Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Whether it is Blue River Road through Swope Park or K-5 to Interstate 435, Kansas City has many roads that are ideal for motorcycle rides. Unfortunately, far too many bikers are hurt in collisions on Kansas City roads each year. Many of these crashes are due to negligence on the part of other drivers – not the motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists are usually the ones who suffer the most when they are involved in motor vehicle accidents. The rider is not afforded the same protections as most cars and trucks, and could suffer severe or fatal injuries in the event of a collision.
Most bikers understand the potential risks they face and do their best to drive safely. Other motorists, unfortunately, do not always respect the rights of motorcyclists to share the road. When another driver causes a collision because they failed to maintain an adequate distance, make responsible lane changes, or if they drove in an otherwise aggressive or careless manner, they could be held liable for injuries and property damage they cause.
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash in Kansas or Missouri? Turn to a team of motorcycle accident lawyers who know how to get results. The attorneys at Edelman & Thompson know that after an accident, all you want to do is move on with your life. We are ready to work to help you seek the full and fair compensation you need to make that happen.
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Edelman & Thompson can meet with you in your home or hospital room if you cannot come to one of our five offices in the Kansas City area. Call us or contact us online now to receive a free consultation.
How Motorcycle Accidents Are Different
Motorcyclists’ lack of protection usually means the injuries they suffer are much more severe than those sustained by occupants of passenger vehicles involved in the crash. Generally, people in automobiles have seat belts, airbags, and other safety devices – not to mention a strong steel structure – that can reduce the severity of injuries in a crash. Motorcyclists have no such protection.
Another reason that motorcycle accidents are different from crashes involving only cars is that the motorcyclist is inevitably the party that an insurance company will try to blame for causing an accident. They may try to paint you as reckless or a “high-risk” driver, based solely on negative stereotypes of bikers.
Even when this is not the case, insurers will try to minimize their payout in any way possible. It is their goal to save their company money, not to take care of you.
At Edelman & Thompson, we know that the negative biker stereotypes are false. Most motorcyclists are actually more cautious because they understand the safety risks posed by careless car drivers. We won’t let insurance companies get away with appealing to anti-biker prejudice.
Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Victims
In order to prevail on a motorcycle claim, you must show that the adverse driver was at fault or negligent. In addition, it is necessary to prove that the driver’s negligence caused or contributed to cause the injuries. Even if one of our clients has a pre-existing condition, for example chronic back pain, the adverse party can still be held responsible for any aggravation of that condition.
Under the law in Missouri and Kansas, a plaintiff is entitled to recover both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are for monetary losses a person has suffered. They can be readily calculated and documented, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages are much more subjective and can include payment for disfigurement, emotional distress, and pain and suffering, for example.
Punitive damages or exemplary damages can also be awarded in some cases. Punitive damages may be awarded to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct, such as drunk driving.
Missouri does not cap the damages which a plaintiff can recover in a motorcycle accident case. Kansas does apply a cap to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The current statute changes the cap over time. Depending on the date of your accident, please contact us to determine what non-economic damage cap applies to your case.
Both Missouri and Kansas provide for actions for wrongful death in the event that a motorcycle accident results in a fatal injury. These claims can include claims for pain and suffering suffered by the victim after the accident and prior to death, as well as damages to the survivors for such items as loss of consortium and loss of services.
Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accident Claims in Missouri and Kansas
Missouri generally applies a 5 year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including motorcycle accidents. Kansas generally applies a 2 year statute. The time runs from the date of the injury. If a death results, Missouri provides for a shorter statute of limitation of only 3 years.
As with many areas of the law, there are exceptions to these statutes of limitation. For example, a minor child may have additional time in both Kansas and Missouri. You should not wait until a statute of limitations is about to expire before retaining legal counsel. In fact, to ensure that a proper investigation is completed in a timely fashion, you should seek out an experienced lawyer immediately to assist you. This is beneficial to you and costs you nothing since we do not receive any fee until we win your case. We advance all case expenses including the expenses of investigating the case up front.
What If the Other Driver and Insurance Company Are Blaming Me?
Motorcyclists are often unfairly blamed for collisions they are involved in, so you shouldn’t be surprised if the other driver and their insurance company take this route. Make sure that you contact an attorney so that you can have somebody on your side as soon as possible.
