Motorcycle Riders And No-Fault Insurance
New York State requires cars to have no-fault insurance, but the rules for motorcycles are different.
Does No-Fault Apply to Motorcycles?While motorcyclists must observe the same rules of the road and be accorded the same rights as the operators of all other vehicles, the insurance laws of New York differ significantly for motorcycles primarily because motorcycles are not motor vehicles within the meaning of the state’s No-Fault insurance law.
The significance of this is that the operator of a motorcycle does not have the automatic $50,000.00 no-fault coverage for medical expenses, lost earnings and incidental costs like medication or equipment. However, the operator of a motorcycle also does not have to prove a serious injury within the meaning of New York law to file a lawsuit for damages against the operator of the vehicle that injured them.
How Does This Impact Injured Motorcyclists?A driver or passenger in a car that sustains injuries in an accident can only have a lawsuit beyond their no-fault benefits if they have what the law defines as a “serious injury." A few examples what the Insurance law defines as a serious injury include fractures, permanent and consequential loss of use of a body part or function, death, and significant limitation of use of a body function or system
A person injured while riding a motorcycle may file a lawsuit against the driver at fault regardless of whether their injuries meet the “serious injury threshold mandated by the No-Fault law. Motorcycle owners, of course, have the option to obtain no-fault coverage but are not required to do so under New York law. In the event that they do purchase that additional coverage, and they are injured by the negligence of another driver, they will have the coverage for their medical costs but will have to prove serious injury in any lawsuit against the other driver. If you are a motorcycle owner, you should discuss all insurance requirements and options when purchasing your coverage.