Motorcycle Accident Injuries—Does There Have to Be a Collision?

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.

Uninsured Lexus Driver Strikes and Injures San Francisco Bicyclist

A recent auto – bicycle accident in San Francisco illustrates a number of the legal and practical problems that can follow in the aftermath of the crash. As reported last month in the San Francisco Examiner, a 45-year-old bicyclist ran a red light on Sixth Street and was struck by a Lexus traveling on Mission Street. The bicyclist was hospitalized with an undisclosed injury.

Bicyclist Ran Red Light, Suspended Driver Uninsured: Who Wins?

Because a San Francisco police sergeant witnessed the accident in its entirety, both the bicyclist and the Lexus driver will need to consider the police eyewitness version of the accident as the operative story unless other credible witnesses can be found to contest any of the main details. Because the bicyclist ran the light, at least as far as the police witness saw it, the driver could develop a strong comparative negligence defense. In other words, if the accident was held primarily to be the bicyclist’s fault, his claim for damages could be seriously weakened.

On the other hand, the driver might have had a clear opportunity to avoid the accident, even though the bike rider did not belong in the intersection. If forensic analysis of the accident scene turns up no evidence of braking or evasive maneuvering by the driver prior to impact, he might still be found liable for negligence.

An important complication that will very likely come up in any litigation of the accident concerns the driver’s suspended license and lack of insurance. He also had false registration information on his license plate. Although the bicyclist can try to collect any damages he can prove from the driver directly, there will be no liability insurance available to cover his claims.

Experienced personal injury lawyers know better than to give up under these facts. The bicyclist’s injuries might very well be covered under his own auto policy’s uninsured motorist provisions, and his own health insurance or even home-owner’s insurance might also cover certain expenses, lost income or other losses.

Call 866-288-6010 in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael

At the Bay Area law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys have focused on bicycle accident claims for many years, and we know how to find sources of compensation even in cases where an uninsured driver was responsible for the bike rider’s injuries. We also know how to meet and overcome comparative negligence defenses under a wide variety of circumstances.

Contact us for a free consultation at any of our four office locations if you need advice about your rights following a serious bicycle accident. To learn more about our practice, visit our website.

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1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
P. 415-788-3900

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 600 Oakland, CA 94612
P. 510-663-6000

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