed both rear and front reflectors. He won some and I mean only some $ (the driver AND he had very little insurance and no real assests to even be awarded), but the rider really got burned because the defense made reference to the fact he had no side reflectors and only flushmounts in the front. Apparently the law requires some sort of side reflector device, and turnsignals (to be legal) must be visible from the opposite side when looking at the front of the bike. I only found that in 20 states turn signals are required, but found several sites claiming reflectors of some sort are required and that tape doesn't count in the eyes of the law. I am by no means defending anyone or trying to state factual law, so please don't start bashing me because I am wrong on something. I do know this poor fellow tried to save some dough by having the bare minimum insurance and no disability. Hell maybe he had the cheapest lawyer also?? No preaching, but if your riding atleast give insurance needs for you and your family more thought than just what's gonna cost me the least. Thanks for any info
 

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Good thread pfbrooks. I've got lots of questions and some comments on the subject.

First off, bikes have to go through inspections just like cars do. On a car, they make sure you have turn signals, headlights, windshield wipers, etc. All have to work and be functional to pass inspection. I haven't been through a bike inspection yet but I assume it's the same process.

I would argue that if my bike passed state inspection then the reflectors/turn signals argument wouldn't hold in court. If the rider's bike was not up to state inspection, that might be another thing. And what if reflectors aren't included in state inspections, does that mean you don't have to have them?

That's a pretty low blow by the lawyer that reflectors would have saved the guy from getting t-boned from someone running a red light.

On the insurance front, what coverage do you personally carry; what coverage to other riders carry? I know I got the bare minimum, not even comp or coll because I don't have a loan on the bike. But my insurance is coming due here soon and along with shopping other insurance companies, I want to evaluate my coverage limits, and maybe add comp and coll. I've read several posts in the Crash/Boom/Bang section of people going near broke with medial bills/surgeries.

For instance, I'm with Progressive now, and here's what I've got (this is per year):
2008 Honda
BODILY INJURY & PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY $86.00
BI $25,000 EACH PERSON - $50,000 EACH ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY - $25,000 EACH ACCIDENT

UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST BODILY INJURY
$203.00
$25,000 EACH PERSON - $50,000 EACH ACCIDENT

UM/UIM PROPERTY DAMAGE
$37.00
$25,000 LESS $250 DEDUCTIBLE

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE $10.00

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION - REJECTED

Total Policy Premium$337.00

I've got great health care coverage and disability through work. I also have a life insurance policy on myself (if I were to die), but I haven't checked out if I die doing something stupid (track day, speeding public roads), does that insurance policy pay out. I need to find answers to that but have been too lay to do it.
 

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pfbrooks, my heart goes out to the poor guy but unfortunately I do no have any answers for you. Hopefully the claimant can garnish the other guys wages or put some sort of lien on his assets. My cousing was t-boned by a girl that ran a stop sign and is in a very similar situation. He almost lost his leg and collection agencies froze all his assets because he can't pay the hospital bills as he had minimal insurance and the lawsuit is still ongoing. I would imagine that if the accident happened during the day the defenses argument holds much less water than if it happened at night.
When determining fault most states use what's called "compartive negligence". Unfortunately NC is one of the very few states that still uses "contributory negligence" when determining fault. This means that if the plaintiff was also negligent in some way, he cannot recover damages from the defantant or the recoverable damages are drastically reduced. Just about all states have switched to comparative neglicence which assigns a percentage of fault to each party and uses that to determine the settlement....unfortunately for this guy NC, MD, VA, and DC are the only states that still use contributory negligence.
Hopefully the claimant can appeal the decision but if the defendant has nothing then it may not be worth it.
 

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I've been working in the insurance industry for about 10 years now and I cannot stress enough how important it is to carry adequate limits.
Your liability limtis should be AT LEAST 100/300/50. That means your company will pay $100k per person, $300k per accident, and $50k for property damage if you are liable in an accident. That however does not cover YOURSELF... only the other parties involved.
Everyone is so worried about comprehensive and collision coverage but they dont realize that an $8,000 bike is a drop in the bucket compared to a few days in the hospital.
Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should MATCH your liability limits. So if your liability limits are 100/300...then uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should be the same. That would have covered this guy in this situation... It covers you if the other person (assuming they are at fault) has no insurance or inadequate insurance.

