Eighty-five pedestrians died in Nevada in 2021 due to traffic accidents. In addition to fatalities, pedestrian accidents leave victims with injuries that affect their lives. When injured in a pedestrian accident, Nevada allows you to seek compensation for your injuries and costs incurred. During a personal injury suit, the court looks at the accident, the causes, the injuries you suffered, and the associated costs to determine the fault and fair compensation. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in Las Vegas, get in touch with us at Dallas Horton & Associates for help with seeking compensation.
Overview of Pedestrian Accidents in Nevada
Pedestrian accidents are crashes involving someone on foot. They often refer to crashes with motor vehicles, motorbikes, and bicycles. These accidents are common where pedestrians share traffic lanes with cars or motorcycles.
There are different types of pedestrian accidents:
- Backing up accidents where a pedestrian is hit by a car exiting a parking lot or a driveway. These accidents are common when the pedestrian is out of view of the driver. Children are common victims in these accidents as they are smaller and less likely to be seen.
- Turning vehicles are also responsible for pedestrian accidents. Most drivers focus on other vehicles when making turns and may miss a pedestrian on the road.
- Bus-related accidents are common when people are getting on or off a bus. Pedestrians may be hit by other motorists who fail to stop, especially school buses.
- Off-road accidents involving pedestrians occur when a vehicle leaves the road and hits a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
- Accidents due to a driver's failure to yield at a crosswalk are common. They occur when drivers refuse to acknowledge a pedestrian’s right of way.
- Dart and dash accidents occur when a pedestrian enters the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle. These accidents are often the pedestrian's fault, but the driver could also be held liable if they were negligent, for instance, by texting while driving.
- Multiple-threat pedestrian accidents occur when one car stops for the pedestrian to cross, but the car behind it continues driving, mostly because they don’t see the pedestrian.
Top Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Nevada
Courts have to establish the cause or causes of an accident when dealing with claims for pedestrian accidents. Once they identify the cause and contributing factors, they can determine the at-fault parties before determining fair compensation for the victim or their family.
Distracted driving is a common cause of pedestrian accidents and fatalities. It occurs when the driver focuses on something other than driving, such as smartphones, applying makeup, events outside the car, or tuning their radio. These distractions could last a few seconds, but it's often enough for the driver to cause an accident.
Alcohol impairment caused more than 90% of traffic fatalities in Nevada. Drunk drivers have poor control of their vehicles and a lower response time. They have higher chances of engaging in risky behavior while on the road, such as speeding or reckless driving.
Speeding is a major cause of pedestrian accidents in Nevada. Speeding drivers often have problems slowing down fully to avoid hitting pedestrians. Speed also increases the severity of the accidents once they hit a pedestrian, leaving the victims with severe to fatal injuries.
Poor Weather Conditions
Rain, fog, sandstorms, and icy conditions increase the risk of accidents. These weather conditions affect visibility and road safety. When drivers fail to take caution when driving in these conditions, they risk causing accidents with other motorists and pedestrians.
Drivers are not the only ones prone to distractions. Pedestrians often engage in distracted behavior and thus pay less or no attention to the road and other road users. Some distracting activities pedestrians engage in include texting, phone conversations, conversations with other pedestrians, and listening to music. Distracted pedestrians are more likely to walk into the road without looking.
Poor Road Design
Road design plays an important part in accident prevention. Poor road design issues include wide lanes, inadequate pedestrian crossings, inadequate drains, and confusing signs on old roads.
Wide lanes increase the distance pedestrians have to walk to cross a road, increasing the possibility of an accident. Drivers are also more likely to speed on wider lanes. Lanes that are too narrow, on the other hand, are difficult for modern cars to navigate, increasing the risk of traffic collisions, which may involve pedestrians.
Inadequate pedestrian crossing increases the possibility of crossing at any point on the road when crosswalks are too far or inconveniently placed.
Inadequate drains create slippery roads, which increase the risk of hydroplaning during a storm or rain.
Older roads, especially those with confusing signs, also create a risk to pedestrians and other road users. Drivers could be too involved in deciphering these signs, especially if they are new to the area, that they pay less attention to the road.
Sometimes, vehicles develop mechanical problems such as defective tires, damaged steering, or failed brakes. These issues cause a driver to lose control, and pedestrians may be hit by the car.
Mechanical issues may be due to manufacturing defects, the owner neglecting to maintain their vehicle, or a car mechanic if their work contributed to the defect responsible for the accident.
Out-of-state drivers unfamiliar with local roads are more likely to get into accidents as they do not understand local driving patterns. Most people on unfamiliar roads rely on GPS to navigate, thus distracting the driver’s attention from the road. They are also unaware of the dangerous spots on the road, creating the risk of accidents.
Common Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
Injuries from pedestrian accidents differ in severity based mostly on the vehicle’s speed and the part of the car that struck the passenger. These injuries could be minor or fatal.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common among pedestrians involved in traffic accidents. These injuries are often severe and can include skull fractures, brain damage, and bleeding in the brain.
