Vehicle-bicycle collisions can be devastating for the cyclist, who will almost always suffer worse injuries than the driver of the motor vehicle. However, this does not mean the driver is always at fault. In some cases, the bicyclist is to blame for causing the collision, such as by failing to stop at a stop sign or illegally riding against the flow of traffic. If the bicyclist involved in your crash is at fault for the car accident, you need to take certain steps to protect your rights.
Pull Over and Fulfill Your Driver Obligations
Pull over immediately if any part of your vehicle comes into contact with a bicyclist, or if there was a no-contact crash, where the two vehicles did not touch but the bicyclist crashed or hit the ground to avoid a collision. You have a legal responsibility under Nevada law to pull over at the scene of any accident, check for injuries and render aid. This may mean calling 911 and requesting paramedics for an injured bicyclist.
Report the Accident
It is a good idea to involve the police even if the collision seems minor. Calling law enforcement to the scene can document the crash for the record. The police report may be able to help you prove that the bicyclist was at fault, such as with details regarding the directions both parties were traveling, the position of the bicycle compared to your car, whether or not the bicyclist was intoxicated, and the weather and road conditions at the time. Ask for your police report number before you leave so that you can obtain a copy of the report for the insurance process later.
Do Not Admit Fault
As the driver of the motor vehicle, you will already be under suspicion and most likely blamed for the accident by the bicyclist’s insurance company. It is critical not to admit to any fault for the accident or apologize to the cyclist while you are at the scene. Saying that you are sorry could be construed as an admittance of guilt and used against you during an insurance claim later. Be polite and cooperative while you exchange information with the cyclist, but don’t admit fault.
Document the vehicle-bicycle collision by taking photographs with your cell phone. Try to get pictures before the cyclist picks up or moves his or her bike. Take photos of any damage to the bicycle and your car, as well as the location of the crash and the scene as a whole. Look around to see if there are any traffic cameras or surveillance cameras that may have caught the collision on tape. If the biker has a GoPro, notify the police so they can request the footage for evidence. Photographs and videos can help investigators piece together how the collision took place.
Understand Nevada’s Comparative Negligence Law
Nevada has a comparative negligence law (Nevada Revised Statute 41.141) that allows both parties involved in a collision to be allocated a percentage of fault. This means you could be given a percentage of fault and the bicyclist could, as well. In this scenario, the amount that your car insurance company would have to pay the bicyclist would be reduced by the bicyclist’s percentage of fault. If the biker is found to be more at fault for the accident than you were – at least 51 percent to blame – your insurance company will not be held liable at all.
Don’t Talk to Anyone About the Accident Other Than Your Lawyer
Protect yourself by not saying anything to anyone about the bicycle accident while the insurance claim is still pending. Do not post about it on social media sites or talk to the bicyclist. When the cyclist’s insurance company contacts you to learn more about the accident during its investigation, do not speak to them until you have contacted a Las Vegas car accident lawyer. Do not agree to give the insurer a recorded statement, as this could be used against you later. Call Koch & Brim, LLP at (702) 410-6034 to learn more about your case before answering any questions.