Do I Have to Call My Insurance Company After a Motorcycle Accident in Georgia?
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Every person who operates a vehicle on Georgia roads, including motorcycle riders, are required to carry liability insurance. Bodily injury coverage pays compensation to accident victims when the policy holder’s negligence causes the accident.
Vehicle owners often worry that if they report an accident, their insurance rates might go up. Unfortunately, that’s often true, particularly when the insurance company will need to pay a claim because the police holder caused an accident.
When a rider is injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the driver of a car or truck, the rider’s claim is usually made against the company that insures the negligent driver, not against the rider’s own insurance company. Still, there are good reasons for reporting the accident to the rider’s own insurer.
Insurance Policies Require Riders to Notify the Insurer After a Georgia Motorcycle Accident
The insurance policy that the motorcycle rider purchased probably requires the rider to report every accident, regardless of fault. Insurance companies include that language in policies so that they won’t be surprised if the other driver makes a claim against the motorcycle rider, whether for property damage or for bodily injuries.
Failing to report the accident to the rider’s insurance company could have consequences. If fault for the accident is disputed and the other driver does bring a claim against the motorcyclist, the motorcycle rider’s insurance company might argue that it has no responsibility to pay the claim or to defend the rider because the rider breached the policy’s reporting requirement.
Trying to hide the accident from the insurance company probably won’t help the rider avoid a rate increase, because the company is likely to become aware of the accident when it reviews the rider’s driving record. Most companies review driving records every time a policy comes up for renewal, and accidents are usually noted on driving records regardless of fault. There is thus little upside and a potentially disastrous downside to failing to report an accident to the motorcycle rider’s own insurance company.
Notifying the Rider’s Insurance Company of a Motorcycle Accident Can Protect Against Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
If the driver who causes a motorcycle accident has adequate insurance coverage, the rider will not need to look elsewhere for full compensation. Unfortunately, many drivers purchase only the minimum coverage required by law. In Georgia, the minimum limit for bodily injury coverage is $25,000 for a single injury.
Motorcycle accidents often cause serious injuries. While car occupants are protected by the steel that surrounds them, motorcycle riders are protected only by their helmet and clothing. A brain or spinal injury may require a lifetime of care. Even broken bones can result in a hospital stay and a few weeks of inactivity. Medical bills and lost wages can quickly exceed the minimum bodily injury insurance that drivers must carry.
While Georgia requires all drivers to carry insurance, about 12% of Georgia drivers are uninsured. Since drivers who are uninsured usually have no assets, trying to collect a judgment from an uninsured driver can be futile. In addition, injury victims cannot collect compensation from a hit-and-run driver unless that driver can be identified.
An injured motorcycle rider will need to report the accident to his or her own insurance company to take advantage of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer. The rider’s uninsured motorist coverage will pay compensation, up to the rider’s policy limits, for a hit-and-run collision or a collision with an uninsured driver.
The rider’s underinsured motorist coverage will provide additional compensation after the driver’s policy has paid its full limits, up to the coverage limits purchased by the rider. To assure that compensation is available after a motorcycle accident, it is always smart to buy as much uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as a rider can afford.