Man riding a motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle past the bluffs of Missouri can make you feel at once powerful and insignificant. Increasing your speed and maintaining your focus can make you feel like you are in control of everything that matters. At the same time, a motorcycle ride through the geographic center of the contiguous United States can serve as a reminder that one person is but a tiny speck in the universe. Of course, the only reason that being aware of the fragility of your body is fun and exhilarating is that you can park your motorcycle at home and return to safety whenever you choose. A motorcycle accident is a permanent reminder of how fragile a person’s life and health are. If you have suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, the financial impact has most likely been devastating, but the Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC can help you rebuild your life.

What the Current Missouri Motorcycle Helmet Law Says

In late August 2020, a new law about motorcycle helmets went into effect in Missouri. The law became effective after Governor Mike Parson signed it into law. Until the end of this past summer, all motorcycle riders were required to wear a helmet or similar protective head covering. Under the provisions of the new law, though, motorcycle riders aged 26 or older will have the choice whether or not to wear a helmet. In order to be eligible to ride without a helmet, riders must carry health insurance that would cover their treatment if they sustained a head injury in a motorcycle accident. In practice, however, it would be very difficult for police to find out which helmetless riders have health insurance and which ones do not. Police cannot pull you over just because you are not wearing a helmet and ask you for proof of age and insurance. If they pull you over for some other reason, such as if you are speeding or if you run a stop sign, they can ask you to provide proof that you are eligible to ride without a helmet and to impose fines if you do not have it or do not provide it.

The Controversy Over Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Missouri

Missouri’s new motorcycle helmet law became official after several years of discussion among legislators and at least one previous bill that did not pass. Missouri legislators who support the law, such as State Representative Jered Taylor, say that allowing motorcycle riders to choose when to wear helmets and when to ride without them is a matter of personal freedom. The new law had plenty of opponents, especially from professionals in the healthcare and insurance industries. The opponents of the new law argued that it would drive up the costs of insurance, since the insurance companies would have to pay for the treatment of catastrophic injuries that could have been prevented if the patient had been wearing a helmet. Doctors warned that relaxing the requirements for motorcycle helmets could cause a sharp increase in fatalities. Another criticism the bill faced is that the serious injuries resulting from helmetless motorcycle accidents would place a burden on taxpayers, since it would render injured people unable to work.

How do these new Missouri motorcycle laws affect me?

The motorcycle law is so new that its true effects remain to be seen.  It may turn out that most motorcyclists continue to wear helmets even if they have the opportunity not to wear them.  Given the choice between wearing a helmet and buying more expensive insurance, many motorcycle riders will choose to wear the helmet.  If the number of motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities or serious injuries increases greatly, lawmakers may go back to the old requirements.

Some of the biggest and most lasting decreases to the rate of fatality and serious injury accidents have resulted from stricter safety laws. Driving was a more dangerous activity before the 1980s.  Laws against drunk driving that were enacted during that period led to a sharp drop in the number of DUI accidents and the injuries and fatalities associated with them. Likewise, the nationwide requirement that seatbelts be a standard feature in cars has prevented many deaths and reduced the severity of the injuries resulting from many car accidents. Although the laws are under debate, Missouri drivers can get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, but police cannot pull you over just for not wearing one. If, for example, the police pull you over for speeding and you are not wearing a seatbelt, you can get two tickets, one for speeding and the other for breaking the seatbelt law.

What to Do if You are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident

If you get injured on a motorcycle, get emergency medical treatment. After that, contact a lawyer right away. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you in the following ways:

  • Talking to the insurance companies on your behalf so that they do not manipulate you into saying that the accident was your fault or that your injuries are not serious or not the result of the accident

  • Negotiating with the insurance company to get a better settlement than what they initially offer you

  • Filing a lawsuit and, if possible, negotiating with the defendant to get you a fair settlement so you can avoid a costly and stressful trial

The more serious your injuries are, the greater the chances that you will have to file a lawsuit, or even go to trial, to get the compensation you need. A lawyer can help you get compensation for your medical bills and lost income, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment.

Contact a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer About Motorcycle Accidents Today

You have the right to representation by a motorcycle accident lawyer whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  Contact Foster Wallace, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri for a free consultation. We are only paid if we win your case.

Michael Foster
Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney
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