Motorcycle Accidents

“Does New York no-fault law apply to motorcycle accidents?”

No. Although there was a prior article on motorcycles earlier in this blog which touched on some of the issues, this question is more direct.

There are two parts to the no-fault law.  One part of the law provides for medical benefits and lost wages against one’s own policy, regardless of fault. That benefit is not available to motorcycle riders. Their medical bills must be paid by medical insurance and lost wages neeed to be covered by state and/or private disability insurance.

The second part of no-fault law manadates an injured party must have a ‘serious injury’ before that person can make a claim for pain and suffering against the at-fault party. This is not the case with motorcycle riders.  They can claim all of their personal injuries and medical expenses and lost wages against the at-fault party.


Motorcycle Accidents

“I am an enthusiatic motorcycle rider.  My insurance company has deicided that my insurance rates should increase to almost the same I pay for car insurance.  Has something in the law changed to allow insurance companies to increase rates for motorcycle policies?”

The short answer to your question is no.  There must be something that changed with you or one or more of the people in your household who have a driver’s licence.  Perhaps someone received a moving ticket violation or one of the other criterion were triggered that caused the carrier to raise your rates.  Your best bet would be to call the insurance carrier directly to find out what changed.

The reason motorcycle policies are so cheap compared to motor vehicle policies is because motorcycle policies cover you for liability in case you injure someone else in an accident.  You can also purchase additional riders to your motorcycle liability policy for theft and collision in the event your motorcycle is stolen or damaged in an accident, these endorsements could be expensive depending on the type of motorcycle you own. The major difference bewteen motorcycle policies and motor vehcile policies is the required no-fault endorsement that is in New York motor vehcile policies.

Motorcycle riders must follow the same rules of the road as cars and trucks.  So any type of reckless driving, like weaving in and out of traffic, would be looked on the same as if the operator were driving in a car.  In a negligence case brought by a motorcyclist, the court determins fault by the same vehicle and traffic law sections that govern cars.  So the cost for the liability portion of the motorcycle policy would be similar (but not exectly the same) to a liability policy for a motor vehicle.

The main difference in motorcycle policies is that there is no “no-fault” endorement (PIP -personal injury protection – endorsement)  for motorcycles.  The PIP endoresement of a motor vehicle policy has a medical insurance and disability insurance rider attached to the policy.  The endorement for medical and lost wage benifits – PIP endorsement – is very expensive.

Car passengers, drivers, and pedestrians are covered for medical expenses and lost wage benefits (within certain limits) right after an accident, regardless of fault in the accident. Motorcyclists are not covered for lost wages and medical benefits right after an accident. Motorcycle riders would have to sue the at-fault vehicle for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering, and probably wait years to collect. Car passengers, drivers, and pedestrians can also sue for pain and suffering (and may possibly have to wait for years to collect on that claim) but medical expenses and lost wages are paid right after the accident.