Motorcycle riders experience much freedom, but it comes with danger. In Missouri, licensed drivers aged 26 years and older can ride their motorcycles without helmets as long as they have health insurance. However, this resulted in an increase in helmetless deaths by 800%.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
However, convincing the insurance company to pay you the damages you deserve may be challenging. If you have a witness, their statement can strengthen your case. A witness is someone who saw the accident or was there when it happened and, therefore, can shed light on the circumstances surrounding it.
Finding witnesses can be challenging, though. You would probably be more occupied with getting medical care and recovering from your injuries. Moreover, witnesses should be credible to help your motorcycle accident case.
Therefore, find a way to get the best legal advice and representation from people who care. You can head on to The Personal Injury Center. Although we are not a law firm, we can refer you to a motorcycle accident lawyer in St. Louis. They’d be able to help you collect witness testimony and build a strong case.
We at The Personal Injury Center understands your unique challenges and wants to help you fight for the full compensation you’re owed.
Contact us now to schedule a free consultation to talk about your case. We can connect you with personal injury attorneys who will work diligently to hold the at-fault party liable while you can spend time recovering from your injuries.
What Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries Occur Most Often in St. Louis, Missouri?
We know that each of our client’s injuries is unique because of the circumstances of their accident. Though many motorcycle accidents cause the same types of injuries, they’ll affect individuals differently.
Distracted driving on different road conditions may cause the following serious injuries to motorists:
- Multiple fractures, broken bones/teeth, or road rash
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries
- Torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Skin loss and burns that require grafting procedures
- Internal bleeding and damaged organs
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Fatalities/wrongful death
Based on your injuries, we can help you recover compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses/medical bills
- Property damages/non-economic damages
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death claims
Motorcycle accident attorneys customize the help they provide for each case to reflect every claimant’s unique needs. Therefore, your personal injury claim isn’t handled as one of many but as the only one that matters.
How Witnesses Can Help You in Your Motorcycle Accident Case in St. Louis
After a motorcycle accident, you should obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who were present. Witnesses may not stay around for too long after an accident, especially if they see that you don’t have catastrophic injuries.
It should go without saying that seeking medical treatment and reporting the collision to authorities are necessary. However, obtaining statements from witnesses is also extremely important to build a strong case and recover compensation.
The following are the two main types of witnesses who can provide testimony after a motorcycle accident:
- Witness of fact: Someone who may provide evidence of fact but may not give any opinions.
- Expert witness: Someone with the expertise, education, or training to authoritatively comment on disputed issues in the motorcycle accident. It’s vital to select an expert witness with the right qualifications. They must also be able to explain their findings in an understandable and persuasive way to the insurance company and the jury.
Reach out to an experienced St. Louis motorcycle accident lawyer for help. They have various search tools to locate witnesses and file your complaint within the statute of limitations. They can also take your claim to court if the insurance company doesn’t offer you or your loved one a fair settlement.
The following are some of the ways a witness can help you with your motorcycle accident claim:
Help attest to the events leading to the motorcycle accident
Distracted or negligent drivers cause too many road accidents. They generally stand out in traffic because they fail to observe the right of way or yield to other vehicles. Sometimes, they drift into another lane or don’t check their blind spots before changing lanes and crash into other vehicles.
Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, which makes your memory of the incident all the more critical. However, those involved in the accident would be biased when recalling what happened, so getting an impartial witness is very important. In fact, if witnesses saw the accident from a different angle, they could probably provide more information about who was at fault.
The testimony of a witness is even more credible if he or she isn’t related to any of the parties involved in the accident. They’ll be able to provide objective evidence about which driver was at fault.
Witnesses are generally called to corroborate the information in motorcycle accident victims’ medical records and police reports. This way, the party that was responsible for the accident can be held accountable.
Fill in gaps in information
There may be missing information in the case. Generally, each side tells its story and explains how the other party was at fault. However, trauma from the accident may preclude parties from precisely recalling how the accident happened.
Since they saw the accident happen, witnesses can help fill in the blanks. Their in-depth testimony can help your attorney understand the situation and build a stronger case.
Important information, such as whether the driver was texting, which is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, is generally provided by witnesses. Your lawyer will gather all this information from witnesses, increasing your chances of winning your claim for compensation.
Provide statements that can help expedite a fair settlement
Since witnesses are perceived to be neutral, their statements can facilitate reaching an immediate and fair settlement.
In the discovery phase, each side examines the evidence of the other party. This information can help your lawyer determine how the matter will be decided if it goes to court.
At other times, the discovery makes one party realize they were at fault. For example, a witness might testify that a particular driver was using their phone while driving or taking the wrong turn.
What Are the Qualities of a Credible Witness?
Witness testimony should strengthen your case. Therefore, a witness must be dependable, provide accurate information, and should have the following qualities:
Must be objective
A trustworthy witness must be impartial and can’t have a personal interest in the matter. Therefore, it’s best if the witness is not a family member or a friend because their statement could be biased.
Furthermore, an expert witness must be independent, as their neutrality plays a significant role in how the court will rule in the matter. When a court is confronted with conflicting expert testimony, the impartiality of the witness becomes even more important.
For example, a defendant has a long-standing professional relationship with an expert witness. This will lead the court to doubt the validity of the expert testimony. This demonstrates that if a witness is not impartial and independent, it could have an adverse effect on your case.
Must be consistent
The testimony of a witness must be consistent. For example, a witness testifies that the other vehicle was swerving because of a pothole. However, when they retract this portion of their statement later, their testimony will be considered inconsistent, which is a problem.
If a witness changes their statement from time to time, it has a negative effect on their credibility, and a court may not attach any weight to their testimony.
Must be physically and mentally capable
Witnesses can also establish their credibility if they have a strong memory, good hearing, and no problems with their eyesight.
Moreover, a witness shouldn’t have any mental health issues, as it could make them inclined to have hallucinations. In fact, a person’s memory capabilities are usually flawed. Therefore, the added complication of psychological issues may further prevent someone from accurately recalling the details of a motorcycle accident.
Build Your St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Case With The Personal Injury Center
When you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, it can be challenging to gather credible witnesses whose testimony can help you build a strong case. This becomes even more difficult when you need to rest and recover. Fortunately, a St. Louis motorcycle accident attorney can help you.
At The Personal Injury Center, we can refer you to personal injury lawyers who can help you gather witnesses and other evidence that will allow you to win your case. Contact us for a free case evaluation to help you find the best legal representation.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in St. Louis
Yes, anyone can be a motorcycle accident witness if their testimony is credible and relevant to the case. However, it’s best if the witness isn’t a family member or a friend, as they may be perceived as biased. Therefore, the other side will try to discredit their testimony.
Witnesses should have no attachment to your or the case. Nevertheless, if the testimony of a family member or a friend is required for your case, it’s very important to prepare them for what opposing attorneys may do to derail their testimony.
In most cases, insurance companies automatically blame motorcyclists for causing accidents. However, evidence demonstrates that negligent automobile drivers cause most motorcycle injuries. Unlike motorcycles, passenger vehicles such as cars have many safety components (i.e., seatbelts, airbags, etc.), which protect drivers and passengers alike. This sense of safety can cause vehicles to violate road rules.
If you're not prepared to defend your case in court, you may not be awarded any compensation. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can defend you against such accusations and prove that the other party caused your severe injuries.
Missouri is a comparative negligence state, which means that if you’re partially responsible for the accident, your compensation can be accordingly reduced. With this Missouri law, you must not only prove that the other party was at fault. You must also demonstrate that you weren’t partially responsible for the accident. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can gather all the evidence and prove the other party's negligence.
Though slightly more complex, most motorcycle accident claims are similar to car accidents because the injured party can seek compensation from the negligent party.
A court can generally force you to testify as a witness. If your testimony is required, they’ll send you a subpoena by email or deliver it through a courier. The subpoena, which is a simple court document, will clearly state what type of testimony is needed from you. It will contain the following information:
- The name of the case
- The date and time the case will be heard
- The court you must attend
You may get a subpoena duces tecum, which means that you must bring along the documents listed in the subpoena to court.
You can be imprisoned for contempt of court if you don’t show up to court on the date and time mentioned in the subpoena. You cannot refuse to testify as a witness because you're afraid to give evidence or you're intimidated by one of the parties in the case.