St. Louis and Metro East Motorcycle Helmet Laws
November 9, 2021 | Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles can be fun to ride on highways as well as on country roads throughout St. Louis and the Metro East region. However, these vehicles can also be extremely dangerous. In general, motorcycles are dangerous vehicles because they offer their operators and passengers very little protection while they are out on the roadway.
Unlike the drivers and passengers of cars or trucks, motorcyclists and their passengers do not have an outer metal shell or other outer covering surrounding them at the time of an accident. Therefore, if a motorcyclist is knocked off their bike during a forceful collision, the cyclist is likely to impact the ground directly and suffer serious head injuries as a result. These injuries may require hospitalization as well as a significant amount of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Wearing a motorcycle helmet and other protective gear can help significantly in the event the cyclist is involved in a motorcycle crash. However, even well-constructed helmets can crack, and accident victims may still suffer serious head injuries if they are wearing a helmet.
If you or a person you love sustained an injury in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you have legal options that are available to you. A knowledgeable and skilled St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident attorney can not only help you pursue compensation for your injuries but also take care of handling the legal aspects of your claim while you concentrate your efforts on making a full recovery.
If the at-fault motor vehicle operator’s insurance company does not offer you the compensation that is both reasonable and fair, a skilled attorney can litigate your case in the Missouri or Illinois state court system, depending upon the collision location, and pursue the compensation that you deserve there.
How Motorcycle Helmets Can Help in an Accident
Approved and sturdy motorcycle helmets won’t prevent all injuries, but they do minimize head injuries that the cyclist might suffer in an accident. First of all, a well-constructed motorcycle helmet provides a sturdy barrier in between the ground and the accident victim’s head.
If the cyclist falls off their bike in a collision, the helmet may take on the majority of the blow and protect the cyclist’s head. A good motorcycle helmet will also be made out of sturdy materials and will cover most of the cyclist’s face, in addition to the wearer’s head.
Even when motorcyclists wear helmets, they can still suffer one or more serious head injuries in an accident, especially if the cyclist strikes their head on the ground or another vehicle during the collision. If you have suffered a head injury or other injury in a motorcycle accident, an experienced St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident lawyer can help. Your lawyer can determine the cause of your accident and could file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf against an at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurer.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in St. Louis
Certain motorcycle helmet laws are specific to Missouri. In Missouri, any person who rides on or operates a motorcycle on a Missouri highway or roadway must wear a helmet (protective headgear) at any time when the vehicle is moving.
For the protective headgear to meet state law requirements, it must satisfy the specifications and reasonableness standards the Missouri Director of Motor Vehicles established. Sometimes, the standards and specifications will change. Therefore, all motorcycle operators and passengers should regularly check to ensure that their headgear meets the requirements established by state law.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Illinois (Metro East)
Unlike Missouri, Illinois does not require that motorcycle operators or individuals who ride as passengers on motorcycles wear protective headgear, including helmets. However, motorcycle operators and riders are strongly encouraged to wear this headgear as protection.
However, Illinois law does require motorcycle operators and their riders to wear goggles, a transparent shield, or glasses. Under the state’s law, glasses refer to ordinary pieces that a person wears in front of their eyes, including sunglasses or spectacles constructed from shatter-resistant materials.
A pair of goggles refers to an eye device that offers eyes protection without hindering the motorcycle operator or passenger’s ability to see peripherally. In addition, for a pair of goggles to meet the state law’s requirements, they have to afford the motorcycle operator or passenger protection from both sides and the front. The goggles cannot completely seal the driver or passenger’s face.
In addition, under Illinois law, a motorcycle must be equipped with a transparent shield (such as a windshield) secured on the front of the motorcycle. The shield is required to rise above the motorcycle operator’s eyes when the driver sits upright in a seated position. A face shield that protects the motorcycle operator’s face and eyes and is shatter-resistant also complies with state law.
Head Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
Even when motorcycle operators and their passengers wear helmets and other protective gear, they can still suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle collision. These injuries include traumatic head and brain injuries caused by falling to the ground or striking another motor vehicle or some other object during the crash. Head injuries that a motorcyclist suffers in an accident can range from mild to severe.
Concussions are one type of head injury that victims of motorcycle accidents sustain. Some concussions are relatively mild and can lead to short-term memory losses, dizziness, or vomiting. However, a severe concussion from directly striking the ground in a motorcycle accident can damage an accident victim’s memory, abilities, and general well-being for a long time.
