Motorcycle crashes – they happen every day in the State of Florida and in Jacksonville. The injuries are often serious. You protect yourself from accidents and injuries with motorcycle and personal safety gear, and you need to protect yourself – financially – with insurance.
Insurance required by law
According to Florida’s “Financial Responsibility” law, a motorcyclist must carry $10,000 to cover bodily injury/death of one person and $20,000 for the injury or death of two people; and $10,000 in property damage coverage. These limits are just the bare minimum required. And these limits only protect you for damages you cause another person. If you are involved in a crash and do not have this minimum coverage, the Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend your driver’s license and the registration for your motorcycle and all motor vehicles registered in your name, even if jointly owned. You could also owe a judgment for damages you caused and that judgment stands for at least 20 years unless you pay it.
In addition to getting the required insurance coverage above, that only compensates someone else, I recommend getting as much insurance coverage as you can afford that protects you for your own losses. Serious motorcycle injuries often lead to extended hospital stays, periods of rehabilitation, and time out of work. If you are hit by an at-fault driver who does not have insurance or only minimal coverage, you may be left without full compensation. And, the minimum insurance required by the Financial Responsibility Law will not cover you for your losses. That’s where Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage comes into play. UM kicks in when you are injured by an uninsured driver or a driver that does not have enough insurance to cover your losses fully. UM covers lost wages, medical bills and other losses you suffer, including pain and suffering. UM coverage is not required, but it is an important way to protect yourself against motorcycle crash injuries. As a Jacksonville personal injury attorney, I have met many motorcycle accident victims who didn’t know to get UM insurance; they were injured by drivers who “just did not see them” and who had little or no insurance. In those cases, the injured motorcyclists were left with no compensation – they suffered the losses both physically and financially.
If you get injured in a motorcycle accident, having uninsured motorist insurance that covers you for your own losses can make all the difference between returning to a normal life or facing financial ruin. If you do not already have UM, get it before your next ride.
Angelo Patacca discusses motorcycle safety on WJXT.