What Are the Most Common Causes of Las Vegas Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents are often the result of driver negligence. We’re all taught in driver’s education that pedestrians “always have the right of way.” While that’s not exactly true, as a general rule, drivers have a duty to ensure the safety of pedestrians. However, drivers routinely engage in various types of dangerous driving behavior that puts pedestrians at risk. Some of the most common causes of Las Vegas pedestrian accidents include the following.
Distracted driving occurs when a driver removes their attention from the road, to focus on something either inside or outside the car. The most common type of distracted driving involves cell phone use, such as talking or texting while driving. However, there are many other reasons why a driver might become distracted, including:
- Paying attention to children in the back seat;
- Eating or drinking;
- “Rubbernecking” as they pass the scene of an accident;
- Scrolling social media;
- Inputting a destination into their GPS or cell phone;
- Reading; and
Regardless of the reason why a driver gets distracted, the result is the same—pedestrians are placed at significantly higher risk of injury. Distracted driving is perhaps the most common cause of pedestrian accidents, although the statistics don’t necessarily indicate that to be the case. This is because it is difficult for a police officer to determine whether a driver was distracted immediately after an accident. Often, it is only after a thorough investigation that evidence emerges showing that the driver was not paying attention at the time of the accident.
Drunk and drugged driving have long been one of the most common causes of all types of car accidents, including pedestrian accidents. When a driver consumes drugs or alcohol, it not only compromises their ability to maintain control over their vehicle but also affects their judgment. In fact, according to theNevada Office of Traffic Safety, 26% of all fatal accidents between the years 2015 and 2020 involved alcohol. And with the relatively recent legalization of recreational marijuana, more drivers are under the influence of marijuana than ever before.
One might not initially think of drowsy driving as a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving is responsible for an average of 83,000 accidents each year. Moreover, the CDC reports that the effects of fatigue on a driver are similar to the effects of alcohol intoxication. Drivers have a duty to everyone else on the road to stop driving when they feel the effects of fatigue setting in. If they choose to stay on the road and place everyone else at risk, they can be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.
Recovering After a Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident
All drivers owe a legal duty to others on the road. This duty requires a driver to operate their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner and that they obey all traffic signs and laws. If a driver violates a traffic law and causes an accident, an injured pedestrian can bring a personal injury lawsuit seeking financial damages from the driver.
However, bringing a Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawsuit isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it seems. For example, few drivers willingly admit to being completely at fault. Even if they do, the driver’s insurance company may not be willing to fully compensate you for all your damages.
What Do You Need To Prove In A Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit In Las Vegas?
To successfully bring a Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawsuit, you must establish the four elements of a negligence claim.
- Duty—the driver owed you a duty of care;
- Breach—the driver violated the duty they owed to you;
- Causation—the driver’s actions (or failure to act) were the cause of your injuries; and
- Damages—you suffered legally recognizable damages as a result of the accident.
Of these elements, “duty” is the most straightforward, as all drivers have a duty to pedestrians. Thus, the duty element is rarely challenged. However, each of the other elements is the frequent focus of litigation. For example, a driver may argue that they did not breach the duty of care owed to a pedestrian because the driver didn’t break the law or drive negligently. The issue of damages also comes up frequently because insurance companies are not willing to fully compensate an accident victim for everything they’ve been through. For example, an insurance company may claim that your injuries were not as severe as you claim them to be or that your symptoms are the function of a pre-existing injury.
When these complications arise, it is important to have an experienced Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawyer by your side. An attorney is familiar with the common tactics used by insurance companies to reduce—or even deny—an accident victim’s claim. Thus, they will be prepared to present a compelling case for recovery on your behalf.
What Happens If A Pedestrian Is Partially To Blame For An Accident?
If a pedestrian is partially at fault for an accident, they can still bring a personal injury lawsuit in Nevada against a negligent driver, provided the pedestrian is not more than 50% to blame. If a pedestrian is more than 50% responsible for an accident, they cannot recover any damages for their injuries.
While being partially at fault is not typically a bar to recovery in most pedestrian accidents, any percentage of fault reduces a victim’s damages award. This is because, under Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule, the judge reduces a victim’s damages award by their percentage of fault. For example, assume you are crossing the street at an unmarked intersection when a car hits you. You were not paying as close attention as you should have, and the jury found that you were 20% to blame, with the driver being 80% responsible. Further, the jury determined that your total damages were $200,000. In this case, your total recovery amount would be $160,000 ($200,000 less 20%).
This is another reason why it often makes sense to reach out to an experienced Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawyer. A lawyer can be instrumental in presenting the facts in such a way that minimizes your involvement in the accident. This ensures you recover the maximum damages to compensate you for your injuries.
Common Injuries in Las Vegas Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are extremely dangerous. Primarily, this is because pedestrians have no protection from approaching vehicles and are often hit without any warning. The result is that pedestrian accidents have among the highest fatality rate out of any type of motor vehicle accident. However, even non-fatal pedestrian accidents can end in life-changing injuries. Some of the most common injuries in Las Vegas pedestrian accidents include:
- Head and brain injuries,
- Back injuries,
- Spinal cord damage,
- Broken bones,
- Road rash,
- Internal organ damage, and
Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, it can take months to fully recover—if a full recovery is even possible. During your recovery, you may not be able to work or earn any meaningful income. At the same time, you still need to buy groceries, pay the rent, and cover all your day-to-day expenses. This becomes especially difficult once the medical bills start rolling in. By pursuing a Las Vegas pedestrian accident lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation to help you overcome all these setbacks.
Damages in a Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Claim
Through a Las Vegas personal injury lawsuit, injured pedestrians can pursue financial compensation for what they’ve been through. Generally, Nevada law allows victims to obtain economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages provide you with money damages to cover your out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. A few of the most common forms of economic damages include:
- Medical bills,
- Future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Reduced ability to earn income in the future, and
- Modifications to your home to accommodate any resulting disability.
In most cases, your attorney will prove economic damages by presenting physical evidence of the costs that you incurred. For example, to prove your medical expenses, your lawyer will compile all your medical bills. Or to establish your lost wages, your lawyer will present evidence of your income, such as paychecks, as well as proof that you were unable to work. In this way, economic damages are objective because the numbers are right there in front of the jury.
Non-economic, on the other hand, are much harder to determine. Non-economic damages provide compensation for your less tangible injuries. Broadly speaking, non-economic damages are based on your emotional and psychological injuries. The following are common forms of non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Disability or disfigurement.
Unlike economic damages, you can’t present the jury with a piece of paper indicating the appropriate amount of non-economic damages. Accidents impact victims’ lives in many different ways, and the value of a non-economic damages award depends on your lawyer’s ability to present a compelling narrative about how the accident affected your life. For example, did you miss important family events such as weddings, reunions, or vacations? Was your intimate relationship with your partner affected as a result of the accident? Are there sports or activities that you used to enjoy that you can no longer participate in? These are the important questions that influence a non-economic damages award.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries after being struck while walking, reach out to Morris Injury Law to schedule a free consultation. At Morris Injury Law, we pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with our clients through aggressive yet compassionate advocacy. We understand what you’ve been through, and we want to help you get your life back on track as soon as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 702-850-5555. You can also reach us through our online contact form.