If you own a motorcycle, you know how thrilling and freeing of an experience it can be to ride one. While many motorcyclists follow the rules of the road, many other drivers fail to do so. In the event a motorcyclist is involved in a crash with a passenger vehicle or truck, the consequences can be deadly. At Thomas Law Offices, we believe that injury victims should be able to recover compensation to manage their accident-related expenses by holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. If you’ve been in a wreck, a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer can help.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can affect a person physically, emotionally, and financially. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Our Columbia, MO motorcycle accident attorneys are prepared to evaluate your situation, determine your best options, and help you move forward so you can put the accident behind you and get your life back on track.
Missouri Motorcycle Laws
To operate a motorcycle on public roads and highways in Missouri, you have to have a Class M motorcycle license or a driver’s license with the M endorsement. You may also legally operate a motorcycle in Columbia, MO if you have a Class M motorcycle permit and have passed the skills test and road test.
Having obtained a license or permit to ride a motorcycle means that you have demonstrated a select set of knowledge and practical skills. Most motorcyclists abide by the rules of the road per the Missouri Department of Revenue Motorcycle Operator Manual and are often even more familiar with the rules of the road than the average passenger vehicle driver.
In most motorcycle accidents that involve a motorcycle and a car or truck, it’s more than likely the other driver was negligent in one way or another. Your Columbia, MO car accident lawyer will work to build a case based on the state’s concept of negligence.
Motorcycle Accidents in Columbia, MO
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there are an average of 1,900 motorcycle crashes in Missouri every year. As a result, thousands of people are injured, and dozens more are killed. Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, but the related injuries tend to be catastrophic or even fatal when they occur at high speeds on highways and interstates or when the motorcyclist isn’t wearing protective gear like a helmet.
Drivers in passenger vehicles and larger trucks often overlook motorcyclists when they are around. That could be because they are distracted or unaware of their surroundings. In many cases, drivers are only looking for other large vehicles on the road and forget to keep an eye out for motorcyclists.
It is not uncommon for a car to cut off, sideswipe, or collide head-on into a motorcycle at an intersection. Truck accidents involving motorcycles are particularly dangerous, and our Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyers have seen time and time again how motorcyclists are at a distinct disadvantage.
It can be challenging to prove fault for a motorcycle accident, but our accident lawyers in Columbia, MO have extensive experience doing so and are prepared to take your case on next.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
No two motorcycle accident claims are alike. However, as experienced attorneys, we have worked with many crash victims in Columbia, MO who have been injured in similar situations. At our law firm, we regularly use information pulled from police reports, eyewitnesses, and other sources to establish the cause of your crash and help you recover damages.
The following are some of the most common contributing factors in motorcycle accidents that we have seen at our law firm.
A reckless driver is one who drives without regard for other motorists or the rules of the road. Examples of reckless driving that may cause a motorcycle accident include:
- Cutting off other vehicles
- Rolling through stop signs
- Running red lights
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Following too closely
- Driving in the oncoming traffic lane
- Driving too fast based on weather conditions
The posted speed limit is not the suggested lowest speed, and yet that is how many drivers treat it. If the driver who hit you was speeding at the time of the wreck, a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident attorney from Thomas Law Offices can help you determine what fair compensation looks like in your case.
Alcohol and driving never mix. Despite this, drunk drivers killed 235 people in 2019 alone. Both alcohol-related crashes and motorcycle accidents have a high chance of causing a fatality, and they are particularly deadly when combined.
If a family member died in a motorcycle accident due to alcohol use, you have options for legal recourse. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you achieve compensation on behalf of your loved one’s estate. When you schedule a free consultation with Thomas Law Offices, we’ll discuss your legal options for securing justice for your lost loved one.
Drivers have one job when they are behind the wheel—to pay attention to the road and their surroundings. When a driver chooses to text, take a video, or engage in any activity that is not driving, they are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.
Since motorcycles are much smaller than the average passenger vehicle, distracted drivers can easily overlook motorcyclists and cause an accident. A Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your crash to show how distracted driving played a role.
Defective Auto Parts
A motorcycle accident is not necessarily always the fault of a negligent driver’s actions. If you were injured because of a defective motorcycle part, you can still recover compensation. A Columbia, MO product liability lawyer can guide you through the process of recovering compensation from a manufacturer who ultimately caused you harm.
In some cases, the defective auto part may have impacted the other driver’s vehicle. In such cases, there may be multiple at-fault parties that you can hold responsible for your injuries.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A motorcycle crash can cause any number of different injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. Our motorcycle accident attorneys frequently work with clients who are suffering from life-altering, catastrophic injuries.
If you’ve been in a collision as a motorcyclist, you need to work with a legal team that has the necessary experience to help you secure compensation to fully cover medical expenses, including prescription drugs and ambulance fees.
Head or Brain Injuries
Motorcycle helmets significantly reduce your chances of suffering a fatal head injury in a motorcycle collision. However, helmets are not 100% effective at preventing all head injuries. When wearing a helmet, your brain can still jostle around inside your skull, causing bruising, bleeding, or other head trauma. Without a helmet, a fatal open-wound injury is a possibility.
Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be a life-long effort. You may never fully recover your ability to engage in your life as you once did, and previously simple tasks may become difficult or altogether impossible.
When a biker is hit from the side or is thrown from their vehicle, it’s possible they could get their lower limbs trapped under an object like another vehicle. Fractures are common, and in some severe cases, may lead to amputation.
A fractured or amputated leg will require ongoing medical care, including physical therapy, as victims re-learn how to walk. Contact a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer to learn about how you can pursue compensation for these types of injuries.