While you may know that somebody else was at fault for your accident, do not attempt to argue about this at the scene of the crash. Be especially careful not to speak to any insurance company about your accident until you have legal representation.
Insurance companies will often contact victims, and their agent may appear extremely willing to help them in their time of need. They will usually ask the person to provide a recorded statement about their crash, an act which may seem harmless to most people but is typically designed to get a victim to say something that can be twisted and used against them later. You should not speak with the insurance company claims representative until you have retained legal counsel.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in any motorcycle crash, you need to be sure that you receive appropriate medical attention. This can be done by going to the emergency room or to your personal care physician.
Not all injuries produce immediate symptoms, but they could cause serious complications in the near future. Getting medical care after an accident ensures that you are appropriately caring for your health, and it also creates a record that demonstrates you sought care for your injuries.
Another essential step to take after a crash is to try and take several pictures of the scene of your accident. Get photographs of everything, including the people, vehicles, and any possible contributing factors.
If there were witnesses to your accident, ask them for their names and phone numbers. If you cannot take these steps yourself because of your need for medical attention, then ask a friend, family member, or someone on the scene to do this for you.
Do not speak to anybody about your accident until you have an attorney. Be especially careful about what you share on social media websites, as insurance companies may access these accounts and use your statements against you.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Crash
The insurance company claims representative is obviously not on your side. His or her job is to make the claim go away as quickly as possible, and minimize the amount paid to you for your property damage and personal injury.
Some insurance companies will quickly offer victims lump-sum settlements. These amounts may seem quite large to some people, and many victims who are in dire financial situations because of their crashes can feel tempted to accept the offers. Don’t!
In truth, most initial settlements proposed by an insurance company are lowball offers. Insurers know that some desperate accident victims will accept these offers without any pushback, allowing the insurance company to close the case fast and at a fraction of the true value of the case.
When a person accepts one of these settlement offers, they often learn that the amount they took will not be enough to cover all their future costs relating to the treatment of their injuries. In these cases, the settlement prohibits the person from being able to recover any additional compensation.
It is important to have an experienced attorney to handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf because the lawyer will have a far better understanding of what your case is worth. Our lawyers have spent years engaged in these types of negotiations and know how to get an insurance company to provide a fair and reasonable settlement that truly covers all your past, present, and future expenses and damages.
Motorcycle Laws in Missouri and Kansas
Missouri requires a person to have a Class M motorcycle license or permit or a driver’s license with the M endorsement to operate a motorcycle. An individual can apply for a temporary motorcycle instruction permit at 15 ½ years of age (15 years and 182 days), but the permit will be issued only if they have successfully completed an approved motorcycle rider training course, passed the Class F and Class M written, vision, and road sign tests, and have the written consent of their parent or legal guardian.
Missouri law requires that all motorcycle operators and passengers wear helmets while the vehicle is in motion. Lane splitting (riding between rows of stopped or slowed traffic) is not expressly prohibited by state law, but it is not authorized either, and is largely discouraged.
Kansas also requires motorcycle operators to have a Class M endorsement on their licenses. Riders are required to wear helmets if they are under 18 years of age. Eye protection is required for all riders unless helmets are equipped with a windscreen.
Kansas state law does prohibit lane splitting, but two motorcyclists can travel side by side in the same lane. Kansas Statute § 8-1703 (b) requires that motorcyclists use lighted head and tail lights when they are riding on any highway.
Contact a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Motorcycle crashes often result in tremendous damage to vehicles and severe injuries to the people involved. Not only do victims in these cases face the prospect of very lengthy hospital stays and several weeks, months, or even years of rehabilitation, but many individuals also face considerable difficulty returning to work — if they can ever work again.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a motorcycle crash in Kansas or Missouri, you may be frightened and confused about how you can recover the money you need to cover the losses you are facing. Do not think you have to handle this on your own.
Edelman & Thompson has over the last 7 years won more jury verdicts in Kansas City area courts than any other law firm. This is based on the statistics for all Kansas City area courts complied by the Kansas City Jury Verdict Service. Ron Edelman, James Thompson, or one of our other experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can make sure that you are adequately protected and compensated for what you have lost. Contact us online or call us to set up a free consultation. If you cannot come to us, we can come to you.