Road accidents do not only involve vehicles, but pedestrians can get involved in road accidents as well. A road accident involving a pedestrian can result in moderate injuries, while others can lead to catastrophic damages. Accidents that involve pedestrians can be caused by various reasons that can range from negligent driving to manufacturer’s fault or poor road conditions. Whatever the cause of the accident, the pedestrian involved suffers damages that will require compensation.
Fortunately, the state of Nevada has laws that work to allow pedestrians to seek compensation when involved in an accident. Pursuing your damages, however, may not be easy or straightforward. For this reason, you need to get an experienced lawyer committed to getting your claim. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we are experienced in pursuing damage claims for our clients with a high success rate.
Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Any type of vehicle or motor vehicle can be involved in a collision with a pedestrian. Most pedestrians sustain significant injuries because they get a direct impact on the vehicle. Although some injuries can be mild or moderate, most pedestrians suffer catastrophic injuries and, in extreme cases, death. Some injuries pedestrians sustain following an accident include:
Injuries to the Spine
A pedestrian, when struck by a vehicle, can suffer significant injuries to their spine that may lead to extended health issues. Some of the issues may include total paralysis or partial paralysis. This is also called quadriplegia and paraplegia, respectively. Some of the effects of the injuries can be temporary, where, with rehabilitation, the victim can go back to normal. However, most of these injuries will result in permanent paralysis to the victims.
When a pedestrian gets hit by a speeding motorcycle or vehicle, they may be knocked to the ground with a serious impact on their head. This blow can lead to traumatic injuries to the brain that manifest in various ways. Such an injury can also lead to internal bleeding in the brain, which can result in multiple health complications to the victim.
When a pedestrian is hit, the direct impact of the vehicle and that of hitting the ground can result in multiple fractures. These bone fractures can result in the victim being confined in bed for prolonged periods. Sometimes, when the fractures are very severe, the pedestrian can suffer a loss of movement or functionality of the area.
When hit by a vehicle, a pedestrian is not in control of the impact or the distance they get thrown. Equally, they do not know what they may crash upon landing. A limb can be so damaged as a result of the accident. The injury can be such that it ends up being amputated by the doctors or even at the scene.
Damage to the Internal Organs
The impact of a vehicle on a pedestrian is often very forceful. This, in most cases, results in the damage of the pedestrian’s internal organs. An impact can destroy the lungs, heart, kidneys, among others. When the damage is extreme, the victim’s life gets altered because their body is unable to perform some biological functions well.
Death can result from the injuries a pedestrian sustains or from the direct impact at the scene. When vehicles are moving at high speeds or big vehicles such as trucks hit a pedestrian, the results can be devastating. Most of these accidents will result in the death of the victim on the spot. Or as a result of the injuries as they undergo medical treatment.
Injuries causing catastrophic damage to a pedestrian or any other person can take a long time to treat and cost a lot at the same time. Some may alter the pedestrian’s life forever, especially when they require assistance to carry out tasks that were previously normal to them. These expenses, among others, can be detrimental to the finances of the victim and their family. For this reason, finding a lawyer that will pursue the damages on your behalf is critical.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents
There are many types of pedestrian accidents that result in the above injuries. Some of these accidents involving pedestrians are:
- Reversing Car Accident – these types of accidents are common in streets or parking lots where the visibility of drivers is limited. A driver is charged with the mandate of monitoring their surroundings that will keep him alert of any pedestrian entering the path. When backing up, a driver should move at slow speeds. If one backs up speedily, they may not stop in good time when a pedestrian appears, leading to an accident.
- Play or work accidents – these are accidents common in residential locations or near construction areas. A driver that is reckless or negligent may not notice when children are playing or construction workers doing their job on the road. Because of their speed and inability to control their vehicle when they face these emergencies, they will end up causing these types of accidents.
- Crossing highway accidents – sometimes, a pedestrian will require to cross the road where there are no ramps. This heightens their risk of getting knocked down by motorists. A pedestrian must be careful while crossing, but a motorist owes the pedestrian a duty of care as well. Sometimes a driver can be distracted, or a pedestrian miscalculates the distance of a vehicle. This can often result in a crash involving the pedestrian, leading to devastating damages.
- Off-road pedestrian accidents – these are the kind of accidents where a driver veers off the highway and hits a pedestrian that is standing on the sidewalk. A pedestrian waiting for a bus can be hit by a vehicle that has lost control. Some of these accidents are due to negligent driving or intoxicated driving.
- Accidents involving pedestrians walking along the road – there are places where there is no sidewalk for pedestrians to walk on. If a driver is not focused on the way, he or she may not see the pedestrian and may end up knocking them.
