Motorcyclists face many dangers when on the road. One significant threat to their safety is other drivers. Unfortunately, if you are riding a motorcycle, you do not even need to be in a collision with another car for another road user to cause you injuries. Even if you are a cautious, alert, and skilled rider, you might need to take extreme measures to avoid a wreck.
When you suffer injuries in a crash because of another driver, but you never actually make contact with that other vehicle, you might wonder whether there is any way to hold that other person liable for their injuries. Fortunately, you can file a claim against a driver who negligently causes a “no contact” collision. Contact an experienced California motorcycle crash attorney to discuss filing a claim against the driver who caused your injuries.
What Happens in a “No-Contact” Motorcycle Accident?
Many different scenarios might lead to a “no contact” motorcycle crash. One example is if a car travels in the lane next to the motorcycle and changes lanes cutting off the biker. This type of crash is not uncommon because drivers frequently fail to notice motorcycles that might be in their blind spots.
As the motorcyclist, you would have two choices: crash with the car or swerve your bike, potentially losing control of the motorcycle, and crashing. If you take quick action to avoid the crash and lose control of the motorcycle, the driver is likely at fault for that accident, even if you never make contact with their car.
The same would be true if a car turned left in front of you while passing through an intersection. Left-turning vehicles are often at fault in these collisions because unless they have a green turn arrow, oncoming traffic will have the right-of-way. If a car cuts into your path while it is turning left, your options will be limited. You might even end up laying down your bike to avoid striking the side of the vehicle. As the motorcyclist, you might not be at fault, but you will be the most likely person to suffer injuries in this scenario.
There are also cases where motorcyclists might be to blame for a “no contact” accident, such as if you failed to slow down while traveling behind a vehicle and then have to swerve to avoid striking the car from the rear.
When it comes to “no contact” crashes, the incidents leading up to these events are the same ones that cause crashes between two vehicles. Perhaps a driver is not paying attention, under the influence, speeding, or otherwise engaged in risky driving behaviors. If the vehicles do not contact one another, this will not prevent the injured person from recovering damages.
Proving Liability in a Non-Contact Motorcycle Crash
One potential hurdle for the victim of a “no contact” crash is that the driver might leave the scene. The vehicle will not have any damage from the crash, and so it might be challenging to identify the motorist. Some drivers might not even see the motorcyclist even after the biker crashes.
If the driver leaves, and you can get information about the vehicle, take notes. Also, you will want to speak to anyone who might have witnessed the crash. If another driver has information about the person or vehicle that caused you to crash, get that person’s contact information. Finally, you should call the police to report the incident. You might be able to find the liable party and hold them accountable.
If the driver stops, you will also want to contact the police and file a report. Of course, if you are injured, you should seek medical attention first and foremost, but remember also to take steps to gather information when possible. You might be able to hold the negligent driver liable for your injuries. In that case, that person or their insurance provider will have to cover any medical costs and other related expenses. Considering the incredible cost of treating accident-related injuries, this could be a vital way to provide you and your family some financial relief.
What if You Cannot Locate the Driver After an Accident?
You might never find the driver who caused your injuries. In this case, you are not entirely out of options for pursuing compensation for your injuries. You will want to reach out to your own insurance company and file an uninsured motorist claim. Uninsured motorist insurance helps compensate you if you are in a crash with a driver who does not carry car insurance or if the driver commits a hit-and-run.
Contact a personal injury lawyer about recovering from another driver or your insurer. When filing an uninsured motorist claim, you might need help from a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company. The insurer will want to minimize their payments, and therefore, will often try to argue that you are partly at fault for your injuries or that you are overestimating your damages.
Steps to Avoid a No Contact Motorcycle Crash
It will not always be feasible to avoid a crash if another driver behaves negligently. However, there are steps that you can take to improve your safety while riding. Wearing bright colors can minimize the risk of another motorist failing to notice you and cutting into your path. Always using a helmet is one of the best ways to prevent severe injuries.
If you travel at safe speeds, you will give yourself more of an opportunity to respond in the event of an emergency. Speeding cuts the amount of time you have to react and leads to more severe collisions. You may also consider taking motorcycle skills courses to ensure that you are an expert in operating your vehicle. Riding is much more challenging than driving, and it is crucial to keep your skillset sharp so that you react to dangers in the best possible manner.
Recovering Damages After a No-Contact Motorcycle Crash
If you know who caused your injuries, you can file a claim against that driver. You can speak to a lawyer who will work with you to build a case strategy. Your lawyer might negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance provider and file a lawsuit if that insurer does not provide the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
You and your lawyer will need to prove that the other driver was negligent when they caused the “no contact” accident. If you can demonstrate that the driver changed lanes without warning and cut into your path, turned left in front of you, or ran through a stop sign, you would have strong evidence of negligence.
You will also have to prove your damages, which means showing the severity of your injuries. If successful, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost time at work
- Future projected medical costs
- Future lost income
- Pain and suffering
The total amount that you collect will depend on the facts unique to your case, so you should consult with a dedicated motorcycle crash attorney for a consultation. If you share fault for the crash because of your negligence, you might find that the court reduces your damages. Fortunately, in California, you can collect damages even if you are partly at fault for a crash. The court will assign a percentage of liability to each party and then reduce damages by your percent of the blame for the crash.
Call an Experience Orange County Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you sustained injuries in a “no contact” motorcycle crash, you might be able to recover damages. Never hesitate to speak to a personal injury lawyer about filing a claim. The Orange County motorcycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. Consulting with an accident attorney sooner will make it easier for you to collect evidence and build your case.
With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our personal injury attorneys represent motorcycle accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our lawyers, please call 949-727-9300.
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