Kansas City, MO Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycles are inherently less visible on the roads. They are small and easily hidden in blind spots on other vehicles. Road debris and potholes also affect motorcycles more readily than other vehicles. A small dip in the road can cause a motorcycle to swerve, crash, or flip. Motorcycles are less stable due to their two-wheel structure, and because they are open-air vehicles, the potential for injury in an accident is far more likely.
Contact the lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet for a free case evaluation if you or a loved one have been the victim of a motorcycle accident that was the cause of the negligent actions of another individual or party.
Did you know there is no age restriction on motorcycle passengers in Missouri? Rear-view mirrors and turn signals are also not required. For knowledgeable motorcycle veterans, this lack of regulations may not be a concern. In 2016, motorcycle deaths from accidents accounted for 11.46% of all vehicle crash deaths, and over 5,000 motorcyclists died that year.
These statistics aren’t intended to scare you away from riding a bike but to inform you about the dangers faced by motorcyclists and why the need for Kansas City motorcycle accident attorneys is more relevant than ever. The liability issues surrounding motorcycle accidents are different in many ways from car accident liability.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents can happen at any time and any place on the road. Many factors contribute to these collisions; for example, poor weather conditions like rain and snow can heighten the risk of an accident. Road defects, mechanical failures, and driver negligence cause many motorcycle collisions every year.
Motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable to serious injuries and fatalities due to these dangerous conditions. Below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Missouri:
- Failure to Yield: Right-of-way laws are in place to control the flow of traffic and prevent accidents. When one motorist fails to yield the right of way, serious collisions may occur.
- Distracted Driving: Everyone should focus their full attention on the road when driving or riding a motorcycle. Unfortunately, some people fail to do this and engage in distracted driving. Many drivers claim that they did not see the motorcyclist before the crash.
- Driving under the Influence: It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances can impair judgment, motor skills, concentration, and more. If an intoxicated driver is on the road, he or she can easily cause a motorcycle accident.
- Defective Vehicle Parts: Sometimes, a part inside of a motorcycle or a motor vehicle may malfunction due to a manufacturing or design defect. A defective product can lead to devastating consequences. Defective brakes, steering mechanisms, and tires are particularly dangerous.
- Roadway Defects: Motorcycles are much smaller than motor vehicles and cannot easily roll over potholes, loose gravel, cracks, and other defects on the roadway. When a government agency fails to maintain safe roads, a motorcyclist can easily lead control of his or her vehicle.
- Following Too Closely: Motorists must take care to leave enough space between their cars and other vehicles and motorcycles on the road. If a motorist is following too closely behind a motorcycle, he or she can easily strike the motorcyclist from the rear.
- Driving Over the Speed Limit: Speed limits are in place to keep everyone on the road safe. If a driver operates his or her vehicle above the speed limit, he or she may not have enough time to react and could hit a motorcycle.
- Failure to Obey a Traffic Sign or Signal: When a driver runs a red light, rolls through a stop sign, or fails to pay attention to another sign or signal on the road, dangerous collisions may occur. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents happen due to this type of negligence.
- Improper Lane Changes: Drivers must signal and ensure that a lane is clear before merging. If a driver fails to take these important steps, he or she could strike a motorcyclist traveling in that lane.
Common Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents
As discussed above, motorcyclists are very vulnerable to injuries during an accident. Motorcyclists lack the same protections as motor vehicles and can be easily thrown from their bikes during a collision. Even with protective gear like helmets, motorcyclists can suffer from serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
Below are some of the most common injuries from motorcycle accidents:
- Road Rash: Road rash is a severe type of injury that happens when a motorcyclist’s body skids on the road after being thrown off the bike. The result is severe abrasions that can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Spinal Cord Damage: The spinal cord can suffer serious damage when a motorcyclist is thrown from his or her bike. If the spinal cord is severed, compressed, or broken, the victim can suffer from permanent or temporary paralysis and a host of complications.
- Brain Injuries: A motorcyclist can strike his or her head during a collision, resulting in traumatic brain damage. These injuries can be extremely severe and life-threatening, especially if the motorcyclist neglected to wear a helmet.
- Burn Injuries: Fires can start during a motorcycle collision, resulting in severe burns, scarring, and disfigurement. Burn injuries can have a major impact on the victim’s quality of life, causing emotional trauma in addition to physical pain and suffering.
- Broken Bones: The impact of a motorcycle collision can lead to painful fractures and broken bones. Broken arms, legs, wrists, ankles, hips, and ribs are especially common. These injuries can take months to heal.
- Internal Organ Damage: Many motorcycle accidents result in damage to the internal organs, impairing their function. Dangerous internal bleeding may also occur, which could be life-threatening without immediate treatment.
- Amputation: A motorcyclist’s limbs may become so mangled and damaged in a collision that amputation becomes medically necessary. The limbs may also be severed during the accident itself.
Many motorcycle accident injuries, like brain damage and internal bleeding, do not show symptoms right away. For this reason, it is imperative to seek medical care as soon as possible following your collision, even if you do not feel injured. Going to the hospital may save your life.
