The thrill, convenience, and sense of freedom when riding around excite motorcycle enthusiasts. However, a motorcycle rider is nine times more likely to suffer an injury in an accident. There are many causes of motorcycle accidents in Nevada, with one of the leading causes being the use of drugs.
An impaired motorcyclist or other motorist causes a drug-related motorcycle accident. Alcohol and drugs impair a rider's or motorist's judgment, making it impossible for them to react accordingly on the road. Driving under the influence is not only reckless behavior but also a criminal violation. Drug use by a motorist or motorcycle rider is determined after the accident when police officers take samples for BAC and drug tests.
You are entitled to compensation if you or a loved one is injured in a drug-related motorcycle accident. By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover compensation for all the injuries and losses resulting from the accident. At G. Dallas Horton & Associates, we offer skilled legal guidance to all our clients seeking compensation for motorcycle accidents in Las Vegas, NV.
An Overview of Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents in Nevada
The use of drugs and alcohol is a major contributing factor to motorcycle accidents in Nevada. Whether the drug is a controlled substance like cocaine and marijuana or legal like prescription medication, these substances impair a driver's or motorcyclist's judgment and mental capacity. Intoxicated drivers have a poor perception of distance and speed. Therefore, hitting other vehicles, motorcycles, or pedestrians is inevitable.
Under NRS 42.010, drug-related motorcycle collisions are classified as a crime of DUI with injuries. Therefore, the negligent party in this accident may face the civil consequences of a lawsuit and criminal punishment for violating this statute. Most motorcycle crashes result from the drunkenness of a group of individuals who take rides for fun. Due to their intoxication, they cannot operate safely, which increases the chance of colliding with other road users.
The use of alcohol or drugs is not the only cause of motorcycle collisions. Other negligent acts by a driver, motorcycle, or pedestrian could play a significant role in the accident. Some of the common ways in which such accidents occur include:
- A drunk driver hitting a motorcyclist.
- An intoxicated motorcyclist hits a pedestrian.
- A drunken motorcyclist collides with oncoming vehicles producing a series of collisions.
If you or a loved one is injured in a drug-related motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. However, you may be required to prove that the defendant was intoxicated during the accident. Often, this evidence will be available in the police report.
When law enforcement officials arrive at the accident scene to gather evidence, they will take urine and blood samples of the involved parties to establish or rule out intoxication. When pursuing your claim, your attorney can help you subpoena the police report to obtain this evidence.
Common Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents caused by drug or alcohol use by a motorist or motorcyclist are common in Nevada, and they include:
- Left turn accidents. These collisions occur when a biker passes through an intersection. An intoxicated motorist may make a wrong left turn, thus hitting the rider. Such an accident becomes more serious when a motorist drives at high speed.
- Parked vehicle collisions. Reckless opening of vehicle doors can cause a serious collision. When intoxicated motorcyclists move at high speed, they may fail to notice the open door in time and crash into it.
- Rear-end crashes. Rear-end collisions are common at intersections and are caused by poor distance perception or lack of visibility. Intoxication affects the concentration and judgment of a rider or motorist. Rear-end collisions could throw the rider off their motorcycle, causing severe injuries or death.
- Right of way Crashes. Failure to yield the right of way is a common cause of auto accidents. These accidents occur when a driver violates a motorist’s right of way. Intoxicated drivers focus less on the road and may fail to notice an oncoming motorcyclist.
Injuries from a Drug-Related Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents rarely have a good outcome. Even collisions at low speeds produce severe injuries for the rider and other involved parties. Common injuries you could suffer from a motorcycle accident include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Even with the protection of a helmet, brain injury is a common consequence of a motorcycle accident. Your brain lacks the natural regenerative activity of other parts of your body. Brain injuries can range from minor concussions to severe and life-threatening injuries. Therefore, most instances of brain injury are permanent.
Brain injury may result from blunt trauma to the head or penetration of sharp metals into your brain. The symptoms of brain injury include:
- Severe headaches
- Fluid leaking from the ears
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Poor vision
Spinal Cord Injuries
While the helmet may protect a motorcyclist from severe brain damage, the risk of injury to other sensitive body parts like the spinal cord is high. The spine is one of the most critical parts of the body and controls numerous functions. Spinal cord injury involves damage to one or multiple bones of the vertebrae. Depending on the seriousness of the motorcycle accident, you can suffer partial injury or complete severing of the spinal cord.
Spinal cord injuries may leave you immobile from the point of injury downwards or cause other complications like loss of bladder and bowel function.
Drug-related motorcycle accidents are often very catastrophic, and the risk of fractures and broken bones is inevitable. The impact and force from the collision with a vehicle could break even the most robust bones. There are several types of fractures you can suffer from such an accident, including:
- Closed fractures
- Compound fractures
- Comminuted fractures
- Incomplete fractures
Broken bones take a while to recover, and you may need to spend weeks or months in a hospital bed. Additionally, you may undergo painful and expensive surgeries to repair the bones and improve mobility. A broken bone can also cause various complications, like damage to blood vessels and infections.
Amputations are some of the most severe and life-changing injuries you can sustain from a motorcycle accident. An amputation is an injury that results in the loss of a limb, toe, or arm. In a motorcycle accident, amputation injuries can be traumatic or medical. A traumatic amputation occurs when you lose a part of your body through the trauma of an accident. On the other hand, a medical amputation is done at the hospital when your bones are severely damaged.
Life after an amputation can be very stressful. Loss of limbs makes it impossible for you to return to work, and you may spend thousands of dollars on prosthetics. You are entitled to compensation if you suffer an amputation injury from a drug-related motorcycle accident.
Road rash is a serious injury resulting from scrapes on a hard surface like pavement or gravel. When a motorcycle hits an obstacle, the rider will be thrown off the bike and land on the ground. Road rash is unique to motorcycle riders and pedestrians because they lack the protection offered by a vehicle. Like burns, road rash is categorized into first, second, and third degrees depending on the severity of the injury.
Although road rash may seem like one of the less severe injuries from a motorcycle accident, this injury can cause severe pain and sometimes infection. You will only need a wound dressing and pain medication in mild cases. However, severe road rash could subject you to multiple skin graft surgeries.
Motorcycles offer little protection to the rider in the event of an accident. The impact from the collision may cause damage to your internal organs. Internal injuries from a motorcycle accident include:
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Injuries to the reproductive organs
- Blood vessel ruptures
- Bleeding around your lungs
- Blunt trauma and cuts to orgasm like the stomach, kidneys, and liver
While internal injuries are not easily noticeable, they are threatening. Some of the symptoms of internal injuries you must look out for include:
- Low blood pressure
- Pain swelling and tightness in the legs
- Skin discoloration
- Abdominal pain
After a motorcycle collision, you must seek immediate medical attention to ensure early detection and treatment of these injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissues are the tendons, cartilages, ligaments, and tendons surrounding your bones and other organs. Most soft tissue injuries recover without treatment. However, injuries from motorcycle accidents are more serious. The impact of a motorcycle accident can cause numerous injuries to the soft tissues. These injuries are much more challenging to diagnose. Therefore, you must seek medical care immediately after the accident.
Steps to Take after a Motorcycle Accident in Nevada
The events following your accident or drug-related motorcycle accident may significantly affect your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Dealing with a motorcycle wreck can be extremely challenging, significantly when injured. The following are essential steps you can take towards ensuring your safety and increasing your chance of compensation:
Contact the Police
If police officers are not at the scene, you need to dial 911 immediately. A police officer will assess the accident scene, interview different parties and write a report on their account of events. A police report is a piece of crucial evidence in establishing liability for an accident and recovering compensation. In the report, the officers will record the results of drug and alcohol tests on the involved parties. This makes it easy to argue that your accident was drug-related.
If you are not severely injured, it would be best if you tried to collect some evidence from the scene. Although the trauma of the collision may affect your mental capacity, leaving the scene without taking photos, a video or contact information for witnesses could cause a loss of this evidence.
Seek Medical Attention
Although you want to hold the intoxicated motorcyclist or driver responsible for their negligent acts by following up with a claim, your health comes first. Sometimes, the adrenaline of the collision may cause you to ignore some injuries. Other injuries, like internal bleeding, do not manifest in a physical wound. Seeking immediate medical care allows for prompt detection of your injuries and treatment.
During your doctor's visit, ensure that you mention all your injuries and ask that they be recorded. Payment for medical expenses is a significant part of your compensation. However, the insurance companies will require that you provide evidence of your injuries and treatment records.
See Legal Counsel
The process of recovering compensation for motorcycle accident injuries is challenging. Insurance companies will begin to contact you and offer little compensation or force you to accept fault for the accident. Therefore, having the guidance of a skilled personal injury attorney is vital during these times. Your attorney will help you gather all the evidence needed for your case. Additionally, the lawyer will deal with the insurance companies and negotiate to ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Inform your Insurance Company
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you must notify your insurance company of the details of the accident. If the fault party is not insured or has minimal insurance, your insurance provider may be responsible for your compensation.
File a Lawsuit
Some accident claims are settled between victims and insurance companies out of court. However, insurance companies are not always willing to pay you the amount you deserve. If you fail to reach an agreement with the negligent party’s insurance company, you can file a civil lawsuit and allow the court to decide on the amount you deserve for your injuries.
The statute of limitations for filing a drug-related motorcycle accident in Nevada is two years. Filing a claim after this statute has elapsed makes it impossible for you to recover compensation. Therefore, you must be quick to act.
Proving Intoxication in a Nevada Motorcycle Accident Claim
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, drug use is a common factor in all types of accidents. The mere presence of alcohol or drugs in the negligent party’s system is a basis for your claim and a chance to recover compensation. In Nevada, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fault party was intoxicated before recovering compensation from the drug-related motorcycle accident claim. You can establish a defendant’s intoxication through:
Symptoms of Intoxication
If a motorist is intoxicated during an accident, they may show obvious signs such as bloodshot eyes, poor coordination, drowsiness, or an alcohol stench. You can obtain this evidence by taking a video or photos of the accident scene. You can also check for security footage of the accident and present it with your claim.
Intoxicated drivers are known for violating traffic rules by speeding, swerving, and running a red light. You can present evidence of these reckless acts to prove that the defendant’s intoxication caused your accident and injuries.
When the police officers arrive at the accident scene, they will assess all the involved parties. If the officers suspect a motorcyclist or driver of intoxication, they can perform an alcohol test and take samples for a drug test. The blood alcohol and drug tests' results can be a significant piece of evidence proving intoxication and liability for your motorcycle accident.
Other Causes of Motorcycle Accidents Outside of Drugs
The use of drugs is not the only cause of motorcycle accidents. Therefore, other parties may have exhibited other forms of negligence which contributed to the accidents. Other causes of motorcycle accidents that you should know about when pursuing your claim include:
- Unfavorable climatic conditions. Sometimes, negligence is not a factor in your motorcycle accident. In foggy or rainy seasons, a driver may fail to see an oncoming motorcycle and collide with it head-on.
- Motorcycle defects. Faulty motorcycle parts can play a significant role in an When a part malfunctions, the rider can lose control of the motorcycle and crash into other vehicles, obstacles, or pedestrians.
- Most people who enjoy riding motorcycles enjoy the activity for its thrill. A rider may be tempted to over-speed, making it impossible to stop in emergencies.
- Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers are likely to misjudge situations and make unsafe road moves. This increases the risk of hitting motorcycles.
- Poor road conditions. Unmarked construction sections of the road or poorly maintained roads can be dangerous for all motorists. When a motorcycle hits an uneven area, the rider can lose control and crash into other vehicles. When poor road conditions cause your accident, you can file a lawsuit against the government entities responsible for road maintenance.
Compensation Benefits in a Drug-Related Motorcycle Accident
Drug-related motorcycle accidents drain you physically, emotionally, and financially. Fortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit or negotiation with the insurance companies of the liable parties may yield compensation for your losses. Expected compensation benefits you can recover include:
The medical bills cover a significant part of your compensation after a motorcycle accident. Immediately after the accident, you must seek medical care. Since the intoxicated motorist may be reluctant to admit fault for the accident, just cover your medical expenses. You can cover these expenses by using medical insurance or seeking treatment from doctors working on a lien.
You can recover compensation for all your past and future medical bills by presenting your medical records. Additionally, the insurance company may ask for medical records dating back five years to ensure that the injuries did not exist before the accident.
Lost wages are the money you lose when you fail to return to work after an accident. While nursing your injuries, you can lose money from your monthly income, bonuses, overtime, and income from self-employment. Recovering compensation for lost wages requires you to prove the amount you lost through a letter from your employer, pay stubs, or tax returns.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
The injuries from a drug-related motorcycle accident are catastrophic. Most of these injuries leave permanent disability, which makes it challenging for you to return to work. Your future earning capacity is the ability to earn money in the future. If your injuries have not recovered at the time of claim settlement, you are entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. Some of the factors that could affect the amount you recover for lost future earning capacity include:
- Your age and life expectancy.
- The years you have left before retirement.
- Your future career goals.
- Prospects of educational advancement or job promotion.
Pain and Suffering
Involvement in a motorcycle accident causes severe emotional and physical pain. Although your pain and suffering cannot be equated to dollar value or help ease your pain, the money you recover can help you avoid further pain from financial strain. Pain and suffering are difficult to calculate for lawyers and insurance companies. However, the following circumstances make your compensation for pain and suffering higher:
- You suffered severe physical injuries from the collision.
- You incurred significant medical expenses to treat the accident injuries.
- You suffered disfigurement or permanent disability from the accident.
Find a Reliable Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When a motorcycle accident happens, pedestrians and motorcycle riders suffer more serious injuries or death. The use of drugs by motorcyclists or other motorists is a common cause of these accidents in Nevada. The physical pain, suffering, and financial losses left by these accidents can drain your life. Fortunately, using alcohol or drugs when operating a vehicle or a motorcycle is considered negligent behavior. Therefore, the drunk motorist or driver will be held liable for the accident and resulting injuries. If you have been a victim of such an accident, money may not be enough to wipe out the effects of the accident.
However, the money you recover from filing a lawsuit can cushion you against the financial losses associated with the accident. Proving intoxication and liability in your claim is a challenging task, and you will need a skilled attorney by your side. We at G. Dallas Horton & Associates will offer you the legal guidance and representation you need to navigate your claim and ensure maximum compensation. We serve clients seeking legal advice to battle motorcycle accident claims in Las Vegas, Nevada. Call us at 702-820-5917.