- Pedestrian accident at a junction or an intersection – sometimes a pedestrian may be crossing at a crossroads or an intersection and gets struck by a car moving straight across the intersection. This may happen if a driver disregards a light and refuses to stop when required to. Sometimes, traffic lights may malfunction, or in areas where there are no lights, these accidents happen.
- Pedestrian accidents involving vehicles turning at an intersection – these types of accidents are majorly due to poor visibility. Other times, they may be when a driver does not pay enough attention to the way to see pedestrians while they make a turn. The law expects a pedestrian crossing the road at night to dress in reflective clothing. If this was not the case and they get knocked down, the driver can argue that the victim was partially to blame for the accident.
The above-discussed accidents are some of the many kinds of accidents motorists get involved in with pedestrians. Both pedestrians and motorists are encouraged to practice safety while using the roads regardless of who will be found to be responsible for the crash.
When Injured in a Car Accident in Nevada, What Should a Pedestrian Do?
The state of Nevada permits a pedestrian that gets struck by a vehicle or motorcyclist to bring a lawsuit against the party responsible for various cases. These include:
- The motorist’s negligence
- On the grounds of negligence per se
- Wrongful death
- If there was a defect in the vehicle, a lawsuit on strict product liability
- Respondeat superior
Pursuing a Negligence Claim
If you were injured in an accident as a pedestrian in Nevada, you could sue the at-fault driver or party for the injuries suffered by filing a negligence claim. For you to get your claim paid, you must prove the following negligence elements according to the law. These are:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant violated this duty
- Due to the violation, you suffered injuries
- And the injuries lead to your damages.
For instance, you were walking on the sidewalk. Jim is driving along the road while drinking coffee. Unfortunately, the coffee pours on him and is shocked by the burning causing him to veer off the way and hit you. You can sue Jim for negligent driving and win your claim based on that. His consuming food or drinks while driving is an act of negligence. In this case, Jim violated his duty to drive safely.
Negligence Per Se Claim
If you are suing the at-fault party for your accident on negligence per se claim, you must prove five facts or elements of the offense. These elements include:
- The defendant was supposed to adhere to a particular law
- This law was made to protect people like you
- The defendant breached the law
- The breach by the defendant resulted in your injuries and
- You suffered damages due to the injuries.
For instance, you were crossing the road lawfully. Charles is driving while texting. He fails to see the light to stop and continues to drive. He hits you, and you sustain significant injuries. In such a case, you can sue Charles because he disobeyed a traffic rule to protect you. Charles also violated the law prohibiting a driver from texting as they drive. This is found under NRS 484B.165. Because of his violation, he hit you, and you sustained the injuries.
If you pursue your claim under respondeat superior, it means that the motorist that hit you was in the line of duty. This means that their employer may be held accountable for your injuries, as found in the theory of respondeat superior of Nevada.
For you to get your claim under this suit, you must prove four facts or elements of the accident or offense according to the law of Nevada. These are:
- That the defendant was the employer to the driver when the accident occurred
- The motorist was carrying out their employment duties when the accident happened
- The actions by the driver resulted in you suffering injuries and
- These injuries lead to you suffering damages.
For instance, Mary was operating a company vehicle to see a client. Because she was running late, she decided to apply make-up while driving. This caused her to get distracted, and she failed to see you. As a result, she hits you, and you sustain injuries.
In such a case, you can sue for negligence against Mary and respondeat superior to get your damages. The negligent behavior of Mary resulted in the accident while the car belonged to their employer, and she was on her way to work-related duties.
Seeking Claims under Strict Product Liability
When the accident you were involved in was due to the breakdown of the vehicle, or it malfunctioned, you can raise a claim against the manufacturer on strict product liability. However, to get your damages, you will be required to prove:
- The car was defective because of its design, how it was manufactured or a defect in its part
- The malfunction or defect was there at the time the vehicle or part left the manufacturer
- The car was being used as instructed and fit by the driver or defendant
- The malfunction or defect is what caused your injuries
- The injuries you sustained lead to the damages you have suffered.
For instance, Peter was driving his car reasonably. As he approached an intersection, he applied his brakes to stop, but they failed. The failure of the braking system made him not stop the car, which resulted in him hitting you, and you suffer injuries.
In such a case, you can sue the manufacturer of the vehicle because they were responsible for ensuring the car was fitted with a working braking system.
When a pedestrian is killed as a result of an accident, their surviving family or their estate can sue for wrongful death. To get your claim, you will be required to show:
- The accident victim died
- His or her death was because of the negligence of the defendant
- You are legally permitted as a dependant or representative of the deceased to seek the claim
- The death of the victim caused you monetary damages
For instance, Grace was hit by a truck and died, yet she was the family’s breadwinner. Her family can sue the driver or their employer for her wrongful death and the lost income from Grace.
