Bike riding is exciting, easy, and a quick way to get to where you are going. A lot of people ride their bikes for fun, and others to get to school or work. However, a bicycle accident can be devastating and could change all the fun and so many aspects of your life. Bicycle accidents are some of the personal injury lawsuits we handle at Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. Some of these accidents are caused by negligence by other people such as motorists, or bike manufacturers.
Our job is to help Las Vegas residents who have been injured in bicycle accidents to get the compensation they deserve from negligent parties. We will help you prove liability, ensure that you have filed the right documents on time, and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Personal Injury Laws in Nevada
Accidents can happen to anyone at any given time. For that reason, the state of Nevada has several fundamental laws in place that govern personal injury claims. These laws are meant to guide people who have been injured because of other's faults to file for compensation within the period that is allowed. There are many types of personal injuries that a person can face in their day-to-day life. Some of these are car accidents, bicycle accidents, and workplace injuries. Negligence plays a significant role in some of these accidents. The law mandates those responsible for causing the accidents to compensate the injured for the losses they have incurred.
When it comes to personal injury claims, the state of Nevada is an at-fault state. This means that the responsible party’s insurance provider is the one to pay for all the damages caused by their client on another person. The primary issue, in this case, is in determining fault, as the court will need proof of responsibility to compel the responsible party to pay compensation for all the damages incurred. In a bicycle accident, the responsible party could be a motorist, another cyclist or pedestrian, the bike manufacturer, or the government body responsible for maintaining the right roads in the state. The injured, with the help of his/her attorney, will have to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the party that was at fault for the accident.
Personal accident lawsuits in Nevada, just like in other states, have strict time limits within which the injured must bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. The statute of limitations, in this case, will be two years. Within this period, the injured must have conducted their investigations, prepared all the necessary documents, and filed their suit in a civil court. After that, the court may not accept your application, which means that the injured will lose their chance of recovering compensation for their injuries.
Again, there is a shared fault law in the state of Nevada, which is used in case the accident victim is also partly to blame for their injuries. There are instances in which one accident could be the fault of two parties that are both the offender and the victim. In such cases, both parties will have a shared responsibility for the resulting damages. What this means is that losses will be shared between the two parties. It happens when it is not very clear about whom to blame for an accident. If the victim is the most at fault, he/she will not receive any compensation from the other party involved.
How Common Are Bicycle Accidents in Nevada?
The National Bike Month that is celebrated in the United States every May aims at encouraging the use of bicycles as well as to raise awareness on safe riding. Bike riding has so many health and wealth benefits, of which the country should be taking advantage. However, most towns in Nevada, such as Las Vegas, have not been bike-friendly for some time. The city has a few bike lanes and bike paths, which are separated from the primary traffic for safety. Even so, bike accidents are a common occurrence in the town and the state in general.
All bicycle accidents that happen in the state are tracked down by the state Department of Transport. From its statistics, no year within the past decade has been free of bicycle accidents. Between 2010 and 2014, for instance, statistics show that 28 bicycle accidents resulted in death, which was reported in Las Vegas alone. Within that period, the number of accidents that resulted in serious injuries was almost double the fatality rate. The state government has, however, put enough measures to keep the state and significant towns such as Las Vegas as safe for bike rides as possible
Bicycle accidents can be devastating. The reason is that bike riders do not get to enjoy the kind of protection car users enjoy. Since a bike rider is not well-protected, they can sustain severe injuries after an accident, however minor it may seem. There are many causes of bike accidents in the state of Nevada, which should be the injured person’s guide to determine the at-fault party. Filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state is not a straightforward thing, which is why it is advisable to partner with an experienced personal injury attorney. With the help of an experienced attorney, you will have everything ready by the deadline provided.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Nevada
As mentioned above, understanding the cause of a bicycle accident is critical in establishing fault. Unfortunately, there are many causes of such accidents in the state, which can make things even more difficult for the injured person. However, understanding how different bicycle accidents occur could help determine the cause of the accident and the at-fault party. Here are some of the common causes of bicycle accidents in Nevada:
This could be the fault of either the rider or the driver. Just the same way motorists can be distracted while on the road, bike riders get distracted too, and this can cause a severe accident. When a rider is on the road, there is always a need to keep their eyes on the road. However, encountering an inattentive driver could be disastrous no matter how attentive the rider is. There are many ways in which a driver could get distracted while on the road. Technology is the leading cause, and it includes the use of their smartphone and iPod while driving. Traffic rules are apparent on the danger of surfing, texting, emailing is the use of a mobile device while in motion.
