According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately five thousand two hundred and eighty-six motorcyclists succumbed to traffic-related collisions in the US in 2016 alone. On top of that, eighty-eight thousand bikers were injured in 2015. That means you are more likely to get involved in a collision as a motorcycle rider. If you or your loved one have been injured due to another party's negligence, contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. Our attorneys have spent years aggressively protecting motorcycle rear-end accident victims, and we know what it takes to recover full compensation.
How Does a Motorcycle Rear-End Crash Occur?
A motorcyclist is injured in a rear-end collision when a motorist fails to keep up with the speed of a motorcyclist ahead of them as traffic comes to a stop or slows down. Often it happens because the motorist is speeding, tailgating, or doesn't look forward before making a move.
You are likely to be hit by a motor vehicle from behind:
- In traffic which suddenly comes to a stop or slows
- After blind curves where a speeding driver suddenly comes upon you when traveling at a slow speed
- When the at-fault driver changes lanes and fails to look for motorcycles
- At a railroad gate, when the vehicle slows to stop for railroad gates and warning lights or stop to look and listen before crossing the railroad tracks.
- At an intersection as a motor vehicle slows to stop for a stop sign or red light.
- When the driver makes a right-hand turn in traffic and fails to look for a motorcycle
What are the Causes of Motorcycle Rear-End Accidents?
Motorcyclists are considered reckless, and their carelessness causes a lot of motorcycle collisions. However, the truth is that also drivers of cars who fail to observe their surroundings cause accidents. It takes misjudgment to cause an accident. Some of the negligent conduct that causes motorcycle rear-end collisions in Las Vegas include:
- Overspeeding, and as a result, the driver fails to have adequate time to make a stop. If the motorist exceeds the lawful speed limit, it's easy to hit a motorcyclist from the rear end.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is any conduct that takes your attention, eyes, and hands off the wheel. Nevada has stringent rules regarding driving and phone use, but some drivers choose to violate the law anyway. Distracted driving involves grooming, eating, talking on the phone, texting, adjusting a stereo, or drinking while driving.
- Failing to respond to stop traffic signals
- Vehicle defective parts: Defective parts like brakes or worn-out tires can make stopping hard under pressure.
- Hazardous weather conditions: When the weather conditions hinder visibility, a motorist may fail to see a motorcyclist ahead until it is too late. Sometimes the road could be slick. Therefore, the driver should keep an adequate distance. It will help them have enough time to stop.
- Failing to check motorcyclists' blind spots when changing lanes
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: Drunk driving is illegal in Las Vegas. Sometimes, it could be due to prescription drugs, which is unlawful because of the medication's side effects. Drunk driving impairs reasoning, judgment, and the motorist cannot accurately tell the distance difference between their car and the motorcyclist ahead.
Elements of Proving Your Personal Injury Claim
The exciting thing about the motorcycle rear-end accident is that you are entitled to compensation. However, you should prove the accountable person was negligent. Negligence in Las Vegas is proved using the following elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, like driving safely.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care,
- The responsible party's conduct caused your injury, and
- Your injury led to damages.
If a defective motorcycle caused your accident, you could also file charges for strict products liability. To establish the manufacturer was accountable, you should present evidence that:
- Your motorcycle was defective due to a warning, manufacturing or design defect,
- The defect was there when you purchased the product,
- You used the product in a way that was reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer, and
- The defect caused your injuries or damage.
If the accident causes death, the victim's loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant.
There are other numerous causes of actions that you might have suing grounds for:
- Negligence per se: It applies if a defendant breaking a traffic law caused your accident. It could be due to speeding or driving while intoxicated.
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED): Both you and your loved one can file an NIED claim if they witnessed the motorcycle accident.
Your competent attorney should help you choose the best claim and which has the best opportunity to get a settlement.
What Happens if You are Partly Accountable for the Motorcycle Rear-End Accident?
There are several defenses that the defendant could raise when sued for causing your accident. The defenses could be:
- You caused the accident.
- Another person other than you or the defendant caused the accident.
- The road conditions were not hazardous (If the county or city is the defendant)
- You caused the defects in the bicycle (if the manufacturer is the defendant)
The defendant could be accountable even if you are partially liable.
Per comparative negligence law, you may have a legal claim provided the at-fault party is fifty percent responsible.
You should not assume that you are liable for your motorcycle rear-end accident until you speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney. Often the attorney could prove that you had little or played no part in causing the collision irrespective of your initial impression.
What are the Most Common Motorcycle Rear-End Accident Injuries?
A motorcycle accident can result in the following catastrophic injuries:
Neck and Head Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neck and head injuries account for approximately twenty-two percent of motorcycle collision injuries. The quality of helmet you put on could have a substantial effect on the seriousness of injuries suffered. Neck and head injuries might range from minor (mild concussions, whiplash) to more catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries and a broken neck.
