If you or a loved one is injured while walking, whether on a street, across an intersection, in a parking lot, or while on a sidewalk, a Reno pedestrian accident lawyer like Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC can help. Pedestrian accidents can cause multiple injuries that make medical bills mount. Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC has won up to $300,000 for a leg injury suffered by a pedestrian. Let us fight for fair and just compensation for the harm done to you.
Most people don’t think of walking as dangerous. But unfortunately, thousands of pedestrians are killed and injured every year in traffic accidents. Across the United States, 7,450 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2017, the last year for which statistics are available, and nearly 129,000 pedestrians visited emergency departments for treatment of injuries.
Even more disturbing, it’s increasingly more dangerous to walk. Between 2007 and 2016, U.S. pedestrian deaths in traffic rose 27 percent—and this was in a period when all other types of traffic crash deaths were declining by 14 percent. Pedestrian deaths are currently at a 33-year high as a proportion of overall traffic deaths, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Nevada’s in the Top 10 for Pedestrian Accident Deaths
Unfortunately, Nevada tracks these sobering trends. While the number of overall traffic deaths in the state fell, the number of pedestrian deaths rose in 2017, to 99, from 80 in 2016, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Nevada ranks in the Top 10 U.S. states for the number of pedestrian deaths, coming in at number six, with 2.76 deaths per 100,000 persons. Nebraska, by contrast, is the lowest state, with just 0.68 deaths per 100,000.
Reno is a wonderful place to live, but in many ways, the city presents a perfect storm for traffic accidents involving pedestrians. The strip attracts both cars and people in great numbers, where they jostle under bright lights. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than three-quarters of all pedestrian fatalities occur in cities, and three-quarters also occur at night. Almost half—48 percent—involve either a driver or a pedestrian impaired by alcohol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eighteen percent of pedestrian accidents occur at intersections.
What Types of Pedestrian Accidents Occur in Reno?
Crossing the Street
Reno sees the same kind of pedestrian accidents as other parts of the country. Drivers can ignore pedestrians crossing at a crosswalk or fail to slow down sufficiently for walkers to get completely across the street. Drivers should yield the right of way at marked crosswalks, of course, and also at unmarked crosswalks at intersections, according to Nevada law.
Nevada is not a state where pedestrians always get the right-of-way. People walking (or running or jogging) are expected to yield to a vehicle if they are not in a crosswalk or at an intersection.
In Parking Lots and Driveways
It’s also possible for drivers to hit pedestrians as the former are easing into or out of parking areas, such as parking lots and driveways, or driving around parking lots or driveways. Many drivers pay attention more to their parking spaces and getting into them than the presence of pedestrians, and this diverted attention can cause accidents.
These accidents usually occur at slow speeds, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful. Depending on the type of collision, where the vehicle hits the pedestrian, and the vehicle’s size, these accidents can do plenty of harm.
Sidewalks, of course, are designed for pedestrians. In an ideal world, a pedestrian on a sidewalk should never encounter a vehicle there. But at times, careless or inebriated drivers do drive deliberately on a sidewalk to avoid traffic, veer onto a sidewalk for some other reason, or are even struck by another vehicle in a manner than knocks the vehicle onto a sidewalk.
Although rare, these types of accidents can cause severe injuries and even death, because they sometimes occur at high speeds and have maximum impact on pedestrians.
In Residential Areas and Near Schools
Children frequently play or walk in the streets in residential areas, and are all too apt to be in an accident with a careless driver. Children walking in the area of schools may veer off sidewalks or walk in large groups. Accidents are more likely right after daylight savings time ends because visibility is less.
The huge growth in Nevada’s population has resulted in a massive increase in airport traffic. The attention of both pedestrians and drivers is sometimes on impending departures and arrivals rather than traffic.
How Are People Injured in Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrians hit by a vehicle are at a great disadvantage. Occupants of vehicles are protected by tons of metal. But pedestrians are open to those tons of metal coming at them. Cars can hit walkers at high speeds and throw them from the accident scene.
The result? Injuries ranging from the catastrophic, causing paralysis and loss of bodily function, to minor but painful. Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you may face large medical bills from doctors’ visits, hospitals, urgent care clinics, and more. If you aren’t able to work for a period of time, or unable to work at your former occupation, you may have financial difficulties. You may also suffer pain and emotional harm.
Nevada law allows injured parties to receive compensation for the harm they suffered if another party was at fault. If a driver’s failure to drive safely and according to the law caused your accident, he or she was negligent in exercising the care Nevada expects of drivers.
If a driver was negligent, you should contact a lawyer to help file a lawsuit against the driver’s insurance company. (All Nevada drivers are required to have insurance.) As a result, you may receive compensation for:
Lost earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Loss of companionship
Insurance companies are skilled at settling for the lowest amount possible. They sometimes argue that the injured individual was partly responsible or that the accident occurred differently than it did. They may try to get the injured party to accept an offer quickly, but these initial offers are usually for less than the actual cost of the accident. The bottom line is: insurance companies rarely treat injured individuals fairly. These companies exist to make money, thus their primary objective is to protect themselves and their insured.