In addition, victims of motorcycle accidents can suffer a brain bleed or other internal injury involving the head. In the worst-case scenario, motorcycle accident victims might suffer a coma or remain in a permanent vegetative state. Victims who sustain traumatic head and brain injuries in a motorcycle accident may even require long-term care at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
If you have suffered one or more of these head injuries in a motorcycle collision that occurred because of another driver’s negligence, you might be eligible for monetary compensation and damages. An experienced St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident attorney near you can handle all of the legal aspects of your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit while you treat and get better for your severe head injuries.
Common Causes of St. Louis and Metro East Motorcycle Accidents
St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most common causes of these accidents is motor vehicle operator negligence. Motor vehicle drivers can be negligent when they operate their vehicles in a reckless, careless, or unreasonable manner under the circumstances. This negligence usually happens when a driver violates a prevailing rule of the road in Missouri or Illinois.
For example, the driver might be engaging in distracted driving by not paying attention to the road just before the accident. When a driver turns their head away from the road, even for a second or two, that may provide sufficient time for the driver to miss a motorcyclist.
At other times, motor vehicle operators violate traffic laws, regulations, and rules of the road. For example, a motor vehicle operator might be speeding, tailgating a motorcyclist, or may fail to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist at a traffic intersection when it is appropriate for them to do so. Drivers can also engage in overly zealous or aggressive driving or can cut off a motorcyclist in busy highway traffic. Any of these aggressive driving maneuvers can result in a serious impact with a motorcycle.
Finally, intoxicated drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can collide with a motorcycle. Alcohol and other drugs will often affect a driver’s depth and distance perception. They can also cause a driver’s vision to blur, resulting in the driver not seeing the motorcyclist on the roadway. At other times, these substances can prevent a driver from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid colliding with a motorcycle.
If you have suffered a head injury in a motorcycle collision that resulted from a negligent driver, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurer. A knowledgeable St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident attorney can investigate the circumstances behind your accident and determine who was at fault. Your attorney could then file the necessary claim with the insurance company on your behalf, seeking compensation for the injuries and damages that you sustained in your motorcycle collision.
Potential Damages That Are Recoverable in a St. Louis or Metro East Motorcycle Accident
To be sure, victims of motorcycle accidents can suffer extremely serious head injuries and other injuries, even when they wear helmets and other protective gear. An injured cyclist might need to seek emergency hospitalization, as well as follow-up care with a primary care doctor, neurologist, or another medical specialist.
The motorcycle accident victim might lose work because of the collision, and in some cases, may not go back to work at all after suffering a serious and permanent head injury. Finally, the accident victim might need to undergo one or more surgeries or other medical procedures to recover from their injuries. All of this medical treatment can cost money, and the entire process may inflict severe emotional trauma and mental anguish upon the accident victim.
Victims of St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle collisions could pursue various types of monetary compensation, depending upon the extent of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and whether or not their injuries are deemed permanent by a medical specialist or another healthcare provider.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can receive compensation for all of their medical bills, lost earnings, and in some instances, loss of earning capacity. Metro East and St. Louis motorcycle accident victims might also receive compensation for mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, permanent disability, and future care costs, including the costs of lifetime care or residing at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
An experienced St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident lawyer will determine if you qualify for these damages and, if so, can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your attorney will do everything possible to help you maximize your compensation. If the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer, your attorney could file a lawsuit and litigate the case in the Missouri or Illinois state court system, depending upon the circumstances and where your motorcycle accident occurred.
Many motorcycle accident claims find a resolution with the at-fault motor vehicle driver’s insurance company. At other times, the accident victim’s lawyer will need to threaten litigation to get the insurance company to take the case seriously. If the case is litigated and goes to a jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case, including the amount of damages to award the accident victim for their injuries, pain, and suffering, and other damages.
However, the parties might explore other methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration. During a mediation proceeding, a neutral mediator appointed to the case will facilitate settlement discussions between the parties. At a binding arbitration proceeding, a neutral arbitrator will listen to all of the evidence presented in the motorcycle accident case and decide on damages. A knowledgeable St. Louis and Metro East motorcycle accident lawyer near you can help you decide on the best option for your case.