After a motorcycle accident here in Hawaii, there are several immediate steps which should be considered. First, were the injuries arising out of the accident severe enough so that a lawyer should be contacted? Some accidents are minor in nature and an attorney will not be needed. However, in general, a lawyer will be needed if the injuries are severe - for example, if the person will be missing a month or more of work, if the person will have permanent residual limitations, or if the medical expenses will be in excess of $10,000. Since the extent of the injuries will often not be known right away, to be wise, 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 if there are any significant injuries - and request that they make a police report.
- Identify the driver of the other vehicle(s) and the owners as well, if possible.
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance info and license numbers with the occupants of the other vehicle(s).
- Note a description of each vehicle, including year, make, model, color and damage sustained.
This latter point can be very important - take photos of the damage 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,
preserve 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.
- As soon as you are aware that serious injuries have resulted from the accident, consider taking photographs and/or videotape of the injuries and their effects. Often it is best to also take photos a day or two after the accident - to preserve evidence of the bruising and sequelae of the injuries for later use.
There are various types of insurance coverages 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 operators
to purchase liability insurance for their vehicles. A valid
I.D. card must be kept with the motorcycle or
carried by the operator at all times.
motorcycle liability policy must include a $20,000 per person
bodily injury liability, which pays claims to those whom
you cause death or 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 $10,000;
an income disability plan; and higher liability coverages. The
insurance company may (of course) offer to sell damage coverage
for the motorcycle.
purchase a motorcycle policy, one must have a valid motorcycle 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.
at least nine licensed insurance companies in the state which sell motorcycle insurance. They are: AIG Hawaii Ins. Co., Allstate Insurance Company, American Reliable Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, Pacific Specialty Ins. Co., Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and United Services Automobile Association.
Dines v. Pacific Insurance Company, Ltd.
, 78 Haw. 325, 893 P.2d 176 (1995), the Hawaii Supreme
Court ruled that a motorcyclist, that was 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.
Unfortunately, some motorcycle accidents are severe in nature and serious injuries or death results. Under such circumstances - especially if appears that someone else was negligent and may have been responsible for causing the accident- you may wish to consider making a personal injury claim.
Under such circumstances you are encouraged to:
Contact Motorcycle Accident Attorney Hawaii now for a free evaluation of your case.