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, not all motorists do. 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 negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions, and injury victims should be able to recover compensation to manage their accident-related expenses. If you’ve been in a wreck, a Columbia, MO motorcycle accident lawyer can help.
The aftermath of a wreck can affect a person physically, emotionally, and financially. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Our attorneys are prepared to evaluate your situation, determine your best options, and help you move forward so you can get your life back in order and put the accident behind you.
Motorcycle Accidents in Columbia, MO
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there is an average of 1,900 motorcycle crashes in Missouri every year. As a result, thousands are injured, and dozens of people are killed. Accidents can happen anywhere, but the related injuries tend to be 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 aren’t always aware when motorcyclists are around. That could be because they are distracted or are unaware of their surroundings. As a result, a car could cut a motorcycle off, sideswipe one, or run into one at an intersection.
It can be challenging to prove fault for a motorcycle accident, but our attorneys have extensive experience doing so and are prepared to take your case on next. When we value your claim, we will start by looking at the losses you’ve incurred—including any physical injuries.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
While a motorcycle crash can result in a number of injuries, there are some that are more common than others simply because of the nature of that type of wreck. If you’ve been in a collision as a motorcyclist, you may be dealing with the following:
- Head or Brain Injuries. Even with a helmet, a motorcycle crash can result in serious head trauma. When the brain is jostled inside the skull, bruising or bleeding can occur. Without a helmet, a fatal open-wound injury is a possibility.
- Leg Injuries. 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. When the fractures are severe, amputation could be necessary.
- Soft Tissue Damage. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles are at risk of injury in an accident. Motorcyclists are not afforded the protection passengers in standard vehicles have, so injuries are more common.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Depending on the point of contact of a crash, a motorcyclist could be left with a spinal cord injury. Depending on the injury, surgery and physical therapy could be required. In the worst situation, the victim may be partially paralyzed.
- Road Rash. Road rash 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 road rash if it makes contact with the pavement at any speed. While minor road rash can be cleaned and bandaged, the most severe could require surgery and will likely result in scarring or disfigurement, depending on the location.
Medical bills can add up quickly after a motorcycle wreck. If you’ve been hurt, you have rights and legal options to consider.
Victims’ Rights After a Motorcycle Wreck in Missouri
When someone is injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault, civil law allows the victim to pursue compensation from the allegedly negligent party. To do so can be a complicated matter depending on the accident and the circumstances surrounding it, but our Missouri attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of accident claims.
When we build a case on your behalf, we look at any applicable state laws, how to prove negligence, and what your claim could potentially be fairly valued at.
Missouri Motorcycle Laws
To operate a motorcycle in Missouri, you have to have a Class M motorcycle license or permit or a driver’s license with the M endorsement if you have a motorcycle or public roadways. If you pass the skills test and road test after having been issued a permit, you can legally operate a motorcycle in Columbia and the rest of the state.
If you are abiding by the rules of the road per the Missouri Department of Revenue Motorcycle Operator Manual at the time of an accident, it’s more than likely the other driver was negligent in one way or another. Your lawyer will work to build a case based on the state’s concept of negligence.
The Right to File an Injury Claim
As mentioned, the victim of an accident can pursue a claim against the allegedly at-fault party. For a personal injury claim to be successful, it must include the four elements of negligence: duty of care, breach, causation, and damages.
Drivers owe each other and pedestrians and cyclists a duty of care behind the wheel. This means abiding by the rules of the road and driving safely. If someone breaches that duty, causes an accident, and that accident results in losses, they can be financially held responsible.
The Right to Seek Compensation for Losses
When it comes to your claim’s value, it will be based on losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Every claim is different, so there’s no way your lawyer will be able to determine exactly what you are owed early on in your case. With a thorough investigation, collection of documents, and analysis of the accident’s effects, they will be able to fight for a full and fair settlement or verdict.
Get Help From Thomas Law Offices
If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash that wasn’t their fault, legal action may be available. 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 recovery. 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 recover compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses. To learn more or to get started, schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm today.