A: We help motorists who are injured in motorcycle accidents. Below are questions from an injured rider's wife regarding her husband's medical bills and other issues relating to his motorcycle accident.
Question: My husband was in a motorcycle accident in Philadelphia, PA and has serious injuries. He has to have several surgeries and will have to stay in the hospital for a month. We are thinking of suing the driver who caused the accident. My husband wasn’t wearing a helmet. Would that hurt his case if we sued? Also, should we submit his medical bills to our auto insurance company which provides insurance for our car and his motorcycle?
Answer: Unfortunately, under Pennsylvania auto insurance law, specifically, PA’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), your husband’s medical expenses are not covered by your auto insurance policy. Though drivers are required to purchase PIP coverage on their auto insurance policies pursuant to Pennsylvania law, PIP coverage is not offered in motorcycle insurance policies. PIP covers an insured driver’s medical expenses incurred as a result of a car accident regardless of fault. Thus, even if a driver did not cause the accident, the driver’s own auto policy pays for the medical expenses. Unfortunately, PIP is not a coverage offered on motorcycle insurance policies. Therefore, injured riders must use their private health insurance to pay for their medical expenses.
If the rider’s health insurance plan includes a deductible, copays, etc., the rider is responsible for those expenses. However, if the rider files a motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, he may recover those expenses as part of his damages.
In Pennsylvania, motorcycle riders are not required to wear a helmet if they are 21 years of age and older, and have either been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or have completed a motorcycle rider safety course approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. In your scenario, assuming that your husband meets these requirements, the fact that he wasn’t wearing a helmet will not affect his ability to file a lawsuit.
However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the other driver can allege that your husband also caused the accident. For instance, if the other driver was coming from the opposite direction and made a left in front of your husband, the driver can allege that your husband was speeding. It is important to note that even if your husband was found partially at fault does not mean that he cannot recover. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, so long as your husband’s fault is not 51% or greater, he can still recover for his damages. His recovery, however, would be reduced by his percentage of fault. See Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Law.
It is best that you and your husband to speak with a seasoned motorcycle and car accident lawyer to discuss his accident and explore his legal options. Feel free to call our office to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396