If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Des Moines and did not have a valid motorcycle license at the time, you may still file a motorcycle accident claim against the other driver. Not having a valid motorcycle license doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with fault in an accident and does not preclude you from filing a claim if the other driver caused the wreck.
While you might face penalties for operating a motorcycle without a license, filing a motorcycle accident claim should follow the same procedure as filing any other accident liability claim.
How do I establish that I’m not at fault?
Thankfully, Iowa is a modified comparative fault state. According to Iowa’s modified comparative fault law, each driver involved in an accident may recover damages unless he or she is more than 51 percent responsible for the accident. So even if you were unlicensed, if your motorcycle accident claim establishes the other driver was mostly responsible for the accident, you can recover damages.
Documentation of your motorcycle accident can help you prove fault, at the scene of the accident, you may have:
- taken photographs;
- collected witness testimony;
- jotted down witness contact information;
- made note of the other driver’s contact information; and/or
- gotten the name of the driver’s insurance company.
All of these items will come in handy when you file a claim against the other driver. Afterward, the first thing you must do when you are involved in a motorcycle accident is fill out an Iowa Accident Report if the accident resulted in death, personal injury, or total property damages of at least $1,500. If law enforcement investigated the accident, the report is not required. If you’re filling out the report, return it via mail to the Iowa Department of Transportation in Des Moines. Be sure to return the report within 72 hours.
Once you have filled out an Iowa Accident Report and mailed the report to the Iowa Department of Transportation, you should file an accident claim. To file the claim, contact the other driver’s insurance company and report the accident. You may then present the evidence mentioned above to establish that the other driver is to blame for the accident.
Will the insurance company blame me for the accident if I’m unlicensed?
However, like filing any type of claim, filing a motorcycle accident claim can be a tedious task whether or not you had a valid license at the time of the accident. The insurer may try to argue that you were at fault for the accident and may attempt to convince you that not having a valid motorcycle license is indicative of your fault. Thus, you must present convincing evidence that you are less than 51 percent at fault and that the other driver is actually to blame.
An attorney at Walker, Billingsley and Bair can provide you with legal counsel about filing a claim against the other driver involved in your motorcycle accident and can help you deal with insurance adjusters. Call us at (888) 435-9886 to set up a consultation.