Motorcycle Accidents

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Posted by Christopher Combs on January 30, 2024

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer St. Louis, MO. Riding a motorcycle can be a fun, enjoyable activity, but it is also a dangerous one. Car drivers oftentimes do not see bikers out on the road, or do not properly give bikes enough room. In addition, unlike cars motorcycles offer very little protection to their riders–that’s why bikers should always wear helmets and protective clothing like leathers or padded, supportive pants.

If you or someone you are close to were recently injured or even killed in a motorcycle accident, you need to contact a top St. Louis, MO motorcycle accident attorney without delay. The experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Combs Waterkotte place personal communication and availability at the heart of everything they do. Our firm offers our clients the ideal blend of compassion and aggression to get them the maximum compensation available for their injuries. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for more information.

Motorcycle Accidents In Missouri

It is a proven fact that people operating motorcycles on American roads are far more at risk of accident and injury than those behind the wheel of a car. According to the National Safety Council, motorcyclists are victims of 14% of all traffic fatalities in the United States despite being just 3% of registered vehicles in the country, and motorcycle rides being just .6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the US. This means that motorcycles are 30 times more likely to be killed, and five times more likely to be injured, in a traffic accident when compared to automobile drivers. The NSC also found that the vast majority of motorcycle fatalities occurred under ideal conditions: 60% of riders killed in motorcycle crashes in 2018 were wearing helmets, 88% of fatal accidents were in good weather, and more than half of accidents causing death took place in the daytime.

In Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol keeps detailed statistics on motorcycle accidents and their outcomes. According to MSHP stats, in 2019, there were 2,051 motorcycle accidents on Missouri roads, which is an 8% decrease from 2018. However, there were 119 fatal motorcycle crashes that year, which was a 12.25% increase from 2018 and tied for the highest number of fatal crashes since the MSHP’s online records system was started in 2002. This means that roughly 6% of motorcycle crashes in Missouri were fatal–twelve times the fatality rate of automobile crashes. While most Missouri motorcyclists ride safely and always wear helmets and safety gear, a recent change in the law may make it even more dangerous to ride your bike on Missouri roads. House Bill 1963, signed into law by Governor Mike Parson in July of 2020, allows riders over 26 years old to ride without a helmet, provided they possess both medical insurance and proof of financial responsibility. Previously, all motorcyclists in Missouri were required to wear head protection at all times.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Since motorcycles are much smaller, lighter, and more nimble than cars and trucks, it stands to reason that when a car hits a motorcycle the rider and his bike will take the brunt of the damage. Many motorcycle accidents come from the following situations:

  • Drivers not paying attention behind the wheel. This can include not just texting while driving but also general unawareness of other people sharing the road. Many motorcyclists can ride alongside vehicles, a practice known as lane-splitting, or cut through multiple groups of vehicles in stopped traffic, which is called filtering. It should be noted that while some states explicitly approve or prohibit lane-splitting and/or filtering, Missouri law makes makes no mention of the practice.
  • Aggressive driving habits. Many automobile drivers believe the road is theirs and theirs alone. As such, they fail to give ample space to cyclists and motorcyclists, even though both these groups are entitled to use the road as much as car drivers. Emotions can easily boil over in these circumstances and drivers can force bike riders to crash.
  • Not yielding the right of way. Studies have shown that the most dangerous situation for motorcyclists is when cars make left-hand turns. Since motorcycles can accelerate quicker than cars, it is not uncommon for drivers to think it is safe to turn left when in actuality they still need to yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Dangerous roads. Potholes and uneven pavement are much more dangerous to motorcycles than cars, since bike tires are much smaller and thinner compared to car tires. A pothole that may just be a nuisance for a motorist may cause a motorcycle to lose control and crash. Local governing bodies–cities, counties, or the state of Missouri, depending on the road–are legally required to provide safe roads for all who use them, including bikers. As such, you could potentially sue local government for damages if your accident was caused by poor road conditions.

Motorcycle Injuries Are Serious

Motorcycles are simply not built like cars. They most often do not have roll-bars, airbags, seat belts, or other safety features that car drivers take for granted. The onus is instead on the rider to properly protect themselves at all times. Combs Waterkotte recommends that all motorcyclists always ride with proper protection–helmets obviously but also protective jackets, pants, and footwear.

But even with protection, motorcycle crashes make every part of your body vulnerable to severe injury. Common types of injuries our clients have received include:

  • Skin abrasions (also known as road rash)
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (concussions)
  • Broken bones
  • Muscle and nerve damage

Even injuries that most people think are small, like road rash, oftentimes are extremely painful and require long periods of therapy. In addition, injuries like broken bones have the potential to be more severe breaks, like compound fractures, due once again to the fact that the rider takes the brunt of the impact in a motorcycle crash.

Contact An Experienced St. Louis, MO Motorcycle Accident Attorney

At Combs Waterkotte, we offer best-in-class legal representation for anyone who has been injured in a motorcycle accident through no or limited fault of their own. We understand that there are many personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyers in St. Louis, MO, who put ads all around town trumpeting their success and how they will help you get a massive settlement. Our firm, however, believes in strict confidentiality and being honest with our clients. This does not mean we will not fight for your maximum settlement or judgment–far from it. However, our St. Louis, MO motorcycle accident attorneys are proud to say that we operate differently than some of the firms whose billboards you have likely seen.

Combs Waterkotte values communication and accessibility. We create a one-on-one relationship between you and the attorney working on your case. This ensures that not only will you be able to talk directly with your lawyer whenever the need arises, but also that you can be confident that your attorney is giving the maximum priority to your case. We maintain a network of physical and mental health professionals our clients can access so that they can deal with the physical and mental trauma associated with a motorcycle accident. But most importantly, we have helped many other motorcyclists who have been in accidents and thus know how juries and police can occasionally be biased against bikers.

If you have recently been in a motorcycle accident and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact our St. Louis, MO motorcycle lawyers today. You can do so either online or by calling (314) 900-HELP. We will reply as soon as we can to set up a free, no-obligation case consultation.