The common symptoms of TBI include losing consciousness, amnesia, disorientation, blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, ringing in the ears, loss of taste and smell, hypersensitivity to sound and light, mood swings, and convulsions.
Most people who suffer traumatic brain injuries spend significant time in hospital, especially with severe forms of TBI. Depending on the level of brain damage, some require life support.
The recovery from TBI is also lengthy. Most people have long-term effects such as problems concentrating, cognitive impairment, slowed speech, and an inability to handle routine tasks.
Traumatic brain injuries also create dependency among their victims, sometimes forever. Such dependence can result in mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Head injuries affect the scalp, skull, brain, and tissues of the head. Traumatic brain injuries are an example of head injuries, as are concussions, skull fractures, contusions, intracranial hemorrhage, and diffuse axonal injuries.
A blow to the head causes concussions. They cause ringing in the ears, blurred vision, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Brain contusions are often mild but can lead to serious issues like brain bleeding and blood clots in the brain. They occur from blows to the head.
Skull fracture is a common injury in pedestrian accidents, especially in high-speed, high-impact collisions. They occur when the pedestrian's head hits the vehicle or the road so hard that the skull fractures.
Another head injury likely to occur during a pedestrian accident is brain penetration. This occurs when an object breaks through the skull into the brain. These injuries are often fatal, and survivors often have life-lasting changes.
Broken bones are common in pedestrian accidents. These injuries occur due to the impact of the car on the pedestrian's body or the impact upon contact with the road. Some people break their arms and wrists while reaching forward to break a fall.
Broken bones, especially those of the spinal column, could cause permanent disability or death, depending on their severity. Others, such as broken arms or legs, could result in significant hospital stays, amputations, intense physical therapy, and partial or full disability on the affected limb.
In addition to the spine, arms, and legs, you could break your facial bones, the sternum, pelvic bones, clavicle, and ribs.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are common traumatic injuries that pedestrians suffer following an accident. Spinal injuries are either complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury happens when the brain cannot pass a signal past the injured site. In these accidents, the area below the injury becomes paralyzed.
In incomplete spinal injuries, the brain can still pass signals to the area below the injury site, but the capacity is significantly reduced. The result is loss of sensation and loss of certain functions.
Complete and incomplete spinal injuries can result in:
- Paraplegia, where one loses sensation from the lower half of the body due to injury to the thoracic spine
- Tetraplegia occurs due to injuries to the cervical spine, resulting in loss of sensation and movement in all limbs. It also makes it harder for the victim to breathe and control their bladder or bowel.
- Triplegia occurs when you lose sensation in both legs and an arm due to an incomplete spinal injury.
Spinal cord injuries, complete or incomplete, result in these symptoms:
- Loss of movement
- Altered sense of cold, hot, and touch
- Intense stinging sensations
- Breathing problems
If you were in a pedestrian accident and have the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention:
- Extreme back pain
- Paralysis, weakness in your limbs or another part of the body
- Problems breathing after the accident
- An oddly positioned neck
- Problems maintaining balance or walking
- Loss of bladder and bowel functions
Internal bleeding is a common injury that often goes unnoticed, especially when a pedestrian doesn't have other injuries. Internal bleeding can occur mostly in the brain and abdominal regions.
These injuries result from the blunt trauma of an accident, either upon impact with the vehicle or the road.
Some of the signs of internal bleeding include:
- Sudden dizziness when you stand
- Muscle fatigue
- Passing out
- Sudden low blood pressure
- Vision problems
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Chest pain
- Severe headaches that don’t respond to medication
- Nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms
When not detected or resolved quickly, internal bleeding can cause shock due to the reduced amount of blood. It results in symptoms like:
- Sudden low blood pressure
- Urinating less frequently
- Enlarged pupils
- Cool pale skin
- Bluish or gray hue in the lips and extremities
- Rapid pulse
Death is a common outcome of pedestrian accidents, especially when the vehicle is speeding. Death could occur instantly or later when the victim succumbs to their injuries. When a pedestrian dies from a car accident, the family can sue on their behalf to be compensated for the loss of a loved one.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents in Nevada
In Nevada, victims of pedestrian accidents have up to two years to file a claim to receive compensation for injuries they sustained in a pedestrian accident. Fault is an important determinant of the compensation you receive for your injuries.
For pedestrian accident, you can sue an at-fault party for:
- Negligence per se is where you assert that the defendant had the duty to follow a certain rule and that their failure to do so caused or contributed to your injuries and subsequent damages.
- Negligence is where you assert that the defendant owed you a duty of care while on the road, which they breached, resulting in your injuries and damages.
- Respondeat superior where you were injured in a pedestrian accident while performing work-related tasks for the defendant, who was your employer at the time.
