There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the question of “who’s at fault” and “what is legal” when it comes to motorcycle accidents.
Fortunately, the Indiana motorcycle laws are clear on liability and legality in most cases, and it’s important for motorcycle riders to know a few basic things before hitting the road on their bike this summer.
If you suffer an injury in a crash, contact our experienced South Bend motorcycle accident attorneys to determine if you have a viable claim.
1. Riding Without A Helmet
Indiana state law mandates that riders under the age of 18 and those riding with an instructional permit must wear helmets whenever they ride. Helmets are optional for other riders. In the event of an accident, a rider without a helmet is more likely to suffer more severe injuries than a rider without a helmet, but it is perfectly legal, and does not increase your legal liability in an accident.
2. Do motorcycle riders need insurance?
Yes. Any person operating a motorized vehicle (including a motorcycle) must be insured. No exceptions. The state requires bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 for one person, plus $50,000 per accident, and a property damage coverage minimum of $10,000.
3. What if I am in an accident without insurance?
Driving without insurance in Indiana carries the same penalty for operating a car without insurance. An uninsured driver, upon conviction, can expect a license suspension for 90 days to a year, and a fine of up to $10,000, depending on other elements of the case.
However, additional monetary penalties could come from a civil suit filed by the other driver or his insurance company, should you get in an accident while uninsured. Your assets, paycheck, bank accounts, and even future earnings could be at risk. In short, driving without insurance is a bad idea, and should be avoided.
4. Am I responsible for injuries to another rider on my motorcycle in an accident?
Just as car insurance covers the injuries of other riders in the car, the insurance on your motorcycle will cover the injuries of another rider. Ask your insurance agent about this coverage before purchasing the policy, and certainly before letting someone else ride on your bike.
5. Who’s insurance pays when a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a car?
Indiana is an “at-fault” state, meaning that the person who is found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for the damage and injuries to all parties involved.
Fault is determined in civil court, and not criminal court. Before attempting to handle a motorcycle accident proceeding on your own, consider that many factors go into ensuring that the case is properly handled. It may be unfair, but motorcycles do have a reputation for being dangerous, and their riders for being reckless.
You may find yourself unjustly forced to bear the responsibility for an accident which was not your fault, and a personal injury attorney in South Bend could be essential in helping you obtain a fair remedy in your case.