Motorcycles are typically seasonal transportation in Minnesota, as frozen precipitation and heavy winds in the colder months keep all but the most dedicated motorcycle riders off the road. During the summer months, there is a massive influx of motorcycles on the Minnesota roads, but that also means there is a noticeable increase in the number of motorcycle collisions.
Some motorcycle wrecks occur because the person on the motorcycle makes a mistake, but many of them are the fault of people in the larger vehicles involved. Drivers may fail to notice motorcycles, which can lead to serious collisions that send a motorcycle rider to the hospital. After a motorcycle crash, the motorcycle rider or their surviving family members may end up filing a lawsuit instead of simply pursuing an insurance claim. Why is litigation so common after motorcycle crashes?
Insurance isn’t enough after catastrophic injuries
Minnesota actually requires more robust insurance coverage than many other states. In addition to basic liability coverage, motorists also need to carry uninsured and underinsured driver coverage. However, the minimum amounts of coverage are still relatively low, and not every driver will choose to invest in liability coverage that reflects the average cost of trauma care after a wreck.
Someone who hits a motorcycle due to distraction or intoxication might have as little as $30,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage. In a situation where both the driver and the rider carry only what the state requires, the motorcycle rider may not have enough insurance coverage to pay their hospital bills. There will also be lost wages to consider, which can add up to quite a bit.
Even if the motorcyclist uses their underinsured motorist coverage and receives the maximum payout possible from the driver’s policy, their total costs could easily be more than $100,000 and therefore well beyond what basic policy coverage will provide. Unless the motorcycle rider goes to court, they may end up absorbing those costs themselves.
A lawsuit is not subject to policy limits, and therefore motorcycle riders who suffer catastrophic injuries and those who lose loved ones may be in a position to more fully recover their financial losses by pursuing this opportunity. Understanding the limitations of Minnesota insurance may help people understand why a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit could become necessary after a motorcycle crash.