What If I Didn’t Have Collision Insurance Coverage?

If you did not 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 do not have to.

If you were injured, do not contact the insurance company. Call us or another motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.

What 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?

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.

If your damage is much more than what Small Claims Court allows, then you can file a lawsuit in the next higher court (District Court, Civil Court in NYC, or NYS Supreme Court). Ask to see the pro se clerk (for people not represented by a lawyer) for help with filing the papers.

How Much Can I Sue For My Collision Damage?

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.

How Much Money am I Entitled to if I Sue in Court For My Damage?

“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.

If you agree to resolve the claim on the TV show, the show will pay an appearance fee and provide transportation to both parties.

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 were injured in a motorcycle accident, the 1-800-HURT-911® New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyers will represent you for free for your motorcycle damage claim.

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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 Don’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?

See Small Claims Alternative, below.

Who Do You Need to Sue for Injuries?

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:

  • Driver
  • Registrant of the vehicle
  • Title owner of the vehicle, and
  • Any named insured on the policy.

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.

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.

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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.

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and 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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