By Brendan (Bo) F. Pons and Michael D. Bornitz
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is meant to be a festive week of riding motorcycles, attending concerts, shopping, and having an all-around fun time. No one goes to Sturgis expecting to get into a motorcycle collision or being driven off the road by a careless driver. Unfortunately, there is a high frequency of motorcycle collisions during the Sturgis Rally. When a collision happens, the fun you anticipated having disappears. Instead of deciding which concerts to attend or what souvenirs to buy, your mind starts racing with anxiety-inducing questions: Will I be ok? Who is going to pay for my medical bills? How long will I be out of work? Will there be enough insurance coverage to compensate me for my medical bills, wage loss, and injuries? These are the same questions you may have if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision.
Cutler Law Firm is a leader in representing motorcyclists injured in collisions at the Sturgis Rally. Of course, we represent people involved in automobile collisions as well. Regardless of the situation, one of the biggest issues we see in our practice each day is clients who have low limit automobile or motorcycle insurance coverage. If you are like us, you are more likely to be involved in a collision that is not your fault. It is critical that you protect yourself and your family with good automobile and motorcycle insurance limits.
You may think you are covered because everyone is required to have automobile or motorcycle liability insurance. Sadly, not everyone follows the law like you. Even if they do have liability insurance, that doesn’t mean the driver who injured you has insurance coverage necessary to fully compensate you. The minimum amount of liability insurance drivers are required to have varies by state. In South Dakota, for example, motorists and bikers are required to have only $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident. This means if you are injured on the road by a South Dakota resident with minimum liability coverage, their insurance will only cover $25,000 of your damages. We regularly see emergency room visits which cost $10,000 to $15,000 for minor injuries. This low $25,000 limit is not only for your past and future medical bills, but also any wage loss or pain and suffering you may experience as a result of your injuries. Other states have even lower minimums than South Dakota. For example, Florida’s minimum liability limits are $10,000.
If you are injured as a result of a collision caused by someone else, you cannot control the liability coverage they have–or if they have insurance at all. The best thing you can do is to call your insurance agent today and ask for higher limits, including uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM/UIM”) coverage. UM/UIM coverage helps insure and pay for your losses when the other driver is at fault and either does not have, or does not have enough, coverage to compensate you fully. For example, if the driver who injured you has liability coverage of $25,000, as long as your UM/UIM coverage is higher (e.g. $250,000), then your automobile insurance coverage protects you for the difference between your and the at-fault party’s limits. (e.g. $250,000-$25,000=$225,000 in additional UM/UIM coverage). We recommend having limits of no less than $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. This will provide you with appropriate coverage in a majority of cases.
Whether you are injured while on a motorcycle or driving a car, you are entitled to more than just your past and future medical bills. You are also entitled to compensation for your physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, wage loss, disability, and disfigurement. Low insurance limits means you likely won’t be compensated fully for all of your damages from a collision. Even if you have good health insurance to help pay for your medical bills, your health insurer has a right to be repaid for the bills they paid for you. That money comes out of the insurance coverage.
It is important for motorists and bikers carry sufficient UM/UIM coverage to protect themselves and their families. The next best thing you can do is have an umbrella policy that covers your automobiles, motorcycles, and your house. An umbrella policy with a limit of $1,000,000 is a great investment, but make sure it also covers uninsured and underinsured motorists. If you find yourself injured in a motorcycle or motor vehicle collision through no fault of your own, sufficient insurance coverage will protect you against potential financial disaster and help ensure you receive full compensation for your injuries. Call your insurance agent today to talk about the coverage you need. Then call the Cutler Law Firm and get experts in your corner who will protect your rights.