Liability for Motorcycle Accidents in Kansas City, MO
Motorcycle accidents aren’t generally caused by negligence on the part of the motorcycle operator. Instead, other drivers on the road who are not paying attention or are disregarding traffic laws are normally the cause of catastrophic motorcycle accidents.
As with most accident liability cases, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The defendant was not reasonably following the duties dictated by traffic laws,
- The defendant was not being careful, and
- The defendant’s actions proximately or directly caused injury to the plaintiff.
- Even if the defendant’s negligence caused a wreck, if the plaintiff is not injured, he or she may not be able to recover any damages from a claim.
Sometimes a manufacturer defect may be to blame for an accident. In these cases, the liable party would be the manufacturer of the motorcycle or even the auto care center that repaired or maintained the bike.
Pure Comparative Fault in Missouri
In some motorcycle accidents, multiple parties are at fault. In fact, the motorcyclist himself or herself may share responsibility for the collision. If this situation applies to your case, Missouri’s pure comparative negligence laws will apply to your case.
Under this statute, you are entitled to recover damages even if you are partially at fault. However, the court will reduce your damages in proportion to your share of the liability. For example, if the court determines that you were 60% at fault for the accident and you ask for $100,000 in damages, you will only receive $40,000.
If you are facing accusations of shared fault, you need an attorney on your side who can defend your best interests and protect your right to compensation. The Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet will work tirelessly to prove your case and reduce your potential liability.
Seeking Legal Counsel after a KC Motorcycle Accident
In Kansas City, Missouri, there is one firm you should contact for legal counsel on motorcycle accidents: Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet. Every motorcycle accident case is different and requires the knowledge and skill set of a motorcycle accident attorney in Kansas City, MO who is familiar with the state’s laws regarding motorcycle safety.
If you’ve suffered serious injury or damage to your property from a motorcycle accident, you will likely need the services of a motorcycle accident lawyer. Small accidents known as fender benders may be handled directly with insurance companies, but more severe accidents will benefit from an attorney’s knowledge. Hire a Kansas City accident attorney who is experienced and has a commitment to individualized client services and a track record of success. Your attorney will be able to speak on your behalf to insurance companies and the other drivers involved in your accident, so you can focus on getting well.
Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
By filing a motorcycle accident claim in Missouri, you can recover compensation in the form of damages, which intend to reimburse you for the losses that you suffered. Under Missouri law, you are entitled to recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages that you incurred.
To recover damages after a motorcycle accident, you will need to prove that the at-fault driver was at fault for the collision. You must also show that the driver’s negligence caused the injuries that you suffered. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your right to recovery and establish the at-fault party’s liability.
Economic versus Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages refer to the tangible, monetary losses that you experienced as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. These damages are easily quantifiable and can be calculated using evidence like medical bills, pay stubs, and repair invoices or receipts.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are much more subjective. They involve the physical and emotional pain and suffering that you experienced as a result of the collision. Non-economic damages may include mental anguish, chronic pain, permanent disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Punitive Damages in Missouri
In some cases, you may qualify for a third category of compensation known as punitive damages. Instead of reimbursing you for the losses that you suffered, these damages intend to punish the at-fault party for especially egregious and reckless conduct. For example, if a driver was drunk at the time of the collision, your attorney may submit a claim for punitive damages.
How an Attorney Can Help You Calculate Your Settlement
When filing a motorcycle accident claim, you want to ensure that you recover full compensation for the damages that you suffered. If you fail to recover a sufficient settlement, you could experience financial hardship in the future due to additional medical costs or an inability to work. For this reason, it is critical to work with a lawyer who can help calculate your potential settlement.
At Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet, our Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyers will carefully review all pieces of evidence related to your claim. We will calculate the full value of your economic damages and leverage common formulas to estimate the pain and suffering portion of your award. For complex and long-term costs, we will enlist the help of expert witnesses like medical professionals and life care planners who can testify on your behalf.
Using this information, you can evaluate any settlement offers that you may receive to ensure that you are sufficient. If you receive a lower offer than you deserve, your attorney will negotiate aggressively to recover a higher award.
If You Are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Kansas City
After your accident, you will need to focus on gathering evidence for a potential case. Make notes about everything you can recall from the accident, including where you were before, during, and after, the weather, and the road conditions. Anything you can recall may be beneficial information for your attorney’s investigation.
Document your injuries and any damage to your vehicle. Obtain medical records that indicate your injuries including but not limited to: Brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, broken bones, and more. Make notes of any chronic pain or psychological and emotional injuries you experience. Photograph your vehicle and make note of the damage, if possible.
Never admit fault in the accident. Only discuss liability issues with your injury attorney. Anything said may be admissible if the case goes to court. Gather information about witnesses and the other party in the accident. Whatever you can remember and record will be useful for your case.
Contact our team of experienced and successful Kansas City motorcycle accident injury lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet for a free legal consultation and or case evaluation if you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Our experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyers are here to help.