As a result, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company. If necessary, we have the resources to investigate the accident and provide evidence of who was at fault.
Reno Pedestrian Accident FAQs
Being injured in any accident is terrifying, however, when you are a pedestrian, you have no protection whatsoever from motor vehicles. Chances are, you also have questions, including:
What are drivers supposed to do when there is a pedestrian in a crosswalk?
Nevada law requires all drivers to yield to a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk. However, pedestrians also have a responsibility to ensure they do not step into the crosswalk when it is unsafe to do so. If you are in a crosswalk before a car can be seen, you are safe—if you see a car approaching a crosswalk at a high rate of speed, you should not enter the crosswalk.
The Reno driver who struck me appeared to be texting. Is there any way I can prove that?
Nevada has had a hands-free law since 2012; it is illegal for drivers to be on the phone or texting unless they are in hands-free mode. Your Reno pedestrian accident attorney may subpoena the phone records to prove the driver was violating this law. In Nevada, and across the United States, distracted driving is dangerous for those who share the roads, including bicyclists and pedestrians.
I was struck by a car and the driver’s insurance company says they are underinsured. What does that mean for my bills and damages?
First, make sure you have reported the incident involving any driver to both the police and the insurance company. If you have uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage on your vehicle, you may file a claim with your own insurer. If someone in your home has the same coverage, your claim may be filed with them as well.
Police cited the driver who struck me on a Reno sidewalk. Do I really need to hire an attorney to represent me?
Pedestrian accidents are complicated. Drivers who have filed an accident report with their insurance company will do anything possible to avoid being told they are liable for your injuries. Furthermore, the insurance company does not want to pay any more than necessary. This means they will try to show their client was not completely at fault.
Some of these erroneous defenses may include:
Claiming the accident was partially your fault
Claiming you were not as seriously injured as you stated
Saying your injuries are actually part of a prior incident, and not from the result of the accident
These are not unusual tactics as every insurance adjuster will take extraordinary steps to protect their client—the insurance company. Hiring a Reno pedestrian lawyer allows you to have someone serving as your advocate.
I am losing time from work recovering from my injuries, and medical bills are piling up. What should I do?
Following an accident of any kind, it is not unusual to have to deal with medical bills. Initially, you must pay these bills. If you have existing medical insurance, you can submit the bills to them for payment. However, understand once you have settled, you may need to refund those payments to the insurance company through a process known as subrogation. If you have to make out-of-pocket payments, you may want to discuss payment options with your medical provider and ask if they can wait until you recover these costs. Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC can help with this process.
What types of damages might I collect if I file a Reno pedestrian accident lawsuit?
While there are no guarantees, there are some basic things you can expect a Reno pedestrian accident lawyer to do including determining every avenue the accident has impaired you. These include all medical costs for the treatment you receive for injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident and wages lost while recovering from your injuries. Additionally, you may also be entitled to collect for any future loss of wages and medical bills.
In rare instances, your attorney may ask for punitive damages from the driver who caused the accident. Keep in mind, courts only award these damages after egregious behavior—for example, if a drunk driver injured you.
The driver’s insurance company called me and wants me to talk about the accident. What steps should I take?
You should avoid speaking with the insurance company until you speak with a Reno accident injury lawyer. There are a few reasons for this, but the primary reason is that you need to make sure you understand your legal rights before discussing anything with the insurance company.
Keep in mind, insurance companies have lawyers who advise them on which questions they should ask accident victims, and what answers pose the “best” option for getting settlement amounts reduced. Therefore, what may seem like a “simple” question could be a trap. Your best option is to hire an attorney and let them deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
Since I am out of work, how do I afford to hire an attorney?
This is one thing you should not have to be concerned with as a Reno pedestrian accident attorney should provide you with a free consultation to discuss the events. During the consultation, you will learn your legal rights, and what options are available to you.
Should you opt to move forward and pursue a case, chances are the attorney will be willing to work on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless the firm obtains a settlement on your behalf, you will not pay any legal fees. Typically, the firm takes a percentage of the final settlement which may fluctuate depending on whether the case is settled or goes to trial.
Sadly, more than 6,000 accidents occur across the United States annually that involve a pedestrian losing their life. Nevada is among the top 10 worst states in the United States for pedestrian accidents, in part due to the frequency of visiting tourists unfamiliar with the area. One should not need to walk with such care and vigilance when traveling in Reno, however pedestrian accidents inevitably occur and victims need to take every measure to ensure their injuries are wholey compensated.
Contact an Experienced Reno Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident in or near Reno, Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you determine your eligibility to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation. We also serve clients in Lake Tahoe, Sparks, and Carson City. We can contact experts and negotiate with insurance companies to see that you receive compensation for the full cost of your injuries. The first consultation is always free; contact us online or by calling (775) 600-6000.
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“I recently flew home to Reno to visit my family and while at Costco I noticed a sign being installed for Benson & Bingham. I’m happy to see this as the firm helped me with my bicycle accident in Las Vegas 5 years ago (April 2014) when I was struck while riding home from work. Joe Benson helped me with my accident – I was referred to him since my older brother went to school with him at Wooster. Great to know they have a presence in Reno in case anyone I know is injured in accident.”