Was invoked in an accident on a friend’s bike who had no insurance.

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Was invoked in an accident on a friend’s bike who had no insurance.

I was on my friend’s motorcycle that he had just picked up from a private seller. The car slid into the other lane and was hit by a passing car. I found out later that because he didn’t have insurance on his other bike that they won’t cover him. Now I’m being sued by the guy whos car the bike hit. And my insurance is refusing to cover me. I don’t have the money for a lawyer. However, my friend claimed that when he purchased the motorcycle he didn’t write his name on the title so he said he was the legal owner. What do I do?

Asked on November 11, 2018 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not he's the legal owner, YOU are liable for the damage you did and any injuries you caused if you were at fault (e.g. riding/driving negligently or carelessly), since at-fault driver is always liable for the accidents he/she causes. You can and should check your own policy to see if it should cover you here; if it should, but they won't, you could sue the insurer for "breach of contract"--for violating their contractual obligation (and insurance policy is a contract) to cover your accident. But if your own insurance won't cover, it is difficult to see who else's insurance might cover: your friend did not have insurance, and even if he was not the legal owner, the owner's insurance would not cover since you were not a permitted or covered driver under his policy. Without your own insurance covering, it appears that you would have to pay out of pocket.


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