Recoverable Damages for a Pedestrian Involved in a Car Accident
If you successfully sue the at-fault party for the damages you received due to an accident, under the Nevada compensatory damages, you are entitled to receive:
- Compensation for the hospital bills. This includes the doctor’s fees, cost of treatment, cost of procedures that were performed on you as well as the drugs used.
- You will receive compensation for the wages you lost when recovering from the injuries you sustained.
- If you lose your capacity to earn, you will be compensated for that as well. Most pedestrian accidents cause catastrophic injuries that can result in a victim losing their ability to work. The law in Nevada permits a victim to recover for the earnings they would have received if they had not been injured.
- A victim of an accident is entitled to receive damages for the pain they endured and suffering. The state of Nevada has, however, put a cap on the amount a victim can receive. According to the law, the victim cannot receive more than $350,000. When the government employed the driver that caused the accident like a peace officer, the law expects him to pay up to $100,000 to the victim for lost wages and medical bills. Aside from this, no cap is placed on other compensatory damages.
Who is Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident in Nevada?
The cause of an accident determines the party responsible for damages or injuries in most cases. When a pedestrian is involved in an accident in Nevada, the possible defendants will include:
- The person that was driving the vehicle or motorcycle, especially if it is established, they were negligent.
- In case the motorist was on work-related duties and using a company vehicle when the accident occurred, their employer will be held accountable for the damages.
- The local government or city may be held liable for damages if the accident was due to their negligence in maintaining safe roads, traffic signs, or signage.
- The manufacturer of the car that caused the accident if it malfunctioned resulting in the crash
- Any person that recently had the vehicle in their possession and failed to keep it functioning well.
What Happens When the Driver Intentionally Hits the Pedestrian?
Although this may seem unlikely, it does happen in some cases. When a driver hits a pedestrian intentionally, they will face criminal charges. Additionally, they will be liable to pay the pedestrian punitive damages and compensatory damages. However, Nevada puts a cap on how much a victim would receive in punitive damages.
- When the compensatory damages are $100,000 or less, punitive damages are capped at $300,000.
- When the compensatory damages are over $100,000, punitive damages are typically three times the compensatory amount for damages.
It is important to note that punitive damages are not capped if a manufacturer, seller, or distributor of the defective product is the defendant.
What Happens when you are Partially to Blame?
Nevada adheres to the law of comparative negligence. This means that, as a pedestrian, you will still recover damages even when you share fault. However, this is only possible if the defendant is found to have been 50% or more liable for the accident. The damages you will receive in this case will be lower according to your percentage of responsibility compared if you had no blame.
If you were jaywalking and were responsible for 50% of the accident, you will receive damages worth 50%. If, however, you were found to carry 51% of the blame, you will not receive any damage from the accident.
Unfortunately, in most knockdown accidents, pedestrians are often found to be at fault. If the victim was walking drunk, texting, or was distracted, they could be partially blamed for the accident. The lawyer for the defendant, as well as your lawyer, will look for any videos that may show what happened, eyewitnesses, or phone records. This is important to prove who was at fault for the accident.
Statutory of Limitations in Nevada
Following an accident, a pedestrian, in many cases, will discover they are hurt immediately. The state, however, gives a limit to when the pedestrian can file a suit seeking damages from the injuries. A pedestrian is given two years from the day of the accident, or they discovered they suffered an injury to sue for damages. If this time lapses, a pedestrian cannot sue the defendant for the damages suffered.
Causes of Pedestrian Knockdowns
Pedestrians often get injured or hurt in Nevada due to various reasons that maybe as a result of drivers committing multiple offenses. Some of these offenses that can result in hitting pedestrians include:
- Drivers being distracted on the road
- The driver committing a crime of driving under the influence in Nevada
- Driving recklessly as found under NRS 484B.653
- Speeding as an offense in Nevada under NRS 484B.600, especially in and around school zones
- Violating a crime of failure to give way to pedestrians as found under NRS 484B.283
- Backing up carelessly as found under NRS 484B.113
Regardless of the causes of these accidents, pedestrians also have a duty to care for their lives. You should avoid crossing where you are not supposed to and ensure to follow the lights, especially at intersections. However, even when the lights are working, a vehicle can lose control when its brakes fail, and you get hit.
Equally, if you know you are drunk, avoid walking near the road to avoid being knocked down. Being distracted or using the phone as you cross the road is also a dangerous behavior you must avoid.
Find a Las Vegas Injury Lawyer Near Me
Some of the most catastrophic injuries in road accidents happen when a pedestrian is hit by a fast-moving vehicle. The damages that follow due to the injuries can be extremely great, causing a substantial financial strain to the victim and their families. Seeking compensation through experienced lawyers will help you mitigate these damages. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have a team of dedicated attorneys that will help you get your claim paid. Get in touch with us at 702-996-1224 and let us start pursuing your claim.