Motorcycles are an extremely popular mode of transportation. There are 822,844 registered motorcycles in the United States. Nevertheless, motorcyclists endure discrimination based on the stereotype that they're all reckless outlaws.
In Indiana, there are a number of motorcycle advocacy organizations, including Ride Safe Indiana (RSI) and Indiana Bikers Against Child Abuse (IBACA), but motorcyclists still face an uphill battle when filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Let's take a look at what you need to know to ensure that you're treated fairly following after a motorcycle accident in the Hoosier State.
Just like other motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists have to follow the rules of the road. Additionally, there are some motorcycle-specific laws in Indiana that you should know about:
A violation of any of these laws is a Class C infraction, which results in a fine up to $500 and possible license suspension up to 1 year.
To operate a motorcycle in Indiana, you have to hold a valid Indiana driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement. To add a motorcycle endorsement to your Indiana driver's license you have 2 options:
Once you have an endorsement, you'll need to purchase the following minimum liability insurance before you can hit the open road:
This is typically referred to as “25/50/25 coverage,” and it refers to the minimum amount of coverage you need to operate a motorcycle in Indiana. You can always purchase additional insurance.
If you're caught driving without the minimum motorcycle insurance, you'll have to pay a fee and your license could be suspended for up to 1 year. What's more, you'll be personally liable for any damages that you cause.
According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, there were 2,871 motorcycle accidents in 2018.
|Indiana motorcycle crashes (2014-2018)|
|Year||Fatal injury||Non-fatal Injury||Non-injury||Total|
So who's liable when a motorcycle crashes?
All motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming others on the road. If a motorcyclist or motor vehicle driver breaches this duty and an accident results, the at-fault party can be held liable.
The legal theory used to hold the at-fault party liable is negligence and it requires the plaintiff to establish 3 elements:
Though motorcycle accidents are usually caused by a motorcyclist or a motor vehicle driver, that's not always the case. There are a couple of other parties who may be liable for your accident:
Sometimes the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident. In these cases, the plaintiff's damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. Moreover, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff is barred from recovering any damages. This is known as a modified comparative fault statute.
Compensatory damages represent the money awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. In Indiana, there are 2 types of compensatory damages that an injured plaintiff can receive:
We've covered a lot already in this article, but here are a few more commonly asked questions we want to address:
New Indiana residents who hold a valid motorcycle endorsement from another state can simply transfer their endorsement to their Indiana driver's license after passing a motorcycle knowledge exam.
If you're under the age of 18 in Indiana, you're required to wear a helmet. Nevertheless, every motorcyclist should wear a helmet. Statistics show that 1 out of 5 motorcycle crashes result in head injuries, and helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 69% and reduce the risk of death by 42%.
When purchasing a motorcycle helmet, be sure it:
Believe it or not, most accidents are avoidable. To reduce your chances of crashing:
Statistics show that motorcycle collisions occur predominantly during clear weather conditions, and on straight and level roads. The belief is that motorcyclists are less alert (and more likely to drive fast) when the conditions are good. The probability of a fatal motorcycle collision is greatest on U.S. routes (as opposed to state roads and country roads), intersections, and curves.
Just like other motor vehicle drivers, a motorcyclist is guilty of driving under the influence if their BAC is .08 or more. Statistics show that motorcyclists are more likely to be impaired by alcohol than other motor vehicle drivers when involved in an accident. In 2018, 60% of motorcycle operators in single-vehicle collisions and 34% in multi-vehicle crashes had a BAC of .08 or more.
If you're involved in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, the driver's insurance company (or perhaps their lawyer) might make a quick settlement offer. You should be wary of accepting an initial settlement offer. In accepting an offer, you're giving up your right to bring a future claim or lawsuit if you later discover that your injuries are worse than you thought. Before accepting an offer, it's a good idea to talk to an attorney.
The general rule of thumb is that if you suffer physical injuries (rather than just property damage) in a crash, you should at least schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. Remember, initial consultations are generally free and can be used to determine whether you may need an attorney.
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more