The dedicated Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers of Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC have helped injured bicyclists recover compensation after being injured by someone else’s negligence.
Given the year-round warm climate in Las Vegas coupled with Reno and Lake Tahoe’s flux of bicycling in the spring, summer and fall, thousands of bicyclists take to the streets every single day, whether commuting to work or simply looking for recreational exercise. Although cyclists are a growing, evolving community in Nevada, there continue to be those drivers who do not recognize cyclists as having the right of way.
Many people in Las Vegas use bicycles as a viable alternative to driving a car or walking. These individuals may use bikes for transportation to work, to school, or just for pleasure. With over 400 miles of bike lanes, 180 miles of bike paths, and wide, well-maintained streets, Las Vegas is an excellent city for bicyclists. However, bicyclists in Las Vegas face many risks, as do those in other major U.S. cities.
Nevada experienced 328 bicyclist traffic fatalities in 2016. According to Nevada Public Radio, a bicyclist died in an accident with a taxicab in November 2017, which constituted the 115th traffic fatality in Las Vegas in that year. In 2017 alone, the United States experienced 5,977 pedestrian fatalities and 783 bicyclist fatalities in automobile accidents. Together these vulnerable road users account for a growing share of total U.S. traffic fatalities. In 2003, pedestrians and bicyclists represented 12.6 percent of total traffic fatalities, and in 2017, they accounted for 18.2 percent of fatalities.
Furthermore, each year more than 135 children die from injuries induced from accidents while bicycling, and approximately 267,000 cyclists receive injuries severe enough to require emergency room attention. Many bicycle accidents go unreported over the course of a year when the biker is not injured to a certain severity level, proving that bike accidents are more prevalent than one may think.
Are You a Bicyclist in the Las Vegas Area?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas, you need to speak with an experienced, compassionate Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyer. Our legal team has the experience and resources necessary to gather evidence and develop a strong case. At Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, we are ready to help protect you in any way if injured in a bicycle accident. However, in order for a biker to avoid liability in the unfortunate event of an accident, it is important for a rider to follow Nevada Statutes regarding bicycle law which are explained below.
Bicycle Laws in Nevada
Nevada has specific laws that govern the operation of bicycles in the state. Many of the rules mirror those for motor vehicles. However, safe passing is the motorist’s responsibility. When passing, a driver must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If the driver cannot safely change lanes to pass a bicyclist, he or she must allow at least 3 feet of clearance between the car and the bicycle. Drivers of motor vehicles must yield to cyclists at intersections, just as for pedestrians and other vehicles. Motorists should not drive or park in designated bicycle lanes unless they are turning or in the case of an emergency. Furthermore, drivers must take special care around inexperienced riders, such as children.
There are also rules that apply specifically to bicyclists, including:
A bicyclist must comply with all rules of the road and must ride on the road (rather than the sidewalk) whenever possible.
A bicyclist traveling on the roadway must provide necessary signals using his or her hands or arms.
A bicyclist may not intentionally interfere with the movement of a motor vehicle.
Bicyclists on a roadway may not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or areas designated for the exclusive use of bicycles.
A bicyclist must have a light on the front of his or her bike to emit visible, white light from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front.
Bicyclists must ride at least three feet away from parked cars.
A bicyclist may not carry any type of package or object that impairs his or her ability to keep both bands on the handlebars.
Bicyclists should always ride on the right side of the road, and as far right as practicable.
Bicycles must have functioning brakes.
Bicyclists may not hold onto another vehicle.
Many bikers fail to comply with the aforementioned statues of Nevada law, and therefore assume liability in the event of an accident. If you are uncertain, our Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC offer free consultations to determine if you were under compliance with all Nevada Bicycle Laws, and is willing to provide you or a loved one with legal assistance to help retain recovery in the event of a bicycle accident. Contact Us today for a no obligation, free consultation to discuss your rights.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
To help prevent future accidents, it’s important to understand the common causes of bicycle accidents. Nationwide, 58 percent of bicyclist fatalities take place at non-intersections, and 45 percent occur in dark conditions.
