Nevada has the perfect sunny skies and warm temperatures that encourage motorcycle riding. While it is a great experience, it poses a significant danger to bikers, especially when they are sharing the road with other motorists. Unluckily, with many drivers choosing to disregard traffic rules and regulations by driving while intoxicated or when distracted, hit and run motorcycle accidents have become common.
Most victims of hit and run accidents believe that they cannot be compensated, especially when they cannot trace the driver. Additionally, you may have challenges getting compensation if the driver does not have an insurance cover. However, with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can file a personal injury claim and hold the responsible motorist accountable. The attorney will help you in establishing and proving fault to the court or negotiating with their insurance company.
We at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm don’t want you to suffer alone. We are here to help you seek fair compensation. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible to help you seek compensation.
Specific Motorcycle Laws in Nevada that can Affect your Compensation in a Motorcycle Hit and Run Accident
NRS 482.070 defines motorcycles as motor vehicles with the number of wheels touching the ground not exceeding three. Mopeds and electric bicycles are excluded from this definition. Motorcycles are required to abide by the following traffic rules to stay safe on the road:
- Motorcycles are allowed to ride on a full lane, but they should not ride more than two abreast on the same path.
- Due to their small size compared to cars, they are less visible and might appear further than they are in the mirror. As a result, there is a need for riders to be extra careful when overtaking or changing lanes.
- Motorcyclists should maintain a reasonable speed because it is impossible for other road users who are making maneuvers to estimate the speed of the motorcycle.
- Drivers should pay attention to motorcycle turn signals and body actions of the riders.
- Motorcycles should have mirrors on both sides of the handlebars to enable the biker to have a rear view of the highway or pavement for a distance of at least two hundred feet.
- The motorcycle should be equipped with not less than one and no more than two headlamps.
- Carrying items or anything that can interfere with the operation of the bike is forbidden.
- As per NRS 486.321, motorcyclists should wear approved helmets, goggles, and protective glasses.
These laws are critical if you are involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident. If the crash occurred when you violated these traffic rules that are meant to ensure road safety, then you will share liability. The amount of compensation you will receive will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
Legal Definition of Hit and Run in Nevada
According to Nevada law, hit and run occurs when a driver fails to stop after an accident to perform the duties he or she is required to complete. NRS 484E outlines the responsibilities of drivers who have been involved in a car crash. Whether you have been involved in a collision with a vehicle, human being, or an object, you should stop and exchange information with the parties involved in the crash. In accidents involving a car and a motorcycle, the motorcyclist is the one who suffers severe injuries, and if the driver flees the scene, the motorcyclist is left fighting for his or her life. Stopping after an accident is, therefore, encouraged because it can help save lives.
Reasons Why Drivers Flee After an Accident
There are various reasons why drivers leave the scene of a motorcycle accident. These reasons include:
- Fear or panic
- An intoxication to the extent one doesn’t realize an accident has occurred
- Driving without a driver’s license
- Driving without car insurance
- Having an outstanding warrant
The majority of those drivers that flee the scene of the accident do it for the above reasons. However, none of the reasons should justify the actions because leaving the scene makes things even worse. You become subject to criminal and civil penalties.
Common Causes of Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
These types of crashes can stem from many things. Your personal injury attorney must find out what caused the accident and who is to blame. The following are some of the frequent causes of motorcycle crashes:
Many drivers make phone calls or text while driving. Hence, they fail to pay enough attention to the highway, which results in accidents. It will be easy for your attorney to prove negligence if your motorcycle was hit by a driver who was using a mobile phone while driving.
Consumption of drugs or alcohol causes impairment. If a driver gets on the road after hours of drinking or drug consumption, their judgment is going to be impaired. With the small size of motorcycles and the difficulties in estimating their speed, impaired drivers end up colliding with motorists. Your attorney can rely on chemical test results to prove the driver was impaired and that was the cause of the crash.
Poorly Maintained Roads
If a road is filled with potholes, it becomes elementary for a driver to hit a rider on the road as he or she tries to avoid a pothole. Other poor road conditions that can cause motorcycle accidents are uneven surfaces, loose manhole covers, and bumps.
Obstacles on the Highway
Barriers on the road, such as animals, debris, pedestrians, loose gravel, water, and trash, can contribute to motorcycle accidents especially because motorcycles have low stability.
A faulty part in the vehicle can result in an accident. Often in such cases, the manufacturer of the car or the components is held liable for the crash.
