For nearly four decades, attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish has been an avid motorcycle enthusiast and rider. He is a “Real Motorcycle Lawyer and Real Rider©” unlike others who may have their photo taken while sitting on a motorcycle for a marketing campaign. He knows the physics and dynamics of riding a motorcycle, and he understands motorcycle injury law. He also appreciates the losses that motorcycle riders suffer in a crash.
Please review the following information to learn more about your rights and options after a motorcycle crash. You can discuss the specific facts of your case and learn about working with our accident lawyers. Our consultations are always free and geared towards answering all of your questions.
Damages in an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have been injured through no fault of your own while riding a motorcycle in Indiana, you can generally seek to recover the following damages:
Common Types of Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Accident victims often wonder what their personal injury cases could be worth. You could recover the following losses:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages (including reduced earning capacity)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (physical and emotional)
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Punitive damages (if the at-fault party’s conduct was malicious).
If the at-fault party’s conduct was malicious, punitive damages may be sought as well.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you lost your loved one in a motorcycle accident, you would file a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim. Some of the damages you can seek in a wrongful death claim include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering prior to their passing
- Your loved one’s medical bills related to their motorcycle accident injuries
Please see our section on wrongful death to learn more about damages that may be sought if a motorcycle accident in Indiana has led to the loss of your loved one.
Keep the Indiana Statute of Limitations in Mind
You only have a limited amount of time to file your motorcycle accident claim in Indianapolis before the statute of limitations expires. For most cases, Indiana Code §34-11-2-4 sets the deadline at two years from the date of your accident.
Waiting too long to file your claim in court can mean that you lose the right to pursue compensation, so it’s crucial to ensure that all paperwork is taken care of.
Also, some situations may have different statutes of limitations. For example, if your motorcycle accident involved a government official, you may need to file a notice with the municipality much sooner than two years after the crash. Get help from an experienced Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer so that your case is in good hands and your right to pursue the compensation you deserve is protected.
Insurance Coverage in Indianapolis Motorcycle Accidents
After establishing liability and assessing the extent of damages in a motorcycle accident, the next step will be to determine available insurance coverage. The policies involved in your case may include:
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability
Indiana motorists are required to have this coverage. It pays for damages that you cause in a crash. So, if an auto driver caused your crash, you would initially turn to that driver’s liability insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
This is coverage you can purchase from your insurance company. You can turn to this coverage if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to compensate you fairly.
Many Indiana drivers carry only the required minimum amounts of liability coverage ($25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage).
Typically, the loss an injured motorcyclist suffers far exceeds these amounts. In that sense, UIM can play an important role in your case.
So, it remains in the motorcyclist’s best interests to carry as much UIM coverage as possible. We recommend purchasing “minimum responsible coverage” with $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident and a $1,000,000 umbrella on your homeowner’s coverage. Call us for more details about this often-confusing coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
This is another form of coverage that you have the option to buy. In fact, you should have UM coverage (unless you have rejected it in writing). This coverage kicks in if the at-fault driver has no insurance at all.
Know What You Can and Cannot Control
When a motorcycle accident occurs, you may be wondering how you could have prevented it and what to do next. There are certain factors within your control and others that are outside of your control. Being proactive involves knowing the difference and taking action where you can.
What You Cannot Control
Many things cause motorcycle accidents (and other vehicle crashes) that you cannot control. You cannot control whether the at-fault driver is a private individual, an employee of a small or large company, or even a government employee. You cannot control if a driver is insured and how much coverage they carry.
And although some private individuals have larger insurance coverage, most at-fault drivers are either uninsured (having no insurance at all) or underinsured, having insurance coverage but not enough to properly compensate you.
No one wants to be in a crash, but if you had to be in one—you would select a driver employed by a large company with plenty of insurance coverage versus someone unemployed with either little to no insurance coverage, right? Since you can’t select who causes your injury, focus on what you can control.
What You Can Control
You can control whether you have insurance coverage and how much you have.
You should assume every driver on the road is either uninsured or underinsured. As such, by utilizing the below suggested “minimum responsible coverages,” you will protect yourself and your family from financial devastation—unless you suffer a catastrophic injury.
You are, in essence, buying insurance coverage for others who are less responsible than you.
These coverages may protect you in the vast majority of crashes you may find yourself in. If this happens, you will be very glad you did as suggested or very sad if you did not. Coverage issues can be complicated.
