As any avid motorcycle rider will tell you, riding is unlike any driving experience that other motorists can experience. Motorcycle riding comes with unique thrills and experiences, but also its own unique hazards.
Motorcycle riders can take every possible safety precaution when out on the road. However, they still face significant risk of an accident caused by the carelessness of other motorists. A motorcycle accident can leave a rider with serious, life-altering injuries and significant financial damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Many motorcycle riders who have been injured through no fault of their own find it difficult to secure the financial compensation they need. If you’ve been injured in a Missouri motorcycle accident that was caused by somebody else, having skilled legal representation on your side can give you the best possible chance at getting maximum compensation.
Why Are Motorcycle Accident Claims More Complicated?
You may think that a motorcycle accident is no different from a typical car accident. However, in practice, motorcycle claims tend to be more complicated for two reasons.
First, motorcycle accidents tend to result in serious, life-threatening injuries that can leave a rider with lifelong difficulties and disabilities. Those injuries require long-term care. As a result, a rider may be entitled to significant compensation that quickly exhausts the at-fault party’s insurance coverage and other financial resources. If a rider is still undergoing treatment when the claim is resolved, future medical treatment will have to be factored into the financial compensation.
Second, many motorcycle accident claims become complicated when an at-fault driver tries to use biases about motorcycle riders to deflect blame. Some people may believe that motorcycle riders are reckless. In fact, most riders are careful motorists because they understand the risks they face in an accident. Even so, the at-fault driver may try to argue that an injured motorcycle rider bears some or all the fault for the accident. The at-fault driver may claim – falsely – that the rider was speeding, lane splitting, or otherwise being reckless.
Why You Need a Missouri Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
To give yourself the best opportunity for a full financial recovery after your motorcycle accident, you should have a dedicated, experienced Missouri motorcycle accident lawyer on your side. An attorney can make the claim process go much more smoothly and successfully by:
Thoroughly investigating your accident and securing key physical and photographic evidence.
Working with experts to develop a persuasive accident reconstruction report that shows how your accident happened and how the other driver may have been at fault.
Documenting your damages by keeping records of your medical and out-of-pocket expenses, and working with medical and financial experts to estimate your future medical expenses and lost earning potential.
Aggressively negotiating with the insurance companies to get you a full and fair settlement as quickly as possible so that you can completely focus on your emotional and physical recovery.
Preparing to take your case to trial, if it becomes necessary, and vigorously advocating your case to the judge and jury to get a verdict in your favor.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Many motorcycle accident cases hinge on competing accusations of fault between the motorcycle rider and the other motorists involved in the accident. If you cannot show that the other driver was entirely at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering compensation for your injuries. Evidence that you might rely on to show that the other driver caused your motorcycle accident includes:
The police accident report
Vehicle “black box” data (if any)
Accident scene photos or video
Helmet cam/dashcam footage
Nearby surveillance video
Vehicle damage/repair reports
Hospital and medical records documenting your injuries
Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries, including:
Past and future medical expenses
Lost wages or income from missed work
Lost earning capacity if you cannot return to work
Pain and suffering
Lost quality of life
In addition, you may also be able to recover for property damage you incurred in your accident, such as the damage to your motorcycle.
What to Do after a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, take these steps to protect your rights to compensation:
Call 911 or the police.
Avoid making apologies or admissions of fault for the accident.
Document the accident scene.
Seek medical treatment.
Follow your medical provider’s treatment instructions.
Avoid talking about your accident or posting videos or photos of yourself on social media.
Talk to a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Motorcycle Accident
After your motorcycle accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster who wants a statement from you about your accident. The adjuster may also want you to sign paperwork before processing your compensation.
When dealing with the insurance companies after your accident, remember these key points:
The insurance company is not on your side. Instead, the company’s goal is to pay you as little money as possible.
The insurance company’s first offer rarely represents the full amount of compensation they are willing to pay.
Never give a statement about your accident to the insurance company without first speaking with an attorney. The insurance company may use your statements to show that you bear some or all the fault for your accident. In that way the company will reduce the compensation they have to pay to you.
Never sign any documents provided by the insurance company without first having them reviewed by an attorney.
Personal injury – The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is five years from the date of your motorcycle accident.
Property damage – You have five years from the date of your accident to sue for property damage.
How Long Do You Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you have a limited period in which to file a lawsuit for your injuries and damages. In Missouri:
If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires on your claim, you can permanently lose your right to seek compensation in court.
If your motorcycle accident was caused by the negligence of the government or a government employee at work, you have a limited period in which to provide the government with notice of your claim.
Common Injures in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders lack the protections of a passenger vehicle. For that reason, they face the risk of even greater injuries when an accident occurs. Common injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents include:
Road rash, which results in serious abrasions and lacerations on the skin
Torn tendons, ligaments, and muscles
Neck and back injuries, including herniated or ruptured spinal discs
Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
Traumatic brain injuries
When motorcycle riders are subjected to violent forces in an accident, the injuries they suffer can end up being fatal.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Although a motorcycle accident can happen for any number of reasons, most motorcycle accidents are caused by the carelessness or negligence of another motorist. Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Missouri include:
Unsafe lane changes, including a driver’s failure to signal or check blind spots for motorcycles
Driving under the influence
Following too closely (Many drivers fail to recognize that motorcycles can stop much more quickly than a larger vehicle, leading to rear-end accidents when a motorcycle is tailgated.)
Lane splitting or failing to give a motorcycle full use of the lane of traffic
Failure to yield on turns
Inexperienced driving, where motorists may not know how to drive or maneuver around motorcycles
Poor road conditions, such as potholes or debris on the roadway
Defects in the motorcycle or in a motorcycle part
Talk to Our St. Charles Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now
If you or a family member have been injured in a motorcycle accident in St. Charles or elsewhere in Missouri through no fault of your or their own, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries and damages. Don’t go another day without the monetary compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Contact the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC today to schedule a consultation with our St. Charles motorcycle accident attorney. You’ll learn more about your legal rights and options for pursuing financial compensation and justice after your motorcycle accident.