No two states have the exact same motorcycle accident laws–although there are many similarities. It’s important to understand these laws, as they could prove critical to your injury claim’s outcome. If you ever have questions about how the law views your case, consider consulting with an injury lawyer.
Similarities in State Motorcycle Accident Laws
Many states have similar laws regarding motorcycle accidents, including:
Laws About Intoxication
Every state prohibits drunk driving–and Indiana is no exception. An intoxicated motorcyclist could face fines, jail time, and license suspension if arrested. They can face even greater penalties if they cause a collision.
Laws About Helmets
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes that most states have some kind of helmet requirement. For instance, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, and Montana require motorcyclists under 17 years old to wear helmets.
Most states require motorcyclists to carry liability insurance. This covers damages if the motorcyclist causes an accident.
Legal Rights Following Collisions
Each state has statutes that codify laws about personal injury cases. These statutes generally allow victims of motorcycle accidents to recover compensation through insurance claims or lawsuits. Motorcyclists have the same rights on the road as any other motorist, and they are not barred from legal action if they suffer harm.
The Right to Seek Legal Help
No state forbids you from working with an injury lawyer on your case. You have the right to legal counsel at any stage of the claims process. A lawyer can manage each of your case’s obligations, from negotiating with the insurer to arguing your case at trial.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-636-7777
Differences in State Motorcycle Accident Laws
Although many states have overlapping or similar motorcycle accident laws, they’re not uniform. Consider how these laws differ from state to state:
The Minimum Riding Age
In Indiana, to ride a motorcycle, you must be at least 16 years and 90 days old. You must successfully complete a safety course and bring graduation documentation to a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch.
Some states allow teens under 16 years old to operate motorcycles. This, of course, comes with its own regulations and rules.
Many states have different laws about who can accompany a motorcyclist as a passenger. If you ride in Indiana, you must have a dedicated seat and footrest for your passenger, per IC § 9-19-7-2. Other states have height requirements for children, requiring them to at least reach the footrest.
The Civil Statute of Limitations
Following a motorcycle accident, you generally have two years to file your lawsuit, per IC § 34-11-2-4. This is a short deadline compared to other states. For example, in Florida, you have four years to file your lawsuit. Some states, like Louisiana, give you only a year to file.
Indiana works on a fault-based insurance system, meaning the at-fault party’s insurer generally pays for the injured claimant’s losses. This is different than states that operate on no-fault systems. Let’s use Florida (a no-fault state) as an example again.
Here, you wouldn’t file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer after a collision. Instead, you would file with your own insurance company. This allows claimants to get immediate compensation for some of their medical bills, regardless of fault.
Daytime Headlight Laws
A significant number of daytime motorcycle accidents occur because motorists do not see motorcyclists. So, Indiana requires motorcyclists to have their headlights on, even when it’s not dark outside. This promotes visibility and reduces collisions. However, this requirement is not standard among all states.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Explain More About the State’s Laws
You don’t have to attend law school and get a degree to understand state law. However, interpreting legal jargon can quickly overwhelm you. This is where it could benefit your situation to partner with an attorney.
If you suffered harm in a collision, they can:
- Explain how the law applies to your situation
- Identify your injury-related losses
- Operate on a contingency-fee basis (meaning they charge nothing up front)
- Gather evidence to supplement your case
- File your case within the statutory deadline
Your lawyer will do everything in their power to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. You don’t have to struggle through the claims process while also struggling with serious injuries. Your attorney can manage the entire process.
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Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. Wants to Hear Your Story
Our founder, Attorney Randall Sevenish, loves riding his motorcycle on long treks between states. He knows firsthand that motorcycle accident laws differ from state to state. If you were hurt in a collision, Attorney Sevenish and his team offer a helping hand.
Not only can we apply Indiana law to your case, but we’re committed to recovering the compensation you need. Your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering should be the at-fault party’s obligation–not yours. Start a free case review with our team today to learn more.