The position of the bicyclist relative to the motor vehicle is a critical factor. Below we discuss some accidents that are caused by unsafe positioning:
Dooring accidents are common on busy streets. Heavy traffic may force a cyclist to ride close to parked cars. If the driver or passenger of a parked car fails to check to see if a bicycle or other vehicle is coming, he or she may open the car door, directly in the bicyclists path.
Side swiping accidents happen when a passing car does not provide a bicyclist with enough room. Nevada law requires three feet of clearance when passing to avoid these types of accidents.
Rear-end accidents occur when a car is following too closely or not paying attention and thus cannot stop in time to avoid colliding with the bicycle. These accidents often happen at stop signs.
Another common bicycle accident involves vehicles crossing into the path of a bicyclist at an intersection or when exiting a driveway or alley. Usually, the driver of the car is either not paying attention or does not see the bicyclist, which is why bicyclists should always wear high visibility clothing and use headlights when needed.
Drivers making right turns. Many drivers fail to check their blind spot before making right turns. If a cyclist is traveling on the right side of the car, and the car initiates a right turn, the vehicle will be directly in the cyclists path of travel.
Other Factors That Place Both Drivers and Cyclists at Risk
Paying attention and driving responsibly is the best way to prevent an accident. Below we discuss some of the most common risky driving behaviors that endanger bicyclists.
Distracted driving, and the use of cell phones, has become a serious problem as more and more people try to multi-task while driving.
Speeding is more than driving above the posted speed limit; it also includes driving too fast for road conditions. It’s difficult for a driver to adjust to curves or road hazards when speeding, which means the driver may not react in time to a dangerous situation.
Most bicyclists avoid riding in bad weather whenever possible, but some people bike in snow, sleet, or heavy rain, conditions that make a bicyclist difficult to see. Also, sun glare can blind drivers during rush hour traffic.
Drugs and alcohol cause one out of every three motor vehicle-related fatalities. Bicyclists are at especially high risk due to their limited protection. Impaired driving can cause catastrophic injuries and even death.
Bicyclists should ride defensively and take appropriate safety measures to avoid accidents. They should ensure that they are as visible as possible, wear a properly fitted helmet, and check their bicycle’s equipment before every ride. Always remain alert and listen for cars approaching from the rear and sides. Do not follow cars closely or ride in their blind spots; ride defensively. When biking, you may expect other vehicles to yield the right of way, but you cannot assume that they will do so. Instead, assume the other driver does not see you and always remain on the lookout for hazards, such as potholes, grates, or anything that may cause you to fall.
To help decrease your risk of being involved in a crash, keep these bicycle safety facts in mind:
Bicycle fatalities occur most frequently between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Fatalities are far more likely to occur in urban areas (75 percent) than in rural areas (25 percent).
Men are eight times more likely to die in bicycle accidents than women.
37 percent of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017 involved alcohol.
According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, 45 percent of bicycle accident fatalities occurred when a motor vehicle was traveling in the same direction as the bicyclist, and 40 percent of serious bicycle collisions occurred when a car rear-ended the bicyclist. Thus, bicyclists are more likely to sustain an injury by being rear-ended by a car than any other way. The second most likely cause of a serious collision is a T-bone scenario, where a car runs into a cyclist while crossing its path perpendicularly. When a bicycle collides with a car, it’s usually the cyclist who sustains the brunt of the damage. Accidents often result in fatalities, especially when the car is going fast or the cyclist is not wearing a helmet. Even in non-fatal accidents, the cyclist may sustain serious, long-term disabilities.
Injuries sustained in serious collisions include:
If you’ve sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, you should seek both economic and non-economic damages in your personal injury claim. Economic damages include monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are more subjective and difficult to calculate. However, in the event of a catastrophic injury, some non-economic losses are significant because of serious injuries that can change your entire life.
