If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident after a car cuts you off and leaves the scene, you can file a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage to obtain compensation for your injury, but some states require that the car come in contact with you or your motorcycle.
A frequent type of motorcycle accident occurs when a motorcyclist is cut off by a car and then takes a spill, striking the curb, a pole or another car. Unfortunately, if the car barely brushed your motorcycle, the car driver may be oblivious to what has occurred and leave the scene. Often, the car never even comes in contact with the motorcycle and the driver leaves the scene unaware that the motorcycle crashed.
You probably think that’s why you have uninsured motorist coverage, but you may or may not be able to take advantage of that important coverage. In some states, such as New York, it is required that the other vehicle come into physical contact with you or your motorcycle for you to be able to make an uninsured claim. Proving that the other vehicle came into contact with you or your motorcycle is sometimes difficult.
The law does not describe the degree of contact, just that there be contact with you or your motorcycle and the other vehicle. If any mark was left by the other car on your motorcycle such as a scrape or paint from the other car on your fender or even on your tire, that contact is sufficient to successfully file a claim. The contact need not be with your motorcycle. For instance, the other car may have hit your leg.
Hit-and-run accidents, in New York, should be reported to the police, Justice of the Peace, a judge or the Motor Vehicle Commissioner within 24 hours or as soon as reasonably possible. In any state, such motorcycle accidents should be reported to the police immediately at the time of the accident, or as soon as possible thereafter, and that the manner in which the other car contacted you or your motorcycle be described to the police officer. You should show the damage (from the other car) to the police officer and insist that your statement as to how the car contacted you be included on the police report.
If your state requires contact and the police report does not include your statement, it will be used as evidence by the insurance company in an attempt to deny your claim for uninsured benefits for your motorcycle accident. If the police report does include your statement, your attorney can use the report as evidence in your favor.
Additionally, when you are questioned at the hospital and at a doctor’s office, you will usually be asked how your motorcycle accident occurred. Even though you have already described the contact to the police officer, in those states where contact is required, it is important to tell the doctors that another car struck you. Your medical records can also be used as evidence. Also, be sure to take a picture of any damage or marks on your motorcycle.
Uninsured claims may have to be made within 90 days of the date of accident or as soon as reasonably practicable after discovering the other vehicle is uninsured. Be sure to call a lawyer immediately and before speaking with any insurance companies.
What to know when a car cuts off your motorcycle and causes an accident.