Road rash injuries occur when the road rubs against your skin, removing numerous skin layers. It can occur when you are dragged across the pavement or during the fall. In a minor accident, only a few skin layers will be removed. Nevertheless, in severe cases, you will experience more severe symptoms like:
- Nerve damage: The injury goes deep that it results in nerve damage in the injured site. Nerve damage is not only painful but also leads to a lack of sensation in the injured area.
- Tendons and muscle damage
- Permanent deformity
Road rash injuries are treatable and could take a few weeks. However, in severe accidents, the victim might require emergency hospital visits or even corrective surgical procedures.
Spinal Cord Injuries
One of the common injuries in motorcycle rear-end accidents is spinal cord injuries. Depending on the seriousness and location of the injury, you risk suffering from paralysis. Generally, neck injuries result in paralysis of the arms and legs, while injuries below your neck affect the abdomen and legs.
You can also experience the following symptoms:
- Respiratory challenges
- Chronic pain
- Uncontrolled muscles tightening
- Circulatory challenges
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
Damage to your spinal cord is not reversed. A lot of treatment is geared towards the prevention of further injury and allowing you to go back to a productive life. You might also be required to seek medical help from different health specialists, resulting in expensive medical expenses.
It diminishes the quality of life and affects the capability to return to work, socialize, or enjoy recreational activities.
Bones break in motorcycle accidents when the bone is unable to sustain the force of the impact it is subjected to. Symptoms of broken bones include pain from pressure or movement, deformed joints or limbs, numbness, abnormally angled or positioned limbs, and bone exposed.
Fracture bones treatment depends on the category and seriousness of the break, and medical expenses can be costly, particularly if surgery is required.
Leg and Arm Injuries
Motorcycle accident victims also suffer from legs and arms injuries. More often than not, these injuries occur when the rider is thrown off from their motorcycle, and they try to break their fall.
Why Are Rear-End Accidents Risky for Motorcyclists?
Rear-end crashes are the least severe car accidents because the car occupants are far from the collision. However, this is not the case in a motorcycle rear-end accident. Even a low-speed accident can cause disastrous consequences.
- Little protection: Motorcyclists are more exposed compared to car occupants. Additionally, motorcyclists come with the feeling of freedom at the expense of losing safety features like seat belts and airbags. As a protective measure, it is crucial to invest in safety gear. Although you don't need to put on a helmet in Nevada if you are above eighteen years old, it is recommended you wear one to protect against head injuries in case of an accident.
- The biker is likely to fly off or fall from the bike: If your motorcycle is hit from behind, the impact might propel you up before falling. In a rear-end accident, you have to think about where you will fall and where the motorcycle will fall. You will sustain injuries should you fall on the ground. Nonetheless, should the motorcycle fall on you, you can sustain catastrophic injuries.
How to Avoid a Motorcycle Rear-End Accident
You are not sure that you can walk away from a rear-end accident unscathed. Therefore, it is essential to avoid a motorcycle accident at all costs. Here are tips for you to prevent the collisions:
- Increase the following distance; do not tailgate a motor vehicle
- If a car is tailgating you, switch lanes
- Avoid riding your motorcycle while tired, distracted or intoxicated
- Ensure the brake lights are functional
- Ride in the correct lane position
What to Do After a Collision
The moments following a motorcycle rear-end collision are filled with confusion. You'll feel scared, not in a position to have a clear thought, and overwhelmed. While it is the last thing you're thinking about after the accident, you should take care of a couple of things. Taking these steps will ensure you get fair compensation and aren't held accountable for a collision you did not cause. These steps include:
Call for Medical Assistance
If either you or another person involved in your motorcycle accident is injured, you should immediately seek medical attention. Some injuries are not always visible. Therefore, do not take chances.
Call Law Enforcers
The next step you need to take after making sure medical assistance is on the way is calling the police. The responding police officers will draft a police report. Ensure you get a copy of the police report.
Capture Many Photographs
Using your smartphone or camera, take many photos of the motorcycle and the involved motor vehicle. Remember to capture the damage to road or guardrails and images of road signs and weather conditions. The photographic evidence could be instrumental in proving your innocence if the defendant decides to blame you.
Collect Contact Details from Witnesses
You might require witnesses to prove the collision happened as it did. Therefore, acquiring their contact details might assist you to win the case.
Do not Throw Away Evidence
Do not throw away damaged parts of your motorcycle or your clothes. Sometimes, these items show a motorcycle part is defective or helps establish how the collision took place.
Do not Record Statements with the Insurance Provider
If you make statements to an insurer following the collision, they could be used against you. After the motorcycle crash, your thoughts could be jumbled and make statements that are not accurate. It is not sensible to risk your compensation rights by making statements you are not supposed to make.
