St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
How Can a St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You?
There are more and more motorcycles on the road today. Motorcycles have become a cheaper mode of transportation for some because of rising gas prices, while others simply enjoy the hobby and lifestyle of riding motorcycles. However, if you are ever involved in an accident you could fall prey to insurance companies who are only looking to help themselves in the long run. If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, contacting a St. Louis motorcycle accident attorney can be in your overall best interest.
No matter how careful motorcyclists are they are still more likely to receive serious injuries if an accident happens. Missouri does require motorcyclists to wear a helmet in order to cut down on the instance of brain injury and skull fractures.
Overall recent data for the United States taken by the Insurance Information Institute shows that in 2013, 4668 people died in motorcycle crashes which was slightly a lower number than in 2012 when the number totaled 4,986 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Report.
In 2013, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured, down from 93,000 in 2012. Motorcyclists were also 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone who was riding in a passenger vehicle. Finally, in 2012 around the nation 8.5 million motorcycles were on the road.
In Missouri alone in 2013 the Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center showed 71 fatal accidents involving motorcycles.1,760 personal injury crashes, 73 people lost their lives and 2,051 people were injured.
Why Should I Contact a Missouri Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
If you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident then you will benefit from the assistance of a motorcycle injury lawyer. There are many more cars on the road today and the cyclist has become a minority. In many cases, other drivers simply aren’t looking for motorcyclists. They may not be able to see motorcycles and fail to yield for them. Others may fail to give them the right of way, and some motorists simply don’t share the road.
Motorcyclists always have a greater risk of injury due to the nature of the vehicle. Many injuries that are sustained during a motorcycle accident are life changing injuries. Spinal injury, organ damage, skull and brain injury can forever change someone’s life and will require continued care.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident you will have many things to think about. Your first step should be focusing on your recovery. You shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of trying to deal with insurance companies and legal problems that arise from the accident. That is, when you need to get an experienced motorcycle accident attorney involved.
Always remember that insurance companies and attorneys for insurance companies aren’t looking out for your best interests. They are looking out for the interests of their company and their clients. These are great reasons to have a skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your corner.
Defense attorneys will also say that motorcyclists assume the risk when they are riding a motorcycle, however, Missouri State law prohibits the argument of risk assumption.
Also keep in mind that filing a claim with the insurance company is not the same as filing a lawsuit. Your lawsuit must be heard within a court in the State of Missouri.
What Will A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Do In My Case?
If you were the the victim of a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault you must protect your rights and speak with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and disability.
Your attorney will have an initial consultation with you to discuss the case. They will have you bring in any accident reports or medical bills and medical records that you have received so far. At that time, you will be asked to sign a HIPPA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act form so your attorney can gather all of your medical records from any ambulance services, hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and rehabilitation facilities. When this is complete your attorney can begin to gather all of this information for you.
Next, your attorney will begin gathering witness statements from the scene and request any police reports and photographs that law enforcement may have taken the day of the accident. They will also request a copy of any accident reconstruction reports that law enforcement may have. Your attorney might find it suitable to conduct their own independent accident investigation that will include their own accident re-constructionist and investigator.
The at-fault driver’s driving history will be explored for any infractions in the past. Also, your attorney will contact the insurance companies involved for you. They will also speak with them regarding any matters that arise from the accident. Your attorney will keep you informed at all times regarding your case. Your motorcycle injury attorney will take the pressure off of you so you can work on recovering from the accident.
Before you speak to anyone who is involved with the insurance company make sure you speak with an attorney first. Most insurance companies are looking to get you to sign off on an agreement regarding your accident or asking you to give recorded statements as quickly as possible. The quicker they speak with you and settle your case the better it is for them. They don’t want you to speak with an attorney before you speak with them.
When an attorney who specializes in motorcycle crashes takes your case, they will contact the negligent driver’s insurance company to ask for their information regarding the accident. This process is called the Discovery process. The other driver’s insurance company must provide any information that they have regarding the accident. This information will be used along with the information that your attorney has gathered in order to work up an insurance settlement plan. Your attorney will then begin to negotiate your case with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The factual information that is provided to their insurance company will give your attorney the information he needs to negotiate a fair settlement for you. If your attorney can’t come to a fair conclusion with the insurance company then it may be time to pursue legal action that will include filing information with the court.
Before your case ever goes before a judge, your attorney will attempt a mediation. Mediation is a way to negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault party in a neutral environment with a neutral party. The mediator will speak with each party and their attorney. Each party will work with the mediator regarding a fair settlement. The mediator will then take each offer and relay it to each party. Many cases are solved in this way and there is no need to go through the jury trial process.
Most motorcycle accidents begin with a careless driver. The lawsuit is based on the negligence of the other driver. The driver of the vehicle that caused the accident failed to use a reasonable standard of care. Negligent drivers, reckless drivers, drivers who are under the influence of an intoxicating substance like drugs or alcohol and others who aren’t following the rules of the road aren’t practicing a reasonable standard of care. Distracted drivers and can also be found negligent.
How Much Can I Recover For My Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
There is no cap on the amount of damages you can receive in the State of Missouri. If you are injured or if you become disabled because of your injuries you can be compensated for pain and suffering, as well as, future lost wages because you are no longer able to work.
What If A Loved One Dies In a Motorcycle Accident?
When a loved one passes away unexpectedly from an accident everything changes. In many cases, loved ones haven’t prepared for funeral expenses. Also, there may be medical expenses arising from treatment at the accident scene or at the hospital.
If your loved one passes away because of the negligence of another driver you will need to speak to a St. Louis motorcycle accident attorney immediately. Their rights and your family’s rights must be protected in a situation such as this.
You may be entitled to payment of funeral expenses, medical expenses, and other compensation. Be aware that a wrongful death suit must be brought within 2 years of the date of death in order to get compensation.
Time Is Of The Essence
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident it is even more important to contact a St. Louis motorcycle accident attorney due to the various statute of limitations. These statute of limitations allow an injured person only a specific amount of time to file a claim after an accident. When the statute of limitations runs out you will no longer be able to file a claim and get compensation for your injuries.
This is another very important reason why you need to contact a motorcycle injury attorney immediately so evidence can be secured, medical records and bills can be gathered and other investigations can take place. Even if you don’t realize that you are having continuing complications from an injury until a couple of weeks after a motorcycle accident it isn’t too late to speak with a skilled and qualified motorcycle injury attorney.