Officers say that speed and alcohol contributed to a deadly motorcycle-vehicle crash on Interstate 15.
The wreck occurred on the southbound side near the Russell Road exit. According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, a speeding Lexus driver in the left lane apparently lost control of his vehicle and hit a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The Lexus then careened into a retaining wall, and the force of the collision propelled the motorcycle several hundred feet along the highway before it eventually came to rest in the far left lane. Both the motorcycle rider and a Lexus passenger were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries; the motorcycle rider was declared dead shortly after arrival, but the Lexus passenger is expected to survive.
Police arrested the Lexus driver on suspicion of DUI and all the names were withheld.
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Fact Issues in Motorcycle Crashes
Largely because vehicle occupants are protected by walls made from solid steel and glass, not to mention multiple restraint layers, and motorcycle rider are completely exposed to the risk of injury, riders are twenty-seven times more likely to die in car crashes than vehicle occupants. A disproportionate number of these riders are over 40, because although four-wheel vehicle operators can often compensate for unexpected situations like potholes and other cars that make illegal lane changes, but riders, and especially older riders, are often unable to safely perform emergency maneuvers in such situations.
Some of the serious injuries in these cases include:
- Exsanguination: Blood loss is one of the most serious kinds of injuries in any vehicle collision case. In motorcycle wrecks, because the rider is nearly always thrown off the bike, victims suffer both external and internal trauma injuries; many times, first responders and doctors focus on the former and neglect the latter, so dangerous internal bleeding often continues even after the external wounds are triaged.
- Head Injuries: As more fully explained below, not wearing a helmet may reduce recovery for these injuries, but that is not necessarily the case. Moreover, helmets do nothing to protect necks and spines.
- Broken Bones: These severe injuries normally require metal pins and screws to set during corrective surgery; after the metal comes out, victims must typically go through months of physical rehabilitation.
Damages in motorcycle crash cases typically include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Legal Issues in Motorcycle Crashes
Nevada has a mandatory helmet law, and in many states, insurance companies may use such a law to reduce or deny compensation in motorcycle crash cases, especially if the victim sustained a head injury.
However, Nevada has expressly overruled the so-called “seat belt defense,” because according to NRS 484D.495(4)(b), seat belt use is not relevant to a contributory negligence claim. In other words, the insurance company cannot shift blame to the victims for their injuries if they were not properly restrained.
Arguably therefore, helmet use should not be considered either, since Nevada also has a mandatory seat belt law and its use is prohibited in civil cases. At best, the insurance company may be able to reduce head injury damages if it can prove that a helmet would have prevented the victim’s injuries.
Contact an Aggressive Lawyer
For prompt assistance with a motorcycle crash claim, contact an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney from Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely handle matters in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.