Motorcycle Accident – Initial Considerations – Hawaii Injury Lawyer
After a motorcycle accident, there are several immediate steps which should be considered. Many accidents are fortunately quite minor in nature and are easily dealt with. An attorney is not generally needed in the aftermath of a minor accident. However there are certain procedures that should always be considered after an accident has occurred:
- Note the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses. This is especially important since the police recently stopped making detailed police reports on many accidents in Hawaii.
- Inform the police of the motorcycle accident if it is substantial or where there are any injuries.
- Identify the driver of the other vehicle and who the owner of the vehicle as well, if possible.
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance company info and license numbers.
- Note a description of each vehicle, including year, make, model, color and damage sustained. This latter point can be very important- take photos if at all possible.
- Note the exact location of the collision and how it happened – take photos if at all possible or make a diagram if you can.
- If you are injured- or believe you may show injuries later- request an ambulance or otherwise obtain competent medical assistance. Encourage others to do so as well.
- If serious injuries resulted from the motorcycle accident, consider preserving the motorcycle and other vehicles to the extent possible for photographing and inspection by an expert in accident reconstruction.
- Report the accident to your insurer when you get home.
- If serious injuries resulted from the accident, consider taking photographs and videotape of the injuries and their effects- a day or two after the accident and thereafter, as appropriate- to preserve evidence of the extent of the injuries for later use.
Unfortunately, some motorcycle accidents are severe in nature and serious injuries or death may result. Under such circumstances- especially if someone else was responsible for the accident- you may wish to consider making a personal injury claim. Under such circumstances you may wish to:
Contact Hawaii Injury Lawyer | Attorney now for a free evaluation of your case.
Motorcycle Insurance Information
There are various types of insurance coverage related to motorcycle accident claims. For an overview of the types of coverage, please click here: Types of insurance coverage
Hawaii law requires all motorcycle and motor scooter operators to purchase liability insurance for their vehicles. A valid I.D. card must be kept with the motorcycle or scooter or carried by the operator at all times.
The motorcycle liability policy must include a $25,000 per person bodily injury liability, which pays claims to those whom you cause death of injury. It must also include $10,000 per occurrence in property damage liability which pays for vehicles or property that are damaged in the negligent operation of the motorcycle.
The insurance company must also offer optional coverages which include: personal injury medical coverage up to $20,000; an income disability plan; and higher liability coverages. The insurance company may (of course) offer to sell damage coverage for the motorcycle.
To purchase a motorcycle policy, one must have a valid motorcycle or motor scooter license. Those with a learner’s permit, in order to obtain insurance, must enroll in and successfully complete a motorcycle education course which has been approved by the State Department of Transportation.
Currently, there are six licensed insurance companies in the state which sell motorcycle insurance. They are: Allstate Insurance Company, American Reliable Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and United Services Automobile Association.
In Dines v. Pacific Insurance Company, Ltd. , 78 Haw. 325, 893 P.2d 176 (1995), the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a motorcyclist, that got involved in an accident with a phantom vehicle, was able to recover UM (uninsured motorists) coverage from an auto insurer on an automobile that he owned, even though his motorcycle insurance did not have UM coverage. The court stated: “UM coverage attaches to the named insured’s person and not to any particular vehicle – ‘motor’ or otherwise. That being the case, a ‘covered auto’ named in an automobile policy need not be involved in an accident in order for the injured named insured to be entitled to collect UM benefits. Thus, such a named insured, injured by an uninsured motorist from whom the named insured is legally entitled to recover damages, is entitled to UM coverage no matter where he or she is injured, be it in an automobile or a rocking chair on a front porch, or on a motorcycle, a bicycle, a horse, a pogo stick, or on foot. [Citations and footnotes omitted.]” Id. at 331-32. The logic of this decision would also appear to make UIM (purchased by an insured for an automobile, truck or bus) available for an accident even if it occurred while the insured was on a motorcycle- so long as someone else’s automobile, truck or bus is involved in the accident.