When there is inclement weather, especially snow or fog, visibility on the highway is reduced which increases the risk of crashes.
Common Injuries in Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries because they offer little protection to bikers. Several injuries are associated with motorcycle crashes but the most common include:
Head injuries are the most common in motorcycle accidents. These injuries include a cracked skull, concussions, and brain injuries. The most fatal are brain injuries and cracked skulls.
These are also common injuries that you are likely to find with motorcycle crash victims. They happen when the motorcycle topples, throwing the biker on the pavement. The impact causes broken wrists, feet, arms, and hips. Cases of broken legs are also prevalent.
When a motorcycle slides along the pavement, the rider is thrown from the bike and slides on the pavement too. Based on the clothing you are wearing and the gravel on the pavement, you might end up sustaining gashes, bruising, nerve and muscle damage.
These injuries are also connected to motorcycle crashes. They can be minor, and they include fractured collar bones. If the neck injuries are serious, they can result in permanent paralysis or even fatality.
Other injuries that are motorcycle related include:
- Psychological trauma
- Punctured organs
- Internal bleeding
When and Whom to Hold Liable for a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Nevada, you can sue the following persons:
- The driver who caused the accident and fled
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle if it was faulty
- Any mechanic who worked on the bike if his or her actions caused the malfunction
- The city in charge of a road if the accident was caused by poor road conditions
If you are the plaintiff, you have 24 months to hold the at-fault individual civilly liable.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirement
In Nevada, motorcyclists are required to carry the same insurance coverage as drivers. The limit per person is not less than twenty-five thousand dollars per incident. The minimum limit per event where injuries have been sustained is fifty thousand dollars. In the event of property damage, the required amount is a minimum of twenty thousand dollars. Many road users out there are uninsured or underinsured, which is why after a hit and run accident, you should reach out to your insurer and find out your insurance coverage. If the person who caused the accident and fled is insured, you can locate them and claim compensation from their insurance policy carrier. If they are uninsured, you will have to turn to your insurer for reimbursement.
If the party at fault is underinsured, you can recover the available compensation, then turn to your insurer or sue the at-fault party.
Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Compensation for hit and run accidents differ significantly. However, they depend on the following factors:
- The extent of the injuries or loss
- The victim’s degree of negligence
- Degree of pain and suffering
- Strength of the evidence by the plaintiff
A settlement is done out of court where the plaintiff and the defendant talk and agree on a certain amount of payment. You should be very careful when it comes to a settlement because you surrender your rights to a trial, and the amount agreed upon is final. You cannot appeal the decision in court. There is no exact way of determining the amount of compensation to be awarded. So, if you feel that the amount the defendant is offering is not enough to cover all your expenses, you can file a civil lawsuit.
Proving Fault in Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident Civil Lawsuits
Drivers operating in Nevada must drive safely. Any action that puts the safety of other motorists at risk makes a person civilly liable. Drivers are expected to stop whenever an accident occurs, if you fail to do so and someone is injured, you are responsible for the damages. Compensation doesn’t come so quickly because you must prove that the defendant was negligent under the Nevada negligence laws. Below are the elements you need to prove to show negligence:
Duty of Care
You or your personal injury attorney must show that the defendant had the responsibility of driving carefully to prevent an accident and stopping after the motorcycle accident.
Breach of Duty
You must also show that the driver neglected his or her duty of driving safely by over speeding, distracted driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.
The Breach or Negligence Caused the Motorcycle Accident and Injuries
Also, you must show that were it not for the negligence of the driver; the accident could not have occurred in the first place resulting in the injuries. You must prove that there is a link between the breach of duty and the accident that caused the injuries.
The Defendant Owes Damages
Under this element, you must prove that the injuries you sustained resulted in damages.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Nevada
Under this law, even if you were partially at fault for causing the motorcycle accident, you should recover damages. However, the defendant must be more than 50% accountable for the crash for you as the defendant to receive compensation. If you happen to share more than fifty percent of the fault, you are not eligible for compensation, even if you are the plaintiff. If your fault as a plaintiff is less than 50%, the total amount of payment you will receive is going to be reduced based on your fault. The amount you receive depends a lot on the kind of argument you make which is why you need a personal injury attorney by your side. Also, your actions at the scene of the crash will affect the percentage of fault to be blamed on you.
