Most motorcyclists would agree that there is nothing quite like cruising down the road on their beloved bike. Those feelings of freedom and joy can turn to tragedy in an instant, forever changing the life of an innocent motorcyclist at the hands of another driver's negligence.
Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated eighty-two thousand motorcyclists were injured and nearly five thousand were killed in accidents in 2018. No-contact motorcycle accidents are an all-too-common occurrence, and motorcyclists should understand what they are, how they happen, and what to do if they become a victim of a no-contact crash. If you were involved in a no-contact motorcycle accident in Georgia, consider speaking with a knowledgeable, compassionate lawyer at The Mark Casto Law Firm at (706) 940-4030 to understand how we may be able to help you with your case.
What Is a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?
The idea of a no-contact motorcycle accident may seem confusing, but the concept is simple. No-contact accidents occur when another driver causes a motorcyclist to crash without coming into contact with the other driver's vehicle. They are frequently the result of another driver's negligent actions which the motorcyclist attempts to avoid.
For example, if another driver runs a red light, causing a motorcyclist to swerve in an effort to avoid hitting the vehicle, and crashes the motorcycle as a result, a no-contact motorcycle accident has occurred.
Common Causes of No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents
No-contact motorcycle accidents have a variety of causes, and motorcyclists are uniquely at-risk for accidents because of the nature of their vehicles. Motorcyclists must maintain certain speeds and balance to remain upright. Sudden changes in speed or direction can easily cause a motorcycle to wreck, and that is often the case in no-contact accidents. Some common causes of no-contact motorcycle accidents include:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failing to check surroundings before merging or changing lanes
- Texting, focusing on passengers, or other forms of distracted driving
- Failing to signal
Liability In No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents
Many people think that since no-contact motorcycle accidents do not directly involve other vehicles, the motorcyclist is solely responsible for the accident. However, negligent drivers of other vehicles can be found liable for no-contact crashes by insurance companies or courts. All drivers have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and to be aware of their surroundings. Negligence occurs when a driver fails to exercise reasonable care, causing another vehicle to crash.
If a negligent driver does not stop after the accident occurs, law enforcement agencies often treat the situation as a hit-and-run and work with the motorcyclist to locate the negligent driver. Pictures or videos of the scene of the accident and statements from witnesses can help establish liability in no-contact motorcycle accidents. Building a liability case can be challenging, and a knowledgeable attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm may be able to help with your Georgia accident case.
Types of Compensation in No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents
Victims of no-contact motorcycle accidents may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, losses, and suffering. Each case is different, and the amount and type of compensation may depend on insurance coverage, court rulings, and the laws of the state in which the accident occurred. Victims may be able to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills for injuries caused by the accident
- Property damage resulting from the accident
- Lost wages because of time away from work for treatment and recovery from injuries
- Loss of future wages if the motorcyclist is disabled or killed as a result of the accident
- Noneconomic damages for pain and suffering because of the accident
Legal Options Following No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents
Victims of no-contact motorcycle accidents often seek compensation from an insurance company. Insurance policies usually limit the amount of compensation victims can receive, and may not pay victims enough to cover their expenses and losses following an accident.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies may make an effort to limit the amount of compensation paid to victims and might use several tactics to minimize or deny a victim's claim to compensation. Some common insurance company tactics include:
- Attempting to interview the victim while the victim is hospitalized or sedated on medications
- Using common conversational phrases to minimize the severity of the victim's injuries; for example, if the victim responds, “I am okay” in response to the question, “How are you today?”
- Quickly offering a very low settlement amount with the hope that the victim will accept
- Sending a check as partial payment for a claim, but stating in the fine print that the matter will be settled completely if the victim cashes the check
- Intentionally stalling the settlement process in an attempt to get the victim to give up
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim
Victims also have the option of pursuing a personal injury claim in court to seek compensation for their losses and suffering because of no-contact motorcycle accidents. If a victim died as a result of the crash, the victim's loved ones may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Each state has a statute of limitations for the amount of time victims have to file a personal injury claim. The state of Georgia's statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. Building a strong personal injury case is a challenging and complex process. Victims should begin working on their personal injury claims as soon as possible following an accident to preserve evidence and ensure they meet the deadline for filing.