St. Louis Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are at an increased risk of significant injury when they’re involved in a crash with another vehicle. A rider may be entitled to compensation to pay for their injuries, lost income, and other damages that result from the crash when the other driver involved is responsible.
However, if the at-fault driver flees the scene of the crash, recovering damages becomes considerably more difficult.
When the at-fault driver leaves the scene of an accident before first responders arrive, it is called a hit and run accident. This distasteful action is made worse when they leave behind a potentially injured motorcycle driver.
At NST Law, we help motorcycle riders who have been seriously injured by careless and cowardly drivers. With more than 32 years of experience in injury law, we can help you explore your rights and options to get compensated for your losses.
Missouri Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Laws
According to the most recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Missouri had 30 hit and run accidents resulting in at least one death in 2016 alone.
This statistic doesn’t take into account the number of hit and run accidents in which no one died, but people were injured.
Missouri has laws to deter those who may be tempted to leave the scene of an accident and to protect those who have been involved in a hit and run. Under Missouri law, leaving the scene of an accident is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A hit and run becomes a Class E felony if:
- There was physical injury to the person who was hit
- There was damage in excess of $1,000
- The at-fault driver had prior hit and run accident convictions
The Class E felony punishment for a hit and run accident includes up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Can I still receive compensation if law enforcement can’t locate the other driver?
For purposes of a car accident, Missouri is an “at-fault” state. This designation means that the driver who is at fault for the crash is also responsible for any property damage and bodily harm that occurs. Practically speaking, this standard means that the insurance company covering the responsible driver will pay for damages up to the policy limits.
Missouri law requires uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage can protect you when an at-fault driver flees the scene or doesn’t have adequate insurance.
The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage required by the state is $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 in bodily injury per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t pay for vehicle damage.
Under Missouri insurance laws, motorcycle owners are required to carry insurance for their two- or three-wheeled vehicles. The minimum coverage required by law is $10,000 per accident in property damage, and $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury or death.
It’s also worth noting that in Missouri, anyone riding on a motorcycle must wear a helmet to help mitigate serious and often life-threatening injuries to the head.
The uninsured motorist requirement and the insurance required for motorcyclists can be of benefit to you if you’re involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident. These rules mean that you can receive some kind of compensation within your policy limits, even when law enforcement cannot find the other driver.
When hit and run accidents occur and the at-fault driver cannot be located, the accidents become uninsured motorist events. You can still collect compensation under the uninsured motorist benefits of your insurance policy up to the limits set in your coverage.
What should I do after a hit and run motorcycle accident in St. Louis?
There are several things you should do after you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident. These steps can protect you physically and also help to protect your rights.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, you should:
1. Move to a Safe Place
If you’re able to move, you should immediately do so. Get to the side of the road or another safe area where you’re no longer in danger.
3. Document the Scene
If you’re able, take a few moments to document the crash scene. Take photos if you can. Document the damage and the area in which the accident occurred.
4. Gather Contact Information from Witnesses
If you are able, take note of anyone who may have witnessed the accident and collect their contact information. This could prove to be valuable to law enforcement as they work to find the responsible driver.
5. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
As soon as you’re able, contact your insurance company to make them aware of your accident. A claims adjuster can help you understand your policy as it relates to your uninsured motorist benefits.
6. Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
When the officers are documenting the scene, ask where you can get a copy of their report. When you’re able, obtain a copy of the accident report for your records. You’ll also be able to share this with others who may need it, including your lawyer.To assist clients, our lawyers are able to obtain any and all police or accident reports that were created.
7. Keep All Receipts and Medical Bills
Make sure to keep all hospital and physician or medical provider reports and any receipts related to your accident.
8. Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible
An attorney can help you understand and protect your rights as a hit and run victim. Don’t assume that information you hear from others is accurate. Find a reputable St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer and let them guide you.
Deadlines to File Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Reports, Claims, and Personal Injury Lawsuits in Missouri
Missouri law requires a police report to be filed about any accident in which there is $500 or more in property damage, serious injuries, or death. There’s no time limit with regard to when the police report must be filed, but it’s to your advantage to file a report as soon as possible. That way, your memory of small details will be more accurate and helpful to officers who may be trying to form a complete picture of the accident.
An accident must be made to the Missouri Department of Revenue within 30 days if:
- There’s an injury, death, or $500 or more in property damage
- The accident is a hit and run
- The accident involves an uninsured motorist
Your insurance provider likely has their own deadlines for making a claim. Refer to your policy for any timelines you need to adhere to in order to collect payment. A personal injury attorney can help make sure that all reports and claims are filed in a timely manner.
In the event that law enforcement personnel are able to locate the at-fault driver, you have the option to sue them for the damages you’ve incurred. Under Missouri law, any personal injury lawsuit must be filed within five years of the date of the accident.
Does it cost me anything upfront to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Most St. Louis personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This payment arrangement is to your advantage because it means that your attorneys take the risk when filing your lawsuit. If you don’t recover damages, they don’t get paid.
If you do recover damages, the motorcycle accident attorney will collect a percentage of your award that has been agreed upon upfront. This type of fee retrieval provides a personal injury lawyer added incentive to get you the highest amount of compensation possible.
Why should I hire NST Law to handle my hit and run motorcycle accident case?
The lawyers at NST Law have been helping accident victims for more than 30 years. Our compassionate care and years of experience can bring you peace of mind and relief after a motorcycle crash.
Our legal team has a long record of success in personal injury cases. Whether we’re negotiating with insurance providers or taking a case to court, we’ll fight for the financial compensation you deserve.
Our knowledgeable St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyers can give you the support and aid that you need after a motorcycle crash. Contact NST today for a free consultation.