Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Kansas City, MO, Helping Injured Cyclists Get Fair Compensation
The bicycle is one of the original forms of wheeled transportation and predates any type of motor vehicle. While it went out of fashion once automobiles became cheaper to manufacture, the bicycle has experienced a resurgence as people opt for a healthier and eco-friendly option for their commute. Unfortunately, cyclists are at a heightened risk of injuries when faced with motor vehicle drivers who are not used to seeing them on the road. When a bike collides with an automobile, the crash often results in severe injuries. If you or a loved one have found yourself in such a situation, a bicycle accident lawyer in Kansas City, MO, may be able to help.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, our team of legal professionals fights daily to help our clients seek justice. Suffering serious injuries in a bicycle accident can be life-changing, and this becomes even more disheartening when such an incident is caused by a negligent driver. Missouri bicycle laws are meant to protect cyclists, but when other commuters fail to follow these laws, they can be held liable for their careless actions. Mohlman Gurney Injury Law offers free initial consultations for all prospective clients who need a better understanding of their rights. Contact us today to speak with a Kansas City bicycle accident attorney who can help.
Dangers Facing Bicyclists on Kansas City Streets
There are 130,000 serious injuries in the bicycling community every year. Around 1,000 of these result in death. These occur all over the country, but there are no doubt areas that are less safe for cyclists. Unfortunately, Missouri is one of those areas. In a recent study, our home was ranked as the 17th worst state for bicyclists. This means there are 33 other states where you’d be better off hitting the streets on your bike. Relative to the number of bicycles on Missouri roads, the rate of accidents and serious injuries involving bikes is extremely high. This makes sense considering cyclists are one of the few commuters on the road that have nearly no protection from collisions.
All it takes is the driver of a car to merge without noticing a bicycle in its blind spot. In fact, careless actions by the drivers of all motor vehicles can cause significant harm to a cyclist. Unfortunately, reckless drivers aren’t the only dangers faced out there. Pedestrians entering the road outside of crosswalks, unrepaired damage to streets, obstructions in the road, and a variety of other hazards can all lead to bicycle accidents. If you’ve experienced such an incident in Kansas City, it’s important to understand your rights and who may be at fault. Unfortunately, medical expenses lost wages, and other damages can add up quickly.
What Laws Govern Bicycle Accidents in Kansas City?
When bicycle accidents occur in Missouri, there are a variety of laws that could affect the potential outcome of a personal injury claim. A bike accident lawyer can help you better understand these statutes, but the important thing to remember is that violating a law typically creates some level of liability. For instance, it’s illegal in the state for any person to obstruct a bicycle lane. This often happens with improperly parked vehicles or even placing garbage cans outside of appropriate areas for pickup. When bicycle accidents occur due to such statutory violations, the responsible party is likely liable for injuries.
While there are many laws focusing on preventing bicycle accidents, there are also statutory requirements limiting an injured victim’s ability to seek compensation. Personal injury statutes of limitation are one common example. Fortunately, Missouri has a fairly generous statute for anyone injured in a bike accident. Victims have up to five years to file their lawsuit seeking compensation. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should wait that long to reach out to a bike accident lawyer. The simple fact is that cases become more difficult to prove as time passes. Witnesses often relocate, and evidence can even get lost. This is why you should seek legal assistance immediately after suffering injuries.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Some people experience bicycle crashes with no long-term effects. In many cases, a skinned elbow or bruised knee might be the only issue faced by accident victims. Unfortunately, cyclists involved in such collisions are also at heightened risk for serious injuries. Even when a bicyclist takes all appropriate precautions and wears protective gear, the fact is that they’re not in a motor vehicle. When a bike collides with a 3,500-pound car, the suffered injuries can very easily be detrimental. That’s why the following conditions are the most commonly cited in personal injury claims:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Contusions and lacerations
- Fatal injuries
While these are some of the most common injuries leading to personal injury settlements and lawsuits, they’re far from the only injuries cyclists may experience. If you’ve been harmed in any way due to the negligence of other drivers, pedestrians, property owners, or even government agencies, it’s important that you reach out for legal assistance as soon as possible. Failing to do so could reduce your ability to recover financial compensation, and this means you may have to face economic damages on your own. At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we make sure none of our clients go through these struggles on their own. We’re ready to help.