Potential damages that you may receive following a bicycle traffic accident include:
Reimbursement of all medical bills and expenses related to the accident, including doctor bills, hospital stays, physical therapy, and other long-term medical needs
Compensation for lost wages from time missed from work for attending medical appointments and during your entire recovery period or inability to work
Past, present, and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience
Past, present, and future mental anguish and emotional distress
Loss of earning capacity in cases of permanent physical or mental impairment
Compensation for permanent injuries and damages
Payment of all psychological and psychiatric treatment related to your accident
Loss of consortium, companionship, or spousal support
Compensation for future medical treatment or procedures, including future surgeries and hospital stays
Both bicyclists and drivers are bound by rules of the road. These rules include traffic laws for cars and any special state or local rules created specifically for cyclists. Both bicyclists and drivers must exercise care when on the road.
Negligence is at the root of many lawsuits, including personal injury cases. Negligence involves a person who owes a duty of care to another person and breaches that duty. In such an event, the negligent party is liable for any resulting injuries.
When a bicyclist files a lawsuit against a driver for injuries suffered in an accident, negligent behavior on the part of one or both parties is a critical factor. Driver negligence can take many forms, such as running a stop sign, speeding, or improperly using designated lanes. But what if the cyclist is partially at fault? Nevada follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence , which means that a plaintiff can collect compensation from all other at-fault parties, so long as a court determines that the plaintiff was not 50 percent or more responsible for the accident.
What To Do After A Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you should first move to a safe area and seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you think you are okay, or that your injuries are minor, some injuries may not show up until days or even weeks later. It is important for your health that you receive prompt treatment. Also, medical records are important evidence that your attorney will use to prove that you were actually injured in the accident. Consider the following tips: When riding a bicycle, carry a cell phone, personal identification, and emergency contact information.
After any accident, call the police. Even if the accident is minor, an official police report documents the accident and will prove helpful if you end up filing a lawsuit.
Leave your bike in the same, damaged condition as it was after the crash, if possible. It’s best if the police are able to see the accident scene undisturbed.
Get the driver’s name and his or her insurance information, along with the names of any passengers and eyewitnesses. Do not admit fault under any circumstances.
Take photos of injuries, damage to your bicycle, and the accident scene.
Do not publish photos of or information about your accident on social media. Insurance adjusters and private investigators may read your posts, which may have a negative impact on your case.
Don’t make any statements to insurance companies or other parties until you first consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Las Vegas Bicycle Accident FAQ
Bicycle accidents are traumatic events that can come with immense physical pain, emotional stress, and financial burdens when victims suffer severe injuries. If you have recently suffered injuries in a Las Vegas bicycle accident or your child has suffered injuries, you likely feel overwhelmed and you may be unsure of how to move forward.
Nevada law permits you to take legal action against the driver or other party who caused your bicycle accident and injuries. An experienced Las Vegas bicycle accident attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help you go after the compensation you deserve.
Until you have the opportunity to consult with one of our lawyers, the following frequently asked questions about bicycle accidents in Las Vegas can provide valuable information.
How much money will I get for my Las Vegas bicycle accident claim?
The insurance company involved in your accident claim will value your claim as low as possible. That is why it’s best to seek the help of an attorney, who will aim to get you every dime you deserve for your accident and injuries. The amount you will receive often falls somewhere in between and is often capped by insurance policy limits.
Some aspects of determining the value of your claim are simple because both sides can add up the costs. For example, medical expenses and lost wages caused by your bicycle accident injuries will be included in your claim. Other aspects of your claim, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, are more difficult to quantify. Both sides will likely employ medical experts and others to value these aspects.
What do I do if the Las Vegas driver who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
Call us. We might still find a way to seek compensation.
Nevada law does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Yet, many still purchase optional coverage as an extra safeguard. If you have a vehicle registered in Nevada and you have UM coverage, you can file a claim under your own auto insurance policy to receive compensation up to your policy limit. Your UM carrier, however, might try to deny, delay, or reduce your claim, so call us to see if we can help you get the outcome you deserve.