Damages Available in Hit and Run Motorcycle Accidents
Contacting the La Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm is a great thing when you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, and a driver flees the scene. The majority of victims in these accidents think that little can be done to find the driver. However, this isn’t true because, with the right legal representation, you can track down the driver and obtain financial compensation. Some of the recoverable damages include:
If you are involved in a hit and run motorcycle accident, the liable party is responsible for the medical expenses. The at-fault individual can pay you directly or have his or her insurer make the payment. In case the medical bills are very high to be covered by the plaintiff, you don’t have to wait until the civil lawsuit or settlement is over. You can rely on private health insurance, Nevada Checkup, or Nevada Med Pay auto insurance to pay medical expenses.
These damages are also available if, after the crash, you haven’t been able to work thus losing your income. To receive this compensation, however, you must document the income lost and prove that the lost wages were due to the accident. Lost income can include your regular pay, overtime pay, self-employment income, commission, free meals, car allowances, and bonuses. Anything of value that you missed out on due to the injury sums up lost wages.
Loss of Future Earnings
Any future income that you are going to lose because of the injury is considered lost earning capacity. It is awarded for the period you will not be able to return to work.
Pain and Suffering
It is a type of damage categorized as non-economic because it can’t be quantified in monetary terms. The defendant compensates you because of the pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and disfigurement.
If you can prove that the driver who caused the accident fled the scene leaving the victim to die, you can recover wrongful death damages. However, you must be a descendant or surviving member of the decedent’s family. You will be seeking compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other financial losses incurred as a result of the death of the victim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Nevada is twenty-four months after the death of the hit and run motorcycle accident victim.
Other damages a plaintiff can recover in a settlement or civil lawsuit after a hit and run motorcycle crash include:
- Motorcycle repair or replacement bills
- Physical and occupational therapy
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Motorcycle Crash
It is clear that when a motorcycle is involved in a crash, the motorcyclist is at the risk of sustaining severe injuries or even death. If you are a victim of such a collision and the driver who hit you fled the scene, there is a particular procedure that you should follow. These steps include:
Call Emergency Personnel
Nevada laws require that you stop at the scene and not to chase after the driver who caused the accident and fled, even if you are not injured. The reason motorcyclists are discouraged from pursuing the driver who leaves the scene is that they might cause another accident. If you have only sustained minor injuries, you should move your motorcycle from the road in case you are blocking traffic flow. However, if the injuries are severe, you’re not allowed to move without the emergency team being at the scene. The reason being, the movement might lead to internal bleeding or the injuries becoming more severe.
Identify the Other Driver
If it’s possible, identify the make, model, and color of the other car. Also, in case you were lucky to spot the license plate number of the vehicle, you should jot the number down. The identity of the driver will also be instrumental. Note that you should share this information with the police at the scene if the emergency dispatcher fails to request this information.
If there is someone who was close at the time of the accident and witnessed what happened or was kind enough to stop and help you out, get their contact information. The police and your insurance company needs this information when determining the person at fault. Get the email address, phone number and home address of the witnesses because if they leave the scene, you might never find them again.
Seek Medical Attention
Seeking treatment, whether you have sustained injuries or not, is critical. Insurance companies will need medical records to prove that you suffered damages. Make sure that you don’t miss an appointment and that you keep a journal of the treatments and what you are feeling. Documenting the pain you are feeling during the recovery process will help prove to the insurer about the pain and suffering you went through.
Contact your Insurer
Contacting your insurance company is crucial because they might be the only ones available to compensate you for the damages on your motorcycle and any injuries sustained. But you will need a personal injury policy to be compensated. Calling your insurer is also essential because you might never locate the driver who fled the scene and if you find them, they might be uninsured. If the hit and run driver is uninsured, you will need an uninsured motorist insurance policy to be compensated by your insurer.
Call your Attorney
If the police manage to locate the driver who caused the crash, you will need an attorney to represent you. Also, because people have an assumption that motorcyclists are always at fault in an accident, the insurance company might be reluctant to compensate. Other insurers will offer you reduced compensation as a rider, which is why you need to contact a personal injury attorney.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Most victims of hit and run motorcycle accidents think that they cannot get compensation since they can’t trace the motorist. However, Nevada’s personal injury laws allow victims of accidents to pursue compensation, regardless of the damages suffered. We at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm are ready to help you through your journey of seeking compensation. You can get in touch with our reputable personal injury lawyers 24/7 at 702-996-1224.