Motorcycles can be exhilarating to ride, but they are inherently more dangerous than typical passenger vehicles for several reasons. Riders are often difficult for passenger vehicle drivers to see and are afforded little protection in a collision. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer understand how to handle complex motorcycle collision claims and have a strong track record of success doing so. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact our St. Louis motorcycle wreck lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
After suffering injuries in a motorcycle collision, victims have several major concerns including medical bills, dealing with insurance companies, missed time from work, coordinating vehicle repairs and most importantly, medical recovery. A motorcycle crash attorney can handle a crash victim’s legal issues and provide other types of support, so the client can focus on healing. Motorcycle lawyers will know how to deal with insurance companies to prevent any unnecessary delays or unjustified pushback for clients’ claims.
Some people experience vehicle accidents or other injury-causing events and believe they can handle the resulting legal matters on their own. While it’s true that some individuals have successfully represented their own interests in court, doing so is not a wise choice for most people. The average person doesn’t have legal experience or any professional training and these voids can destroy a lawsuit before it even begins. Missing a filing deadline with the court or forgetting crucial paperwork can spur a judge to throw out a case before it even reaches the trial phase. Additionally, the average person probably doesn’t know all the places to look for compensation after a motorcycle accident.
Instead of risking your chance of securing compensation for your damages by attempting to represent your own case, find a reliable motorcycle wreck lawyer with a solid track record of success.
According to data gathered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in fatal crashes in 2016 alone, representing 13% of all vehicle accident fatalities that year. Although motorcycle accident deaths overall have declined in recent years, 2016 was a record-setting year for motorcycle collision fatalities in Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 123 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2016.
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than passenger vehicles because they afford very little protection to riders and passengers. While cars and trucks have seat belts and enclosed cabins for occupants, motorcycles leave their riders exposed to external forces and have no safety restraints. It’s common for a crash to send a motorcyclist sprawling, leading to serious injuries. The danger of serious or fatal injuries greatly increases at higher speeds.
The biggest risk that motorcycle riders face is inattentive drivers in other vehicles. It can be difficult to see motorcycles on the road even when a driver is paying full attention to their surroundings. If that driver is distracted, not paying close enough attention, or looking in a different direction, the consequences for a motorcyclist can be disastrous. These can take the form of:
Other dangerous elements involved in motorcycle accidents include lack of helmet use, driving under the influence and aggressive driving. Missouri follows a universal motorcycle helmet law, meaning every driver and passenger must wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while in motion on a motorcycle. The IIHS reports that approved helmets are 37% effective at preventing deaths and 67% effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries.
Driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous in any vehicle, but this practice can have especially disastrous consequences for motorcyclists. Alcohol and other illicit drugs can impair judgement, slow reaction time, blur vision and otherwise distort a rider’s perception to the point where he or she cannot operate the vehicle safely. When a sudden change on the road appears, the intoxicated motorcyclist will likely fail to react in time, resulting in serious injuries.
Another dangerous practice is “lane splitting,” or traveling between two adjacent, occupied lanes of traffic. Motorcycles are much smaller than typical passenger vehicles, and some motorcyclists use this to their advantage to slip between lanes of slower-moving traffic. While some states have specific laws banning or restricting this practice, Missouri has no such law. While lane splitting technically isn’t illegal, it is can be extremely dangerous, especially at high speed. To learn more about lane splitting, speak to a motorcycle wreck lawyer.
When motorcycle collisions happen due to negligence, injured riders and passengers may choose to pursue personal injury claims to recover their losses. Some of the possible types of compensation available to plaintiffs in these cases include:
Fatalities are common in serious motorcycle accidents. A wrongful death claim can take the place of a personal injury lawsuit when the victim does not survive his or her injuries. Wrongful death claims function very similarly to personal injury claims with some notable exceptions, particularly when it comes to determining who may file a wrongful death claim.
Similar to a personal injury claim, plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim can secure economic and non-economic damages after a wrongful death. To succeed in such a claim, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant in the case was negligent and his or her negligence directly caused the death in question. Damages work a bit differently as well. The surviving family of a wrongful death victim can secure economic and non-economic damages that compensate the suffering and economic losses the decedent experienced as well as the family’s suffering due to the untimely death.
Missouri carefully outlines how to proceed with a wrongful death claim. The first people who have a right to file a wrongful death claim in Missouri include a deceased person’s surviving spouse, children or grandchildren. If no such kin exists, then a parent or sibling may file instead. If these relatives are unavailable, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a claim and if no representative exists, the court will appoint a plaintiff “ad litem” to act as the plaintiff in the wrongful death case, but such an individual must represent an individual entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate.
Damages in Missouri wrongful death claims include those found in most personal injury claims, such as property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost income. These damages apply to what the victim experienced prior to his or her death. This includes the cost of treatment and pain and suffering experienced during the victim’s final illness or injury as well as wages lost in that time. The family can then collect compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium and lost earning potential provided by the decedent. Missouri allows claimants three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
Whether your motorcycle accident case is a personal injury lawsuit, product liability claim or a wrongful death claim for a lost loved one, your success hinges on your ability to prove the defendant’s negligence in the situation. This requires proving the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, failed to meet that duty and directly caused the victim’s damages. When motorcycle accidents happen due to faulty vehicles or vehicle parts, injured victims can instead pursue product liability claims against the manufacturer. Unlike personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, plaintiffs in product liability claims do not necessarily need to prove the manufacturer was negligent to secure compensation, only that the device in question was defective and the defect caused the plaintiff’s damages.
Regardless of what form your motorcycle accident case takes, the right motorcycle accident attorney will make an enormous difference in the outcome. The lawyers of Goldblatt + Singer are a team of attorneys with diverse legal backgrounds, but they share one top priority in every case: client recovery. We’ve handled all types of civil actions for our clients in the St. Louis, MO area since 1949, so let us put that experience to work in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and we’ll get to work investigating your case.