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Wendt Law Firm: Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyers

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Our law firm represents those who have suffered personal injuries or have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another. We specialize in personal injury trial litigation and focus our attention on those we represent.
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Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Damages after a motorcycle accident are often severe. If a motorcyclist survives the crash, he or she may have serious to catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, road rash, concussion, traumatic brain damage, or a spine injury. The motorcycle may require expensive repairs or replacement. Even “minor” crashes can result in medical bills, missed time at work, and other costs. After such an incident in Missouri, come to the Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyers at Wendt Law Firm P.C. for legal counsel. You likely qualify for financial compensation from an at-fault party.

 

Crash Facts in the Kansas City Region

According to a Kansas City regional crash report, there was an average of 32 motorcyclist fatalities and 192 serious injuries per year over a recent five-year period. Despite motorcycles representing a minority of vehicles on the roadway, the number of accidents and injuries remain high. Motorists should take extra caution when traveling around motorcycles. Motorcycle riders are at increased risks of injuries and deaths in accidents. There are laws in Kansas and Missouri that aim to improve the safety of its vulnerable road users. Breaking these laws, resulting a crash, is negligence.

In Kansas, motorcyclists under the age of 18 must wear approved helmets at all times. All motorcycle operators must wear eye protection unless windscreens measure at least 10 inches high from the center of the handlebars. In Missouri, all riders, regardless of age, must wear helmets. If a motorcyclist breaks the helmet law and sustains head injuries in a crash, the defense may argue he or she contributed to the injury by failing to wear a helmet. Motorcycle operators must also ensure their vehicles have the proper lights, brakes, turn signals, mirrors, and other equipment.

In many cases, it is not the motorcyclist who is at fault in an accident. Other drivers often fail to see motorcycles and pull out directly in front of them. Vehicles making left-hand turns are the most dangerous to motorcyclists. Distracted, reckless, drunk, and drowsy drivers are all dangers that put vulnerable motorcyclists at risk. Aside from another driver, something such as a defective bike part or a roadway hazard may cause a crash. In these cases, there are still potential defendants the motorcyclist can go up against during mediation or trial. Always speak to an experienced injury attorney after a motorcycle crash in Kansas City.

Motorcycle Laws in Kansas City

Several important motorcycle laws may come into play following an accident. It’s important to remember motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists on the roadways. This means motorcycle riders must obey all applicable traffic laws, such as posted speed limits, yielding the right of way, complying with traffic signals, and limiting distractions behind the wheel. Specific restrictions may also apply, such as:

  • Anyone who owns and operates a motorcycle within Kansas City must have a Class M motorcycle license in accordance with the laws of Missouri. To have this license, you must be at least 16 years of age and pass a vision test and written exam. Keep in mind restrictions exist for minor motorcycle riders – a novice driver may have to complete a road test, while drivers over the age of 18 may have this requirement waived. Contact your local DMV office for more details.
  • Helmet use. The state of Missouri requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear appropriate headgear while on the road. It is important to observe this law because it may affect liability in a motorcycle accident claim. At a more basic level, wearing a helmet helps protect against the most serious types of head injuries and could save a motorcyclist’s life should an accident occur.

The laws governing motorcycle injuries in Missouri can be complex, especially when making determinations about liability. A Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney can help victims understand their legal options and right to compensation following an accident. Contact the attorneys at Wendt Law Firm P.C. today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Missouri and Kansas

Living in Kansas City comes with unique issues for motorcyclists. Namely, the fact that Missouri and Kansas have very different motorcycle helmet laws you must obey depending on which side of the state line you’re on. Understanding the laws in both states can help you stay safe and in compliance with local ordinances.

In Kansas, traffic safety laws do not make helmet wearing mandatory for motorcyclists over the age of 18. Although the state Department of Motor Vehicles strongly encourages wearing a helmet, it is not a legal requirement unless an operator or passenger is 18 years old or younger. Kansas City does not have any local statutes that force motorcyclists to wear helmets in the city or county.