If you do not have a registered vehicle or you do not have UM coverage on your auto insurance policy, it’s in your best interest to contact a bicycle accident attorney who can help you directly sue the driver who hit you and potentially recover some or all of the damages related to your bike accident. Additionally, having solely minimum insurance coverage is not recommended; the attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC highly endorse having UM coverage and increasing your limits due to the potential costs associated with many accidents.
Can I bring a lawsuit against the city of Las Vegas for a bicycle accident?
Las Vegas residents can report road defects and maintenance issues in their neighborhoods. If the city does not take care of any known hazards in a timely fashion, they open themselves up to liability for injuries if a cyclist suffers an accident as a result. Government entities operate under a different set of rules than other parties when personal injuries are involved. If your bike injuries occurred as a result of the city’s negligence, you should contact our Las Vegas bicycle accident attorneys, because we have experience with the procedural requirements for filing claims against the city.
Can I file a lawsuit if my child died in a Las Vegas bicycle accident?
Nevada law entitles parents to take legal action on their child’s behalf when their child dies in a bicycle accident as a result of driver negligence.
In addition to recovering medical expenses until the time of death, you might also recover damages for:
Grief and sorrow.
Loss of companionship and society.
Pain and suffering.
Let an experienced bicycle accident attorney handle the details of your wrongful death case while you cope with your grief during this difficult time.
How long do I have to take legal action after a Las Vegas bicycle accident?
Nevada has a two-year statute of limitations for bicycle accident victims to take action against the driver who caused their injuries. The law strictly binds courts to this time limit. Although there are some rare exceptions, it’s highly unlikely a court will hear your case after the two-year time limit expires.
I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still file a Las Vegas bicycle accident claim?
Yes, not wearing a helmet does not absolve a negligent driver of their responsibility. The insurance company or their legal team might argue that your injuries are worse because you chose not to wear a helmet. This, however, does not mean you won’t receive compensation. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will evaluate your claim and build the strongest case possible against the driver who caused you harm.
Should I accept an offer to settle?
You should never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without at least consulting us. Insurance companies like to make quick settlement offers to avoid a larger payout later on, especially when they know their policyholder is at fault. It’s likely your offer is much lower than the value of your claim. Also, once you accept an offer, you waive your right to take further legal action. Lawyers are trained negotiators who are familiar with insurance company tactics and often negotiate higher settlements for their clients.
Do I have to go to court after a Las Vegas bicycle accident?
It’s highly unlikely you will need to testify in court because the majority of accident claims settle before going to trial. When a settlement isn’t an option because of a liability dispute or the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation, your lawyer will have to litigate your case. If this happens, you will likely have to go to court.
Do I need to hire a Las Vegas bicycle accident attorney for my claim?
Yes. Even if you have minor injuries that didn’t cause you to remain in the hospital, you typically need a lawyer to extract prompt, full payment from the insurance company. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents involving a vehicle often result in severe injuries, which means it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How much will a Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyer cost me?
Bicycle accident law firms like ours offer free consultations to prospective clients so that you and your potential lawyer can ensure a good fit. We also take Las Vegas bicycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Instead of paying an upfront retainer fee, your attorney will take a percentage of any compensation you receive for your injuries to cover attorney’s fees.
Why You Need to Consult an Attorney
As bicycling becomes more popular, you need to take appropriate safety measures to stay safe on the roads. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, you need to speak with an experienced, compassionate Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyer. Our legal team has the experience and resources necessary to gather evidence and develop a strong case. Nevada’s statute of limitations laws impose strict time limits on when you may file a personal injury claim, so it is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Call Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC at (702) 382-9797, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team.
“Never being in an accident before I wasn’t sure about the best way to go about things. Being referred to Benson & Bingham made this process ease and flow. Phillip was so helpful with making sure I had a full understanding with every step and communicating consistently with me on things. I am so happy with the service I obtained with my case. You guys are the best!!!”
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