Who Is Liable in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?
Most motorcycle accidents involve a collision between two vehicles: a motorcycle and a passenger car, truck or van. Some collisions in New Jersey, however, take the form of no-contact motorcycle accidents. After these unique types of accidents, it can be difficult for the injured motorcyclist to recover financial compensation from the phantom driver.
What Is a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?
As the name implies, a no-contact motorcycle accident is when a driver causes a motorcycle accident without ever coming into contact with the bike. This is possible if the phantom driver does something careless, reckless or against the law that puts the motorcyclist at risk of an accident – forcing the rider to crank the brakes, drive off the road, lay down the motorcycle or take another action to avoid hitting the motor vehicle.
Motorcycles are small and lightweight vehicles that can easily crash – especially when an external factor forces the motorcyclist off the road. If a driver does anything that puts a motorcyclist at risk, the rider may have to take evasive action to avoid a crash. If a motor vehicle driver comes too close to the motorcyclist, for example, this could force the rider to veer off of the road to avoid a collision. This would be an example of a no-contact motorcycle accident.
Determining Liability After a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident
All drivers have a responsibility to act safely and prudently behind the wheel. This includes keeping a lookout for motorcycles and obeying all traffic laws, such as rights-of-way. Liability, or financial responsibility for the motorcycle accident, could go to a motor vehicle driver if he or she caused the no-contact accident. If the driver didn’t see the motorcycle and tried to merge on top of it, for example, the driver could be liable for a resultant no-contact motorcycle accident.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to hold a driver responsible for this type of crash. Without any actual contact between the two vehicles, there will not be any property damage on the other car to prove that it was even involved in the accident. Proving this type of case may require other types of evidence, such as surveillance footage or eyewitnesses. In addition, the lack of noise and impact in these collisions means that many motor vehicle drivers do not realize when they’ve caused them. This can put a motorcyclist at risk of a hit-and-run accident.
How Do You Recover Financial Compensation for a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?
New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that after an automobile accident, you can recover financial benefits from your own insurance company, even if you didn’t cause the accident. It is not necessary to prove that someone else was to blame for your collision to recover financial benefits. Your own personal injury protection insurance will pay for your medical bills, whether your injuries are major or minor.
If you suffered serious or catastrophic injuries in your motorcycle accident, however, the law may entitle you to additional financial compensation through a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit. Your injuries must meet New Jersey’s serious injury threshold to sue outside of the no-fault insurance system. If you qualify, you or your attorney will have to prove that the driver caused your no-contact motorcycle accident to recover financial compensation from his or her insurance provider.
How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you get into a no-contact motorcycle accident in New Jersey, remain calm and call the police to report the crash. Gather any evidence that you can, such as pictures of the scene of the crash, eyewitness names and phone numbers, and a description of the accident as you remember it. Call your own auto insurance provider as soon as possible to file a claim. Before you accept a settlement, however, contact a motorcycle accident attorney to find out if you are eligible for greater financial compensation through a claim against the at-fault driver. If so, a lawyer can help.