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Motorcyclists and drivers of passenger vehicles can take many precautions to reduce the likelihood of dying in an accident. They can drive at or under posted speed limits. They can obey all traffic laws and warning signs. They can even "drive defensively" and do everything they can to avoid a collision.

But here’s a major difference between operators of motorcycles and passenger cars: if they are victimized in a rear-end collisions, the outcomes are likely to be much different. A driver of a car or truck might sustain only minor injuries, but a motorcyclist may be severely hurt – or worse.

This dichotomy was tragically illustrated Friday evening in Las Vegas. Shortly after 8:45pm, a 42-year old man was sitting on a motorcycle at a stoplight at the intersection of Sahara Avenue and Grand Canyon Drive in the west valley. A Dodge Ram pickup truck was traveling too fast on Sahara and struck the motorcycle from behind, forcing it into the vehicle in front of it.

The 42-year old motorcycle operator was ejected and propelled over the Hyundai Tucson in front of him before landing on the rear window of a Nissan Sentra. While the drivers of the Dodge, Hyundai, and Nissan all suffered minor injuries, the motorcyclist died from his injuries after being rushed to University Medical Center.

The surviving family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the pickup. A jury may choose to order the defendant to pay damages for hospital expenses, lost future wages, loss of care, and emotional distress.

But this incident reinforces a cruel and scary truth: you can do everything in your power to avoid being victimized in an accident, and it may not be enough.