Missouri, however, has a universal motorcycle helmet law that requires all riders to wear safety helmets at all times. State lawmakers proposed a bill that would make helmet wearing optional for motorcyclists 21 and older who have had their special licenses for at least two years, but this exemption never made it past legislation in 2017. Failing to wear a helmet when the law makes it mandatory could result in fines, penalties, and liability for accident-related injuries.

Lane Sharing and Lane Splitting Laws for Motorcycles: What Is the Difference?

A motorcycle accident claim might deal with the maneuvers of “lane sharing” or “lane splitting.” Lane sharing is a legal practice in Missouri and Kansas. It refers to two motorcycles riding side-by-side within one lane. Motorcycles in Kansas City cannot share a lane with a passenger vehicle, or ride more than two abreast in a single lane. Lane splitting, on the other hand, is an illegal practice of a motorcycle driving between two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction. Illegally splitting a lane could result in motorcyclist liability for an accident in KC.

Road Hazards Unique to Motorcycle Riders

The motorcycle accident lawyers at Wendt Law Firm P.C. have come to recognize a handful of common road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents in Kansas City over the years. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to road hazards than passenger vehicles due to their smaller size and weight. Things that might not affect larger vehicles can cause catastrophic damage to motorcycles and their riders. Road hazards unique to motorcyclists include:

  • Loose gravel
  • Puddles
  • Potholes
  • Sand
  • Roadway debris

An injured motorcyclist might have a claim against the government in Missouri or Kansas if a roadway defect caused the accident. It is up to state and local agencies to maintain roadways and keep them reasonably safe for all road users. Failure to do so, resulting in a motorcycle crash, is negligence. Timeframes for filing claims against the government are short, so don’t hesitate to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Common Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident

All motorcycle accidents are unique. Some victims will suffer serious and life-threatening injuries while others will escape with just a few bumps and bruises. While predicting injuries might be impossible, it is possible to prevent them with an understanding of the most common injuries and protection options. If you can’t prevent accident injuries, at least seek compensation for them with help from an attorney. Contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. if you or someone you love has suffered any of the following common motorcycle accident injuries in Kansas City:

  • Head and brain injuries. Every motorcycle rider and passenger in Missouri must wear a motorcycle helmet, but helmet-wearing is optional for riders over the age of 18 in Kansas. Wearing a helmet can significantly decrease the risk of serious injuries to the face, head, and brain in a motorcycle accident, whether it’s the law or not. Even with a helmet, however, victims can sustain serious traumatic brain injuries.
  • Road rash. The skin (even through clothing and protective gear) can suffer severe road rash when it comes into contact with asphalt in an accident. Major abrasions, cuts, scrapes, lacerations, and traumatic tattooing from embedded debris in the skin can require painful treatments such as skin flushes and disinfectants. Road rash can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement.
  • Muscle and soft tissue injuries. Common soft tissue injuries in motorcycle wrecks include neck and back injuries, torn ligaments, pulled muscles, contusions, and tendon tears. Muscle-related injuries can take a long time to heal and cause temporary or permanent disability and missed time at work.
  • Severe nerve damage. A collision can fling a motorcyclist from his or her vehicle. The rider does not have a seatbelt or protective shell to keep him or her from flying into the air and landing yards away. Landing on an arm can cause “biker’s arm,” or permanent nerve damage to the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand. Landing on other limbs can cause nerve damage or bone breaks as well.
  • Fractures. Impact with the ground, an object, or another vehicle can result in breaks or fractures to many different bones. Skull and spinal cord fractures are the most serious and come with the possibility of permanent or fatal injury. Injuries to the lower half of the body are common in motorcycle accidents, including shattered pelvises and knees. Bone fractures are painful and can be debilitating.

