What Insurance Covers Motorcycle Accidents In West Virginia

In West Virginia, you are required by law to have motorcycle insurance before you can drive your vehicle. West Virginia’s compulsory insurance law has been designed as a way to ensure that all motorcycle drivers can assume financial responsibility in the event of a crash. Of course, when motorcycle accidents do occur, it’s not enough to simply have motorcycle insurance. You need to understand what your coverage entitles you to, as well as what steps to take in the event of an accident. West Virginia motorcycle accidents attorneys are a great resource for fully understanding the complexities of motorcycle insurance coverage and motorcycle accidents, but this guide should also serve as an effective look at the many complexities involved. As always, the most important rule to remember with motorcycles is to be safe and be prepared.

The Legal Definition of a MotorcycleIn West Virginia, there are actually two classifications for a vehicle with two wheels: motorcycles and scooters. Ultimately, the distinction between the two vehicles rests on the type of engine involved. If a vehicle has two wheels and an engine with 50 or more cc, then it is legally defined by West Virginia as a motorcycle. By contrast, any vehicle with two wheels and less than 50 cc is referred to interchangeably as either a scooter or a moped.

This distinction is important because West Virginia does not actually require residents to have motorcycle insurance for any vehicle that could be classified as a scooter or a moped. Of course, just because you don’t need to get insurance doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Insurance policy experts recommend that someone that regularly drives a scooter or moped should still purchase some kind of liability insurance, just to protect them in the case of an unexpected emergency. West Virginia motorcycle accidents attorneys have seen too many cases where someone neglected to buy the insurance and ended up being considerably set back financially as a result.

Insurance Requirements

Even if you purchase motorcycle insurance, that may not be enough depending on the policy. West Virginia has specific requirements for what a policy should cover, as outlined here: $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 for one accident that involves one death, and $40,000 for one accident that involves two injuries or deaths. As with state requirements concerning scooters and mopeds, it’s a good idea to go beyond these minimum requirements if you’re able to. Additional coverage can give you more leeway in the event of an accident and ensure that your insurance provider pays up when you need them to.

Proof of Insurance

If you’re ever involved in an accident, you’ll need to show the police officer that you’re covered with insurance. Acceptable proof of motorcycle insurance can be as simple as your carrier’s insurance card that they issue you. It’s important to always keep this on your person so that you’ll be prepared in the event of an accident.

In addition to accidents, you’ll need to provide proof of motorcycle insurance in a number of other situations, including random DMV inspections, and whenever you register your vehicle with West Virginia.

What Motorcycle Insurance Covers

Motorcycle insurance generally covers a wide range of topics, although this primarily depends on what type of insurance provider you choose to go with. Policies can vary considerably, but they tend to have a few general outlines that remain similar across many customers. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the things to expect with motorcycle insurance, and how it can affect you in the event of an accident.

If the policy covers medical expenses, then you can expect it to cover most reasonable expenses associated with an accident. It’s also worth mentioning that this type of coverage will also extend to any passengers that suffered medical expenses as a result of the accident as well.

Personal injury protection covers a lot of the expenses that result from an accident that isn’t necessarily related to medical expenses. Although there are many examples, a few include lost income, funeral expenses, and childcare expenses. It may not be something that most people think of, but having personal injury protection is incredibly important as it provides flexible coverage that can apply to a wide variety of acceptable scenarios.

Collision coverage simply reimburses a person for damage sustained to the motorcycle itself. This can apply to damage sustained from crashing into a building, a tree, or even another motorcycle. The range of damage covered will depend on your policy, but the type of collision damage covered should not. As has been previously mentioned, you will want to ensure that your collision coverage exceeds the minimum requirements if you want to have the best chance of being properly reimbursed after an accident.

Comprehensive coverage applies to all damage sustained to your motorcycle that has nothing to do with a collision. This can include natural disasters like a flood, or a criminal act like a theft or vandalism.

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What To Do After An Accident

Even if you have motorcycle insurance, that may not necessarily be enough to get you what you deserve after an accident. While an experienced personal injury lawyer can be incredibly useful, there are still a few things that you’ll need to take care of at the scene of the accident when it occurs.

One of the most important things you can do, especially in today’s world with mobile cameras, is taking pictures. You want to take as many pictures as possible of the scene of the accident to ensure that you have accurate records for any lawsuits that you might be undertaking in the future. Even if you expect your insurance to cover the accident without any issue, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

While taking pictures of the accident, speak to any nearby witnesses and make sure to record their recollection of the events as well. The best way to ensure that an insurance company covers the expenses is to have comprehensive records. Once you feel that you’ve gathered enough information, contact your insurance company and let them know what has happened. Do not answer any questions regarding injuries until you’ve spoken to a doctor and an attorney. Anything you report to the insurance company can be recorded and used against you, so it’s best to be straightforward with your answers but also reserved in what you speak about.

Similarly, do not say anything that admits fault to either witnesses at the accident or any responding officers. If you have any concerns or questions regarding the accident, the best thing you can do is speak to your attorney. They’ll help you address any problems and ensure that you don’t say something inappropriate that can later hurt your case.

When To Contact An Attorney

Ideally, you should contact an attorney immediately after a motorcycle accident. Even if you don’t expect an issue to come up, an attorney can help protect you from any further financial responsibilities. Generally, you’ll want to speak to an attorney if you are being wrongly accused, your insurance claim has been denied, your insurance policy is less than the damages you’ve sustained, or you’ve incurred substantial additional costs that extend beyond any coverage you have.

While an attorney can protect you from damage and represent you in court, they are also an effective resource for dealing with insurance companies in general. If you need help maximizing your insurance entitlement, or establishing a settlement, then an experienced personal injury lawyer can be the difference between having all of your expenses covered and just some of them.

If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, your best option is to find an attorney that you can trust. Don’t be afraid to contact one immediately after an accident. In fact, being proactive about your protection can be the difference between being financially secure and having an accident go from bad to worse.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law