In 2015, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died due to Nevada motorcycle accidents, with over 88,000 injured according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average, motorcyclists die at a rate 27 times higher than motorists and passengers in other vehicles. Nearly 22% of non-fatal injuries suffered by motorcyclists are related to the head and neck, which can be severe. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable during car accidents. Even a simple slip while driving can lead to catastrophic injuries and death. To car and truck drivers, motorcycles are small, easily overlooked, and possibly even considered a pesky nuisance that doesn’t require care or concern.
When these attitudes or other factors result in a collision, the responsible driver should be accountable for their negligence. Any Nevada motorcycle accident attorney at Valiente Mott can help victims and their families claim compensation for injuries and fatalities due to Nevada motorcycle accidents. Contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorney team to schedule a free consultation to learn the legal options that may be available to you.
Common Types of Nevada Motorcycle Accidents:
Although taking to the road is an enjoyable experience, it can be an extremely dangerous practice. Fortunately, motorcycles have a variety of tools necessary to avoid a collision including excellent handling, clear views without obstruction, and powerful brakes and tires that grip. However, when other motorists are driving inattentively, or weather conditions make roads slippery, motorcycle accidents do happen.
Even though Nevada motorcycle accidents happen less frequently than truck incidents and Las Vegas car accidents, they tend to result in death or serious injury, making it especially crucial to get a motorcycle accident attorney. Nevada motorcycle incidents can be roughly classified into the following types:
Vehicle accident collisions involving motorcycles account for more than half of all deaths while riding a motorcycle. In the majority of these kinds of motorcycle accidents, cars often strike motorcyclists from the front. Unfortunately, most head-on collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle resulting in the death of the rider.
Left-Hand Turn Accidents
In nearly 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents, another vehicle strikes the motorcyclists under certain conditions, including:
- When the motorcyclist is passing a vehicle;
- When the motorcyclist is trying to avoid something (such as a dog or pedestrian crossing);
- When the motorcyclist is traveling straight through an intersection; and
- When the motorcycle is attempting to overtake a vehicle.
The motorcycle’s small size often makes it less visible to other drivers in a turning vehicle. In addition, motorcyclists passing cars and other vehicles in the same lane tend to be more vulnerable to an accident. This is because other motorists are often surprised by, or did not expect, the maneuver of the motorcyclist.
You cannot control what other drivers do, but you can do some things to reduce the risk. Always ride defensively, thinking two or three moves ahead. This way, even if a driver pulls in front of you, you may already be aware of where you can safely direct your bike.
Stay visible, make eye contact with drivers and do not assume they notice you. While car drivers should be aware of their surroundings at all times, using extra caution yourself can help you reduce the risk of a collision.
According to the NHTSA, in 43 percent of single-vehicle motorcycle accident deaths, alcohol impaired the victim. Between 2003 and 2012, 1,025 individuals in Nevada died in fatal collisions involving a drunk driver. This figure includes drunk motorcycle riders and drunk drivers.
You can avoid a DUI by not hopping on your motorcycle after drinking. A good suggestion is to always have a few options for getting home safely. Have someone you can call, bring extra money for an Uber or Lyft, and have a backup plan in case your first few options fall through. If you are going somewhere you know you’ll be drinking, consider leaving your motorcycle at home entirely. You will be less tempted to compromise your judgment, and you won’t have to worry about picking up your bike the next morning.
Unfortunately, even if you are responsible, you have no way of controlling the drinking habits of other drivers on the road. An inebriated motorist in a car can crash into you and your motorcycle and may cause severe injury.
You can reduce the risk by using extra caution, especially when driving late at night, on weekends and on holidays. Keep an eye out for anyone driving erratically and get out of their way. Once you are safe, contact the authorities to let them know about the potential drunk driver.
Hitting Fixed Objects
Approximately one out of every four motorcyclist deaths involve a collision with fixed objects. This is because the rider will likely be thrown from the bike, hitting the object hard. The fatality is even more likely if the motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet and protective clothing.
Distracted driving is a serious problem across the country. Distraction slows response times and means you might not notice what’s right in front of you. In fact, operating a phone increases your risk of a collision by 2.8 times and even talking on a hands-free device can increase your risk of a crash 1.3 times. Nevada takes distracted driving seriously. Using a handheld phone while driving is illegal and carries a substantial fine. Avoiding distractions can help you avoid a crash, as well as expensive fines.
Being sleepy can be a serious risk on the road and can significantly increase your risk of a crash. Fatigue can slow response times as well as cloud your thinking.
The best way to prevent fatigue-related crashes is not to ride when you’re feeling sleepy. Keep in mind that the Nevada heat can make the symptoms of fatigue even worse, so even if you’re feeling sleepy and not completely exhausted, you may be at risk. Be especially careful at night and early in the morning when most people are feeling more exhausted.
If you are riding your motorcycle and notice you’re getting sleepy, stop and pull over. If you’re yawning, having trouble keeping your eyes open or can’t remember the last few seconds of your ride, you could be a danger to yourself and others on the road. Pull over and rest.
Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident injuries can generally fall into two categories — hard and soft injuries.
