Factors That Determine If You Have A Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania an obvious factor on whether you have a claim is who was at fault – you or the other car? And according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation almost two-thirds of the time the accident is caused by the other car and not the motorcyclist. However, this is not the only factor. 

Pennsylvania Motorcyclist Laws and Regulations

One benefit of being a motorcyclist in Pennsylvania is you are automatically considered a full tort driver. “Full tort” driver means you have no limitations on your ability to bring a lawsuit. For a normal automobile policy, you must choose whether you want a “limited tort” policy – which is cheaper but has limitations on your ability to bring a law suit after an accident – or a “full tort” policy – a more expensive policy that has no limitations on your ability to bring a lawsuit after an accident. Because a motorcycle falls outside the definition of a private passenger vehicle under the motor vehicle code, a motorcyclist is automatically considered full tort.

A negative about a motorcyclist not being considered a private passenger vehicle under the Pennsylvania motor vehicle code is your motorcycle insurance policy will not automatically include medical benefits. At best you will have to pay extra to get medical benefits under your motorcycle policy. What does this mean for you and your ability to bring a PA motorcycle accident claim? In order to treat for any injuries you have you will have to rely on your own personal health insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you will have to rely on either paying medical bills for your treatment out of pocket or hoping the doctor’s office or hospital where you are treating will hold off on collecting payments until your case resolves.


PA Motorcycle Insurance Policies

If you do not have medical benefits under your motorcycle policy or your own health insurance this can limit your ability to bring a claim for a motorcycle accident. The main limiting factor here would be the amount of insurance the other driver has. For example, if the other driver has the minimal insurance policy limits of $15,000 for the accident, and you have $15,000 in unpaid medical bills for your treatment, even if you are successful in litigation any recovery you get would go to pay off those medical bills. You would get very little, if anything for lost wages or pain and suffering damages.

Even if you do have your own private health insurance, unlike with an auto accident, in a motorcycle accident your private health insurer can claim subrogation rights for your treatment. This means your private health insurer can recover the amounts it covered for your medical treatment out of any settlement or verdict you obtain in your motorcycle accident claim. With a normal auto accident claim the private health insurer would not have a right to recover the amount it spends on your treatment unless it is a specialized health insurance plan through the state. For example, if your health insurance is through Medicare or Medicaid.

Therefore, if you are in a motorcycle accident, your private health insurance spent a significant amount of money covering your injuries, and the other driver has the minimal $15,000 policy limits, it will be difficult to bring a lawsuit. This is again because most of any recovery would go to pay the “lien” your private health insurance has on your case.

Photo by Quoteinspector.com shared via CC BY-ND 2.0


You Must Prove The Fault Of The Other Party

Beyond the above insurance issues, in order to have a valid motorcycle accident claim you will have to prove the other driver is at fault. Some significant factors in proving fault is the police report as well as statements from any witnesses to the accident. If the other driver is definitively at fault the police will normally cite the driver for various violations in their report. The police report may also contain the identity of any witnesses to the accident. You may need experts for litigation such as accident reconstruction experts to show how the other driver caused the accident as well. Having an experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer This will all depend on the circumstances of your case.


Find A Qualified PA Accident Lawyer To Help Prove Your Case

Finally, you will need to prove your damages – your physical injuries, how they affect you, and any economic losses you have. This is in part shown through the medical treatment you received as a result of your injuries. Your PA car accident attorney may also have medical experts provide reports stating what your injuries are from the accident and how they will affect you in the future. If you were out of work for a period of time and have lost wages, you can prove these past lost wages through your pay stubs showing your typical hourly, daily, or weekly pay. If you will be unable to work in the future your attorney will show what your future lost wages are through tax returns and economic experts.

The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling motorcycle accident claims.  If you or a family member was involved in a motorcycle crash, the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.


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