Normally, speed increases the amount of compensation in a crash, because velocity affects crash severity. But in this case, speed may reduce the amount of damages the victim’s family could receive.
According to witnesses, a 26-year-old motorcycle rider was speeding when he approached the intersection of North 5th Street and East Craig Road shortly before 6 a.m. At that moment, a westbound motorist turned directly in front of the motorcyclist. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but the 59-year-old Ford pickup truck driver was uninjured.
None of the names were released.
What Causes Las Vegas Motorcycle Crashes?
Inattentive left turns cause about a third of the fatal motorcycle wrecks in Nevada. Many bikers who have gone down heard the tortfeasor (negligent driver) say something like “I never even saw you” or “You came out of nowhere.” Phrases like these are designed to shift blame for the accident onto the victims. But the tortfeasor’s careless driving habits are usually the underlying cause.
Overall, driver inattention is one of the leading causes of vehicle collisions in the state. These types of wrecks almost always involve one of the following:
- Negligence: Driver inattention may be a symptom of distraction, fatigue, or some other types of driving impairment. Such impairment almost always constitutes a lack of ordinary care, which is the essential definition of negligence.
- Negligence Per Se: Sometimes, Nevada laws establish the standard of care. That’s certainly the case with regard to inattentive turns, as it is illegal to change lanes without looking or take other such actions.
In both negligence and negligence per se motorcycle crash cases, damages usually involve compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
The Contributory Negligence Defense
When it comes to motorcycles, “speeding” is a very subjective term which may or may not give rise to contributory negligence. The above “I didn’t see you” lines are designed to deflect fault. The contributory negligence rule is a legal doctrine which may reduce the amount of compensation, in some cases.
Two-wheel vehicles always appear to be going faster than they are, especially when traffic is light and there are few comparing vehicles. So, witness statements about motorcycle speeding are rarely credible.
Even if the motorcycle rider was speeding, the excessive speed must be negligent. Most people would not consider 5mph or even 10mph over the limit to be reckless or negligent. So, as far as most Clark County jurors are concerned, the velocity must be higher than that for this defense to apply.
Finally, Nevada is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, even if the victim is 49 percent responsible for the crash, the victim still receives a proportional share of compensation.
The bottom line is that it is hard for insurance company lawyers to establish contributory negligence in any meaningful way.
Connect With a Tenacious Lawyer
Motorcycle crashes usually involve intricate legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely handle matters in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.