Some common hard injuries that motorcyclists suffer include:
- Burns: Motorcyclists can suffer second and third-degree burns from exhaust, engine, and manifold. Motorcycle engines are often fully exposed and have an average temperature of around 230 degrees. In event of a crash, the motorcyclist can fall off the bike and come in contact with the engine. This can cause second or third-degree burns because there is no protective layer between the engine and the rider’s skin.
- Fractures: Fractures are probably the most common motorcycle accident injury, and the most vulnerable bones are that in the pelvis and wrists. This happens because the driver tries to save his/her face with hands and in the process, the whole impact comes in the hands or wrists. By doing so, the driver also exposes his lower extremities and can suffer a fracture in the hips or pelvis.
- Brain and spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, organ damage: Serious motorcycle accidents can also cause severe injuries that damage the rider’s internal organs. The force of the impact with the ground or with a solid object even at low speeds can cause significant damage. It can cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, collapsed lungs, and internal bleeding.
Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations and abrasions: When the motorcyclist falls off the bike, he may get dragged along the pavement. His limbs or piece of clothing can get caught in the motorcycle causing road rash or road burn.
- Sprains and strains: It is common for motorcyclists to suffer sprains in an accident. Torn ligaments and tendons are also commonly reported in motorcycle accidents. When the motorcycle crashes, the rider makes every effort to stop it from falling to the ground or getting trapped under it. In the process, the tendons, muscles, and ligaments can get twisted and torn.
- Whiplash: Contrary to the common belief, whiplash is not only suffered by car accident victims. Even a motorcycle accident can cause the rider’s neck and back to snap violently.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Nevada
As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. Your goal as a motorcyclist is to never get into a situation where you need to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer. Nevada streets would be much safer if everyone rode safely and responsibly. To help you prevent serious injury, motorcyclist Jim Ouellet provided 11 great tips for how motorcyclists can avoid accidents for Motorcyclecruiser.com, which are set forth in full below.
Make your Best Effort to Ensure Car Drivers Can See You
Probably 90–95 percent of car drivers who cause accidents say they never saw the motorcycle. Car drivers don’t want to hit you, but some of them need extra help to know you’re there. Do all you can to make it easier for them to see you. Use your high beam during the day. A high beam is more conspicuous than a low beam. Trading that cool-looking black leather jacket for something bright wouldn’t hurt, either.
Freeways are Much Safer than Surface Streets
Areas around shopping districts are the worst. Limited-access roadways such as freeways are good because car drivers can’t turn across your right-of-way, so use freeways as much as you can.
In Busy Urban Traffic, Stay in the Mix with the Cars
When you go through intersections where cross-traffic wants to use the pavement you own, stay right next to a car’s front fender so you’re not in the driver’s blind spot and use the car as a shield. This is especially true at night because it’s even harder for car drivers to distinguish a motorcycle from nearby traffic. Many riders who get picked off are the ones 30 yards ahead of a big clot of cars, or 20 yards behind.
If you’re alone when you come up to an intersection where a car is waiting to cross your path, the more lateral distance you put between your path and the other guy’s starting point the better.
For example, if you’re nearing an intersection where a car coming from the opposite direction can turn across your path, move to a lane closer to the curb. It’ll make it easier for the car driver to see you, and give you more time to react, which is probably even more important than skilled braking.
Right of Way
Keep your eye on vehicles in positions that can violate your right-of-way. When you’ve decided the other driver has seen you and you start looking further down the road, that’s the moment he’ll choose to turn.
Take it Easy when Carving Canyons
As you approach a turn, pick out which rocks and trees look good to hit, because you don’t want to hit the unfriendly ones (which, actually, are all of them). If you need a little extra time to run through this mental drill, let off the gas. And remember that if you hit a post-and-rail barrier, which decorate the outside of a lot of curves, it will probably break every bone in your body.
In residential neighborhoods, know that drivers are often looking for addresses. Cool your jets and hold back, because the second you try to pass him, he’s going to turn across your path into a driveway. The five or 10 seconds you lose waiting for this car to get out of your way is a lot less than the time you’ll lose waiting for the cast to come off your leg.
Don’t Lay it Down.
You lose only about 8–10 mph every second you spend sliding on the ground while giving away your perfectly good skin. If you do a good job using both brakes, you can lose 15–20 mph every second you brake and save on band-aids too. About the only time to put yourself down on the pavement is if you’re on an elevated curve (like a freeway interchange) and you’re about to hit the outside wall. The wall is usually high enough to save your motorcycle, but let you go flying off into the wild blue yonder.
Contact a Las Vegas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Major accidents are a harrowing experience. One of the most important resources you have during this difficult time is a competent Nevada motorcycle accident lawyer. Motorcycle accident injuries are usually severe and have a high risk of death, leading to expensive medical treatment and a devastating impact on the victim and the victim’s loved ones. A motorcycle accident attorney in Las Vegas can help you overcome these expenses with a strong compensation claim.
When it comes to the evidence that can help your case, we know what to look for, where to look for it, what it means, and how to use it. We also know the dirty tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying you the amount you deserve.
Our Nevada motorcycle lawyer team at Valiente Mott is sympathetic to your situation and committed to your case from start to finish. If you received injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our team will even come to you for a free consultation. If you have a question or you are just not sure about putting together a case, let our Las Vegas Injury Law Firm help with your concerns. No fee unless we win.