St. Louis Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
When a motorcycle driver is involved in an accident, there’s little to protect them besides their protective clothing and a helmet. Because of this, many motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries and sometimes death. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, motorcycle fatalities are up 28% since 2018.
If someone you love was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. Money can never replace your loved one, but it can help ease the stress of medical bills, loss of income, and emotional trauma you’ve suffered.
The St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyers at NST Law have helped many families get the justice and compensation they deserve. We can help you, too.
Serious Injury and Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in St. Louis
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, in 2021, motorcycle fatalities were up 40% from the same time in the previous year.
As of June 2021, there had been 42 motorcycle accident fatalities in Missouri. This upward trend is disturbing. For motorcyclists and their families, it’s important to be aware of the dangers.
Dangerous St. Louis Roads and Intersections for Motorcyclists
There are several intersections in the St. Louis area that have been identified as being exceptionally dangerous. According to State Farm, the most dangerous intersection in the area is Gravois and Lindbergh Boulevard. This intersection requires particular attention because two high traffic roads with higher speed limits converge here.
According to the State Farm study, other dangerous intersections include:
- Manchester Road and Clarkson Road
- Patterson Road and Lindbergh Boulevard
- State Highway K and State Highway N
- Highway 94 and Jungermann Road
- Highway 141 and Big Bend
- East 23rd Street and State Highway 291
Motorists of any sort should pay particular attention when traveling through any of these areas.
Contributing Factors to St. Louis Motorcycle Accidents Resulting in Deaths
Most motorcycle crashes in St. Louis happen because of errors. To say that the fault always lies with another motorist would not be accurate. Sometimes, the motorcycle drivers share blame, too.
According to 2019 data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes are:
- Speeding: 33% of all motorcycle accidents involved speeding
- Left-hand Turns: A factor in 40% of accidents between a motorcycle and another vehicle
- Distracted Driving: Often occurs when drivers are using mobile phones
- Drunk Driving: 29% of motorcycle crashes involved drinking or being under the influence of substances
- Fixed Objects
- Blind Spots
- Dangerous Intersections: 34% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections
- Lane Splitting
- Poor Weather Conditions: Only 2% of motorcycle accidents occur as the result of bad weather
- Time of Day or Day of the Week: Most motorcycle accidents occur during the daytime and on weekdays
Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents happen when other drivers fail to see and recognize motorcyclists on the road. Even when a motorcycle is in plain sight, in a condition known as inattentional blindness, the brain fails to recognize a motorcycle as a threat. As a result, the motorcycle driver may simply be overlooked by another driver unintentionally.
Who can file a wrongful death suit in Missouri?
Under Missouri law, there are limits on the parties who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. The first people who are able to claim wrongful death are the surviving spouse, children, or children’s children. If no one from these categories can file a wrongful death claim, the victim’s siblings may be able to file a claim.
Types of Available Damages in a Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Missouri
In a wrongful death lawsuit, Missouri law allows certain kinds of damages to be paid to the deceased person’s survivors or estate. The specific types and amounts of damages are dependent on the details of the case at hand.
Factors the court can consider when awarding damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills related to injuries or illness
- Wages and benefits the deceased would have earned if they had lived
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased between the time of injury and their death
- The reasonable value of the support that the deceased party would have provided to their family, including companionship, instruction, counsel, and training
Damages might also be available for caregiving services the deceased may have provided. The state has determined that the value of care provided for a child, senior, or disabled person by a deceased person who was not employed full-time is worth 110% of Missouri’s average weekly pay at the time of death.
In Missouri, there are no caps on damages in wrongful death lawsuits, apart from cases that involve medical malpractice.
Proving Liability for a Deadly Motorcycle Accident
It can be difficult to prove liability in a motorcycle accident case. When you partner with the St. Louis personal injury lawyers at NST Law, we will conduct a thorough investigation of your claim in an effort to determine liability.
Evidence gathered from accident reports, witness statements, medical records, and any existing camera footage work together to help prove liability.
In order for your case to be successful, it must be proved that the other driver was liable for the accident. There are five criteria that must be clearly illustrated to prove negligence on the part of the other driver, including:
- The victim was owed a duty of care by the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury
- The plaintiff’s damages are a direct result of the breach
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages
In Missouri, the highest degree of care (duty) is owed by drivers to other drivers on the road and to pedestrians. When a driver is distracted, speeding, or under the influence of alcohol, they have likely breached their duty to exercise the highest degree of care. Therefore, they could be responsible for an accident.
Generally speaking, in order to prove wrongful death, it must be proven that a family member died and that their death was the direct result of another’s intentional or negligent conduct. Evidence to this effect could include police reports, medical documentation, photos of the accident and the scene, and phone records.
The responsible party in a wrongful death motorcycle accident suit is often another driver, but this may not always be the case. There are times in which defective parts either on the motorcycle or the other car could play a role in contributing to the accident. Anyone who bears responsibility for the death of your loved one could be held liable for their fatal injuries.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
Under Missouri law, any wrongful death action must take place within three years of the date of the accident.
How much will a St. Louis wrongful death lawyer cost me?
At NST Law, we don’t charge you any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. By working on a contingency fee basis, we can help you pursue justice and protect your right to compensation without having you incur additional financial harm. We are only paid our agreed upon percentage from your compensation earnings if we win or settle your case.
Why should I hire NST Law to help me with a fatal motorcycle accident case?
With a track record of proven client satisfaction, the attorneys at NST Law give each client the sort of compassion and care they deserve. We are passionate about helping others in need both in and out of the courtroom. When you need an attorney to protect your legal rights in a fatal motorcycle accident case, our lawyers are committed to helping you.
Contact NST Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation.