From 2012 to 2016, no less than 259 people died in motorcycle accidents in Nevada. Approximately 1,076 people incurred serious injuries. Almost 75% of the accidents responsible for these deaths and injuries occurred in Clark County. Some of their victims reached out to us looking for the assistance of a Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer.
At Nettles & Morris, we do our best to help clients obtain compensation for their losses. When we take over a case, we treat it as if we are the victims and we are fighting for our own interests. One of the first things we try to determine is what the cause of the accident was. The information can be useful on several levels:
- Identifying the party at fault
- Guiding the investigations
- Finding similar cases to support out arguments
Many of the motorcycle accidents in Nevada and especially Clark County have the same causes. We will review the most common ones in the following lines.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Henderson
Many factors contribute to motorcycle accidents in Nevada. The following are the most frequent factors a Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer may encounter:
Despite the fact that the law forbids it, motorcyclists often move between lanes. They overtake cars in their own lanes, and they use every inch of space they can to advance. Such maneuvers may help save time and avoid traffic congestion. However, they are extremely dangerous. One open vehicle door or a deviation of a few inches to the left to avoid a pothole can be fatal. The motorcyclist is usually the one who incurs the most severe injuries. If they were the one splitting lanes, they will need a great motorcycle accident lawyer.
They occur when a vehicle and a motorcycle drive too close to one another. One vehicle moves into the other vehicle’s lane and sideswipes it. It usually occurs because the driver or the motorcyclist changes lanes without looking. Other causes are maneuvers meant to avoid road obstacles and distractions. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Henderson will easily recognize sideswipe signs. They will not rest until they find the evidence to prove it.
Speed makes motorcycles impossible to stop safely. Even a road pothole can cause the rider to lose control of their bike. The higher the speed is, the greater the impact force gets. That is why many motorcycles are thrown off the road or roll over after the impact. Their motorcyclists often hit the pavement, nearby vehicles, or roadside guardrails. A Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer will usually recognize speeding accidents by looking at the consequences.
Intoxication with drugs or alcohol
Too many vehicle operators consume drugs or alcohol before hitting the streets. The substances reduce their focus and reaction speed, so accidents become imminent. At Nettles & Morris, our motorcycle accident attorneys always look for BAC levels in the police report. You would be surprised at how many times their suspicions turned out true.
People don’t seem able to give up using their smartphones even when they break the law. They make calls, text, or access social networks while operating their vehicle. No wonder they do not pay attention to the road and they get into accidents. The laws in Nevada are more restrictive when it comes to the use of mobile devices. Implicitly, a motorcycle accident attorney will have an easier time proving distracted driving.
Vehicle operators act as if keeping close to the vehicle in front helped them reach destination faster. All it does is take away reaction time and put them in danger. If the vehicle in front of them stops, slows down, or turns suddenly, they rear-end it. The operator of the rear-ending vehicle is usually at fault. However, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to prove otherwise.
Leaving causes aside, motorcycle crashes often destroy lives. If they are not fatal, they cause serious injuries and huge financial losses. The law does enable motorcycle accident victims to claim compensation for their losses. However, obtaining it is not easy. It takes thorough knowledge of Nevada laws.
Main Nevada Laws a Motorcycle Accident Attorney May Explain to Their Clients
1. Specific Motorcycle Laws
Nevada Revised Statutes Section 482.070 defines motorcycles. They are motor vehicles having no more than three wheels touching the ground. The definition specifically excludes electric bicycles, tractors, and mopeds.
Motorcyclists have to follow all traffic rules targeting motorized vehicle operators that do not exclude them. In addition, they need to abide by a few specific regulations meant to ensure safe road sharing.
Here are the ones a motorcycle accident lawyer may have to explain to their client.
Motorcyclists are entitled to use a full traffic lane
No more than two motorcycles should ride abreast in the same lane.
Due to their small size compared to cars, motorcycles appear farther than they are in mirrors
They are also less visible. Motorcyclists should keep this in mind when overtaking cars or changing lanes.
Estimating the speed of a motorcycle is nearly impossible for other traffic participants
As a result, motorcyclists should maintain a safe speed. They should also pay attention to the maneuvers other traffic participants make.
Strong winds or rough road surfaces may force motorcycles from their road position
To avoid accidents when it happens, motorcyclists should maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Those who do not will need the help of a motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycle turn signals are rarely self-canceling
Drivers should pay attention not just to motorcycle signals but also to motorcyclist actions. The latter may look back or lean to one side before changing direction or overtaking another vehicle.
Tailgating is very dangerous when it comes to motorcycles
Both drivers and motorcyclists should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. Rear-end collisions are common in the portfolio of any motorcycle accident attorney in Henderson.
Under Nevada Revised Statutes section NRS 486.321
All motorcyclists should wear an approved helmet. They should also wear goggles, protective glasses, or have a windshield installed. If they do not and they incur injuries for their accident, they will share liability.
