Nevada law requires all motorists to exercise care and caution to protect the safety of bicyclists. Victims injured in a bicycle accident in Las Vegas can file a lawsuit to recover compensatory damages for their medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and/or pain and suffering.
Injured bicyclists or other bike accident victims may be able to sue for either:
- negligence in Nevada,
- negligence per se in Nevada,
- strict products liability in Nevada and/or
- wrongful death in Nevada (if the victim passed away)
It is important to speak with an attorney before dealing with an insurance company. The insurance adjuster will attempt to settle your personal injury claim for far less than you deserve. And any statements you make can come back to haunt you when seeking compensation from the insurance company.
In this article, our Nevada personal injury lawyers discuss the details of Nevada bike accident law and how victims can bring a lawsuit.
- 1. How do I file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Nevada?
- 2. Whom can I sue?
- 3. What can I sue for?
- 4. What damages can I get?
- 5. When can I sue?
- 6. What if I was partially to blame?
- 7. What are common bike injuries?
If you were involved in a bike crash, see a doctor right away even if you feel fine. Injuries can appear after time has passed and the adrenaline and stress from the accident have dissipated.
If you are injured, your attorney would first try to settle the legal action with the at-fault party (or parties). Most of the time, personal injury cases can resolve through aggressive negotiations alone.
But if the at-fault party’s insurance defense firm refuses to give you enough money, your attorney can discuss taking the bicycle accident case to trial. Typical evidence your attorney would introduce at trial includes:
- video surveillance footage
- medical records and expert medical testimony
- eyewitness accounts
- accident reconstruction expert testimony
- weather reports
- any police reports
Your attorney would have the burden to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the defendants were liable. This is a much lower burden of proof than criminal trials, where the prosecutor needs to establish guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Note that negotiations can continue right up to and during the trial. In many cases, defendants are more willing to settle when they see that the trial is not going their way.
There are several possible defendants in bike crash cases, depending on the circumstances of the collision. Some potential defendants include:
- the other motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider for not following the rules of the road, such as failing to yield right-of-way, driving in a bike lane, or dooring (opening the car door without looking first)
- the bike manufacturer (if the bike was defective)
- the city or county (if poor road maintenance contributed to the crash, such as potholes or covered stop signs)
- the bike helmet manufacturer (if the helmet failed to protect the biker)
There are several possible claims that bike accidents victims (“plaintiffs”) may bring against the at-fault parties (“defendants”), including negligence, negligence per se, products liability, and/or wrongful death. The plaintiff’s attorney would help the plaintiff decide which claims are appropriate and most likely to be successful.
Plaintiffs must prove the following elements for a defendant to be liable for negligence:
- the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- the defendant breached that duty of care; and
- the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.1
Bikers and drivers owe other people on the road the duty to drive safely. If for example the defendant was not paying attention and caused a collision that injured the plaintiff, the defendant was negligent.
Plaintiffs must prove the following elements for a defendant to be liable for negligence per se in Nevada:
- the defendant had the duty to follow a certain law;
- the law was meant to protect people like the plaintiff;
- the defendant violated that law; and
- the defendant’s violation caused the plaintiff’s injuries.2
Bikers and drivers must abide by Nevada traffic laws, which is meant to protect other people on the road. If for example the defendant caused an accident by speeding in Nevada (NRS 484B.600) or driving intoxicated in Nevada, the defendant was negligent per se.
Plaintiffs must prove the following elements for a defendant to be liable for strict products liability:
- The bike or automobile was defective as the result of a design, manufacturing, or warning defect;
- The defect existed when the bike or automobile left the possession of the defendant (the bike or vehicle manufacturer);
- The bike or automobile was used in a manner that was reasonably foreseeable by the defendant; and
- The defect was a cause of the plaintiff’s injury.3
When a bike crash involves no other bikes or vehicles, the biker’s attorney should investigate whether the bike could have been defective. In these solo-crash scenarios, products liability may be the only possible claim the biker has.
Bike crashes are sometimes fatal, especially if the collision involved a large vehicle. In these cases, the victim’s family and estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiffs must prove the following:
- The victim passed away;
- This death was the result of another’s wrongful act or negligence;
- The plaintiff is an heir or personal representative of the victim; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages for monetary injury as a result of the death4
Victims of a biking accident may be able to recover money for the following compensatory damages:
- doctor’s bills,
- lost wages,
- loss of future earnings,
- physical and occupational rehabilitation,
- reimbursement for property damage,
- pain and suffering, and/or
- funeral expenses and loss of probable support (in wrongful death cases)
On the rare occasion a case goes to trial, the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney would also fight for punitive damages in Nevada. These can be a lot bigger than compensatory damages, and they serve the punish the defendant for the reckless behavior that caused the accident.5
With some exceptions, the statute of limitations in Nevada to file a personal injury lawsuit is only two (2) years after the plaintiff realizes he/she is injured.6
Accident victims are advised to contact an attorney right away to get started on their cases. And even if more than two years have passed, victims are still encouraged to consult with a lawyer — there may be loopholes that permit them to file a viable lawsuit.
Defendants who are being sued for their involvement in a bike accident will likely put the blame back on the victim. But even if the victim was partially at fault for the crash, the victim can still win a lawsuit:
Under Nevada’s comparative negligence laws, plaintiffs are eligible to recover damages as long as the defendant was at least 50% at fault:7
Example: Katie is biking down the Strip without a helmet when a car crashes into her. Katie cracks her skull.
At trial, the jury finds that Katie was 50% to blame because she wore no helmet. But since the car driver was also 50% to blame, the court may order the driver to pay Katie for her injuries.
In the above example, Katie will be entitled to 50% less damages than if she were blameless. Courts always reduce the amount of money that plaintiffs receive in proportion to their fault.
Even a minor bike accident can cause serious injuries or even catastrophic injuries because the biker is so exposed to the elements. Typical bike accident injuries include:
- lacerations (and ensuing infections)
- organ damage
- traumatic brain injury
- spinal injuries
- other severe injuries
Have you or a loved one been injured in the Las Vegas area or elsewhere in Nevada? Our Las Vegas bicycle accident attorneys offer legal representation in Las Vegas and throughout the state. To schedule your free consultation with one of our caring Nevada personal injury attorneys, fill out the form on this page, or call us.
One of our compassionate Las Vegas, Henderson, or Reno accident lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and the way to receive the most compensation for your Nevada biking injuries. Also see our Nevada law articles on Nevada bicycle laws, crosswalk accidents, and Go-Kart injuries.
Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee future results.
- Turner v. Mandalay Sports Entm’t, LLC, 124 Nev. 213, 180 P.3d 1172 (2008).
- Valentine v. Pioneer Chlor Alkali, 109 Nev. 1107, 864 P.2d 295, 297 (1993).
- NRS 41.085.
- NRS 42.005.
- NRS 11.190.
- NRS 41.141.