The most severe motorcycle accidents can cause injuries from which the victim never recovers. Talk to the motorcycle accident attorneys at Wendt Law Firm P.C. if you suffered any of the above-mentioned injuries or if you lost a loved one. You may have grounds for a lawsuit to fight for compensation for your serious or catastrophic damages. Just because an injury is “common” does not make it any less important. The sooner you speak to a lawyer about your legal rights, the better.

What to Do Immediately After a Motorcycle Accident in Kansas City

Steps to take after a motorcycle accident include reporting to the police, gathering information, going to the hospital, calling your insurance company, not admitting fault, and documenting your injuries. The number one action to take, however, is to contact an attorney.

Whether you’re at the hospital with serious injuries or only sustained property damage, call our personal injury lawyers to discuss your case for free. Our top-rated lawyers can tell you exactly what steps to take in the hours, days, and weeks after a wreck, as well as how best to safeguard your legal rights. Don’t wait to talk to an attorney; contact a motorcycle accident attorney immediately after your accident for the best-case outcome.

Determining Liability After a Motorcycle Accident

Determining the liability for an accident involving a motorcycle and another vehicle can be complex, especially if multiple parties are involved. Missouri law relies on a few basic elements when determining who is at fault for a motorcycle accident:

  • Did the other driver owe the motorcyclist a duty of care? The answer to this question is usually yes, because all motorists owe a duty of care to others who use the road, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others.
  • Did the motorist commit negligence? This forms the foundation of most personal injury cases, including vehicle accidents. In a legal sense, a person commits negligence when he or she fails to act in a manner that another reasonable person would have acted. In the context of a motorcycle accident, a person commits negligence when he or she violates a traffic law. Common examples of negligence include failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, speeding, and operating a vehicle under the influence.
  • Did the other motorist’s negligence directly lead to the motorcyclists’ injuries? The other driver’s actions must be the proximal cause of the injuries or property damage suffered by the plaintiff to establish liability.
  • Did the motorcyclist suffer harm as a result? Lastly, an injured plaintiff must be able to show proof of harm caused by another motorist’s negligence. Examples include medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and other intangible losses, such as suffering and physical pain.

The concept of comparative negligence may come into play when determining liability in a motorcycle accident. An injured motorist may still be able to collect damages, even if he or she shares some fault for the accident, according to the laws of the state of Missouri. For example, if a jury finds an injured motorcyclist 15% at fault for an accident, because he or she was speeding at the time, under the rule of comparative negligence, he or she may still be able to collect 85% of the available damages.

About Motorcycle Accident Claims in KC

To be eligible for compensation, you must prove the defendant was negligent and that this act of negligence caused the motorcycle crash. The defendant may try to argue comparative negligence, or that you own a percentage of fault for the crash. This might be the case if you were speeding or lane splitting at the time. Missouri and Kansas abide by different laws when it comes to comparative fault. In both states, however, you can still receive compensation even if you were partially responsible.

The only way to get all the facts about your particular accident and to discover your options for financial recovery is to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Retain Wendt Law Firm P.C. for help with motorcycle accident cases in KC. We can help you maximize your compensation award in any way possible. Contact us today.

How to File a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident

Knowing the initial steps to take toward filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident in Kansas City can help you protect your rights and take immediate action in the face of someone else’s negligence. The team of lawyers at Wendt Law Firm P.C. is always available to help you with any and all claim filing steps. The basic steps for filing a claim and securing compensation in Kansas City are as follows:

  1. Investigate the accident
  2. Gather evidence
  3. Determine the defendant(s)
  4. Calculate your damages
  5. File your official claim
  6. Serve the defendant
  7. Enter into the discovery phase
  8. Begin settlement negotiations
  9. Take the case to court, if necessary
  10. Fight for fair compensation

You will need to know which civil courtroom will hear your case, as well as your statute of limitations for filing. You will also need to obey state and local filing requirements to ensure an efficient and timely process. Making a mistake could delay your claim, cost you money, and even result in losing your right to file. Don’t take on the claims process by yourself. Instead, trust our top-tier personal injury attorneys to take care of your claim, starting by contacting us today.