Another coverage is your personal injury protection or (PIP). States laws vary when it comes to PIP and many insurance companies dont even offer it. PIP covers you and your passenger for medical bills associated with an accident- regardless of fault. PIP may also be referred to as No-fault coverage. Alot of people thing that if their company pays under "no-fault" that they are not at fault for the accident but that is not the case. No fault means that the company will pay for your injuries REGARDLESS of fault. It doesnt mean that you were not at fault for the accident. Most states require PIP coverage for autos but NOT for motorcycles. And most insurance companies do NOT voluntarily offer PIP coverage- or offer it at all for that matter. So if you see PIP on your policy please read carefully as you most likely do not even have coverage for yourself if you are injured. PIP may only provide coverage for pedestrians that you hit but nothing for yourself or your passenger. For example, In NY even if you have PIP coverage it does not apply to you or your passenger... some companies let you purchase optional coverage but it is minimal. For example, Progressive lets you buy optional medical payments coverage but the limits are low.

Please keep all of this in mind when you ride. Personally, I would NEVER ride if I did not have health insurance. I would NEVER let a passenger on my bike if she didnt have medical insurance and I am also careful about who I allow to ride on the back of my bike.
 

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I'm sorry for the long rant and sorry to get off topic but the truth is that most people no nothing about their insurance coverage aside from their deductible.
pfbrooks brought up a real life situation of what happens when you are uninsured. Unfortunately it happens often and I know people that have been drastically affected by this type of situation.
 

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Good thread pfbrooks. I've got lots of questions and some comments on the subject.

First off, bikes have to go through inspections just like cars do. On a car, they make sure you have turn signals, headlights, windshield wipers, etc. All have to work and be functional to pass inspection. I haven't been through a bike inspection yet but I assume it's the same process.

I would argue that if my bike passed state inspection then the reflectors/turn signals argument wouldn't hold in court. If the rider's bike was not up to state inspection, that might be another thing. And what if reflectors aren't included in state inspections, does that mean you don't have to have them?
I have never had to have my bike inspected, for that matter i've never had to have any of my vehicles inspected. not only that but whos to say if he had to have an inspection, he didnt ride home, and put his bike back to the way he wanted?
 

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Whats bad is that a good lawyer can twist anything in defense of his client, even though it's wrong.

The reflectors are only on the bike to meet DOT standards. With that said, every state is different. There are some states that can ticket a rider for not having reflectors on their bike, but that is a rare occurance that law enforcement officials don't enforce because it is so minimal and a waste of the officer's time.

In this case, the defense can claim it by state or DOT standards.

Does that mean it's right - no

Should it affect the outcome of the case - yes and no

The letter of the law is based off of facts, and not off of "Personal Feelings". It's so sad that someone is clearly at fault, but the letter of the law states otherwise.

I had a friend who got screwed by an 18 yr old girl that pulled out infront of him. He didn't get nothing from her beacause she didn't have anything and he spent a boatload of cash on legal fees for nothing. He's messed up for life and he didn't even get compassiated for it.

I feel bad for the guy who got T-boned, but the more he pursues, the more it will cost ontop of his outrageous medical bills.

He should see a personal injury lawyer/firm that doesn't get paid unless he wins.......but those are contractual case by cases basis.

I hope it works out for him.
 

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NC does require an annual safety inspection. If they passed the bike wtih the missing reflectors and other safety violations the claimant can try going after the station that performed the inspection but that's kinda grimy since I'm sure he took the stuff off himself and knew he wasnt supposed to.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I was not able to get all the detail about the accident. I spoke to the guy for about 30 minutes before we went into the OR. The guy was already upset enough about all the drama this had caused him and his family and my main focus really was his anesthetic needs, but your right the story does leave some information to be desired. As for myself I have USAA/progressive and carry 100/300/50 with the same limits on under/uninsured for about 550/year. All that said, 20 years ago that was not the case. I carried the state minimum liability and rode, well like an immature squid. I can easily look back now and say what an idiot I was, but I was young and felt I had no assests to lose. Knowing someone could garnish my wages for damages and that "liability only" was practically worthless were as foriegn to me as spanish. I just needed something in my wallet so I wouldn't get a ticket. Now I have a family, I am the primary breadwinner, and have built up assets that have to be protected. I am one of those people who probably "over-insures" if there is such a thing, but if I am gone or injured who is gonna send my daughter to college? 500,000 in life insurance sounded like the lottery to me 15 years ago, then you realize your wife and kids gotta make that last for 20 years and thats not so much. Anyway, I will step down off my soapbox. Thanks for listening, excuse the grammatical errors and ... How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving. Old, yes, but had to end all this legal mumbo jumbo with something. Oh and I don't really ride like a squid "as much" anymore, whatever that term means. ha ha
 

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all this talk got me nervous, so i decided to check how much i was covered and feel much better. i got 250 liability per person, 500 total. 100 property. then 250/500 uninsured and underinsured. hopefully i never need a dime of it though.

250/500 are good limits. That's what I carry. usually the premium difference for increasing your liability coverage is relatively small...especially when compared to the comp and collision coverage on motorcycles.
 
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