What Is a “No-Contact” Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle Accident | May 29, 2021

When most people picture motorcycle accidents, they imagine a collision between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle or fixed object. They may not realize that a motorcycle accident can occur even without a collision. These are called no-contact motorcycle accidents, and they can cause severe and fatal injuries. The driver of the motor vehicle may still be financially responsible for a motorcyclist’s injuries and property damage even if the two vehicles did not collide.

What Is a No-Contact Accident?

A no-contact motorcycle accident occurs when a motor vehicle driver makes an error that forces a motorcyclist to hit the brakes, swerve, lay the motorcycle down or drive off of the road in order to avoid a collision with the car. Even if the car never touched the motorcycle, the driver of the vehicle could be financially responsible, or liable, for the crash. Liability, however, depends on state law and whether or not the driver was negligent.

Who Is Liable?

In Massachusetts, a no-fault insurance law governs who pays for traffic accidents. According to this law, every driver involved in an accident will seek compensation from his or her own insurance provider, no matter who was at fault. After a motorcycle accident, an injured motorcyclist will typically file a first-party insurance claim with his or her own insurance provider, even if another motorist caused the crash. The motorcyclist’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover medical bills.

If, however, the injuries suffered were serious enough to cause over $2,000 in necessary medical expenses, significant scarring or disfigurement, broken bones, loss of vision or hearing, or death, the injured motorcyclist will have the right to hold the other driver accountable. In this scenario, the motorcyclist can bring a lawsuit against another driver, but must be able to prove that driver was negligent.

Negligence in personal injury law means that someone was careless or reckless and this injured someone else. Examples of driver negligence that could cause a no-contact motorcycle accident are driving drunk, texting and driving, making an unsafe lane change, making a dangerous left-hand turn, brake-checking, and running a red light. If a driver was negligent and this forced the motorcyclist to crash, the driver could be liable even if the two vehicles never touched.

What Should You Do If You’re in a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?

If you get into a no-contact motorcycle accident in Massachusetts, try to stay calm and assess yourself for injuries. Common injuries involved in motorcycle collisions are broken bones, road rash and concussions. Keep in mind that your adrenaline may initially mask the symptoms of an injury. If you can, move your disabled motorcycle out of the road. Then, call 911 or have the other driver call for you. It is important to report all motorcycle accidents to the police.

If the other driver noticed that he or she caused the no-contact accident and pulled over, exchange information with the driver. Unfortunately, motorists often don’t realize when they cause no-contact motorcycle accidents, there was no collision. If the driver does not stop, write down what you can remember about the vehicle, including license plate numbers, if possible. Talk to eyewitnesses to see if anyone has further information that could help the police track down the driver.

Before you leave the scene of the accident, take photographs of your wrecked motorcycle and the scene of the crash as a whole. Ask for your police report number from the responding officer. Then, go to a hospital right away for a checkup. When you are ready, contact your own insurance company to file a claim. If you have more than $2,000 worth of medical bills or you meet Massachusetts’ injury threshold in another way, contact a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your right to file a lawsuit.