- Wrongful death lawsuits are common where the victim dies. The victim’s family or estate can file a claim against the defendant responsible for the offense under different negligence laws.
- Strict product liability claims arise when you were injured due to a manufacturer defect on the vehicle or motorcycle that hit you.
Suppose you were injured in a pedestrian accident. You could sue the driver of the vehicle that injured you, the driver's employer if they were in a company vehicle while on duty, the car manufacturer, or the city where the accident happened.
In Nevada, you can recover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are costs to which you can easily attach a dollar value. In Nevada, you can recover damages such as medical bills, lost wages or income, and lost earning capacity.
Medical claims are common for pedestrian accidents. The party liable or their insurance company must cover the medical costs related to your care. During the court process, you'll be required to present relevant medical records for the past five years and your current medical bills.
If you're still undergoing treatment or need treatment in the future, you can also file for future medical expenses. Future medical expenses and lost earning potential require the help of an economic forensic expert.
In addition to medical bills, you can recover the wages you lost or will lose in the future due to the accident.
To determine the value of economic damages, the court will add up the dollar amounts of the past and current medical bills or lost wages and the potential future costs related to the injuries from the accident.
Non-economic damages are compensatory damages for which it's hard to attach a monetary value. They include pain and suffering damages.
Pain and suffering damages cover the anguish and emotional distress you suffer after a pedestrian accident. These damages are also available for families who lose their loved ones in pedestrian accidents.
Pain and suffering damages are hard to calculate due to their subjective nature. However, courts will consider other factors to help arrive at a fair amount. These factors include:
- The impact on your daily routine
- The effect the accident has had on personal and work relationships
- The impact of the accident on your lifestyle and quality of life
- The potential long-term effects of the injury
The court uses one of two formulas to determine a fair amount for non-economic damages and prevent abuse. The two methods are the multiplier and the per diem methods.
In the multiplier method, the court multiplies the economic damages with a number between 1.5 and 5. Catastrophic injuries, or those that require extensive hospital stays, often have higher multipliers.
The per diem method assigns a daily amount to your pain and suffering. This method works well with temporary injuries. Permanent injuries that require constant medical intervention put a toll on victims, and it can be hard to predict when they will end.
Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death damages are awarded to the family or estate of a person who died due to injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. These damages cover funeral expenses, health insurance benefits, medical expenses incurred before death, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
During a wrongful death claim, you must provide evidence that the defendant was at least 50% responsible for the accident that caused or contributed to your loved one’s death.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages. They are awarded on a per-case basis to punish defendants that acted egregiously, resulting in a pedestrian accident.
Note: Nevada operates under a comparative fault law. Under this law, you can recover damages after a pedestrian injury if you were not more than 50% at-fault for the accident. Therefore, you get no compensation if the court determines you were 51% or more responsible for the accident.
Steps to Take When Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Nevada
Pedestrian accidents are often painful and have severe injuries. However, if you are still conscious, you can take several steps to help you in the future if you decide to file a claim.
First, move out of the road into a safe area to prevent additional injuries. Call 911 to get medical attention for yourself and others who might have been injured in the accident.
Request the driver and other witnesses at the scene to share their contact information and take a record with the police. You should also have the contact information of the driver’s insurance company. Give them your contact information as well.
File an accident report with the police as soon as possible. When interacting with the police, give an accurate report of what happened in the accident. Document any information that you feel is relevant to the case.
Once you leave the scene, get medical attention as soon as possible. In the minutes or hours after an accident, you're fueled by adrenaline and, sometimes, incapable of feeling the intensity of your injuries or noticing signs that something is wrong.
Therefore, you should always seek medical attention even if you only have scrapes and feel perfectly fine.
Getting medical attention sooner helps with your claim too. Your doctor can document your injuries and their progression from when you sought medical attention. It also prevents the injury from escalating and becoming more severe than it was.
Open a claim with the insurance claim with the at-fault party's insurance company. It's better to hire a personal injury attorney to deal with your insurance claim to protect yourself and ensure you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Working with a lawyer is critical, especially if you sustained serious injuries or your loved one died from a pedestrian accident. They will help you establish fault and develop the best strategy to get fair compensation for your injuries.
Keep records of your finances, including your pay stubs, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses generated during the recovery process. This helps when calculating the damages as you don't have to remember every expense and have proof to back up your claim.
If a loved one died on the scene of a pedestrian accident, you could still take steps to protect your family's interests and obtain compensation for their death. The first step is contacting a personal injury attorney.
The attorney will clarify various issues, such as parties eligible to file a wrongful death claim and the process and deadlines you must adhere to. They will also help you gather the required evidence to support your case and represent you in court.
Find a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Near Me
When injured in a pedestrian accident in Las Vegas, contact Dallas Horton & Associates for legal help and guidance on what to expect, how the courts determine fault and the damages you are entitled to. Contact us at 702-380-3100 with any questions you may have.