If a negligent motorist injures you while you’re motorcycling in Missouri, schedule a free consultation immediately to discuss your rights and legal options with a Jefferson County motorcycle accident attorney.
A motorcycle offers practical transportation and healthy recreation, but motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. Motorcycles provide none of the safety features that trucks and cars provide to passengers and drivers. This makes it imperative to use a helmet when you’re motorcycling.
What is the helmet law for motorcyclists in Missouri? What are your rights as a motorcyclist if a negligent motorist injures you? When should you contact a Jefferson County motorcycle accident lawyer? For the answers to these questions, keep reading.
What Safety Precautions Should Motorcyclists Take?
In 2021, more than 150 motorcyclists died in accidents on Missouri streets and highways. Even if you survive a serious motorcycle accident, you could suffer a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, lacerations, bone fractures, or paralysis.
Almost every research project conducted on the topic of motorcycle accidents has determined that a motorcycle helmet is the most effective device for preventing deaths and serious injuries in motorcycle collisions.
What is Required of Motorcyclists in Missouri?
Missouri no longer has a universal helmet law requiring all motorcyclists and passengers to wear helmets when they ride. Since 2020, only motorcyclists and passengers who are age 25 or below are required to wear helmets. Protection for the eyes, like a face shield or goggles, isn’t required.
Motorcyclists and passengers who are 26 years of age and older are not required to wear helmets while motorcycling, provided that they carry health insurance. Nevertheless, motorcycle accident lawyers in Missouri strongly advise their clients to wear helmets while motorcycling.
Additionally, you cannot be stopped by a police officer in Missouri solely for the failure to use a helmet. An officer may only cite you for violating the helmet law if that officer has stopped you for a different, “primary” violation.
In Missouri, the failure to wear a helmet while motorcycling – for those who are required to wear one – can result in a fine of $25 for a first offense. But since Missouri’s helmet law is a “secondary enforcement” law, it is seldom – if ever – actually enforced.
How Effective Are Motorcycle Helmets?
Statistics prove that helmet use reduces the number of deaths and injuries that result from motorcycle accidents. The year after universal helmet use was no longer required in Missouri, motorcycle accident fatalities increased dramatically. Here are some recent statistics:
- In 2019 in Missouri, there were 118 motorcycling fatalities, and 10 of those motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet.
- In 2020 in Missouri, there were 111 motorcycling fatalities, and 20 of those motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet.
- In 2021, the first year without a universal helmet law in Missouri, there were 152 motorcycling fatalities, and 78 of those motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet.
Other states that have abolished universal helmet laws report similar numbers. In the first year without a universal helmet law, motorcycling fatalities increased by 37.5 percent in Kentucky, by 31 percent in Texas, and by 21 percent in Arkansas.
Who’s at Fault for Motorcycle Accidents?
Of course, motorcyclists are not the only parties responsible for motorcycle accidents. Too many motorcycle crashes are caused by car and truck drivers who do not yield to or see motorcyclists. Personal injury lawyers represent both injured motorcyclists and those injured by motorcyclists.
Most motorcyclists know that when cars and trucks crash into motorcycles, motorcyclists and their passengers will probably sustain the most severe injuries. When a motorcycle accident isn’t fatal, it may nevertheless be devastating and catastrophic.
Missouri motorcyclists who have been injured by negligent motorists are entitled by Missouri law to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and related damages, but proving that a negligent motorist is liable for a motorcycle accident may be a difficult challenge.
When Should You Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
If you are injured by a negligent motorist while you are motorcycling, that negligent motorist – or that motorist’s lawyer or auto insurance company – may insist the negligence was yours, that you were not injured seriously, or that you were actually injured at another time and place.
A Missouri motorcyclist who is injured by a negligent driver must be advised and represented by a Jefferson County motorcycle accident attorney, and you must contact that attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been treated for your injuries by a health care provider.
What Will Your Attorney Do on Your Behalf?
Your Jefferson County motorcycle accident lawyer will advocate aggressively for justice – and for the monetary compensation that you are entitled to under Missouri law. Your lawyer will:
- explain how the law applies to your own case
- protect your legal rights
- review the accident evidence and speak with any witnesses
- determine which party is liable
- negotiate for a reasonable and acceptable settlement
- if no settlement is possible, take your case to trial
What is the Deadline for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
If you are motorcycling in Missouri and a negligent motorist injures you, you must act at once. Missouri has established a five-year deadline (statute of limitations) for taking legal action after a motorcycle accident, but you cannot wait five years to speak with an attorney.
Evidence deteriorates over time, and the memories of witnesses fade quickly. A personal injury claim that is filed immediately after a motorcycle accident is a stronger claim that will be more likely to prevail.
If you’ve missed the five-year deadline, it’s possible that your case may qualify as one of the rare exceptions that Missouri allows, so go ahead and speak to an attorney, but if you’ve been injured recently on a motorcycle, or if you’re injured that way in the future, contact an attorney at once.
If You Are Injured on a Motorcycle, What Will Justice Cost?
After you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and treated by a health care professional, reach out to a Missouri personal injury attorney immediately. Your first consultation with an attorney is provided with no cost or obligation.
You’ll receive personalized legal advice and learn how the law in Missouri applies to your own motorcycle accident case. If you proceed with legal action, you’ll owe no lawyer’s fee unless and until your lawyer recovers your compensation with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.
The injuries a motorcyclist sustains may require lifelong medical care. If you’re a motorcycle accident victim, you will need the maximum compensation amount that’s available, and you’ll need a motorcycle accident lawyer who knows how to win that compensation on your behalf.