Under New Jersey’s No Fault Law, automobile policies provide for payment of a policyholder's accident-related medical expenses without regard to fault. These medical benefits are referred to as personal injury protection benefits or PIP. Unfortunately, there are no PIP benefits available under either your automobile or motorcycle policies for injuries sustained while operating a motorcycle, even if you are injured on your motorcycle as a result of a collision with an automobile insured under No Fault.
Since motorcycles are excluded from No-Fault coverage, the rider must look to alternative sources to pay their medical bills such as Medicare, HMOs or union plans, many of which either exclude motorcycles or require reimbursement of the benefits they pay from your monetary recovery against the driver who caused the accident.
The other driver’s insurance will not volunteer to pay your medicals bills as incurred, nor are they responsible to do so. The other driver has a “liability” policy with his/her insurance carrier. Their carrier is obligated to pay on claims for which their insured is liable. They are not obligated to pay up front for medical bills for people injured by their insured. Your medical bills, if unpaid, become part of your liability claim against their insured. Your claim also includes your injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages. Eventually, either by settlement or judgment, the other driver’s insurance company will pay your claim. But that could take years.
New Jersey requires that all vehicles carry a minimum of $15,000.00 of liability insurance. Unfortunately, almost 40% of all vehicles in New Jersey are either totally uninsured or carry the minimum $15,000.00 required. The solution to protect yourself is to purchase high amounts of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage offered as a part of your own motorcycle policy. This will provide protection against those drivers with little or no insurance.
If you need further information or explanation about uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, please feel free to contact me.
Jerry Friedman, Esq.
The Motorcycle Attorney
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