Can Someone Else Bear Responsibility in a Single-Vehicle Motorcycle Accident in Missouri?

Not all motorcycle accidents in Missouri involve two vehicles, such as a collision between a motorcycle and a standard passenger car. Some take the form of single-vehicle motorcycle wrecks. If no one else was involved in your motorcycle accident, this does not necessarily mean that you have no options for making a financial recovery besides your own auto insurance coverage. Someone else may still bear responsibility for your single-vehicle motorcycle accident, depending on the circumstances.

Can a Government Entity Be Responsible for Poorly Maintained Roads?

In Missouri, most governments have immunity from civil liability for accidents and injuries. However, the Missouri Tort Claims Act lists some instances where suing a government agency is permitted. The negligent failure to properly maintain a roadway is one of these exceptions. The Tort Claims Act says that if the State of Missouri or one of its municipalities fails to repair a dangerous condition on public property that causes an accident, the crash victim can sue the government for financial damages.

It is the government’s responsibility to properly maintain its roads and respond promptly to any road maintenance requests. The failure to do so, resulting in a motorcycle accident, can lead to government liability. This means that you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit after a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in Missouri if a roadway defect caused or contributed to your crash. Examples include potholes, cracks in the road, loose gravel, uneven shoulders, missing guardrails, obscured traffic signs, storm debris, lawn clippings, broken traffic lights and dangerously designed roads. 

What Is Sovereign Immunity in Missouri?

Sovereign immunity is the rule that protects the government from liability in Missouri. It is a legal doctrine that exists to protect government entities from liability from civil lawsuits. The purpose of sovereign immunity is to prevent the government from going bankrupt from civil claims. Many states, however, including Missouri, have passed Tort Claims Acts that grant exceptions to the sovereign immunity rule. For example, claims are typically permitted if the government agency or one of its employees was negligent and if this resulted in an accident and victim injury. An example of negligence is poor roadway maintenance that causes a single-vehicle motorcycle crash.

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Can You Recover Damages for a Defective Motorcycle Part?

Another possibility for pursuing financial compensation after a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in Missouri is a product liability claim for a defective vehicle part. If a piece of equipment on your motorcycle failed or malfunctioned and led to a loss of motorcycle control, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of the part. Common examples are tire blowouts, starter or ignition problems, and brake failures. A strict product liability lawsuit for a motorcycle accident generally only requires you to prove that a part contained a defect and caused your injuries. It does not require proof of negligence.

Am I Required to Report a Single-Vehicle Accident if I’m a Witness?

If you are a witness to a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in Missouri, you are in a unique position to help the injured motorcyclist. First, you can call 911 to request an ambulance if the motorcyclist is injured. Then, you can offer your services as an eyewitness. This may mean giving a signed written statement or oral account of what you saw to help the motorcyclist build a personal injury claim. You do not, however, have a legal obligation to report the accident.

In Missouri, only the operator of a motor vehicle has a legal responsibility to report a collision. This responsibility exists for accidents that cause injuries, deaths, property damage of at least $500 or crashes that involve uninsured motorists. There is no language in the law that requires witnesses to report vehicle accidents. For more information about what to do after a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in Missouri, contact our Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Dickerson Oxton Law Firm for a free consultation.

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