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Motorcyclists are at a higher risk for accidents than other drivers. Their motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and they are on the open with little protection. When crashes occur, they can be very serious or fatal. However, some of the worst accidents occur when a motorcyclist tries to avoid a collision. These no-contact accidents happen when the motorcyclist must swerve, lay the bike down, or crash to avoid colliding with another vehicle. Common reasons for this include when a car suddenly slows or stops or if a car crosses lanes without using their indicator. In certain cases, the driver may be liable for causing the crash, even if there was no actual contact.
Motorcyclists and drivers must follow traffic laws, and be aware of their surroundings. To prove that a driver was responsible for a no-contact accident, negligence showing that the driver did not use reasonable care must be proven. Examples of negligence include driving under the influence, using a cell phone while driving, not stopping at a red light, speeding up, or making an illegal turn. When a driver turns left in front of a motorcycle, a resulting crash is usually the driver’s fault.
If the driver and motorcyclist were both partially at fault, it may be a case of comparative negligence. For example, if the driver was careless and the motorcyclist did not have their headlamp on, the two parties may have contributed to the crash. In Delaware, only those under the age of 19 are required to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle, however, an approved helmet must always be stored on the motorcycle. Not wearing one during a crash makes it more difficult to win a case, since this contributes to injuries.
Since there is no contact between vehicles in these accidents, the negligent drivers flee the scene. This makes determining liability more difficult. The motorcyclist can try to obtain the license plate or car description, but it may be too late. Once the police arrive, they may treat the crash like a hit-and-run. If the driver is found, the motorcyclist can file a lawsuit. If not, the motorcyclist is then left contacting their own insurance company to cover medical costs and property damage.
Motorcyclists that are injured in no-contact accidents can file personal injury claims. Since Delaware is a comparative negligence state, a motorcyclist can still receive compensation if they are less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. However, even if the other driver broke a traffic law when the accident occurred, it must be proven that their negligence led to the motorcyclist’s injuries. In rare cases, punitive damages are awarded for motorcycle accidents. They are given if a defendant’s actions showed malice and intentional misconduct.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, the Delaware accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries and obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or fill out an online form for a free consultation. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.