Benson & Bingham
Reno Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are a serious problem in Nevada. Recently, the Reno Police Department responded to a report of a serious motorcycle accident . Upon arriving at the scene, authorities discovered a severely injured motorcyclist. They learned through their investigation that a pickup truck had struck the motorcycle when turning at an intersection. The driver of the pickup was uninjured, cooperative with police, and arrested at the scene for driving under the influence and causing substantial injury.
With plenty of sunshine and open roads, Nevada is a great place for motorcycle enthusiasts. Unfortunately, numerous motorcycle accidents occur in the state, as well. Motorcycles feature less stability and protection than passenger cars, meaning that injuries from accidents are often catastrophic. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Reno, talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney about whether you’re eligible to receive compensation through a personal injury claim.
Why Are Motorcycles Dangerous?
In 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that motorcyclist fatalities occur over 28 times more frequently than passenger fatalities when considering vehicle miles traveled. In 2016, motorcyclists constituted more than 22 percent of all vehicle fatalities in Nevada, the highest percentage in the nation. In 2017, one in every six traffic fatalities in the state was a motorcycle rider. What makes motorcycles so dangerous? Below we discuss a few factors:
- The lack of protective features found in cars, such as a roof, door beams, seat belts, and airbags.
- Less stability from having two wheels instead of four, which places motorcyclists at risk of accidents due to potholes, debris on the roadway, or simply veering to avoid a collision.
- Less visibility to other motorists, especially at night.
- Lane splitting, where the motorcycle rides in the same lane alongside cars, generally in slow traffic. Lane splitting is illegal in Nevada.
- Lack of training or licensing. Nevada law requires that drivers have a Class M license to operate a motorcycle, which is earned by successfully completing an approved motorcycle safety class or passing a test through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Ride Apart reports that the most common type of motorcycle accident involves drivers making left-hand turns into the path of a motorcycle. Often, the driver states that he or she failed to see the motorcycle before beginning the turn. Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include speeding and alcohol impairment, whether by the motorcyclist or the car driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around one-quarter of all of the motorcycle riders killed in crashes in the U.S. are alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash.
Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcyclist can sustain an injury to nearly any part of his or her body during an accident due to the likelihood of ejection and high-speed contact with other objects and the road. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Head trauma. This is the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries. Injuries to the spine can lead to complete or partial paralysis and even death.
- Limb amputation.
- Broken legs, ankles, and knees, which are most common in side-impact crashes.
- Broken forearms suffered when motorcyclists attempt to catch themselves with their hands during an accident.
- Severe muscle damage.
- Burn injuries. Generally caused when a motorcyclist comes in contact with gas tank spillage, burn injuries increase the chance of infection and permanent scarring.
Do I Have a Case?
Nevada law requires individuals who ride motorcycles to purchase liability insurance, just as drivers of other vehicles do. It is strongly recommended that motorcyclists also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as well, as it provides protection from your own insurance carrier in the event that your accident injuries exceed the limit of the at-fault party’s policy.
In addition to filing an insurance claim, motorcyclists who have sustained injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence may also seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Some highlights of Nevada’s personal injury laws include:
- A two-year statute of limitations to file a claim, starting with the day of the accident. This time limit may vary, however, depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, so you should contact an attorney immediately following your accident to discuss.
- To obtain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, the victim (plaintiff) must show that the at-fault party (defendant) acted negligently. A plaintiff establishes negligence by proving that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach caused the accident and resulted in damages to the plaintiff.
- Nevada’s comparative fault rule permits injured individuals to file personal injury claims, even if they are partially responsible for the accident that caused their injuries, so long as their liability does not exceed 50 percent. However, a court will reduce any damages award by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. For example, if a court determines that you were 10 percent responsible for your accident, the court would reduce your damages award by 10 percent.
- When seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, you should include economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or disfigurement.
- If your loved one died as the result of a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Like for personal injury lawsuits, you also must file a wrongful death action within a statutorily prescribed period. A personal representative of the estate, the spouse, children of the decedent, or others who depended on the decedent for support may file a wrongful death claim, which may involve damages such as grief and sorrow, loss of support, loss of consortium, the pain and suffering of the decedent before death due to the injuries caused by the accident, medical expenses incurred on behalf of the decedent for his or her final injury, and funeral expenses.
Benson & Bingham Can Help After Your Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a motorcycle accident in Reno that another party’s negligence caused, you should contact us immediately to discuss the details of your case and determine your eligibility for compensation. Schedule your free consultation by contacting Benson & Bingham online or by calling (775) 600-6000 today.