The moderate climate in Las Vegas makes it easy to get around by bicycle for work, personal errands, and enjoyment throughout the year. However, many cyclists don’t realize that the risk of being in a bike accident is very real. According to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were 679 fatalities and another 329,477 people injured in incidents involving bicycles in 2017. These statistics are an improvement over 2015, when more than 1,000 individuals were killed and almost 467,000 suffered injuries. Still, CDC numbers reveal that the lifetime medical costs and productivity consequences top $10 billion annually.
At Henness & Haight Injury Law, our team understands the devastating losses you may suffer as the victim of a bicycle accident. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation under Nevada law. These claims can be complicated, so it’s important to retain an experienced Las Vegas bike accident attorney to advocate on your behalf. Please contact our office to set up a free consultation, and read on for some important information on these cases.
How Bicycle Accident Claims Work in Nevada
Many incidents involving bikes are traffic-related, and the driver of the motorized vehicle is often at fault. Like many personal injury cases, the legal basis for liability is negligence. To succeed in a claim for compensation, you must prove four essential elements:
- The motorist had a duty to drive safely, so as to not cause an unreasonable risk of harm to others;
- That person breached this legal duty through careless or reckless actions;
- There is a direct link between the breach of duty and the bicycle accident in which you were injured; and,
- You suffered physical, emotional, and financial losses due to your injuries.
To illustrate how these elements operate, some examples may be useful. A driver may be negligent if he or she was:
- Speeding in excess of the posted limit;
- Traveling too fast for conditions;
- Failing to yield to you as the bicyclist;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or,
- Engaging in other unsafe actions while behind the wheel.
In addition, distracted driving has become a serious problem in Las Vegas and throughout the US. Despite statutes regarding texting, talking, surfing the internet, and other cell phone use, many motorists ignore the law. Plus, there are other forms of distracted driving that are dangerous, such as eating, grooming, using a GPS, and other activities that take attention away from safe operation of a vehicle.
Filing an Injury Claim for Compensation
Since many bike accidents involve a motorized vehicle, the first step in seeking monetary damages is to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. The process presents numerous challenges, from complicated forms to dealing with the claims adjuster. Insurers are reluctant to pay out injury claims, including bicycle collisions, because they adversely affect profits. You can expect considerable pushback from the claims adjuster, either through a low counteroffer or denial. Insurance company employees are trained to look out for the business, not your best interests.
If you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurer, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in court. Litigation is even more complex than the claims process, incorporating many statutes, case precedent, and court procedural rules. Unless you have a legal background, you may be overwhelmed by the insurance company’s legal team.
When you retain a bike accident lawyer, you’ll feel confident that your case is in good hands. Attorneys know the tricks claims adjusters use during settlement negotiations, and they’re well-versed in the litigation process. You’re in a better position to get the top compensation allowed by law when you have experienced counsel on your side.
Monetary Damages for Your Bike Accident Injuries
Bicycle collision injuries can be severe, or even life-threatening, due to the difference in size between the vehicles. When you’re successful in proving the four essential elements listed above, there’s a wide range of compensation available to cover your losses, such as:
- Medical costs, including expenses related to emergency care, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, pain medications, and other treatment;
- Lost wages, if you cannot work because of your bike accident injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional anguish;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Losses that affect your personal relationships; and,
- Many more.
In addition, you should note that you may have rights if a loved one was killed in a bicycle accident. Nevada allows certain family members to recover monetary damages through a wrongful death claim. A knowledgeable bike crash lawyer can explain these cases in more detail.
Limitations on Bike Accident Claims
There are certain laws and legal concepts that may affect your claim or reduce your amount of compensation. For one, Nevada has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. You must file a lawsuit in court within two years or your claim will be barred. The clock starts the date of your bike accident, and it doesn’t stop during negotiations with an insurance company. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, which an attorney can explain if applicable.
Also, Nevada follows the rule of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. If you were blameworthy in the bicycle accident, even just slightly, your monetary damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. For instance, if the other driver was 85 percent at fault and you were 15 percent responsible, your compensation amount of $100,000 would drop to $85,000.
Discuss Your Claim with a Las Vegas Bike Accident Attorney
While this overview on bicycle collisions may be useful, it’s no replacement for the advice and counsel of a skilled personal injury lawyer. You put your rights at risk without legal representation, both in dealings with an insurance company and in court. For more information on your rights and remedies, please contact Henness & Haight. You can schedule a no-cost case evaluation by calling 702.805.HELP or visiting our website. Our attorneys serve clients in Las Vegas, Clark County, and throughout Southern Nevada, and we’re happy to help with your claim.
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