Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Kansas City, Missouri & Kansas
Thousands of motorcyclists are killed each year in the United States in traffic accidents. Motorcycle riders in Kansas City and throughout Missouri and Kansas face numerous challenges and risks each time they ride. Many of those risks are not within the rider’s control, including the carelessness of another driver. When another party is at fault for causing a fatal motorcycle accident, family members have a legal claim against that party under wrongful death laws of Missouri and Kansas.
If your family member died while riding a motorcycle, please know that we are truly sorry for your loss. As you struggle to understand what happened, please know do not have to go it alone. While a fatal motorcycle accident can't be undone, our wrongful death lawyer in Kansas City can help investigate the crash and identify any negligent party so they can be held accountable for your loss. Call our law firm today for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143.
Motorcycle Accident Death Statistics in Missouri & Kansas
There were 873 motorcycle accidents in Kansas in 2018. Motorcycle accidents accounted for 61 deaths and 725 injuries. While motorcycle injuries decreased in Kansas from 2017 to 2018, the number of people killed in Kansas motorcycle crashes increased in 2018. Only 20 of the 61 people killed in motorcycle crashes were wearing motorcycle helmets. During 2018, more motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents than any of the last ten years.
The number of riders killed in motorcycle accidents in Missouri decreased in 2018. During 2018, 108 riders died and 1,990 riders were injured in motorcycle crashes. Only seven to ten riders killed in 2018 were not wearing a motorcycle helmet. It is interesting to note that Missouri has a universal helmet law, while Kansas only requires motorcycle helmets for riders under 18 years of age.
Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Missouri & Kansas
The causes of fatal motorcycle accidents are numerous. Many of the causes of fatal motorcycle crashes are not within the control of the rider.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Impaired driving, including drunk driving and drugged driving
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Defective motorcycles and defective motorcycle parts
- Poor weather conditions
- Dangerous and defectively designed roads
- Improperly maintained roads and road debris
- Inexperienced motorcyclists
When another party is responsible for causing a motorcycle accident that results in death, that party may face criminal charges, depending on the circumstances of the accident. The party may also be personally liable for the damages and losses caused by the wrongful death.
A criminal case and a wrongful death case are separate and distinct. Family members may have a valid wrongful death claim even though the state does not file criminal charges against the at-fault party.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim for a Motorcycle Fatality?
A wrongful death claim arises when someone causes the death of another person. The cause of death could be intentional, such as abuse or violence. The cause of death could be accidental. If the party who caused the death was negligent or guilty of wrongdoing, the person might be liable under a wrongful death claim.
Kansas Wrongful Death Laws
In Kansas, the estate of the deceased person files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the person’s heirs at law. Heirs at law are people who are entitled to inherit from the deceased person under Kansas intestate succession laws. Intestate means without a will. In other words, the beneficiaries who would receive the deceased motorcycle rider’s property if the rider did not have a will are entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
Missouri Wrongful Death Laws
Missouri's wrongful death statute is slightly different. Missouri law sets out specific categories of family members may file wrongful death claims. These categories are given certain priority for who can file a wrongful death claim. In general, the surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri. If the rider did not have any children or a spouse, the rider’s siblings or parents may file a wrongful death claim under Missouri law.
What Compensation Is Available for a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident & Wrongful Death?
Monetary compensation can never fully compensate a family for the loss of a loved one. However, a monetary award for damages is the only means by which the civil system can carry out justice for a grieving family.
A wrongful death claim in Missouri and Kansas compensates family members or the probate estate for a variety of damages. Examples of damages that may be included in a wrongful death claim include:
- Reasonable burial costs and funeral expenses;
- Loss of future income and wages;
- Medical expenses for the rider between the date of injury and date of death;
- Mental anguish and emotional pain;
- Loss of care, companionship, love, support, and guidance; and,
- Punitive damages in cases involving gross negligence or reckless conduct.
A Kansas City wrongful death attorney can review your claim and explain damages in further detail during a free case review.
Contact a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus handles both wrongful death claims and motorcycle accident claims. We help individuals seek justice after they suffer damages caused by another party’s negligence and wrongdoing.
For a free consultation with a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer, call 816-203-0143.