The many health benefits of cycling have led to an increase in the number of bikers not just in Nevada but in the country as a whole. Also, cycling could be the fastest and cheapest way to get you where you want to go. However, some drawbacks come with bike riding, especially on busy roads. When cyclists have to share lanes with many vehicles as well as pedestrians, accidents are bound to happen.
That is why at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm, we have a dedicated team ready to take you through the legal process if you suffer injuries in a bicycle accident. When a person suffers a personal injury, there are legal procedures as well as submissions that should be done within a specific period, which the injured may not be aware of. We offer legal help and guidance if you or your loved one has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, and you want to pursue compensation.
Personal Injury Laws in Nevada
Bike Accidents in the state of Nevada result from several things, including reckless motorists, careless pedestrians, or hazardous road conditions. Injuries resulting from such accidents can be severe, and sometimes a cyclist can lose his/her life. Just like in many other states, Nevada has personal injury laws in place. The laws allow the injured or their families to pursue compensation if they believe that another person's negligence caused the bicycle accident.
If you have suffered injuries or have lost a loved one to a bicycle accident, and you believe that you deserve compensation from the negligent party, a personal injury attorney could take you through the process to ensure that you are fairly compensated.
The state's personal injury law provides a list of compensable damages that a person who has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident can recover. Some of these are, for instance, medical bills, pain & suffering, lost wages, as well as lost earning ability.
It is advisable to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney before you can strike a deal with an insurance company. An insurance adjuster will try to settle your case and offer you less compensation than you deserve. He/she will also try to get statements from you, which make compromise any attempt to get your rightful compensation.
How Prevalent Are Bicycle Accidents in Nevada?
Statistics from Nevada Transport Department show that in 2010 alone, there were nearly 600 reported cases of bicycle-versus-car-accidents. Almost all of these accidents involved severe injuries, and nine cyclists lost their lives. From this number, most of the accidents were caused by the carelessness of drivers and not by cyclists, which is a common trend throughout the country. In addition to that, NDOT has reported that most bike accidents in Nevada occur between noon and 2100 hours. Between 1500 hours and 1800 hours is when most of the severest accidents occur.
For a long time, cyclists have been children and teenagers, and these are the ones that were most affected by bicycle accidents. However, times have changed, and more adults are taking advantage of the benefits that come with cycling. For that reason, bicycle accidents are a problem of all ages, especially cyclists in urban areas such as Las Vegas.
It is, therefore, correct to say that anyone is at risk of getting involved in a bicycle accident, even the most experienced cyclists. But, certain factors place some individuals at a higher risk of suffering from bicycle accidents than the others. Some of these factors are, for instance, age, sex, urban areas, time of day, alcohol impairment, and whether or not the cyclists use a helmet.
As for gender, statistics show that males have a 6-times higher risk of getting injured or dying in a bicycle accident. Similarly, adults aged between 50 and 59 years are at a higher risk of dying in a bike accident as compared to younger cyclists. However, minors and teenagers suffer injuries more than other groups of cyclists. More than a third of reported fatal bicycle accidents are those that involved a motorist that is under the influence of alcohol.
Helmets do not prevent bicycle accidents, but they play a significant role in reducing the severity of injuries sustained. A cyclist who uses a helmet is less likely to suffer from brain trauma if involved in a bike accident as compared to one that rides without a helmet.
When to Sue after a Bicycle Accident
As mentioned above, several factors can cause bicycle accidents. Knowing what happened is the first step in determining what to do after a bike accident. If another person or party is responsible for the bicycle accident, you may be able to sue them for compensation for all the damages you have suffered. A personal injury victim in Nevada can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
When you get involved in a bike accident, the best thing to do is to speak to a personal injury attorney before you even get in contact with the liable party. The responsible party's insurance company will try its best to settle the matter out of court to give you less compensation than you deserve. With an attorney by your side, you will be advised and guided through the legal process, and a fair settlement will be paid to you in the end.
The right time to start the legal process is immediately you have suffered an injury. It is because Nevada law has time limits within which a person can file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Typically, you will have two years after the date of the accident to present your case in a civil court. The statute of limitations gives you enough time to find an attorney, collect sufficient evidence, and go through other legal procedures. The law also gives you enough time to think and decide that filing the lawsuit is the best thing to do.
