Motorcycle accidents often lead to severe injuries or fatal outcomes. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in Nevada, around 50 motorcyclists die every year and thousands are injured. The liability for these accidents varies.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Pacific West Injury Law, we can help you determine liability and get the money you deserve. For more information or a free case review, please contact us 24/7.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
When a motorcycle accident occurs, these parties can be at fault:
- Motorcyclist – the motorcyclist didn’t follow traffic regulations or practiced careless driving.
- Another motorist (passenger car driver, truck driver) – the motorist broke a traffic law or practiced careless driving.
- Pedestrian – the pedestrian was jaywalking.
- Motorcycle manufacturer – the manufacturer installed a defective part that caused the motorcycle to stop performing properly.
The liability for the accident can be attributed to one participant or shared between several of them. This is called comparative liability.
What Is Comparative Liability?
Comparative liability or comparative negligence law states that the fault of each party involved in an accident is based on their contribution. Accordingly, the compensation they receive is proportional to the fault’s percentage.
For example, there is an accident when both the car driver and the motorcyclist are at fault. The judge determines that the driver’s fault is 80% while the motorcyclist’s fault is 20%. As a result, the motorcyclist can only get 80% of the compensation they ask for.
When it comes to comparative liability, each state has its own laws. Nevada is a “modified comparative fault” state, so according to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) §41.141, you can collect damages if you are less than 51% responsible for the accident. If you are 52% at fault, you can’t recover any damages.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
While many car and truck drivers tend to blame riders for fast and erratic driving, the common factors that lead to accidents include:
Cars or Trucks Making Left-Hand Turns
About 42% of all accidents that involve a motorcycle are the result of a left-hand turn. Drivers either don’t notice the motorcyclists who are going straight through the intersection or can’t make a good judgment about their speed.
In the majority of cases, the car driver, who is making a left-hand turn is found at fault for the accident. Sometimes, the partial fault may belong to the motorcyclist who was speeding or driving in the wrong lane.
Debris on the Road
Debris, loose gravel, uneven pavement, and other road abnormalities may be unnoticeable to car drivers. However, a motorcycle can easily crash when running over them. Since motorcycles are smaller and less stable than other vehicles, they are more susceptible to these issues.
When debris-related crashes occur, the liability can be hard to determine. More often than not, debris is classified as “avoidable.” In some cases, it’s possible to recover damages from the local government or nearby property owners.
Distracted driving is another common cause of motorcycle accidents. When a motorist is using a mobile phone, texting, eating, tuning the radio, and doing other distractive things while driving, it’s easy to miss a motorcyclist.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), drivers who use a mobile phone in the car are four times more likely to get into an accident than those who don’t.
If the driver was distracted when the accident occurred, they are liable. The same is true for DUI (Driving Under Influence) accidents.
While pedestrians don’t cause accidents as often as motorists do, they can also be responsible for motorcycle crashes if they violate traffic laws by:
- Walking in a restricted area
- Not using designated crosswalks
- Crossing the street against safety signals
Contrary to the popular belief, pedestrians don’t always have the right of way. Pedestrians can be found fully or partially at fault for motorcycle accidents.
When Is a Motorcyclist at Fault?
While motorcyclists aren’t always at fault for motorcycle accidents, they often cause them by:
- Lane splitting – moving from lane to lane between vehicles or driving between two lanes in order to get to the destination faster.
- Speeding – some motorcycles can go over 150 mph, and drivers easily lose their diligence.
- Distracted driving – just like motorists, riders can be distracted by mobile phones, food, passengers, and other factors.
- Lack of experience – many inexperienced riders can’t control their vehicles and follow the situation on the road simultaneously.
- Corner turning – turning corners on a motorcycle requires experience and good judgment. Some drivers misjudge how sharp the corner is and lose control of the motorcycle, causing an accident.
Even if it seems like the motorcyclist’s fault is obvious, it may not be the case. So if you’ve sustained injuries, seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. Only an attorney can determine if you have a chance of receiving compensation, considering the modified comparative fault law.
Are Insurance Companies Biased Against Motorcyclists?
Unfortunately, some insurance companies can demonstrate bias against motorcyclists. Since some motorcycle riders behave poorly on the road, there is a certain stereotype that drives public opinion.
Additionally, motorcyclists usually sustain severe injuries during accidents and require higher compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. That’s why insurance companies tend to fight harder to prove their liability.
Work with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
At Pacific West Injury Law, we fight for our clients’ rights and help them get the money they deserve. If you’d like to speak with a Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer, please contact our team at any convenient time.