When you are a victim of a severe pedestrian accident, you inevitably suffer a lot of damages and personal injuries. Consequently, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the crash in a compensatory civil suit. You have the right to seek justice for all the aggrieving events that occur in your life after the pedestrian accident since it often causes irreversible changes to your daily routine. Pedestrian accidents occur through various instances, with most attributed to negligence on the road. While the motorist involved in causing the incident is more likely to carry most of the liability, you may also have a role to play in affecting the impact. Nevertheless, bringing forth a compensatory claim allows you to receive reimbursement from a guilty party, to cater to all the expenses you incurred after a pedestrian accident.
To ensure a successful hearing where the judge grants you the expected compensatory amount, you need the services of a competent personal injury attorney. He/she will play a pivotal role in developing the best arguments against the defendant’s team and establish fault on a balance of probabilities. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we work to provide you with the best litigation services in a personal injury suit. Our lawyers have years of practice in handling personal injury lawsuits related to pedestrian accidents. Teaming up with us will give you a smooth transition into litigation, and assure you of an excellent compensatory sum.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
When any type of accident occurs, there is always a party that conducts itself in an unprescribed manner. In most cases, the party at fault is negligent and disregards the set rules that are meant to prevent the occurrence of the accident in the first place. Other times, the party at fault may have failed to foresee the outcomes of his/her actions by acting recklessly or failing to apply general knowledge in carrying out activities. In both cases, the underlying factor is negligence.
The tort of negligence arises when:
- A party should operate under a duty of care to others.
- The party breaches this responsibility of upholding the duty of care.
- Consequently, the party in breach Is the direct cause of any harm that arises from the breach of duty.
- The harm or injuries cause damages to the aggrieved party.
You need to note that all these elements of negligence must be present in your case. Therefore, your injury lawyer must demonstrate or provide evidence that affirms all the claims you raise against the defendant. On top of that, he or she must link the defendant’s action to all the four elements of negligence. However, civil cases translate to a verdict based on a balance of probabilities. As such, you do not have to go out of your way to gather and provide overwhelming evidence to your lawyer for court presentation. All that matters is that valid claims and evidence are introduced in court to disprove the defendant’s claims of acting lawfully. Each element of determining the party at fault is essential, and it is crucial to understand what is expected of you, the claimant, in each scenario. When your injury lawyer follows all these requirements successfully, you can be sure of a win. The details that a judge expects in each of the elements that prove negligence are further discussed below.
1. The Duty of Care
Motorists and pedestrians each have several rules to abide by on the road, to prevent the occurrence of accidents and other traffic mishaps. A duty of care is established by the Nevada Traffic Rules that provide the regulations that each motorist must observe, in the interest of every road user’s safety. On top of that, the National Transport and Highway Safety Authority has also set out specific traffic regulations that are applicable throughout the country.
The primary role of establishing that the defendant had a duty of care is to compare his/her actions against the required way of acting. Therefore, the motorist responsible for your injuries after the accident will have little or no room to use a counter-argument, while it is clear that there were set rules to regulate traffic conduct.
The general regulations applicable to a motorist expect him/her to:
- pay attention while driving
- yield to traffic signs and orders from traffic police
- observe speed limits
Many other rules establish a duty of care on the motorist. However, each is specific to the area of the road in use, for example, at intersections. Often, a person who disregards the laws present may reflect his/her state of mind as indifferent to consequences.
2. Establishing a Breach of The Duty of Care
When establishing a breach of duty against the defendant to determine fault, there is a set standard of care used to gauge his/her actions. Essentially, the standard of care lays its basis on the judgment of a reasonable person, and how he/she would react when presented with the same circumstances as the defendant. After analysis and comparison of both instances, the breach of duty is established when your lawyer can prove that the defendant acted in a sub-standard way. Also, the offense should demonstrate all the statutory violations that the accused engaged in that eventually led to the pedestrian accident.
When determining the standard of care to impose on the defendant concerning the set of facts available, your lawyer must show that the danger of the defendant knocking you down was reasonably foreseeable and that it was his/her negligence that led to the occurrence of the incident. Some of the motorist’s actions that can foreseeably cause a pedestrian accident are:
Texting While Driving
Engaging in phone use when driving or riding a motorcycle is a violation of Nevada Traffic Rules, and can count as a violation under section 484B.653 that prohibits engaging in reckless driving.
Willingly Operative a Vehicle With a Faulty Brake System
When you drive a car, truck, or motorcycle that has mechanical problems, you may be free of liability. However, when you are aware of these mechanical problems, but still choose to use the vehicle, you knowingly put pedestrians at risk. The action is another violation of section 484B.653 of the NRS that deals with establishing and prohibiting the prevalent modes of reckless driving. Thus, if the defendant used a vehicle with defective brakes, your injury lawyer can point out this action as a breach of the duty of care.