Honoring the set time limit is important because the court will not accept the claim from anyone who tries to bring a lawsuit after the two-year deadline has passed.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Nevada
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, the main thing to do at that moment is to get medical treatment. You can call for an ambulance, or ask another person to call one for you. The reason for this is because most bicycle accidents involve injuries to the neck, head, and back. It is crucial for your injuries to be assessed by a physician and to be treated before they worsen.
It is advisable to seek medical treatment even if you do not feel injured at that time. Some accident victims feel fine immediately after an accident, and after a few hours or days, they have worsened. Getting immediate help ensures that your injuries are taken care of on time. Again, it helps with your personal injury claims. Insurance companies will not be keen to offer compensation to a person who is reluctant to get treated for their injuries. They may argue that you were not injured in the first place.
Gather as much evidence as you can
Enough information about the accident will help determine fault. Every detail that you can master will also be useful in establishing how the accident occurred and who else could be responsible. If you have been hit by a car, some of the information that will be needed include:
- The car’s registration number
- The name of the driver and their contact information
- Insurance information from the driver’s insurer
- The make, model, color and year of the vehicle that crashed on you
- The identification number of the vehicle popularly called the VIN
- Contacts of the witnesses that may have been around during the accident
If you are unable to get information from the driver, maybe because he/she is impaired or uncooperative, it is advisable to call the police. Law enforcement officers will be able to gather enough evidence that you could use to build your case against the negligent driver.
Gathering information is even easier these days as most people bring their smartphones wherever they go. If you have any and you are in good shape, try to take as many pictures as you can of the scene of the accident. You could also document your injuries and your bike after the crash.
Never admit fault
You may be tempted to apologize to the driver after the accident, even when you know very well that you were not in the wrong. The driver may use that apology as proof that you were 100% responsible for the accident and have the court deny your claim. The driver may also aggressively try to pin the crash on you. Remain calm and only tell him/her to get in touch with your attorney.
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, the liable person is a matter of fact for the court. Admitting guilt is, therefore, a great mistake, especially if you are not sure what the cause of the accident is in the first place. For all you know, the driver could have been texting on the phone while driving, speeding, or even impaired. It is best to leave it to the experts to determine who is at fault.
Get in touch with a personal injury attorney
There is much that you cannot do on your own after getting involved in an accident. If you have been injured and you need immediate medical attention, your attorney will be on the ground investigating the crash. His/her findings will determine whether you have a reason to file a lawsuit against the responsible person or not.
Your attorney will also act as a guide through the legal process. Some documents will be needed by the court, for instance, that you may not know about. There are deadlines, too, which the attorney will ensure that you are meeting so that your case can be tried in a Las Vegas Court.
Your attorney will help you avoid making incriminatory statements that could ruin your chance of getting fair compensation. The driver’s insurance provider will try his/her best to ruin your chances. Allowing a competent attorney to act on your behalf will keep your case safe until the end.
How to Submit a Liability Claim in a Nevada Bicycle Accident
Your attorney will always have your best interests at heart. That is why he/she will try to resolve the matter out of court with the responsible party to avoid the long and tedious court processes. Most times, personal injury lawyers have been able to resolve personal injury cases through active negotiations. However, if this does not work, it will be time to take the matter to court. The court will need sufficient evidence to believe that the person you think is responsible for the accident was indeed at fault. If that is established, he/she will be compelled to compensate you for the injuries you sustained.
The kind of evidence that is needed in such a case will include:
- Medical accounts and testimony from a medical expert
- Footage of video surveillance
- Statements from witnesses
- Weather reports
- A testimony from an accident reconstruction professional
Your attorney will be expected to demonstrate, by the use of the proof provided that the respondent they are suing was liable. In cases of bike accidents in Nevada, several possible at-fault parties could be brought up in a civil case, subject to the facts of the case. Some of these include:
- A motorist who crashed on the biker
- A biker who crashed on the biker
- The bike manufacturer
- The county or city if the accident was caused by poorly maintained roads
- A bike helmet company, in case the helmet did not protect the bike as it should have
Elements Needed to Prove a Nevada Bicycle Accident Claim
There are many types of claims that a bike accident victim or the plaintiff in Nevada can bring against an at-fault party or the respondent. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff’s attorney to help them decide on the best claim as per the facts of the accident and one that they are likely to succeed in.
