You’re cruising down I-435 with your helmet on, thankful that the weather is nice enough to get back on your bike. Suddenly, the car ahead of you slams on its brakes—causing you to lay the bike down to avoid hitting him. You wake up on the shoulder with paramedics staring down at you, not sure how bad your injuries are or if you’ll ever walk again. The driver in front of you says the accident was nobody’s fault. Is he right?
This is unfortunately a common situation for injured bikers: Who is at fault for an accident where no actual collision occurred? While it can be tricky to determine fault in no contact motorcycle accidents, the general rule is that the at-fault party is the one who was acting negligently.
No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents Where the Driver Is Known
If the driver remains on the scene after the accident, the police officer may question both you and the driver to discover what each of you were doing when the crash took place. For instance, were either of you:
- Distracted? Was either one of you using a cell phone, looking for your exit, or talking to someone else just before the accident?
- Speeding? Were either of you traveling above the speed limit before crash?
- Behaving recklessly? Did the biker leave a proper following distance? Was he lane-splitting or traveling in the car’s blind spot? Was the driver weaving in and out of lanes or making sudden stops in the minutes before the crash? Did the driver use his signals before changing lanes?
- Under the influence? The police officer may perform road sobriety tests on both you and the driver if he has reason to believe that alcohol or drug use played a role in the accident.
What Happens If a Hit-and-Run Driver Caused a No-Contact Motorcycle Crash?
If the driver who caused your accident left the scene, it will be nearly impossible to prove fault. It is illegal for drivers to leave the scene of a motorcycle crash in Missouri. In rare cases, police may be able to track down the hit-and-run driver and successfully charge him. However, many such drivers are never located.
To protect hit-and-run crash victims, the State of Missouri provides some coverage for injured motorcyclists under the uninsured or underinsured motorist law. The injured motorcycle rider should be able to collect payments for hospital treatment and medical costs from his or her own insurance company. If surgery is required, victims may need to ask an attorney’s advice on who should pay for treatment.
No-contact motorcycle accidents can still cause serious injuries—even if the vehicles do not strike each other. However, it can be difficult to prove that a biker is blameless in the crash. To find out how to overcome the obstacles that can hurt your case, download our free book, The Devil’s Advocate: A Biker’s Guide to Accidents and Injuries today.