If you didn’t have collision coverage on your motorcycle and someone else is negligent for causing the damage to your motorcycle, file a claim with the other vehicle’s insurance company.
You can file a claim with the other vehicle’s insurance company by calling the other vehicle’s insurance company or sending a letter stating that you are filing a claim. You can enclose a copy of the police report but you can start the claim with a police report.
Find out how to get a police report in Nassau or Suffolk on Long Island or how to get a police report in New York City.
Note: If you were injured, do not contact the insurance company. Call us or another motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.
What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Won’t Pay My Claim?
If the person responsible for causing the accident doesn’t have collision coverage or their insurance company will not pay your claim, you will need to file a lawsuit.
What Court Do I File a Lawsuit In for Motorcycle Damage?
If you didn’t have collision coverage on your motorcycle, you can file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court If the damage is less than the small claims court limit or you are willing to accept the amount limited in Small Claims Court.
In New York, the limit to the amount you can sue for motorcycle damage in Small Claims Court is $5,000 in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In New York City, you can sue for up to $10,000 in NYC Small Claims Court.
Guide to Small Claims Court in New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County
Guide to Small Claims in other New York State City, Town, and Village Courts
What Should I Do if the Damage to My Motorcycle is Much More Than Smail Claims Will Allow?
If your damage is much more than what Small Claims Court allows, then you can file a lawsuit in the next higher court.
The next higher court is the District Court in most areas of New York including Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. In New York City, the next higher court is the Civil Court.
The highest court in New York State is the NYS Supreme Court where you can sue for any amount.
Go to the higher court and ask to see the pro se clerk (pronounced “pro say”) (for people not represented by a lawyer) for help with filing the papers.
How Much Can I Sue for My Damage to My Motorcycle?
If you were not injured and want to file a lawsuit only for damage to your motorcycle because you did not have collision coverage, you can file a lawsuit for:
- up to $5,000 in Small Claims Court
- up to $15,000 in District Court in Suffolk or Nassau County
- up to $25,000 in New York City Civil Court
- unlimited amount in New York State Supreme Court
These courts have fill-in-the-blank forms for non-lawyers and a pro se clerk can help you fill them in.
Note: Never file suit in Small Claims Court or any court without a lawyer if you were injured.
How Much Money Can I Sue in Court for Motorcycle Damage?
If you didn’t have collision coverage on your motorcycle and the car’s insurance is willing to pay you for the damage, the car’s insurance company may offer to pay you “book value”.
But what is a book? “Blue Books” are only guides. You do not have to accept what an insurance company says is the “book” value of your motorcycle.
The good news is that insurance companies now usually use an outside company that finds motorcycles for sale and provides an estimate. These estimates are usually fair.
You are entitled to the retail replacement cost of your motorcycle plus sales tax. However, you are only entitled to the money needed to buy the same motorcycle which means similar mileage, age, condition, etc.
You are not required to replace your motorcycle by purchasing from a private seller, you can buy one from a motorcycle dealer.
Small Claims Court Alternative
If you file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court, both you and the defendant will be contacted by a court TV show. Court TV shows are not really courts but resolve cases by arbitration.
The limit to the amount you can sue for motorcycle damage on a court TV show is usually $5,000.
If you agree to resolve the claim on the TV show, the show will pay an appearance fee and provide paid transportation including airfare and a limo for both parties to travel to the TV studio.
The best part is that the TV show will pay you the money awarded. This is good because if you sue in Small Claims Court, you may not be able to collect the money awarded.
Can I Get a Free Lawyer for My Motorcycle Damage?
Yes! If you didn’t have collision coverage on your motorcycle the 1-800-HURT-911® New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers will represent you for your motorcycle damage claim for free when we represent you for your injury!
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Who Should I Sue, the Driver or the Insurance Company?
You will file a lawsuit against the driver, registrant, and title owner of the vehicle. You do not name the other vehicle’s insurance company in the lawsuit.
In a Small Claims Court lawsuit for damage to your motorcycle, it is usually sufficient to file a lawsuit against the driver and registrant of the vehicle.
Why Shouldn’t I Sue the Insurance Company?
The lawsuit cannot name the insurance company as a defendant because the insurance company didn’t cause your accident and doesn’t own the vehicle.
The insurance company only indemnifies their insured. This means that the insurance company agreed to pay for claims against the person you are suing. The insurance company also provides an attorney at their expense to defend the lawsuit.
Don’t Want to Sue Your Friend for Your Motorcycle Damage?
See Small Claims Alternative, above.
Who Do You Need to Sue for an Injury?
In a lawsuit for personal injuries, it is extremely important to name every possible defendant. There are several reasons, one of which is to make sure that every available insurance policy is available to pay for your injury.
A personal injury lawsuit should name as defendants, the:
- Drivers of all vehicle
- Registrants of all vehicles
- Title owner of all vehicles, and
- Any named insured on all insurance policies.
It is possible for the same person to be the driver, registrant, title owner, and insured but there could be several people and/or companies.
John Doe could be the driver of a car registered to his wife Jane Doe which is owned by her father Joseph Rowe whose name is on the title and whose wife Josephine Rowe is listed as an insured on the policy. There could be one or more insurance policies insuring this car. It’s important to search for all insurance policies.
Can I Keep a Totaled Motorcycle?
Is Collision Coverage Worth Buying for a Motorcycle?
If you need to file a lawsuit for injuries caused by a motorcycle accident, you should always call us, the New York motorcycle accident lawyers, immediately.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. personally authored this page and all articles on NYMotorcycleAttorneys.com.
You may have met Phil Franckel at a motorcycle event. Phil created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating, Avvo Client’s Choice award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor, and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
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Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel talks about how motorcycle accidents are different
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website, one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.
Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is a motorcycle accident lawyer and one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.
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