Determining Fault After a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident

From my experience as a Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyer, the motorcycle rider is almost always the most severely injured of the parties in an accident.  This is because motorcycle riders do not have the same level of protection that drivers of other vehicles have. As a result, bikers can sustain serious and even life-changing injuries, even if they follow all laws, wear a helmet and ride defensively. 

There's a common misconception that Kansas and Missouri law require the driver of a car to exercise greater caution than the motorcyclist on the road.  Unfortunately, this is false.  Even though the motorcyclist is much less protected and at risk for injury, Missouri and Kansas law and "rules of the road" generally do not treat a motorcyclist differently than the driver of the car.  

In addition, to recover money for injuries after a motorcycle accident, you must prove that the other party was at fault.  As a result, fault or "liability" is a crucial factor for your case and for the potential settlement value of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

The Driver of a Car Is Not Always at Fault in Missouri & Kansas

The driver of the car will not always be at fault in accidents involving motorcycles.  As with all vehicle accidents, you must prove that the other party was liable, or at fault, for the accident to be entitled to compensation.  Proving liability will depend on the facts surrounding the accident and evidence available. 

Here are some factors to consider when trying to prove who was liable or at fault for causing a Kansas City motorcycle crash:  

  • Was there a police report and does it assign fault?Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyer comparative fault
  • Were the drivers obeying all laws and rules of the road?
  • Were any drivers ticketed or cited for failing to follow laws?
  • Were any drivers impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Were any drivers texting or distracted while driving?
  • Were there witnesses and did they give statements?
  • What were the conditions of the road (were the roads icy, wet, or under construction)?
  • Were the vehicles properly maintained?
  • Were there any skid marks or other damage that help prove who was at fault?
  • What do you remember as happening at the time of the accident?
  • Does the location of damage on the vehicles provide evidence of fault?
  • Do the kinds of injuries indicate who was fault?

Comparative Fault in Missouri & Kansas Motorcycle Accidents

If you were partially at-fault in causing the motorcycle crash, this will affect the value of your claim and could bar your claim completely depending on applicable state law. As a result, the answer to this question depends on whether your accident occurred in Kansas or Missouri.

Missouri. Missouri law is what is known as a pure comparative fault system.  If Missouri law applies, your injury claim value will decrease by the percentage of fault attributable to you in causing the accident. In Missouri, even if you were 99 percent at fault, you may still be able to recover 1 percent the compensation at issue from the other driver.

Kansas. Kansas law is a modified comparative negligence system.  In Kansas, you can only recover money for your injuries if you were 50 percent or less at fault in causing the accident. If you were less than 50 percent at fault, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage you were at fault fault. For example, if you were entitled to $10,000 in damages but were found to be 10 percent at fault, you may still receive $9,000 in a settlement.  However, if you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, Kansas law bars you from recovery.  That's right - even if you and the other driver were each 50 percent at fault - you recover nothing for your injuries in Kansas.

Contact Our Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, you need to contact a personal injury attorney who has experience in motorcycle accidents.  This is especially important if you believe the other driver or insurance company may try to pin the blame on you. This happens more than you may think, and it's just one reason why you need to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

Our Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand your rights to compensation and help you determine whether a lawsuit should be pursued. Our legal team can review your individual case with a free, no obligation consultation. Call our office at 816-203-0143 or fill out the form below today. 

Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS