After a wreck on the North Side and another one in the South Valley, it appears that no part of the city is safe for motorcycle riders.
One wreck occurred near the intersection of Allen and Cheyenne. An SUV driver attempted to turn left against traffic from westbound Cheyenne and enter a private driveway. But the SUV driver did not see an oncoming eastbound motorcycle. The collision killed the motorcycle rider almost instantly.
Later that same morning, a speeding SUV crashed into a motorcycle near the intersection of Torrey Pines Drive and Patrick Lane. Investigators speculate that the Range Rover driver attempted to pass another vehicle and did not see the motorcycle.
None of the names were released.
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Left-Turn Motorcycle Crashes in Nevada
About a third of the vehicle-motorcycle collisions in Las Vegas mimic the above-described North Side crash. The tortfeasor (negligent driver) turns left against traffic and crosses directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
Many tortfeasors do not keep a proper lookout for motorcycles. This problem is even worse in areas, like Las Vegas, where many people drive large pickup trucks or SUVs. These vehicles limit driver visibility even further.
Sometimes, motorcycle riders contribute to this problem by riding recklessly. But much more often, tortfeasors simply are not looking.
Nevertheless, there may be enough evidence of joint fault to raise the contributory negligence defense. This legal loophole basically shifts blame for the accident onto the victim.
But contributory negligence is only a partial defense. Nevada is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, as long as the tortfeasor is at least 51 percent responsible for the crash, the victim still receives a proportional share of damages.
In serious injury crashes, these damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available in some cases as well.
Speed-Related Motorcycle Wrecks in Las Vegas
Roughly a third of the vehicle collisions in Nevada mirror the South Valley collision described above. Speed increases the risk of a collision and also increases the severity of the collision.
Velocity multiples stopping distance. It usually takes less than a second for drivers to see hazards, move their feet from the accelerator to the brake, and stop the vehicle. In that time, at 30mph, most vehicles travel six car lengths. At 60mph, stopping distance is eighteen car lengths. Other factors, like weather conditions and driver fitness, may increase stopping distance even further.
Speed also multiples the force in a collision. At high velocity, an ordinary “fender-bender” may involve a serious head injury.
In these cases, many victims think they are ineligible for compensation if they were not wearing motorcycle helmets. Nevada does have a motorcycle helmet law. But Nevada lawmakers have also expressly outlawed the seat belt defense. Lack of restraint is not relevant in a civil trial. Arguably, the same thing applies to motorcycle helmet. Wearing a helmet has nothing to do with the cause of the crash. And, victims have no legal duty to voluntarily mitigate (reduce) potential damages before a collision.
Contact a Tenacious Lawyer
Motorcycle riders have little protection in vehicle collisions. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.