Don’t hesitate to call the office of a motorcycle accident attorney in Indianapolis with any questions.
Additional Coverage You Can Purchase
Needless to say, the Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorneys with our firm strongly recommend purchasing UM/UIM coverage if you are a motorcyclist or any kind of driver, even a bicyclist, including “excess” or “umbrella” coverage.
It only costs a few dollars in premiums, and it can make a huge difference if you are hurt in a crash. Understand that motorcyclists are more times than not seriously injured when involved in a crash, due to the fact that they are not surrounded by a steel cage.
Additionally, you may be able to recover funds to pay for damage to your motorcycle if you have purchased:
- Collision coverage – covers damage that results from an impact with another object such as a car, tree, pole, or road sign
- Comprehensive coverage – pays for losses caused by factors such as wind, rain, theft, or a collision with a deer or other animal
- Custom parts and equipment coverage (CPE) – covers a portion of damages to any custom parts on your motorcycle
Most insurance providers offer these additional coverages, and you can speak to yours about adding them to your policy. Keep in mind that you must have had these coverages prior to an accident in order to make use of them. Purchasing them after the fact will not help you when making a claim for damages.
Recommended Responsible Minimum Insurance Coverage for Indiana Motorists
Note: Your individual situation may differ from below.
If you partially contributed to your motorcycle crash, you may still recover damages. Under Indiana law, if you were 50 percent or less at fault, your recovery would be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
You would only be barred from recovering anything if you were 51 percent or more at fault. A claims adjuster could assert some degree of comparative fault on your part as the motorcyclist and deny your claim, alleging you are more than 50 percent at fault.
Your Lawyer Can Help You If You are Partially at Fault
We can convince an insurance company to reverse such a denial position, using a variety of proper investigative techniques.
You can work with a personal injury lawyer who will keep insurance companies honest and fight any attempt to put undue blame on you for causing your crash.
Our Indianapolis motorcycle injury lawyer understands motorcycle injury law inside and out.
Common Causes of Indiana Motorcycle Accidents
A large percentage of motorcycle accidents are caused by the inability or failure of an automobile driver to actually see the motorcyclist. Crashes may also be caused by a car driver:
- Following the motorcyclist too closely, or “tailgating”
- Failing to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist
- Attempting to pass the motorcyclist too closely or “share” a lane
- Taking deliberate action to intimidate the motorcyclist
- Allowing themselves to become distracted while driving
If any of the above has occurred in your case, you may have the right to assert a personal injury claim against the at-fault car driver.
A motorcycle accident may also be caused by a defectively designed or manufactured brake, gear, or tire. If a motorcycle defect causes a crash, the manufacturer of the motorcycle or part may be held liable.
Additionally, if road conditions were unsafe, and it can be shown that the government entity responsible for the upkeep of the road knew of the hazardous condition, that entity could possibly be liable for damages.
Motorcyclists Can Be at Fault
Of course, in some cases, a motorcyclist may be at fault. If you were a passenger on a bike driven by a negligent motorcyclist, you should not hesitate to take legal action and protect your rights with the help of an Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorney.
Randall “Randy” Sevenish Shows up for the Community
As a fellow rider actually seen on the road with other bikers, he and his firm continue to sponsor numerous motorcycle events, helping to raise money for children and slain police officers.
Randy is also a regular speaker at many HOG chapters, clubs, and events, and he is a contributing author for motorcycle publications, including the Road Guardians and Thunder Road Indiana Magazine.
This is why bikers know, like, and trust him as an Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer. In fact, the Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. is the only law firm in Indiana that has been recommended by the nationally recognized Road Guardians, an organization dedicated to the education and safety of its members.
Road Guardians also offers extensive and certified safety for motorcyclists and occasionally hosts a national convention known as the “Biker’s Betterment Conference” in the Chicagoland area. When doing so, Mr. Sevenish is the lead attorney on the panel and a speaker at these events on legal issues affecting motorcyclists.
Retain an Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Don’t wait to take action after a crash. Reach out to learn about working with an Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer who rides. Randy Sevenish is a known and highly respected motorcycle advocate that truly respects the rights of motorcyclists across Indiana. He can pursue the compensation you deserve.
While you recover from your injury after a motorcycle accident, Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. can work directly with insurance companies and seek a fair settlement in your case. However, if insurance companies fail to make a reasonable offer, Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer Randy Sevenish will be ready to fight for you in court.
Call (317) 636-7777 to talk to a team member at Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. today.