The city of St. Louis had 118 motorcycle-involved accidents in 2018, the most recent year for which the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) has available data. Of those, 80 led to injuries, and five proved fatal. Across the state, 108 people were killed in motorcycle accidents, and nearly 2,000 more were injured. The MSHP categorized just 20% of motorcycle-involved accidents that year as “property damage only.”
Those numbers might soon increase. In July 2020, Governor Mike Parson signed into law a bill repealing the state’s helmet mandate, KFVS reported. Under the new law, motorcyclists over age 26 who have liability insurance can forgo helmets, and law enforcement officers cannot pull motorcyclists over solely to enforce helmet laws.
Motorcyclists are exposed in accidents, which is why so many of them end tragically. In many cases, these accidents are not the motorcyclist’s fault: Motorists simply fail to see—or fail to look for—motorcycles. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed, in a motorcycle accident, a St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can seek justice for you. Our attorneys work on contingency, which means you never have to pay us until we collect compensation on your behalf.
To schedule your free consultation, call our offices today at (800) 924-3113.
Motorcycles in St. Louis
To operate a motorcycle in Missouri, you must acquire a Class M license or permit or get an M endorsement on your driver’s license, according to the American Safety Council. Beginning at age 15 ½, motorcyclists may receive a temporary instruction permit. To earn a full motorcycle or endorsement, you must pass an on-cycle skills test or complete a Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program course.
Rules for Motorcycles
There are a number of traffic rules specific to motorcycles in Missouri. These include:
- According to AAA, motorcyclists must have at least one but no more than two headlamps.
- Every motorcycle that has a sidecar must have a lamp on the outside of the sidecar shining toward the front.
- Motorcycles also must have a rearview mirror, a horn, a fuel tank cap, tires approved for highway use, and turn signals (if equipped by the manufacturer).
- Motorcyclists who don’t have turn signals may use hand signals instead, as described in § 304.19.
- After coming to a full stop, motorcyclists may proceed through an intersection despite a red light if the light has been red for an “unreasonable time,” according to § 304.285.
- Missouri law is silent on lane splitting and lane sharing, meaning they are neither illegal nor endorsed. However, the DOR’s Motorcycle Operators Manual advises: “Never ride directly alongside another rider in the same lane.”
Missouri law includes motorcycles in its definition of motor vehicles, which means motorcycles have the same insurance requirements as do automobile owners. According to the Department of Revenue, they are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability (BIL)
- $50,000 per accident for BIL
- $10,000 per accident for property damage liability (PDL)
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage for BIL.
For a free legal consultation with a motorcycle accidents lawyer serving St. Louis, call (800) 924-3113
After an Accident
In Missouri, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident. The DOR advises you—if you are able —to help anyone who is hurt, call 911, exchange contact and insurance information with the other party, and wait for an officer to arrive.
You will also want to speak with any potential witnesses and collect their contact information, document as much of the scene as possible with your cell phone, inform you insurance company of the accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible, and, in many cases, call a St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer.
The other party’s insurance company may seek to assign you some of the blame for the accident so that it does not have to pay all of your damages. An attorney from Ben Crump Law, PLLC can fight to protect your rights.
Missouri is an “at fault” state in which the motorist responsible for the accident is also responsible for the damages. However, it is also a “comparative negligence” state, according to the DOR. With comparative negligence, the amount of your award is reduced in proportion to your degree of fault for the accident. So if the other party’s insurance company says you are 25% at fault, it will try to cut 25% from your settlement.
You do not have to accept any settlement offer. If you choose instead to go to court, Missouri does not cap the amount of compensatory damages—either economic damages such as medical bills or lost wages, or noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering—you could be awarded. If your loved one has died, you may also bring a wrongful death case, per § 537.080.
The statute of limitations for personal-injury lawsuits in Missouri is five years. However, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years of the person’s death.
St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 924-3113
How We Can Help
Motorcycle accidents can cause brain injury and trauma. They can lead to lengthy hospital stays and large medical bills, not to mention lifelong disabilities and missed work opportunities. Worse, motorcyclists sometimes die.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC if you have been affected by a motorcycle accident, we are here to help. We will fight to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. We never shy away from tough cases.
Learn more about how a St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer can seek justice for your family. Call our offices today at (800) 924-3113 for a free consultation.