Not all motorcycle accidents involve vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. A no-contact motorcycle accident happens when a driver causes a motorcycle accident without a crash. The driver may commit a dangerous act that forces the motorcyclist to react and crash – all without contact between the two vehicles. In a no-contact motorcycle accident, it is common for the driver who caused the accident to speed away without realizing what he or she did. Holding so-called phantom drivers responsible for no-contact accidents may not be possible, but a victim could have other outlets for recovery.
Driver Negligence and No Contact Accidents
In many cases, motor vehicle drivers cause motorcycle accidents in Texas. A negligent or reckless driver could cause a crash through speeding, drunk driving or ignoring motorcyclist rights-of-way. When a motorist collides with a motorcycle, the latter will almost always suffer the worst injuries. It does not take an actual collision between the vehicles for a motorcycle accident to occur, however. A driver can cause a motorcycle crash without a collision.
- Drifting in and out of a lane
- Making an unsafe lane change
- Merging on top of a motorcycle
- Cutting off a motorcycle
- Brake-checking a motorcyclist
- Speeding or weaving between lanes
- Making a dangerous pass
- Running a red light
Any action a driver takes that forces a motorcyclist to react could cause a no-contact crash. Coming too close to a motorcycle, almost sideswiping the bike, turning left in front of a motorcycle or merging on top of the motorcycle could all point to a driver’s liability for a resultant crash, even without vehicle-to-vehicle contact. If the at-fault driver takes off, however, the injured motorcyclist may not have anyone to hold accountable.
How to Recover Damages After a No-Contact Motorcycle Crash
Drivers often leave the scene of no-contact motorcycle crashes before leaving their information. They are often reckless, negligent or even drunk drivers who do not realize the consequences their actions had on other roadway users. The at-fault driver may speed off without waiting around to notice that a motorcyclist had to veer off the road or lay down his or her motorcycle to avoid a collision. Thus, the at-fault driver becomes a phantom driver – someone who causes a no-contact accident and flees the scene.
It may not be possible to hold a phantom driver accountable for a motorcycle accident. Without any identifying information, such as the driver’s name or description, the police may not have anything to go on for an investigation. If a witness saw the color of the vehicle or the license plate numbers, however, an investigation may identify the at-fault driver. In these cases, the injured motorcyclist could file a claim with the driver’s insurance company for damages. Unfortunately, most phantom drivers in no-contact motorcycle accidents remain unidentified.
In these cases, it may still be possible to pursue compensation through the motorcyclist’s insurance provider. Although not a mandatory type of insurance in Texas, motorcyclists can opt to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If they do not want it, motorists must refuse this coverage in writing. This type of insurance will pay a victim’s medical bills and repair costs if the at-fault driver did not have insurance or if it was a hit-and-run accident. The same rule applies to a no-contact accident involving a phantom driver. The motorcyclist’s insurance company may pay the bills if the victim has the correct type of coverage.
After a no-contact motorcycle crash, the injured victim should call the police. Calling the police can initiate an investigation that may ultimately lead to catching the culprit. If not, a police report could still help an insurance claim. Then, the victim should collect as much information as possible. This includes the names of any eyewitnesses. The victim should take photographs of motorcycle damages and personal injuries, as well as the scene of the accident. The more evidence available of the no-contact crash, the stronger an insurance claim will be. If an insurance company denies the claim, the injured motorcyclist should seek the counsel of a motorcycle accident attorney.