In situations involving a “near collision,” where the wrongful act of another motorist causes you to take evasive action, there’s a big difference between the potential consequences when you’re on a motorcycle or an automobile. With an automobile, it’s much easier to maintain control of the vehicle and you’ll be protected by a few thousand pounds of steel. On a motorcycle, though, your only option may be to lay down the bike, putting you in direct contact with the roadway.
If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident where there was never any contact with another driver, can you still sue that person for injuries suffered? The answer is a clear “yes.”
Legal Responsibility for “No Contact” Motorcycle Accidents
There is no requirement that there be any actual contact between the at-fault party and a person injured in a motorcycle accident. Instead, a personal injury claim for losses sustained in a motorcycle accident will almost always be based on a legal theory of negligence. To successfully recover under a theory of negligence, you need to prove three things to a judge and/or jury:
- That the at-fault person breached his or her duty of care—Under the law as it has evolved, all persons must exercise “reasonable” care in all their daily endeavors, whether it’s driving a motor vehicle, maintaining real property, or designing or manufacturing a product. In a lawsuit, a jury will review the facts as supported by the evidence and make a determination of whether or not the defendant exercised an appropriate amount of care. If not, the jury will move on to the second element of negligence.
- The failure to exercise reasonable care “caused” an accident—Causation has two parts—actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause requires a showing that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause requires that the injured party show that the injuries sustained were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the breach of the duty of care.
- There were actual losses—The plaintiff (the injured party) must also show that he or she suffered some actual loss, whether it’s property damage or personal injury. Personal injury can include lost wages and income, medical bills, loss of companionship or consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys bring over 30 years of experience to injured people in California, including men and women who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a private consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There is no charge for your first meeting.