An inattentive motorist can, for instance, open and exit their car without checking whether there is an oncoming bicycle. When this happens, and a bike is close by, a dooring accident could happen, and the biker could be seriously injured. An inattentive biker, on the other hand, could get too close to a car. When both get to a stop sign, the bike could end up bumping into the rear of the vehicle. Depending on the speed at which the bike was moving, this could be a severe accident.
Again, an inattentive motorist can quickly lose control of their vehicle and hit a motorcyclist that is riding parallel to their car.
Moving at high speeds is dangerous for both bicycle riders and motorists. When either of the two is speeding, a severe accident could occur, resulting in very severe injuries. Bicycles and cars do not go at the same speed. A bicycle rider can decide to challenge a vehicle, which is in itself a dangerous move. If he/she finds an obstacle on the road, the bike could lose control as the rider tries to maneuver the obstacle. A speeding biker can also crash into a stationary car, causing significant damage to the bike and severe injuries to the rider.
Similarly, bike accidents could also be caused by over-speeding vehicles. When moving at a higher speed, it is difficult for a driver to make the right judgment on time. The car can easily crash on other vehicles and bicycles on the road, resulting in serious injuries. Again, a speeding driver has less time to react, which in itself is catastrophic.
Most severe injuries and deaths on our roads have been attributed to speeding. That is why there are rules in place to govern the speed at which drivers and riders could move at, depending on the traffic, terrain, and condition of the road.
Riding very close to a traffic lane
This, too, could be the fault of either the bicycle rider or motorist. While it may seem like an innocent act, it could be hazardous for a bicycle to ride too close to a moving car. Anything can happen on the road that could cause the driver to veer off the road and into the bike that is right next to it. If the driver gets distracted, for instance, or he/she temporarily loses control of the vehicle, it could be catastrophic for the rider that is just next to the car.
Traffic rules dictate that motorists must leave at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle. When in the same lane, both motorists and bicyclists need to ensure that there is a three feet space between them. If the road is not too wide for both the car and the bicycle, the bicyclists should consider using a shoulder lane or a sidewalk rather than riding on the edge of a road.
When both vehicles and bicycles travel too close to each other, all manner of accidents could occur. There is, for instance, the side-swiping of bicyclists, which are very common in places where there is less room on the road for both bikes and vehicles.
Failure to obey traffic rules
Every state has a unique set of traffic rules for bike riders. Bicycles in the state of Nevada have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. If a motorcyclist does not keep to his side, for instance, he/she could get hit by an oncoming car or one behind it. Just like motorists, there are requirements for motorcyclists to obey all traffic rules and use signals to ensure that everyone on the highway is safe.
Similarly, motorists must drive carefully whenever there are motorcyclists on the road. Drivers need to understand that everyone on the road has equal rights. Some drivers will not give bikes right of way even when required to do so. Some will not leave enough room for cyclists, endangering their lives. All manner of accidents can occur when both cyclists and drivers do not obey traffic rules and road signals.
Unfavorable weather conditions have been named as one of the leading causes of road accidents in the state of Nevada. It may not be safe, for instance, to effectively ride your bike in the rain, ice, or when it is snowing. That is why the majority of cyclists leave their bikes at home when the weather gets dull. However, accidents still happen even on days when the weather seems fine. Consider rush hours, for instance, when the sun is a little harsh on motorists who are driving in its direction.
The glare can easily blind a driver and affect the way he/she is operating the vehicle. The same would happen to a cyclist who is riding in the sun’s direction. It is easy to lose control if you cannot see the way ahead. Again, riding in the rainstorm will make it even harder for the motorist to notice a rider since their visibility is impaired at that instant. That is why cyclists should wear reflective jackets or have their headlights on to make it easy to spot by drivers.