Soft Tissue Damage
Ligaments, tendons, and muscles are at risk of injury in an accident. Motorcyclists are not afforded the same protections as motorists in passenger vehicles, so injuries are more common.
Do not underestimate the potential severity of soft tissue injuries, which may be considered:
- Grade 1 (mild)
- Grade 2 (moderate)
- Grade 3 (severe)
While the recovery time for a mild soft tissue injury might be mere weeks or days, a moderate or severe injury may require extensive medical interventions. Pain, swelling, infections, and limited mobility are all common symptoms of Grade 2 and Grade 3 soft tissue injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are far from uncommon. These types of motorcycle crash injuries can be particularly devastating, as they may leave victims partially or totally paralyzed. Surgical interventions and occupational therapy may help support spinal cord victims after their accident, but the associated medical expenses can be astronomical.
This is an injury that is fairly unique to motorcycle collisions. When a rider is thrown from their bike, any exposed skin is at risk of a serious abrasion if it makes contact with the pavement at any speed. While minor cases of road rash can be cleaned and bandaged, the most severe cases require surgery and typically result in scarring or disfigurement.
When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, they may land on their arm or fall in such a way that their arm becomes stuck underneath their motorcycle. This is often the result of motorcycle riders bracing for an impact that they are unable to avoid.
While there are benefits to preparing yourself for an unavoidable collision, it can ultimately lead to nerve damage in the arm. If you are suffering from biker’s arm, you may deal with pain, numbness, and limited mobility. Partial or complete paralysis of the affected arm is not unheard of, either.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
The time immediately following a collision can be confusing and terrifying for victims. Although knowing what to do is not always easy, your actions following a crash can play an important role in the outcome of your motorcycle accident case. Thomas Law Offices recommends you take the following steps after a serious accident:
- Call 911. Even if no one appears to be too seriously injured, it is better to have a medical professional assess for injuries with potentially delayed symptoms. If you do not require transportation in an ambulance, have a friend or loved one take you to the hospital for medical attention.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Make sure to get the other motorist’s name, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Include pictures of factors that might have influenced the crash, including time of day and weather conditions. Take pictures of the damage to your motorcycle and the other driver’s vehicle.
- Contact a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer. Filing a personal injury case to secure compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more can be a time-consuming process. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Your Rights After a Motorcycle Wreck in Missouri
When someone is injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, civil law allows the victim to hold them responsible for their financial recovery. Personal injury cases can be complicated matters depending on the circumstances, but our motorcycle accident lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of accident claims.
When we build a motorcycle accident case on your behalf, we look at any applicable state laws, how to prove negligence, and what your claim should be fairly valued at.
The Right to File an Injury Claim
As mentioned, the victim of an accident can pursue a claim against the at-fault party. For a personal injury claim to be successful, it must include the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care. Motorists owe other drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists a duty of care behind the wheel. That duty of care involves abiding by the rules of the road and driving safely so as to limit the chances of being involved in an accident.
- Breach. In a personal injury case, motorcycle accident lawyers work to show how the negligent party breached their duty of care.
- Causation. You must be prepared to show how the other driver’s breach of care caused the crash. This step can be surprisingly difficult, especially since the insurance company will likely try to shift the blame back onto you. Working with motorcycle accidents in Columbia can make the process easier.
- Damages. It is not enough to simply show that the other driver caused the accident; you will also have to prove that the accident caused you harm. Auto accidents often cause more than just injury, and victims may also suffer emotional distress, lost wages, and more.
At our law office, our Missouri attorneys know how to navigate the legal process and insurance companies for all types of vehicle collisions. Whether you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, car accident, or another type of collision, we have years of experience successfully taking on personal injury claims and can help you pursue compensation in your motorcycle accident case.
The Right To Seek Compensation for Losses
A motorcycle accident can permanently alter the course of your life. When you suffer a serious or catastrophic injury, you will need compensation for your resulting financial, physical, and emotional damages. There are three main types of financial compensation you can pursue.
- Economic damages. Economic damages cover your measurable financial hardships, including medical bills, lost income, and any money you have to spend because of your injury.
- Noneconomic damages. This covers non-monetary losses, including emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages. These damages are not directly related to your financial or noneconomic losses, but are instead intended to punish the negligent party for especially egregious behavior. For example, punitive damages might be appropriate if the at-fault driver was drinking or engaging in reckless behavior.
How Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
Calculating the value of your motorcycle accident claim requires an experienced approach. At Thomas Law Offices, the personal injury accident lawyers in Columbia can accurately value the worth of your claim.
We know that every claim is different, and we will take the time to consider all of the different factors in your case. Your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are unique to your situation. When you choose to work with a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer from our law firm, we’ll conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly what you are owed.
When you work alongside a personal injury lawyer, you’ll also have someone on your side who will deal with the insurance company on your behalf. You can focus on your recovery while we prevent the negligent party’s insurer from bullying you into accepting anything less than you are owed.
We also know how important the attorney client relationship is, and it is important that you feel comfortable with whomever you choose to work with. We offer a free case evaluation, during which you can speak one-on-one with a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer. We’ll help you build a successful claim based solely on the facts of the case.
Get Help From Thomas Law Offices
If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash that wasn’t their fault, a motorcycle accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help. Given the stigma surrounding motorcycles, motorcyclists are often blamed for accidents that weren’t their fault.
At Thomas Law Offices, our Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyers believe victims deserve the best chance at a fair settlement. Filing an injury claim can put you on that path. The sooner you get in touch with our law firm, the more likely it is that you will be able to secure compensation for your financial damages.
To learn more or to get started on your motorcycle accident case, schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm today.