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No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents – How to Prove Fault

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on September 15, 2022

A common cause of motorcycle accidents occurs when a motorcycle does not make contact with another vehicle i.e. no-contact accidents.

Definition of a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

Many drivers may be puzzled by the idea of a no-contact accident, but they are more common than one thinks. A no-contact accident occurs when a motorcycle operator is driving their vehicle when suddenly the actions of another driver, a pedestrian, a roadway defect, or a stray object cause the motorcyclist to lose control of their vehicle and crash. When a no-contact motorcycle accident occurs because of another motor vehicle’s actions, the operator of that motor vehicle may be liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries.  

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Since motorcycles offer extremely limited protection from the elements, it is no surprise they account for some of the worst accidents on U.S. roadways each year. According to data compiled by the National Safety Council:

  • 5,579 motorcycle deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2020.
  • 82,500 motorcycle injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2020.
  • 41.03% of all motorcycle crashes in the U.S. in 2020 involved a single vehicle.

How No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents Occur

Because many roadways can generate an endless supply of hazardous conditions, a no-contact motorcycle accident can occur in almost any scenario. A typical no-contact motorcycle accident can occur when the driver of a non-motorcycle (sedan, commercial truck, etc.) fails to signal properly during an attempted lane change while a motorcycle is driving in the vehicle’s blind spot.

The motorcyclist, slightly trailing behind the turning vehicle, can clearly see it is about to make contact with the bike, so the motorcyclist quickly swerves out of the way. Unfortunately, in the process, the motorcyclist loses control and falls off the bike. Depending on the road conditions, traffic speed, weather, and other factors, a motorcyclist can be gravely injured because a driver simply fails to use a proper turn signal.   

Common Injuries Related to a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle injuries can be some of the worst vehicle-related injuries on the road. More often than not, motorcyclists experience the worst injuries, including death, because of the little safety protection motorcycle offer compared to traditional vehicles like cars, sports utility vehicles, vans, and trucks.

Common no-contact motorcycle injuries include

  • Head and brain trauma.
  • Whiplash.
  • Facial and bodily disfigurement.
  • Torso and pelvic trauma.
  • Skin lacerations.
  • Broken extremities.
  • Permanent spinal injuries.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Organ failure.
  • Bruises and contusions.
  • Lifelong ailments deriving from traumatic injury.

The Claims Process for a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

Although most claims process starts with a simple phone call to an insurance provider, filing a claim and challenging a denial of the claim can be an incredibly complicated and costly process.

Steps to Take After a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident

When involved in a motorcycle accident, it is best to remain calm and seek medical attention immediately. A motorcyclist that has been in an accident may not be healthy or conscious enough to understand what has occurred, so they should quickly contact emergency services or call for help, if possible.

Once any injuries have been addressed, the motorcyclist should make every effort to obtain any documentation resulting from the accident. This should include a police report, medical summaries and bills, photos of the accident, names or details of eyewitnesses, information on health care providers, and any video surveillance or dash-camera footage of the accident. By collecting this information as quickly as possible, the motorcycle operator can ensure that they obtain ample evidence of the accident to defend against any potential legal challenges later in the process.

Proving Negligence  for a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident Louisiana

Every state, including Louisiana, has codified the legal standard to prove negligence in a court of law. Because most accidents are caused by simple negligence, it is best to understand the essential factors of a negligence claim. To prove negligence, a motorcyclist involved in a no-contact accident must show the following:

  1. The defendant driver owed the motorcyclist a duty of care (the duty of a reasonably prudent motorcycle driver).
  2. The defendant driver breached their prescribed duty of care in the operation of their motor vehicle.
  3. The defendant driver’s actions were the actual cause of the accident.
  4. The defendant driver’s actions were the proximate cause of the accident, which means the defendant driver’s actions played a substantial factor in the motorcyclist’s accident and resulting injuries.
  5. The motorcyclist experienced monetary damages from the accident, including medical bills for treatment and prolonged care, loss of income, loss of future earning potential, loss of consortium (the ability to interact with loved ones or intimate partners), property damage, mental distress, and pain and suffering.

What to Expect When Filing a Claim

Because Louisiana legally requires all motor vehicle owners to have insurance, a motorcyclist involved in an accident should immediately contact their insurance company to file a claim. Even if the motorcyclist was unable to obtain the name, contact information, and insurance policy information of the driver that caused the accident, the motorcyclist should always contact their insurance company.

Once a claim has been filed, the insurance company will investigate the accident. During the investigation, the motorcyclist should provide all documentation they were able to collect after the accident to describe the detail of the damage and injuries. Suppose the insurance company accepts the claim, depending on the policy. In that case, the insurance provider will cover the cost of property damage to the bike and related medical costs from injuries sustained in the accident.

However, if the insurance company denies the claim, the motorcyclist should immediately contact an attorney for assistance. Insurance companies will find any number of reasons to deny costly property damage and medical claims, especially for a risky activity like riding a motorcycle. Issues like neglecting to wear a helmet or misstating facts of the incident can result in a reduction of coverage or a general denial of the claim, which is why obtaining legal counsel can prevent legal and financial strain from a claim denial.