Accidents between a motorcycle and a vehicle can be more complex due to the severity of the injuries to the motorcyclist. The costs of medical and rehabilitation treatments will add up quickly, as will lost wages and earnings, repairs to or the replacement of the bike, and the pain and suffering.
The legal professionals at Koch & Brim want to educate the public on how an injury claim is valued in the unfortunate case of a Las Vegas motorcycle accident.
In Nevada, the laws controlling personal injury claims apply when the insured party seeks compensation for damages. As with any personal injury claim, the attorneys, insurance adjusters, and the court all need to consider damages and liability.
Damage is the legal term for losses and injuries suffered as a result of an accident. Damages are suffered by both parties. There is a separate category for factual (economic) and intangible (non-economic) damages.
The factual, or the economic, damages are proven with paid receipts, pay stubs, invoices, estimates, and the calculation of the future earnings capacity. These damages are tangible and supported by written evidence.
The intangible, or the non-economic damages, are not supported by written evidence that can be produced as proof. These are the values assessed for the pain and suffering and the emotional distress experienced by both parties. Family members of those in the accident may also claim these non-economic damages if they witnessed the accident.
It takes the experience and expertise of a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to assess the value of intangible damages.
It is the total values assessed to both the economic and the non-economic damages that represent the value of a claim.
There is another category of damages known as punitive. Punitive damages can be awarded if it can be proven that malicious intent was shown by the party responsible for the accident. These damages are awarded to punish the responsible party as opposed to compensating the injured party for losses.
The determination of the value of a claim resulting from a motorcycle accident is only one-half of the process. It is the assessment of liability that determines fault.
As previously mentioned, both parties will experience damages. Sadly, the severity of the injuries will fall on the motorcyclist.
But who is responsible?
Liability is determined by investigating the evidence and the circumstances leading up to the accident. The case evidence will be the police report, photos and videos, eyewitness reports, and the conditions of the road and the weather.
As a general statement, all users of the road have a duty of care to every other user. These users are not only other drivers but include motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The assessment of liability is the determination of which party breached its duty of care. Liability is assessed in percentages that will range from 0%-100%.
Comparative Negligence Laws
In Nevada, the doctrine of comparative negligence will apply. Under this doctrine, the investigating parties must view the evidence as a whole to assess liabilities to both parties regardless of the extent or the severity of the injuries and loss.
The plaintiff, the party suing for damages, will be able to recover the value of its claim as reduced by the percentage of liability. If liability is found to be more than 50%, then there will no damage award.
Nevada also applies the doctrine of negligence per se. If a party to an accident is found to have violated any traffic laws, then the violator will be found liable for the accident.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula to apply to motorcycle injury claims. The best way to respond to the question posed in this blog is to explain the damage categories and the process for determining liability.
The extent of loss and injury are not factors in determining liability or assessing the value of a claim.