South Carolina DUI attorney Dale Savage wrote an interesting article on Mopeds and DUI law in the state. The current law in South Carolina is that a moped is not defined as a “motor vehicle” so DUI would not apply to riding a moped drunk. The legislature is trying to fix the loop hole in South Carolina. A few years ago, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that a riding lawnmower was not a “motor vehicle” in a theft case, I wonder if the same would hold true if someone was pulled over for drinking and driving a lawn mower.
Mr. Savage's article brings up a pretty common occurrence in Florida when folks on mopeds are hit and injured by a car. The issue is whether the injured person is entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP)or No-Fault benefits to pay for their medical care.
As a reminder, all people who have a registered motor vehicle in Florida are required to purchase two types of insurance: PIP and Property Damage. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to receive up to $10,000 (depending on the nature and extent of your injuries) for medical care regardless of fault. The strange thing about PIP is that the insurance follows the person. To explain, if I own a car and have complied with the law and purchased PIP, my PIP would pay my medical expenses if I was my neighbors vehicle when the accident happened. So the question becomes, if I'm on a Vespa or a Moped and I'm injured, will my PIP pay for the meds?
What are the issues with a Moped?
The issues in a moped case revolve around whether the moped should be classified more like a bicycle, in which PIP would apply, or a motorcycle, where there is no PIP. The law uses the term “self propelled vehicle.”
Here is a real factual scenario. A guy is on his moped, which has a braking power of 1.5. He is struck by a car and injured. He submits a claim to his insurance company to pay his meds and the company denies coverage because it believes the moped is a “self-propelled vehicle.” The courts that have looked at this issue ask the question is it more like a bicycle or motorcycle. So the questions that we have to ask are:
Can the moped be pedaled? if yes, you will probably be entitled to PIP. If no, it is will be considered more like a motorcycle.
What is the horsepower and top speed of the moped? If the moped has lower the horse or braking power and the lower the top speed, the better chance we have of getting PIP to apply.
Finally, if the moped needs to be registered, it will be considered more of a motorcycle and PIP will not apply.
These are the reasons that it is important to consult an attorney who focuses on car accident law immediately after a Central Florida moped accident. If you do not qualify for PIP, you start your personal injury case $10,000 bucks in hole. If you have any questions about a Leesburg car wreck, Call (352) 267-9168.
Photo attribution: Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net