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Handling Motorcycle Accidents When There Is No Contact Between The At-Fault Driver And Motorcycle

Most experienced motorcyclists attempt to avoid collisions by laying down the bike prior to impact. The most common scenario for laying down a bike occurs when a passenger car or truck drives into the oncoming path of the motorcycle by failing to yield the legal right of way to the motorcyclist. Because many riders are experienced, they successfully avoid collisions in these situations.

Recovering Against The At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company

It is common for insurance companies to deny liability when there is no contact between the car and motorcycle. Even some lawyers decline to accept cases involving motorcycle injury and death if there is no contact between the motorcycle and at-fault vehicle. In fact, at Rittgers & Rittgers we have been hired by clients who have been told by local attorneys that they do not have a claim because there was no contact between the motorcycle and car. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that there is no collision does not mean the careless driver is not responsible for paying damages in the eyes of the law. 

Proving Negligence

The legal test for negligence is not whether the negligent person caused a collision between his car and that of the victim's. Rather, the question is whether the driver exercised the amount of caution that an ordinarily prudent driver would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances. In other words, did the driver act reasonably when operating his vehicle? If the answer to that question is no, then the injured rider may have a strong claim against the careless driver.

Proximate Cause And The "But For" Test

The analysis does not end there. To have a strong claim, the injured rider must also show the careless driver's unreasonableness directly caused the rider's injuries. The determinative question to be answered is, 'but for the careless driver's failure to exercise a reasonable amount of caution, would the accident and the associated injuries have occurred?' If the answer to this question is 'no,' the injured rider has a strong claim against the careless driver. Again, it does not matter whether there was impact between the motorcycle and the careless driver's vehicle. If the injured rider can show the other driver was negligent and that negligence caused the rider's injuries, the rider will have a strong personal injury claim against the other driver. A question to ask in these cases: But for the driver's actions, would the motorcyclist have had to lay down his bike?

Look Twice And Save A Life

Many drivers believe motorcyclists stay off the roads when it is cold outside. However, this is not true, as motorcyclists ride on nice days even during these cold months. Naturally, this common misconception makes drivers less likely to look for riders this time of year. As a result, it is not uncommon for drivers to cut motorcyclists off or pull out directly in front of them at or near an intersection.

This is a friendly reminder to all of us to be cautious of motorcycles-even during the cold months. 

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