Carrying packages or items that could interfere with motorcycle operation is prohibited
So is transporting children or other persons without dedicated seats. Motorcyclists should reach the ground simultaneously with both feet when sitting astride stopped.
Motorcycles should be equipped with minimum one and maximum two headlamps
They should have fenders on each wheel. Their rear tail lamp should emit red light visible from at least 500 feet. It should be wired to the headlamp. They should also have a rear reflector visible from minimum 300 feet. Rear and front electric turn signals are mandatory.
The motorcycle should have mirrors on each handlebar
They should enable the rider’s rear view of the highway for minimum 200 feet. Motorcyclists should have their lights on from sunset to sunrise and whenever the visibility is poor.
These laws are very important. As any Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer may advise, violations could mean shared liability. Even if a motorcyclist did not violate the law or cause the accident, the other party may claim otherwise.
Considering that motorcyclists incur the most severe injuries, shared liability could be expensive. They would benefit more from having a motorcycle accident lawyer to defend their interests. The latter will find a way to prove the other party’s liability and their statute as victims.
2. Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements
Nevada laws require motorcyclists to carry the same insurance coverage as drivers. The minimum limits are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per event for injuries. For property damages, the law imposes minimum $20,000 per event.
Although this insurance coverage is mandatory, many motorists are uninsured or underinsured. That is why the first thing a Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer checks is insurance coverage. If the party at fault is insured, the victim can seek compensation from their insurer. If they are uninsured, this option is no longer available. The victim may turn to their own insurer, assuming they carry uninsured motorist coverage. If they do not, they can sue the driver in court, or find another defendant to their claim.
Sometimes, the party at fault is underinsured. In such cases, the victim may seek compensation from their insurer within the available coverage. If it is insufficient, they may turn to their own insurer or sue the party at fault for the difference.
No matter the circumstances, it helps to consult a motorcycle accident attorney in Henderson. The latter will analyze the case details, assess the available options, and recommend the best one. They will surely obtain better results than their client could obtain on their own.
3. Nevada Negligence Laws
Most motorcycle accidents in Nevada occur due to negligence. The law defines negligence as a failure to exercise reasonable care. To receive compensation, claimants or their motorcycle accident attorney need to prove that:
- The defendant to their claim should have acted in a certain manner (obey traffic rules)
- They neglected their duty (by speeding, drinking, using their smartphone handheld, etc.
- Their negligence caused the accident (the accident would not have occurred without it)
- The claimed losses were the direct consequence of the accident.
Needless to say, all these require solid evidence. Neither courts nor insurers accept theories or suspicions. A Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate, find evidence, and bring witnesses. Of course, they need to be entrusted with the case to do that.
4. Comparative Fault
Nevada laws embrace the idea of shared liability. According to it, all parties involved in a motorcycle accident can be at fault. Their fault percentage dictates the share of losses they should cover. The parties found more than 50% at fault for their accident lose their right to compensation.
Under the circumstances, every party will try to attribute accident liability to the other party. If they succeed, they will pay less, avoid paying, or get a higher compensation. Their success often depends on their actions at the scene of the accident. That is why a Nettles & Morris motorcycle accident attorney, if given a chance, will instruct clients accordingly.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer’s Advice on Accident Scene Behavior
- Always pull over at the accident scene. Failure to do so qualifies as a hit-and-run and signals guilt. If no one was hurt and the situation allows it, the parties should clear the road.
- Call an ambulance. Accident injuries do not always display symptoms. However, to eliminate risks, victims should undergo a medical evaluation. All lawyers advise clients to consult a doctor.
- Report the accident. In Nevada, accidents resulting in injuries or whose damages exceed $750 need reporting. The victims should report it to the police and to their own insurer.
- Gather data. The victim or their motorcycle accident attorney cannot seek compensation if they do not know from whom. It is the victim’s responsibility to acquire contact and insurance information from everyone present.
- Collect evidence. The accident scene holds most of the evidence. It shows how the accident occurred. The victim should collect that evidence. They should take photos, record videos, talk to witnesses, and write everything down. Their lawyer will know how to use the evidence.
- Avoid giving details and signing documents. The first minutes after an accident can be confusing. Many victims blame themselves or express unnecessary regrets. Others sign right waivers without realizing it. Victims should keep to themselves and talk to their motorcycle accident attorney.
- Start preparing the compensation claim early. Nevada laws allow two years for injury claims and three years for property damage claims. However, waiting until the last minute is never a good idea. Gathering evidence and following formalities take time. Start early and get a lawyer to help.
- Let a lawyer negotiate settlement terms. Insurers will usually offer a settlement. They will try to make it look like an excellent deal. Before accepting it, the victim should consult an attorney. The lawyer will advise if it is worth accepting or not.
Discuss Your Case with a Henderson Motorcycle Accident Lawyer now!
If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident, you surely want to know the value of your claim. At Nettles & Morris, we evaluate claims for FREE. To benefit from our service, you need to call (702) 710-9964 or use the contact form to make an appointment. Our Henderson motorcycle accident lawyer will provide all the answers and advice you need.