Negligence is a common element in most personal injury cases in the country. For the respondent to be legally responsible for negligence in Nevada, the following elements must be proven:
- That the respondent had a duty of care to the plaintiff
- That the respondent violated their duty of care
- That the respondent’s breach of duty is what caused the plaintiff’s injuries
Drivers and bikers in the state of Nevada owe other road users a duty of care, which is why they are expected to drive safely at all times. If any of them were not focused on the road, an accident might occur. If a person gets injured in such an accident, the negligent party will be liable for their injuries.
Negligence per se in the state of Nevada:
Here are the elements that the plaintiff must prove in a civil court for the respondent to be found guilty of Nevada negligence per se:
- That the respondent has a duty of care to follow a particular law
- That the law was designed to protect such people as the plaintiff
- That the respondent broke that law
- That the respondent’s violation of the law caused injuries to the plaintiff
Drivers and bikers in Nevada are required to abide by the set traffic laws, which are designed to protect other road users. Speeding and driving while intoxicated are, for instance, ways in which motorists can violate the set traffic laws. If an accident occurs due to speeding, for example, the motorist will be considered negligence per se. He/she will, therefore, be held responsible for all damages that result from such an accident.
If a faulty product caused an accident, the plaintiff must be able to prove product liability. Here are the elements that will be used to establish a respondent's liability for products liability in a bicycle accident:
- That the bicycle or car was defective in its design, warning defect or in the way it was manufactured
- That the defect was there even before the bike or car was bought from the respondent's possession. The respondent, in this case, could be the manufacturer
- That the bicycle or car was used foreseeably by the respondent
- That the defect on the product was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries
If your bicycle accident involved the bike only and no other bicycles or vehicles, your attorney would be required to investigate whether or not the bike was defective. In such an accident, the only likely claim the plaintiff has is the product liability claim.
Nevada Bicycle Accident Resulting in Wrongful Death
Not all bicycle accidents result in personal injuries. Others are fatal, especially in cases where a big vehicle was involved. In such a case, the victim's kin and estate are allowed by the law to file a suit for wrongful death against the at-fault party. To ensure that the claim is successful, the plaintiff should seek to prove the following elements:
- That a victim of a bicycle accident passed away
- That their death was as a result of negligence or a wrongful act
- That the claimant is a personal representative or heir of the victim
- That the claimant suffered monetary damages after the victim’s death
Types of Compensable Damages in a Nevada Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
The kinds of injuries that are compensable in a Nevada bicycle accident are many. The types of damages one can claim compensation for depends on the severity of the crash. Typically, compensable damages include:
- Hospital medical bills
- Lost wages for the period you were away from gainful employment
- Lost future earnings in case you will be unable to go back to work soon. Remember that some injuries make it hard for a victim to go back to work for life
- Any physical or occupational therapy you will need at the moment and in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses as well as the loss of likely financial and social support in a case of wrongful death
Some cases involve the payment of punitive damages. Your attorney could fight to have the court grant your request for payment of punitive damages. The amount of money you can get for such damages could be more than other compensatory damages. Punitive damages serve to punish the at-fault party for their recklessness, which resulted in the accident.
What if The Biker Is Partially At Fault?
There are instances when it is established that bikers seeking compensation for bicycle accidents are partially to blame for their injuries. Personal injury laws in Nevada are such that even if the victim were partially liable, they would still be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. It is done through the state's comparative negligence law. Under this law, plaintiffs are allowed to recover part of their injuries provided that the other party was, at best, 50% liable for the accident.
If a biker was racing on a highway without wearing a helmet, for instance, and then a vehicle crashes on him/her. The biker will be partially to blame if they suffered head injuries in the accident. The court, in this case, will find the biker partly liable for the accident for not wearing a helmet while biking. If the car is found to be at least 50% responsible for the resulting injuries, the biker will be able to recover part of the compensation they deserve.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm Near Me
Bike accidents leave their victims suffering severe injuries, and others mourning the loss of a loved one. Bikers have a set of traffic rules they should adhere to for their personal safety and the safety of other road users. However, accidents do happen and sometimes due to negligence by other parties. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident in Nevada, and you would like to pursue compensation for the damages suffered, get in touch with the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm. A team of competent personal injury lawyers will be ready to take you through the process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 702-996-1224 today.