The last thing any victim or any victim's family wants to think about after a Hawaii moped or motor scooter accident is insurance. However, due to the exorbitant costs that come along with a serious moped/motor scooter accident, it is important to understand what insurance will cover the medical expenses, costs and losses incurred by the victim. Below are five types of insurance coverage(s) that may be available to the victim of an automobile/moped/motor scooter accident in which the automobile driver is at fault:
1. Driver's Personal Injury Protection - If the vehicle meets the definition of a "moped" under Hawaii law, the victim of an automobile/moped accident may be entitled to benefits under the at-fault driver's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. The definition of a moped under Hawaii law (HRS 14:249-1) is as follows:
"Moped" means a device upon which a person may ride which has two or three wheels in contact with the ground, a motor having a maximum power output capability measured at the motor output shaft, in accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineers standards, of two horsepower (one thousand four hundred ninety-two watts) or less and, if it is a combustion engine, a maximum piston or rotor displacement of 3.05 cubic inches (fifty cubic centimeters) and which will propel the device, unassisted, on a level surface at a maximum speed no greater than thirty miles per hour; and a direct or automatic power drive system which requires no clutch or gear shift operation by the moped driver after the drive system is engaged with the power unit."
If PIP coverage is available, the driver's auto insurance company will pay for the victim's medical expenses, and possibly a small amount of wage loss and other benefits, up to the policy limits of the PIP policy. The majority of PIP policies in Hawaii contain limits of $10,000.
2. Victim/Motor Scooter Owner's Personal Injury Protection - If the vehicle does not meet the definition of a moped under Hawaii law, the victim of an automobile/motor scooter accident may be entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under his or her own auto policy. It is important to consult the subject auto policy to ensure that: (1) The motor scooter is listed on the policy; and (2) Coverage/benefits are available. The definition of a motor scooter under Hawaii law (HRS 17:286-2) is as follows:
"Motor scooter" means every motorcycle with a motor which produces not more than five horsepower, but excludes a moped.
If PIP coverage is available under the owner of the motor scooter's policy, then the victim's insurance company will pay for medical expenses, and possibly a small amount of wage loss and other benefits, up to the policy limits of the PIP policy.
3. Victim's Health Insurance: If no PIP coverage is available and the victim carries health insurance, the victim's health care insurance provider will pay for medical expenses. The payment by the health insurer may likely involve both co-pays and deductibles. Neither co-pays or deductibles will be waived due to the fact that the victim was not at fault for the accident. Also, if the victim is utilizing health insurance to pay for accident-related medical expenses, such expenses may be subject to reimbursement from the victim's Bodily Injury/UM/UIM Settlement (See #5 below), if any. The health insurance company will likely demand that the victim provide accident-related information such as attorney and insurance contact and claim info before the health insurance will pay for accident-related medical expenses.
4. State Medicaid Benefits. If no PIP coverage is available and the victim either has or qualifies for health care benefits from the State of Hawaii, such Medicaid benefits may be available to pay for accident-related medical expenses. Hawaii's Medquest/Medicaid may be responsible to pay for accident-related medical expenses if the victim qualifies for such benefits. Like health insurance, the State of Hawaii maintains a right to reimbursement from the victim's Bodily Injury/UM/UIM Settlement (See #5 below), if any. The administrator will also demand accident-related information such as attorney insurance contact and claim info before paying for accident-related medical expenses.
5. Bodily Injury/Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Settlement: If the driver who caused the accident has auto insurance, the victim of an automobile/moped/motor scooter accident, may be entitled to a settlement under the driver's Bodily Injury coverage. If the driver does not have insurance, and the victim maintains valid Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage under his or her own or another automobile insurance policy, the victim may be entitled to receive a UM settlement. Additionally, if the driver's Bodily Injury policy limits are less than the victim's damages, and the victim maintains valid Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, the victim may be entitled to receive a UIM settlement.
Navigating through the various insurance coverages available to the victim of a moped or motor scooter accident can be daunting to anyone who does not have experience with Hawaii moped/motor scooter injury claims. In addition to understanding the coverage issues, dealing with the insurance adjusters and defense attorneys seeking to pay a victim as little as possible can be downright dastardly.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a moped or motor scooter accident in Hawaii, we are available to help. We offer a free consultation to accident victims; and offer aggressive and strategic legal representation against the insurance companies and attorneys responsible to compensate victims pursuant to Hawaii law.