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FAQ: Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Property Damage

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Jeff Sevey

When you've been involved in an accident while on your motorcycle, there are several things that you may be questioning. What will you get in damages, and where will your motorcycle be repaired, and when? At The Sevey Law Firm we have in-depth experience in motorcycle accidents, and we can give you well-educated answers to all of your questions.

Motorcycle accidents can result in more severe injuries due to the vulnerable nature of the human body while riding a motorcycle. These injuries can result in tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills, plus time off work to help you recuperate. The damage to the motorcycle itself is often extreme, with many insurance companies deciding to simply total the bike as a complete loss. Where does that leave you?

We’ve assembled several of the most frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle accidents, and we hope they answer your questions if you’ve suffered injuries and property damage in a motorcycle accident.

“Where will my motorcycle be repaired?”

If the insurance company feels your bike is repairable, they may recommend one or two repair facilities to you, but this doesn’t mean these are your only options. You will likely be able to take your motorcycle to any repair shop of your choice to have it repaired. If you are unsure, we can recommend trusted repair shops.

“If my motorcycle is totaled, how much money will I receive?”

Many bike owners think that if they total their motorcycle, the insurance company will pay them the market value of the motorcycle, or the amount they owe on the loan, or a combination of both. Neither of these is entirely true.  What you will receive is the amount that a motorcycle identical to your totaled motorcycle could be sold for on the market today. There are several online resources for checking the value of your motorcycle and what an identical one could be selling for. Kelley Blue Book, NADA, and CycleTrader are a few sites you can trust. Keep in mind, though, that the listed price of a motorcycle is simply what the seller is asking - not what the bike actually might sell for.

If, after you do some research, the insurance company offers to settle for an amount that is in line with your research, your best bet is to accept the offer and receive the check from them. If their offer seems too far off what you've seen in your research, you can negotiate with them, but beware: their agents are well-trained, and experienced in negotiation. It is their job to make sure you get as little as possible for your bike. That's why it is helpful to have an experienced motorcycle attorney on your side, such as those at The Sevey Law Firm.

“What if my bike is totaled, but I still owe money on it?”

If you still owe money on your motorcycle loan, the loan will be paid off first, and then you will receive any remainder over the amount of the payoff. Be aware that very often, the amount owed on the loan is more than the fair market value of the motorcycle. In cases such as these, the amount you receive will go towards paying off the loan, but you will be responsible for any balance. For example, if you still owe $10,000 on the loan for your motorcycle, but the market value is only $7,000, the $7,000 you receive from the insurance company goes directly toward the loan, and you are responsible for paying the $3,000 balance that remains.

This is seen a lot with brand-new or nearly-new bikes that have been financed close to 100%, because of the immediate depreciation of the motorcycle value, combined with the fees and interest that are attached to the loan.

To avoid this unfortunate situation in the future, think about investing in gap insurance if you are considering buying a brand new motorcycle with very little down payment.

“If my motorcycle is totaled, or being repaired, can I get a rental in the meantime?”

Yes, you are entitled to a rental reimbursement from the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. You will be able to get either a rental car or motorcycle to help you get around while your bike is being repaired, so long as it is a reasonable timeframe. If you choose to borrow a car or bike from a friend, and not take advantage of the rental reimbursement, you are still entitled to a reimbursement due to the loss of use of your motorcycle during the time your bike is in the repair shop. This can add up to more than you may think, perhaps additional hundreds or thousands of dollars, so contact us for a consultation to find out if this is an option in your unique situation.

Take note that if you do decide to rent a vehicle, try to utilize your own car insurance rental benefits if you have them, and set it up so that your insurance company bills the rental car company directly. If set up in this way, it’s likely you won’t have to put out any money out of pocket for the rental.

If you don’t have rental reimbursement, and the negligent party’s insurer refuses to offer you rental reimbursement, you can claim “loss of use” damages. This will allow you to receive damages for each day that you are unable to use your motorcycle, from the date of the accident up until a few days after you receive the settlement check for your damaged motorcycle. The extra few days is often awarded to allow the accident victim time to locate and purchase a suitable replacement motorcycle.

If you’ve suffered damages to your motorcycle in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, we encourage you to contact the staff at The Sevey Law Firm to discuss your options for repair or replacement of your motorcycle. We can be reached by phone at (916) 788-7100, or online through our contact page.

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