According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcyclist is twenty-seven times more likely to die in an accident than a car occupant. It is because riders have little or no protection. Also, car drivers overlook and perceive motorcycles as a nuisance that does not require concern or care. When this attitude causes your unsafe left turn crash, the accountable motorist should be held responsible for the negligence. The Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm is ready to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
How Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident Occur
Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. The United States Department of Transportation Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded that a motorcycle rider is more likely to get involved in an accident than a car occupant. At least eighty-eight thousand people were injured, and four thousand eight hundred and ten riders succumbed to accidents in 2016. Moreover, according to the 2009 Highway Safety Highway Loss Data report, forty-two percent of two motorcycle accidents involved a car making an unsafe left-hand turn.
Unsafe left-hand turn motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers can occur in different ways, including:
- A motorist making a left turn at a light and cut off a rider in an oncoming traffic lane, causing a crash
- A motorist proceeds through a stop sign without stopping and makes an unsafe left turn, colliding with a passing bike
- A driver tries a left turn at an intersection and collides with a motorcycle at the adjacent red light
- Yellow light cases. It is legal for a car to enter an intersection even when lights turn red. The best cause of action is waiting for the traffic to clear. However, it is illegal for a left-turning motor vehicle to initiate a turn when there is another motor vehicle at the intersection.
- Distracted driving: The ability to see a motorcycle and judge when to make a left-turn requires a motorist's concentration. When the driver is eating, drinking, talking on their phone, or texting, they can fail to see the motorcyclists, causing a left-turn collision.
Determining Liability in a Left-Hand Motorcycle Collision
Establishing fault in a motorcycle accident is essential as far as seeking financial restitution for your losses and injuries are concerned. It is a prerequisite to hold the negligent person accountable.
To prove negligence in Las Vegas, a plaintiff should establish that:
- The at-fault party owed the plaintiff a duty of care, like driving carefully.
- The responsible person broke the duty of care like driving while distracted.
- The breach of duty caused the victim's injuries.
- The injuries led to damages.
Motorists should not turn or change lanes until it is reasonably safe to do so.
Also, all drivers and motorcyclists should use turn signals so that other road users can know they are changing lanes.
When a driver suddenly changes a lane unsafely, they increase the risk of an unsafe left turn crash. If an accident happens due to a driver's negligence and you are injured, the driver should be held responsible through a personal injury claim.
However, there are situations you might be considered partially responsible for causing your motorcycle accident. They include:
- You are riding at an excessive speed, which gives the driver inadequate time to respond.
- You are in the wrong lane.
- You are speeding through a red light when another driver is waiting at the intersection to make a left turn.
When multiple parties are responsible for the accident, comparative negligence laws apply. That means you can still recover compensation, provided the defendant is more than fifty percent accountable.
Proving Fault in Your Accident
After your unsafe left-turn collision, the question of fault is an essential one. Entities like insurance companies, the court, and the police will investigate the accident to determine accountability. While you should focus on your recovery, proving fault is critical to receiving your compensation. Understanding the methods every entity uses could help build your case.
The Police Will Look at Traffic Laws
After your accident, the police will come to the scene of the accident. The law enforcer will begin investigating who is liable. Nevertheless, their investigation is different from that of the courts and insurers. The responding police will not think whether you will file a lawsuit against the defendant. Instead, they will investigate to see if:
- Any person committed an offense
- Any person violated the right of way law
- Whether the driver was speeding
- Whether the vehicle was maintained
The police determine if any person violated the law. They could decide that one party broke traffic ordinances, both parties violated the rules, or neither party broke the law.
During their investigations, they will:
- Talk to all witnesses,
- Analyze physical damage, and
- Measure skid marks to determine who is at fault or how the accident occurred
After completing the investigation, the police will draft a police report. While the report has information about your motorcycle accident, it's only the police's opinion.
Insurance Company Investigation
When an insurance provider conducts the investigation, the insurance representative will look at the same proof that the police consider. They will listen to your side of the story and ask for any proof like photos. They will also look at medical records.
The insurance representative only wants to know whether either party failed to use the care that a reasonable individual would use in a similar circumstance.
How the Jury Determines Fault
The jury determines accountability through legal proceedings. The jury listens to arguments and evidence presented by all sides before deciding who is responsible for your accident.
Moreover, the jury will consider witness testimonies, property damage, skid marks, and photos.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
An individual who has been involved in a motorcycle collision is more likely to suffer severe injuries than they would in another type of accident. The rider is exposed without body protection, making the injury more severe. If you have been involved in an accident, you will require legal assistance to recover compensation for your injuries in a personal injury claim. Below is more information on an unsafe left turn motorcycle crash.
One of the most common injuries sustained in unsafe left turn accidents is road rash. It is the skin abrasion led by contact with the roadway or rough substances in the collision.
It falls into three categories:
- First-degree road rash injury: It is the most minor. It involves slight bleeding, bruising, and redness. While it has minimal healing and recovers on its own, you must be careful about infections.
- The second degree manifests with swelling and bleeding. You should immediately seek medical care to make sure the wound is cleaned to lower scarring and prevent infection.
- Third-degree road rash injury involves shearing off your skin. The injured site could show significant swelling, bleeding, and have a shiny or milky appearance. It can expose bone, nerves, muscle, and tendons, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury happens when your head is hit or jolted, causing your brain to rock back and forth in your skull. The injury is prevalent in motorcycle collisions due to the following reasons:
The rider's body, including the head, does not have the protective cushioning. That means even a minor motorcycle accident can cause the cyclist to be thrown from the bike and land on the ground.
The surrounding can also pose a risk to the motorcyclist. An accident can happen due to distracted driving, obstacles on the highway, hazardous road conditions, or weather conditions. Even a spray of pebbles on your face could result in a traumatic brain injury.
The number of challenges faced by TBI patients includes:
- Permanent brain damage
- Paralysis for life
- Higher risk of degenerative brain conditions like dementia, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer's
- Speech difficulties
- Loss of memory
- Loss of the ability to concentrate
Patients require physical therapy and long-term medical treatment.
You are more likely to hurt your feet and legs than any body part. The Centers for Disease Control Prevention conducted a study involving one million motorcycle injuries and discovered that approximately 30% of the injuries affected the lower extremities.
The legs are close to the ground. That means they could be the first thing that comes into contact with a pavement in an accident. When the motorcycle rolls over, it might fall on your legs, increasing the fracture risk.
Moreover, you can sustain ligament damage depending on how your leg bends when you are falling.
Spinal Cord Injury
For those involved in an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident, spinal cord injury might be the most devastating injury. It could happen when your head hits a pavement. Unfortunately, a helmet doesn't protect much against spinal cord injuries because there is an impact on the neck.
The injury can cause quadriplegia or paraplegia. Finally, this will result in paralysis that could be permanent or temporary.
Thorax injuries are injuries to your chest area, ribs, or the sternum. The injuries could be catastrophic because your ribs could puncture the neighboring body parts like lungs and internal organs. You are also likely to sustain complications like infections and pneumonia.
Are There Steps You Could Take to Prevent Injuries?
Most motorcycle crashes are due to inexperience when it comes to operating the motorcycle. Riders, particularly new cyclists, do not exercise the care and vigilance required to operate their motorcycle safety. For example, an accident can happen at an intersection when a car turns in front of the motorcycle. In this case, the rider should be more cautious.
Here are other steps you could take to lower the risk of sustaining injuries:
- Put on a well-designed helmet. While the helmet's exterior protects the head from blows, the interior padding reduces your brain and head's shock.
- Wear eye protection like goggles or a full-face helmet that offers additional protection against facial injury.
- Put on protective gear like leather pants and a jacket. Standard fabrics shred quickly and cannot protect against road rash and soft-tissue injury.
- Brake properly.
Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Crash Lawsuit Process Explained
When a motorcycle accident occurs, you will be confused and disoriented. Following your accident, it is challenging to reasonably consider what to do to maximize the ability to receive your compensation.
What to Do After the Accident
Some of the most vital steps to take after sustaining an injury is seeking medical care and not talking to the insurance adjuster. After you have received treatment, consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
- Seek medical care: Your health should be your priority after the accident. Be sure your physician documents all injuries.
- Do not talk to the insurance adjuster before speaking with your lawyer: Insurance providers don't have your best interests at heart. Also, they will make a compensation offer based on a formula rather than your case circumstances.
- Do not make a statement to the police: The insurance firm will use a police report to check for proof that you might have caused your accident. Any statement made immediately you are hurt could be inaccurate and confused. Nevertheless, the insurer will use it to reduce your recovery at trial or during settlement negotiations.
Settling Your Personal Injury Claim
When your settlement is reached, you'll agree to give up your right to press charges against the accountable person for financial compensation. Usually, the insurance company will try to compensate you immediately after your accident. It is a way to get you a lower settlement offer than you deserve before engaging a lawyer.
What Takes Place If You Cannot Settle Your Case?
Even when the informal settlement cannot be reached, negotiations between the involved parties will proceed as a personal injury lawsuit is brought. During that time, both sides know the opposing side's facts, and the chance to settle might increase or reduce depending on the strength of the case.
For most plaintiffs, bringing a lawsuit increases the bargaining power and the likelihood of getting fair compensation.
What Happens During a Lawsuit?
If you cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurance firm, you should bring a personal injury lawsuit.
To start your personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will file a complaint. A complaint outlines the case, legal argument, and compensation amount.
After the complaint is brought and the defendant has been notified of the lawsuit, they should file an answer. An answer is the at-fault party's response to your claims.
The next step is called discovery. Here both parties learn about case circumstances and facts from the opposing side. It is conducted using numerous methods like:
One of these methods is interrogatories. These are written questions that are sent to the opposing side. The opposing side should answer the interrogatories, allowing them to acquire details about your motorcycle accident.
Both sides will question each other under oath during a deposition. It gives the parties a chance to get information not covered by the interrogatories and understand what the opposing side or their witness will claim.
What Takes Place If Settlement is Not Reached?
If the settlement is not reached, your case will go to trial. Most claims do not make to trial. It is because the trial process is expensive and lengthy.
In this stage, a jury is selected, and every party's lawyer gives opening statements. The opening statement outlines expectations and arguments supporting the case. The evidence can be a witness testimony, and the defendant and the victim might testify.
The next step is both sides' lawyers giving their closing statement to the jury. The closing statement summarizes the position and explains the party's conclusions that the jury must draw from the proof presented. Finally, the jury will issue their verdict.
Why You Need a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been hurt in a negligent person's motorcycle crash, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, receiving compensation could be tricky, and you need a person who understands personal injury laws. There are numerous reasons why you should have an attorney.
They are Objective and Professional
Injuries sustained can result in emotional trauma and physical pain that might prevent you from being objectivity to the case. The lawyer is interested in the case facts and will fight for you without paying attention to immaterial things. They will also bring a knowledgeable perspective to the case.
Have Negotiation Skills
The insurance company will put its best foot forward when negotiating your compensation amount. You will deal with an insurance adjuster or the insurer's lawyer. These are professionals trained in negotiation, and you aren't a match for them.
Even if it is obvious the other side is liable for the accident, the adjuster will try to convince you to take a low offer. Your attorney will have your best interests at heart.
They Can Assist You Obtain the Medical Care You Require
If you consult a lawyer following the injuries, they can assist you in receiving quality medical treatment. They know doctors that can offer treatment for your injuries.
The right physician will ensure a quick recovery and help you receive the most out of the claim. The doctor can be a witness should you proceed to trial.
Offer Advice You on The Best Option
Filing a claim can be lengthy, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process. Typically, there are 2 options, namely:
- Filing an insurance claim
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit
A lawsuit ought to be the last resort. However, it could be the only option if the insurance firm refuses to award damages.
Your attorney should guide you on the best action hinging on the situation.
Will Analyze the Defendant's Proof
If the claim proceeds to trial, the defendant will attempt to establish that they are not accountable for the unsafe left-turn accident. If they present proof to support the claim, you will be required to review and challenge it. That is where legal experience comes in.
Provide Peace of Mind
Seeking compensation following a collision can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Having an attorney will save you energy and time. It will also give you the peace of mind you require to concentrate on your recovery.
Keep your Case on the Right Track
If you focus on other essential things, you might not meet the stringent deadlines for bringing the personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney will keep tabs on procedures and timing to ensure things occur within the required time frames.
Are Your Motorcycle Accident Settlements Taxable?
Only some damages are subject to tax, depending on how you structure and label the settlement. That is why it is essential to engage an experienced legal expert.
Taxes on personal injury claims are based on the settlement's purpose. Damages like emotional distress and lost wages are taxable. On the other hand, pain and suffering, property damage, and medical expenses are not taxable. It is because you are being compensated for the reduced value.
When your compensation is subjected to tax, it's taxed at the regular income tax brackets. If you are awarded a considerable lump sum settlement, you could pay a higher tax rate than you are used to. Tax on a lawsuit settlement is the same income tax rate in other cases apart from damages exempted from tax.
How to Reduce Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement Taxes
A plaintiff can lower their settlement taxes by structuring their settlement in a manner that doesn't trigger a tax liability. For instance, if the compensation is for medical expenses, it's not taxed. Therefore, if possible, you can classify your settlement for medical treatment purposes.
Also, if you have taxable damages, you could reduce liability by structuring your payments over the years. That way, your taxable income will not be high in one year.
Are Punitive Damages Taxable?
Under the Internal Revenue Service, punitive damages are taxable and should be reported as income.
Find a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Using a motorcycle is a pocket-friendly method to travel. However, riding on busy streets can be treacherous. A significant number of drivers fail to look for motorcyclists before making turns. Because as a rider, you have little or no protection, when a vehicle hits your motorcycle, you might sustain injuries. That means you must endure medical bills, lost income, and loss of livelihood if a catastrophic injury is involved. If you've been involved in a left turn motorcycle collision, contact Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm at 702-996-1224 to learn how to pursue your constitutional rights.