California law can be very tough on motorcyclists. In California, if a motorcycle rider is injured in a collision, they have a right to claim all their economic losses against another motorist such as past and future medical bills, and also past and future loss of income.
Most often, the largest item of compensation for personal injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident is for something called non-economic losses. Non-economic losses reflect damage done to your quality of life, and may consist of past and future pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, inconvenience, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Do Motorcycle Insurance Lapses Affect Damage Compensation?
Most people understand that the DMV can suspend your operator’s license if you are caught riding without insurance. Did you know that a biker’s right to compensation for non-economic damages, even in a case of clear liability, is completely eliminated by the failure of the biker to have at least minimal liability insurance coverage on the motorcycle at the time of the crash?
If a biker suffers injuries in a motorcycle accident and they do not have at least minimal liability insurance, they are prevented by California law from claiming non-economic damages. This occurs if a motorcycle rider just happens to let their insurance lapse, or even if they just bought the bike and have not yet obtained liability insurance.
Stated another way: if you are riding your uninsured motorcycle, and even if a drunk driver rear ends you, you have forfeited your right to claim pain and suffering no matter how badly you are injured.
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
So, my best LEGAL ADVICE: Make sure you have at least liability insurance covering you on your motorcycle before you ride, and never, ever let your insurance coverage lapse.