Personal Injury Determined by the Courts
Missouri is a comparative negligence state. This means the party responsible for the accident is responsible for the damages resulting from that accident. It is, therefore, important to consult with an attorney shortly after you’ve been injured to ensure you receive the correct police reports and any witness statements to help in assigning the appropriate responsibility. However, Missouri’s bicycle laws also mean that the damages you could potentially receive might be reduced if you were partially at fault for the incident. This is why an experienced bicycle accident attorney can prove so invaluable. They can help you figure out all parties that may be liable.
As an example of comparative negligence rules, imagine an instance where a cyclist suffers traumatic brain injuries after an accident where they weren’t wearing a helmet. A pickup truck could have run a red light and collided with the cyclist. In this situation, a jury may think the negligent driver of the truck is most at fault—but they might also believe the cyclist was 20% at fault for their injuries due to not wearing a helmet. Under Missouri law, this would reduce the eventual court award by 20%. That means a verdict of $3 million to the plaintiff would be reduced by $600,000. This would still result in an award of $2.4 million.
The important thing to understand is that every bicycle accident case is unique. It’s important that you don’t try to predict whether you’re entitled to compensation on your own based on comparative negligence laws. In fact, if a negligent driver caused your injuries, it’s a good assumption that their insurance company will try to convince you that there’s blame on your side as well. This is why you should never speak with an insurance adjuster prior to seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney. At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, our free consultations mean you can do this without spending a dime. Contact us today.
Do I Need a Kansas City Bicycle Accident Attorney?
When someone is involved in a Kansas City bicycle accident, they’ll eventually wonder if they even need an attorney. After all, Missouri law doesn’t require you to have representation when taking legal action. Additionally, the insurance company adjuster who contacted you following your accident likely sounded super helpful and very concerned for your well-being. Unfortunately, the process of taking legal action on your own is littered with hurdles and potential pitfalls. This is why statistics show that injury victims with legal representation consistently receive higher settlement offers and court awards.
This is true for a variety of reasons. First, insurance adjusters are trained to guide conversations in a way that causes victims to accept some level of blame. In Missouri, this means lower potential court awards. They may try to get you to admit you merged outside of bike lanes or that you weren’t paying attention in an intersection. They may even try to take advantage of the fact that you need money to cover medical bills now. If you’re seeking maximum compensation from an insurance company, the truth is that a bicycle accident attorney in Kansas City can prove invaluable.
In instances where your case goes to court, having a legal professional on your side is also important. Trying to recover compensation requires proving fault, and insurance company lawyers will do everything to place that fault at your feet. They may also use legal maneuvering to draw out litigation and convince you that accepting a lower settlement now is in your best interest. With an attorney on your side, these strategies are less likely to work—or to even be attempted. You need an advocate on your side to represent your best interests, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with a Kansas City personal injury attorney.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Kansas City, MO, Today
Riding a bicycle is a great way to commute while staying in shape and reducing your impact on the planet. Unfortunately, the actions of negligent individuals can lead to devastating injuries for cyclists. If you or a loved one has experienced such an accident, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Unfortunately, companies that insure motor vehicles want to pay you as little as possible. Every dime that doesn’t go into your pocket goes toward their profit margins. This means they’ll fight tooth and nail to make you accept a low settlement, and if you don’t fall into this trap, they might very well force you into litigation.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we’ve seen too many victims of bicycle accidents face struggles due to negligent drivers and unfair compensation. Both the physical and mental scars related to such traumatic accidents can last a lifetime, and while monetary compensation may not fix everything, it can help you overcome the financial difficulties you’ll likely deal with. If you or a loved one were injured while riding a bike, our bicycle accident lawyers in Kansas City, MO, are ready to help. Contact us today by calling (816) 648-6000 to schedule a free consultation. We can’t turn back the clock to prevent your personal injury, but we can help you hold those responsible accountable.