Operating under the influence
Alcohol and drugs are dangerous for drivers and cyclists. When a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they have minimal control over what is happening around them. Such a person will not be able to react on time to avoid an accident. Drunk driving is a significant issue in most parts of the country today. When an accident happens due to drunk driving, bicyclists are at a higher risk of suffering severe injuries because of the minimal protection they get. That is why any driver who causes an accident while operating under the influence should be held accountable for his/her actions.
There are bicycle riders who have special riding skills they cannot wait to show off. The mistake these riders make is to do their activities on the highway, where there are other motorists and pedestrians on the road. The fact that a cyclist has special riding skills is not an excuse for them to act in an irresponsible and unsafe manner on the way. There have been reports of bicycle accidents, which were the fault of bike riders themselves. What these riders forget is that in case of a crash, they run the risk of suffering more injuries and losses than the motorists.
Other acts of recklessness on the part of bike riders include making a sudden change of lanes without indicating, failing to make themselves visible, failing to wear protective clothing including headgears, running a stop sign, and acting aggressively on the road, among others.
Some accidents happen because a bicycle has certain defects. A defective motorcycle or one that has a broken part can cause the rider to suffer severe injuries if the error is not detected on time. If it is a new bike, for instance, and it has a defect from the manufacturing point, it would not be easy for the rider to know of the error until they get into an accident. Bike parts could also break and cause the rider to crash and unable to stop.
In the beginning, after such accidents, the rider is unable to understand what exactly happened clearly. But a smart attorney, together with an expert, can help you determine the actual cause of the accident to decide liability. The good thing is that the state of Nevada allows its residents to file a lawsuit under products liability against manufacturers, companies, and retailers who deal with defective products. Once the cause of the accident is determined, it will be easy to decide on the at-fault party to file a claim against them in a civil court.
In such a lawsuit, the court will not expect the injured party to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. The only types of proofs that are required for the court to compel the company to pay compensation are:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn users on product defects
What To Do After Getting Into a Bicycle Accident in Nevada?
As mentioned above, bicycle accidents can be severe, leaving the rider suffering severe physical injuries and other losses. For that reason, it is essential to know what to do if you are planning to file for compensation in a Nevada civil court. The good thing is that injured parties in such accidents have legal rights to seek compensation for their losses. The only thing required is proof that the other party was negligent. There are certain things you should do if you want to get compensation for your losses:
Get medical help
One big mistake a person can make after an accident is trying to downplay their injuries. Even if you feel fine after the accident, it is advisable to get medical help to rule out some severe injuries. Sometimes due to shock, a person may feel as if they did not sustain any injuries, making them reject any medical help that is offered. Note that if you do not take your injuries seriously, the at-fault party’s insurance provider will have reasons to believe that you did not suffer any injuries in the accident.
Some injuries start to manifest themselves sometime after the accident. If this happens and you did not get immediate medical help, the insurance provider could argue that the injuries were not a direct result of the accident. It is their way of denying you the chance to get compensated for your injuries.
Contact your attorney
You will need the help of a personal injury attorney from the beginning of the case. Contacting your attorney early in the case gives him/her enough time to gather evidence and prepare a case to file in court. Remember that you only have two years to present your case in court. Within that time, you must have prepared all the evidence you need, gathered expert reports, and filed all the required documents in court. It is the only way for your case to be accepted. That is why getting in touch with a competent personal injury attorney right after the accident is the right thing to do.
Even if you do not know the exact cause of your accidents, it is crucial to start gathering evidence right after the accident. Take pictures of your injuries and the condition of your bike right after the accident. Take photographs or videos of the accident scene, as well. If possible, ask a few eyewitnesses to give their account of how the accident happened and keep it in the record. The help of your attorney and friends will come in handy at this instant. The more evidence you have, the higher the chance of proving your case in court.
If you are unable to gather evidence because of your injuries, your attorney can do it on your behalf. His/her evidence and the police report can be useful in building a strong case against the at-fault party.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
With so many causes of bicycle accidents in Nevada, understanding how your accident occurred is essential in determining the responsible party. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we work closely with experts and the police to determine the actual cause of our client’s accidents. This way, we can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. We also prepare a strong case for each of our clients to increase their chances of winning the lawsuit. If, therefore, you or your loved one has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, call us at 702-996-1224 today. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.