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Motorcycle Insurance Tips

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the timeframe a person must file a lawsuit in their case, or they face the risk of waiving all recovery from the liable party for damages that arose because of the liable party’s negligence.

North Carolina’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident. Whether you are involved in a motorcycle accident, motor vehicle accident, head-on collision, bicycle accident, slip and fall incident, dog-bite incident, etc., you only have three years from the date of incident to file a lawsuit or settle your claim with the negligence party and/or their insurance. If you fail to file a lawsuit or settle your claim with the negligence party and/or their insurance, you otherwise waive all claims to recover from damages that arise out of the incident. If the case is a wrongful death action, the statute of limitations is two years as opposed to three.

The statute of limitations is time-sensitive and must be adhered to. It is recommended you reach out to our attorneys today to get your case going and ensure you don’t waive recovery of your claim.

Damages are measured differently in North Carolina as opposed to neighboring states. In North Carolina, Rule of Evidence 414, Evidence of Medical Expenses, was enacted which limits evidence in a personal injury case offered to prove past medical expenses to evidence of the amounts actually paid to satisfy medical bills, regardless of who paid the bill, and amounts necessary to satisfy outstanding bills.

How it works in practice is if you incur a $100,000 medical bill for a surgery you received as a result of a negligent party hitting you on your motorcycle, your health insurance would generally step in and cover the bill. Health insurance companies generally have contractual relationships with medical providers that determine the amount the health insurance company is to pay for medical services, such as MRIs, CT scans, surgeries, etc. If your health insurance has contracted with the medical provider for a seventy percent (70%) reduction, your health insurance would only pay the provider $30,000 to satisfy the entirety of the $100,000 medical bill. As such, in accordance with North Carolina Rule of Evidence 414, you may only claim $30,000 as the amount of damages for that medical bill, as opposed to the full $100,000.

Rule 414 only applies to medical expenses; it does not apply to other forms of damages. If you have questions about your damages or case, give our trusted attorneys a call today.

Bodily Injury Liability: Liability insurance is required by state law and pays those injured in a wreck caused by an at-fault driver’s negligence, on behalf of the at-fault driver, up to the amount of insurance the at-fault driver purchased.

Uninsured: Uninsured insurance is also required by state law, in an amount equal to the amount of your bodily injury liability insurance. This type of insurance comes into play and pays out in the event you are injured by an uninsured driver or an unknown driver that flees the scene of the accident. North Carolina state law requires that contact be made with your vehicle and the uninsured motorist’s vehicle.

Underinsured: Underinsured insurance is an insurance coverage that helps you in the event that the at-fault party’s insurance is not enough for you to recover. Underinsured insurance is not required by state law, but it is the most important insurance a motorcyclist can have. It is strongly recommended that every rider carry this coverage on their motorcycle and every car in their household. Underinsured coverage pays in addition to the liability coverage of the driver that injures you if your damages exceed the liability limits of the at-fault driver. If the motorcycle involved in the wreck has underinsured coverage and the damages are large enough, the underinsured coverage from every insurance policy in the household, including relatives living in the household, can be added together to greatly increase the amount of coverage available.

One of the most complex insurance coverages we find ourselves explaining to clients is underinsured insurance and how it works. Underinsured insurance is insurance coverage that helps you if the at-fault party’s insurance is not enough for you to recover. Underinsured insurance is not required by state law, but it is the most important insurance a motorcyclist can have. It is strongly recommended that every rider carry this coverage on their motorcycle and every car in their household. Underinsured coverage pays in addition to the liability coverage of the driver that injures you if your damages exceed the liability limits of the at-fault driver. If the motorcycle involved in the wreck has underinsured coverage and the damages are large enough, the underinsured coverage from every insurance policy in the household, including relatives living in the household, can be added together to greatly increase the amount of coverage available.

How it works: Let’s say you carry $100,000 of underinsured insurance for your motorcycle on one policy, and $100,000 of underinsured insurance on your primary vehicle policy. In that scenario, you could get recovery over and beyond the $30,000 minimum bodily injury liability limits required by the State of North Carolina from the at-fault party and you could recover more than the underinsured insurance coverage on the motorcycle policy. Therefore, in this scenario, you could potentially recover $200,000 in damages as a result if the motor vehicle accident. There is more to underinsured insurance in North Carolina, however, which is why the recovery wouldn’t be $230,000.

Unfortunately, North Carolina law states that underinsured insurance is offset against the bodily injury liability limits of the at-fault party, meaning you wouldn’t get the full $200,000 of your underinsured insurance policy limits off the motorcycle policy and vehicle policy, as well as the $30,000 from the at-fault party’s liability insurance. Instead, you would be looking at potentially $170,000 from your motorcycle policy and vehicle policy after the underinsured insurance limits are offset against the bodily injury liability limits, and $30,000 from the at-fault liability insurance, giving you a total recovery of $200,000.

Insurance is often complex and convoluted. If you have questions about your insurance coverage or your case, contact us at Iron Horse Motorcycle Lawyers. We are your trusted and experienced motorcycle lawyers, we have handled countless cases and worked through countless insurance policies.

Stacking is a term used regarding multiple insurance policies within the same household. It is used often when referring to underinsured insurance. In North Carolina, an individual may obtain recovery from underinsured insurance from every policy within the household, whether they are named insured or not. If you have underinsured insurance on your motorcycle policy, underinsured insurance on a separate vehicle policy, and underinsured insurance on a vehicle policy where someone else is the name insured that lives in your household, you may be able to recover from each policy. The recovery from multiple policies is referred to as “stacking”. In the above example, if each policy has $50,000 in underinsured insurance, you may be able to recover from each policy the $50,000 policy limit, for a total recovery of $150,000 in underinsured insurance.

In North Carolina, the minimum insurance limits required by state law for liability insurance is $30,000/$60,000. If found at fault, the negligent’ s party insurance at these limits could potentially pay up to $30,000 per person in an accident, and up to $60,000 per accident, if multiple parties are injured because of the negligent party’s negligence.

Personal injury cases hinge on the theory of negligence, whereby a duty is owned by own person to another, and the person who owes said duty failed to exercise care, causing injury to the other party. “Contributory Negligence” is a legal doctrine whereas a plaintiff, the injured rider, will be unable to recover damages from the at-fault party, or defendant, if the injured rider’s own negligence contributed to his injuries in any way. Contributory negligence is an absolute bar to recovery and is the negligence standard of only four jurisdictions, including North Carolina. Essentially, in North Carolina, if a motorcyclist’s own negligence had a hand in causing his injuries, the motorcyclist cannot recover from the defendant.

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