The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) reports that the number of pedestrian accidents in Nevada continues to rise, especially in Clark County and the Las Vegas area. This growing risk is of special concern because pedestrians don’t have the protection to help them avoid serious harm or fatality when a motor vehicle strikes them, making pedestrian accidents among the most severe of all traffic accidents. Pedestrians can contribute to an accident by jaywalking, but the vast majority of pedestrian accidents are a result of careless or negligent motorists. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a driver while running or walking in Nevada, the law permits you to seek damages from the driver who hit you, as long as you do so within the statute of limitations. Contact the Nevada pedestrian accident attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC at (702) 600-6000 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and determine your eligibility to seek compensation.
Distracted drivers and those who fail to stop at traffic control devices often get credited for causing the most pedestrian accidents. Yet, when motorists don’t uphold their
duty towards those with whom they share the road, several other situations might lead to a pedestrian suffering injuries in an accident. Here are some scenarios where negligent driving might cause a pedestrian accident:
Driving under the influence of controlled substances, including alcohol, drugs, and medication
Failure to yield for pedestrians at an intersection or crosswalk
Driving while distracted by cell phones, food, drink, daydreaming, or anything else that takes a driver’s focus away from the road
Careless driving, such as going too fast for weather or traffic conditions
Pedestrians Suffer Severe Injuries During Accidents
Pedestrians have no bodily protection when they are walking or running, causing pedestrian accidents to be more severe and more likely to result in death. Severe injuries that pedestrians might suffer in traffic accidents include:
Fractured and broken bones in multiple areas of the body
Head traumas, even when wearing a helmet, which can result in lifelong struggles from a traumatic brain injury
Lacerations and deep cuts prone to scarring
Internal organ damage and bleeding from the impact of the accident
Neck and back injuries that can cause chronic pain for life, even after corrective surgery
Spinal cord injuries that can result in temporary or permanent, partial or full paralysis
Joint dislocations, especially in the hips and shoulders
Amputations when limbs get pinned between two objects or under a vehicle
Recovering Damages After a Nevada Pedestrian Accident
If you bring a civil suit against the driver who harmed you in a pedestrian accident, you might receive punitive and compensatory damages if the court rules in your favor. Courts reserve punitive damages for extreme cases, including intentional harm and gross negligence. Courts primarily award compensatory damages to a pedestrian accident victim as a way to compensate him or her for economic and non-economic losses incurred as a result of any injury.
Here are some of the most commonly awarded compensatory damages that an injured individual might recover in a Nevada pedestrian accident case.
Medical costs, such as ambulance rides, emergency services, hospital stays, surgeries, radiology, follow-up care, and prescription medication
Future medical expenses when a severe or catastrophic injury results in a permanent disability requiring ongoing and indefinite treatment and care
Rehabilitation expenses for specialists who help injured people regain function, such as a physical therapist
Lost income when an injured pedestrian must miss work because of the accident, injury, and recovery
Lost future wages when a severe injury prevents someone from ever returning to gainful employment
Pain and suffering
Loss in quality of life
Loss of consortium with a spouse
Other non-economic damages that might apply to a specific case
If you have lost a child or another loved one as a result of a pedestrian accident, you should contact an attorney to determine your eligibility to seek compensation. Nevada law allows for surviving family members, depending on their relationship with the deceased, to sue for damages in a wrongful death suit. Eligible family members might receive some of the previously-listed damages as well as funeral expenses, burial costs, and other non-economic damages specific to the relationship between the family member and the deceased. The compassionate personal injury attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC can advise you on the best course of action for you and your family.
Nevada Pedestrian Accident FAQ
The dry, warm weather of Nevada encourages its residents and tourists alike to commute on foot, when possible. With this influx of pedestrians, however, comes an uptick in the number of pedestrian accidents. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Nevada pedestrian accidents. Read on for more information.
What should I do if I or a loved one suffers injuries in a pedestrian accident?
Injuries in pedestrian accidents can range from mild to extremely serious and life-threatening. As a result, the first order of business in any pedestrian accident is to ensure the victim’s safety and health. Move out of any traffic or unsafe areas. If any victim is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. You must also render aid if possible, under Nevada law.
If victims aren’t seriously injured, stay on the scene and wait for law enforcement (911 will notify law enforcement). Failure to stay on the scene opens you up to criminal prosecution of leaving the scene. (This doesn’t apply if EMTs determine you need emergency treatment.)
