While many motorcyclists wrongly believe that it is nearly impossible to determine fault and recover damages if there is no contact or collision between their motorcycle and another vehicle, in reality, it is possible to establish fault and seek compensation for a “no contact” motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, Riverside, or elsewhere in California.
“In other words, if you can prove that a car driver’s negligent act or omission to act caused your motorcycle accident, you can recover damages even if there is no collision between your motorcycle and that vehicle,” explains our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg.
A common scenario of a “no contact” motorcycle accident is when you lay your motorcycle down or crash after being cut off by a car or while attempting to avoid a collision with another vehicle. In that scenario, you may be able to hold the driver liable for your injuries and damages even though there was no contact between your bike and the driver’s vehicle.
“However,” our experienced motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles warns, “You will be facing the burden of proof to demonstrate evidence that the driver was negligent, and that negligence was a direct or contributory cause of your injury or property damage.”
Fault in a ‘no contact’ motorcycle accident with an unsafe lane change
All motorists on the road have a legal duty to obey traffic laws in California and be vigilant and attentive about their surroundings to avoid causing a crash. The same rule applies to the so-called “no contact” motorcycle accidents.
However, all “no contact” motorcycle accidents are unique, and require a legal investigation to establish fault. In general, there can be two common scenarios of motorcycle accidents where no contact between the motorcycle and another vehicle occurs.
A motorcycle and another vehicle are traveling in the same direction but in separate lanes. The car is traveling a little ahead of the bike and performs an unsafe lane change without using turn signals to warn the motorcyclist of its intention to switch lanes. As a result, the motorcyclist loses control of the bike in a last-minute swerve to avoid colliding with the car.
“In the above-mentioned scenario, the car driver will most likely be held liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries and property damages because (1) the driver performed an unsafe lane change, and (2) failed to use turn signals,” explains our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney. Nonetheless, the motorcyclist will most likely require legal help from an experienced lawyer to determine whether the lane change was unsafe or not.
No contact motorcycle crash involving deceleration
Let’s review another common scenario. A motorcycle and car are traveling in the same lane, the motorcyclist slightly behind the car. At the traffic stop, the car slows down, but the motorcyclist fails to notice this and maintains the speed. The biker notices the deceleration when it is too late and has no choice but to swerve when the car has come to a near-stop. As a result, the motorcyclist sustains an injury but there is no contact between the bike and the car.
In this situation, the motorcycle will most likely be solely responsible for his injuries and damages, because he failed to remain vigilant while operating his bike and failed to notice the deceleration and react accordingly. In other words, the no contact motorcycle accident would not have happened had the motorcyclist noticed the deceleration and slowed down just in time to avoid having to swerve.
It is advised to speak to a motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles, Riverside or elsewhere in California to determine who was at fault for a motorcycle crash in which the bike did not collide with another vehicle. Contact Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to consult about your particular case today. Call our offices at 310-997-0904.