Your Health Insurance May Not Cover Motorcycle Accidents

Think your health insurance will cover you if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Montana? You might want to read the fine print. More and more insurance companies are adding language to their policies that exempts medical care payments for motorcycle accident injuries from coverage. So if you’re injured by an irresponsible driver while on a motorcycle, your health insurance may not help.

As motorcycle accident attorneys in Montana, we specialize in working with uncooperative insurance companies to try to ensure that you get everything you’re entitled to.

You may think that you have “full coverage.” You may have been told that you have full coverage. But please believe me when I say that there is no such thing as full coverage. In fact, you would probably be shocked to discover the list of things not covered by your insurance. Like motorcycle wrecks.

Most people imagine insurance as a warm blanket, protecting them from all the bad things that can happen everyday. And often it is. But sometimes, when things go wrong you end up on opposite sides of a dispute from your insurance company. When that happens, a strong advocate can mean the difference between success and failure. The insurance companies hire skilled attorneys to help protect their bottom line. Don’t you want someone on your side?

What Types of Insurance Apply in Car Wreck Cases

When we represent in an accident and injury case, one of the most important issues is determining insurance coverage. Usually, there is an interplay of several different insurance policies. The driver at fault hopefully has insurance and it may cover the damages you sustained in the car wreck. Montana law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance of $25,000 for the injury or death of one person and $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person. The policy must also include $10,000 for damage to property. If you are the only person injured in the accident, the policy should pay $25,000 for your injuries. If more people are injured, the most the minimum policy will pay is $50,000 (plus the $10,000 if damage to property applies). As you can imagine, this often is not enough to cover all the damages victims experience. And worse, many drivers refuse to carry insurance.

If the at-fault driver carries no insurance, your own car insurance policy may apply. Most policies have uninsured motorist coverage. Under the terms and conditions in your insurance policy, you may be able to recover from your own insurance company if we can prove that the other driver is uninsured.

Along the same lines, if the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your damages, and your coverage is greater than the other driver’s insurance coverage, you may be able to recover the difference between the two with underinsured motorist coverage. In this case, let’s assume the other driver is carrying the minimum of $25,000 and you have underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 per person. Assuming your damages are $100,000 or more, you could recover $75,000 from your insurance company. There are other off-sets that can come in to play, but the important fact is that you stand to recover at least the amount of your underinsured coverage.

You may also have medical payments coverage under your insurance which covers medical care. This is generally limited coverage, but when you’re facing mounting medical bills from someone else’s carelessness, any amount can help. Any payments you receive here will likely be subject to subrogation, where you’ll be required to reimburse the insurer if you recover any damages from the at-fault driver.

Unfortunately, many of these scenarios put you at odds with your insurance company. Too often, other drivers don’t carry enough insurance to compensate for the damage and injuries they cause. If that’s the case, you may be put in a position where you have to fight your own insurer to receive adequate compensation. At times like that, quality legal representation is invaluable.

My Case Settled, Now What?

After a Montana injury case settles, through mediation or another process, insurance companies usually send a check and release to your injury lawyer who will have you sign both and deposit the check in his trust account. Unfortunately, depositing the check doesn’t automatically transfer the funds. You may have to wait up to ten business days for the funds to transfer. And because of the strict rules regarding lawyer trust accounts in Montana, your lawyer should never disburse any funds before the check has cleared (even if the check is from a major insurance company).

Once the funds have cleared the lawyer should cut you a check for your share of the proceeds. Most Montana injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid at the end of the case if they recover damages for you. This means that their payment is deducted from the insurance company’s check before payment is made to you.

Your lawyer may also need to deduct some money for medical bills. For example, if you received Medicare benefits related to your injury, Medicare must be repaid from the settlement. Unfortunately, Medicare can be painfully slow in getting those issues resolved so some injury attorneys cut two checks. One immediately, and a second after the Medicare issues have been resolved.

Your lawyer should have gone over the way any settlement or proceeds would be divided at your first meeting. If he didn’t, or if you don’t remember how things are to be divided, or if you’ve got questions you should feel free to ask your injury attorney how it will work at any time. The last thing you want is a big surprise waiting for you when you thought your case was over.

Montana Underinsured Motorist Coverage

I recently read that 15% of Montana drivers do not have car insurance. Given these tough economic times, I honestly would not be surprised to learn that this number was even higher today. And that doesn’t include the number of drivers who are decreasing the amount of their coverage to save money. And guess what happens if one of these people crashes into you causing more damage than they have coverage for. Unless you’re lucky enough to be hit by a millionaire running around without auto insurance, you’re probably out of luck.

Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for the harm they caused. In that situation, your insurance would step in and cover the difference, up to the amount of your damages.

I can’t recommend enough that all Montana drivers get Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. People are usually surprised to learn who affordable the coverage is, and in the case of an car accident, it can make a world of difference.