Do not Wait to Seek Legal Counsel
Do not wait to acquire legal assistance until issues with your personal injury lawsuit arise. It could be difficult to show how the motorcycle accident took place and how the accident is related to your damages and injuries. Hire an experienced lawyer immediately after the accident.
How Much Money is Your Claim?
A lot of factors like damages determine the total settlement valuation. The damages originate from the effect on the defendant's negligence.
How Damages Are Calculated
Compensatory damages are the out-of-pocket costs already spent and will be spent in the future due to your rear-end accident. They are designed to make you whole (return you to the position you were before the accident). They include:
The law allows you to recover lost wages and lost income. Lost income could include regular pay, commission, overtime pay, bonuses, sick and vacation days, and car allowance. It is the total value of what you have missed out because of your injury.
However, lost wages should be proven and well-documented and should have been caused by the responsible party's negligence.
If you are an employee, you can use a letter from your company and previous pay stubs. Your employer's letter should include:
- The job title
- Your job confirmation date
- The number of hours you work per week
- The regular pay
- The overtime rate and how many overtime hours you work in a week
- The number of days you have missed work
If you are self-employed, the following can help prove your income:
- The tax returns for the previous year
- A testimony from a forensic economic expert witness
- Bill statements for months before the injuries.
Pain and Suffering
The law allows compensation for non-economic damages. There isn't a limit to how much you could recover for pain and suffering, provided the damages are reasonable and fair. If you had sleepless nights while you waited to discover if your toe was fractured, your pain and suffering damages could be minimal compared to a victim who requires many months of therapy and reconstructive surgery.
These damages are subjective. Establishing them is a matter of persuading the court or the at-fault party's attorney or insurer to award them. You can prove the damages using medical records, videos, photographs, mental health treatment, and testimonies of colleagues, family, and friends.
Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is the future income you are sure to lose following the date of an out-of-court settlement or personal injury claim. The damages are awarded when you are unable to return to work for a given period.
There is no set period you should be hurt to claim lost earning capacity in Nevada. However, damages for lost earning capacity are granted when an injury stops you from working for an extended period. Often, this time extends past the last date on which you should lawfully bring a lawsuit.
Your total lost earning capacity damages depend on the following factors:
- Your age
- Life expectancy
- Your health condition before the rear-end accident
- How long the injury is likely to last
- Promotion opportunities in your field
- The long-term career goals
- Whether you can return to regular employment
Other compensatory damages awarded include medical expenses, loss of consortium, and occupational and physical therapy.
Before accepting the settlement offered from the insurance company, consult with your attorney. Unlike you, the attorney has an objective view of the accident, will include future losses, and will help you make an informed decision. Moreover, they are experienced in negotiating fair settlements for their clients.
If the defendant acted with malice or was extremely careless, you are entitled to recover punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages serve to punish the defendant and deter other people from acting similarly.
Generally, these damages in Las Vegas do not surpass:
- Three times the total compensatory damages, if the amount awarded, is at least one hundred thousand dollars, or
- Three hundred thousand dollars if the total compensatory damages are below one hundred thousand dollars.
The limits don't apply when an intoxicated driver causes the collision due to the voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol. It does not matter whether the drugs are prescribed or not.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Personal Injury Claim?
A statute of limitations functions as the deadline for bringing a claim after you sustain a loss or physical injuries due to another person's negligence.
Motorcycle accident injuries fall under the category of claims with a 2-year statute of limitations. The timeframe starts on the date of your motorcycle collision.
If you lost a family member in a motorcycle rear-end collision, you have two (2) years to bring a lawsuit against the defendant from the date of the decedent's demise.
If your motorcycle or other asset was destroyed during the crash, you should file your claim within three (3) years from the accident date.
If the victim is a minor, Las Vegas requires the alleged victims to wait until they turn eighteen years to file a lawsuit against the defendant. Then the victim has two years to file that claim.
Nevertheless, the parent of the victim could seek the court's approval to bring a lawsuit against the defendant. If the court approves the request, the child loses their entitlement to take legal action against the defendant once they turn eighteen.
What Takes Place If You Exceed the Time Frame?
Typically, claims brought after the statute of limitations has passed are unsuccessful. If you try bringing the claim, the defendant could ask the judge to dismiss your claim, which the judge will grant.
That is why you should follow every deadline related to the claim. Your personal injury attorney should make sure all deadlines are met, and the claim is well handled.
Find a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
A motorcycle rear-end accident can cause severe injuries or even death. It is because you have little protection when the collision occurs. When an accident happens, you are likely to fall off your motorcycle to the ground at high speed. The attorneys at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can establish that car motorists, poorly constructed roads, or defective motorcycle parts caused your accident. Once the fault is proved, we can help you recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other incurred losses. Call us today at 702-996-1224 to book your initial consultation.