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Do Aftermarket Modifications Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Case?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Riding a motorcycle isn't just a hobby solely spent on the road. For many owners, a large part of owning a motorcycle is making it the bike of their dreams through a series of modifications. While these motorcycles may not need these aftermarket parts, owners often like to feel that their motorcycle is different from every other model sold at the dealership through custom-crafted parts made for aesthetic or performance, and that is great. However, riders need to be very careful with what they do add on, as it may have a very real effect on any potential accidents.

Insurance Coverage May Not Cover Modifications

One of the biggest concerns of aftermarket modifications is that they may not be covered by your insurance company in the event of the accident. While your couple thousand dollar bike may be covered by accident insurance, they probably won't cover your extra couple thousand dollars of modifications without a specific increase to your premium from extra coverage before the accident even occurs. This leaves you essentially covering any replacement modification out of your own pocket.

If the motorcycle accident was the fault of another, you may run into the same roadblock from their insurance company as well. They may offer a portion for modifications, but usually what they offer will cover a small fraction of the modifications that you made.

When They Call Modifications Dangerous

Unfortunately, aftermarket modifications on your motorcycle are an invitation for debate after an accident. Does installing a racing exhaust mean you are going to be speeding down the highway? Probably not. However, there are modifications that can make a motorcycle more dangerous.

For example, softer handlebar grips seem as innocent as they are comfortable on your hands. However, it could be argued that they impeded your ability to maneuver the motorcycle properly in order to avoid the crash. The same thing can be said if your LED lights are too dim in the dark, your handlebar weights were replaced and improperly balanced, or hand levers were replaced with cheaper grade models. There are quite a few modifications that can be made that may look better, but actually, function worse, and that can be a problem.

Even if another driver is very clearly at fault, modifications on your motorcycle give insurance companies just one more route they can try in order to cut costs. You can also be sure that if you have made even one small modification, they will make every effort to bring it up. You need to be upfront with your personal injury attorney so they can make sure to gather ample evidence that none of your modifications contributed to the accident.

Alternatively, if you do believe the accident was the result of an aftermarket part, this also potentially opens the manufacturer up to a separate third-party lawsuit. However, it is important to remember that these lawsuits require rather concrete evidence that it was the fault of the part in the accident rather than another driver or your own fault.

Need Help?

Have you been in a motorcycle accident in the Los Angeles area? Whether you were riding a bike with extensive modifications or just the standard issue sold right off the dealership, we can help. Having the right to make custom modifications to your bike should not bar you from getting the compensation you need after an accident, especially if it was due to no fault of your own. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can do to make sure you recover everything you need from your devastating motorcycle accident.



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