Exchange insurance and contact information with all involved drivers, which the law also requires. Law enforcement officers will develop an accident report based on what the officers see and hear. They will discuss the accident with drivers, pedestrians, and passersby, if applicable. You should get a copy of the crash report once completed.
It’s also prudent to take pictures of the accident scene if you carry a camera or smartphone. Pictures provide evidence of what occurred, and help prove responsibility for the accident.
When law enforcement indicates that you may leave, seek medical attention as soon as possible. People can experience injuries that do not have symptoms at first. Some of these, such as mild traumatic brain injury and broken ribs, can have serious consequences if left untreated. Never assume you’re okay just because you feel okay, or feel only minor cuts and bruises.
Keep all records of diagnosis and medical treatment. Follow all recommendations to the letter.
What types of compensation are victims of pedestrian accidents entitled to?
Nevada is a fault state for vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one suffers injuries because another party caused an accident, you are entitled to seek what lawyers term “damage compensation” from that party. Damage compensation is financial compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
Damage compensation for victims falls into these categories:
Medical bills, both current and future
Income lost from work, if the injury, treatment, and recuperation requires time off work
The lifetime value of wages, if the injured person permanently can’t work
Personal property damage
Pain and suffering
Victims can file a Nevada pedestrian accident suit seeking these damages or file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. That’s one of the reasons you should gather all involved parties’ insurance information at the scene.
What if a pedestrian dies in an accident?
What happens if a victim dies in a pedestrian accident? If the situation would have entitled the victim to bring a Nevada pedestrian accident suit had he or she survived, certain family members or the estate can bring a wrongful death suit.
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for:
Medical costs due to the deceased’s final illness or injury
Reasonable funeral and burial costs
Lost wages and benefits, including those the decedent would reasonably have earned, had he or she lived
Loss of benefits to heirs
Personal property damage
Loss of companionship, care, and affection the family members received from the decedent
Individuals entitled to bring wrongful death claims in Nevada include:
The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the decedent
The child(ren) of the decedent
The parents of the decedent, if there is no surviving spouse or child.
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate
If you can reasonably argue that the decedent provided support to you (If you were a child, spouse, stepchild, or other relative), you may also qualify to bring a wrongful death suit.
What if an uninsured driver hits a pedestrian?
Unfortunately, many Nevada drivers operate their vehicles without adequate car insurance required by state law. While that may preclude victims from approaching an insurance company for damage compensation, it does not preclude bringing a Nevada pedestrian accident suit in court.
How dangerous is Nevada for pedestrians?
For many reasons, some locations in Nevada pose a particular danger to pedestrians. As a result, Nevada is unfortunately in the top 10 U.S. states for the number of pedestrian deaths. In fact, Nevada ranks number six, with 2.76 deaths per every 100,000 people every year.
In the most recent year that the Nevada Department of Transportation kept statistics, pedestrian deaths climbed to 99 from 80 the previous year, even as the whole number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped.
Dangers to pedestrians include:
Pedestrian accidents are more common in urban areas, with 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occurring there, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With the great population growth that Nevada has experienced over the past decade, more areas in our state are becoming urban, and Reno and Las Vegas, already urban, have seen exponential growth.
Pedestrian accidents are more common at night. Seventy-five percent of traffic accidents occur at night. If people are walking in many cities, such as Reno and Las Vegas, it is most often taking place at night.
The influence of alcohol exerts a huge influence on pedestrian accidents. Nearly half of all pedestrian accidents feature either a vehicle driver or pedestrian under the influence of alcohol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Activities on the strip in Las Vegas, in downtown Reno, and in other tourist areas often include alcohol.
The growth in areas frequently associated with pedestrian accidents is another likely cause. Pedestrian accidents are more frequent in airports, parking lots and parking structures, and residential areas where many children play. The tourist trade and the high influx of people with families all combine to drive the expansion of those areas.
Unfamiliarity with Nevada law may also exert an influence. As in most states, drivers are expected to yield the right of way at marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks at intersections, per Nevada law. But outside of these areas, Nevada law holds that pedestrians must yield to vehicles in areas that are not crosswalks or intersections. Tourists and other visitors may not know Nevada laws regarding pedestrians, or may try to beat cars and other vehicles across the street.
If you have further questions, contact the experienced legal team at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC.
If you were harmed in a pedestrian accident while visiting Nevada or going about your daily life as a resident, contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC at (702) 382-9797 or online for a free consultation to determine the best path forward given your circumstances.
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