Violating Speed Limits and Running Red Lights
It is highly foreseeable that any motorist who uses a higher speed than designated in a road section may cause a grievous accident. The effect of such a reckless action may involve you as a primary victim in a pedestrian accident. If you are sure of the high speed that the defendant was driving at before hitting you or a loved one, you can raise this issue to your lawyer. Thanks to the information you provide, your attorney may request several surveillance footage sources, to demonstrate the defendant’s breach.
Failing to Yield to Pedestrians or Traffic Signs
Section 484B.283 of the NRS prohibits a motorist from refusing to yield at designated stop signs or pedestrian crosswalks. A violation of the rule could be the cause of your mishap, with the defendant to blame. The statute classifies the offense as a form of aggressive or reckless driving because it involves an outright disregard for the set standard of care.
3. The Causation Element
Showing a direct link between the defendant’s actions in breach of the duty of care imposed by law is the connective factor to your case. Your attorney must demonstrate how the acts in violation translated to you or your loved one getting injured, or even killed in the pedestrian accident. To do this, you must introduce relevant evidence that shows a chain of actions that began from the defendant’s disregard for traffic regulations. For example, the judge may ask for a detailed police report that states how fast the defendant was driving, which translated to slow reaction time and led to the pedestrian accident. Often, it is difficult to find all these sources of evidence, and you may have to rely majorly on witness statements and surveillance footage if any.
Despite the difficulties in establishing a clear link of causation to the defendant, several legal tests are available for your attorney’s implementation. Among these is the ‘but for’ test that uses logic to link the defendant’s actions to the accident. For example, your lawyer may find evidence that shows; but for the motorist texting while driving that caused a distraction, he/she would have noticed you and served to avoid injuring you. Provided that the test fits seamlessly with the evidence you provide in a hearing, it will work in your favor.
Another vital point to note with the ‘but for’ test is that your lawyer can use it in reverse, to show that the motorist’s omissions resulted in the pedestrian accident. Here, the driver or rider’s fault is failing to act as the law prescribes. An excellent example is when a driver fails to yield at a marked crosswalk, a stop sign or a red light intersection, resulting in a severe accident that knocks you down.
While preparing for the line of argument to use in court, your lawyer must consider the legal proximity of the defendant’s actions to your injuries. The presiding judge will not accept a scenario where the defendant’s liability is too far-fetched and does not fit well with establishing causation. The technicalities arose when you had a part to play in the accident occurring but are trying to place the full blame on the defendant. Therefore, the consequences of the motorist’s actions should have a direct link to the harm done after the impact of the accident.
4. The Injury or Damage You Suffered
The defendant’s choices play a significant role in causing you any injuries or losses you face from the pedestrian accident. Often, the results of the impact may be evident to the entire court, primarily when you use a wheelchair or still have a cast and bandages on. However, many scammers are bold enough to file compensatory claims, in hopes of receiving costs awarded. To distinguish you from such fraudsters, you need to engage your lawyer in all your medical developments and alert him/her of any services you are receiving. Also, you should have originals and copies of all medical receipts and prescription sheets you receive from your doctor, as proof of the remedies you have to seek from the damage caused. For example, when you suffer a severe leg fracture from the accident, you can present the costs you incur for bone restoration surgery and any physiotherapy sessions you have to attend afterward for a follow-up.
Proof of damages from the accident may also be from a failure to resume work because of a temporary or permanent case of paralysis. Alternatively, you may become bedridden for a while, which prevents you from carrying on with your job. People in active fields like professional dancing or construction may have an easier time proving all the damage caused by the injuries from the accident. However, your lawyer will prepare a personalized and detailed list of documents that prove your losses, regardless of your professional field.
The Possible Parties in a Pedestrian Accident Compensatory Suit
Depending on the circumstances of your case, different parties may face liability for negligent actions that lead to the accident. However, a direct link between the negligent act and the occurrence of the accident is necessary. After following the listed steps in establishing a negligent act that places liability on the defendant, you may find the following responsible for your mishap on the road:
- The car or motorcycle manufacturers responsible for the brand of vehicle that hit you
- The actual driver who operated the car at the time of the accident
- The employer who oversees the driver’s activities
- local officials who are liable for road maintenance around the area where the accident occurred.
How to Determine Fault for Several Possible Parties
Each of these parties could be the primary defendant in your suit, or in other circumstances, share liability for the accident. Before determining who to serve and begin a litigation case against, your attorney needs to compare all the possible parties’ actions with the elements used to establish negligence and see if they satisfy all the four requirements. The catch is that for each party, different activities may lead to a breach. Nevertheless, the various options applied to establish the party at fault all use the same structure to determine whether he/she was negligent or not.
1. Determining the Driver’s Fault
If you suspect that a driver has more to blame than any other person based on the circumstances of the case, you can use the four-part negligence test to verify your suspicions. Typically, your lawyer will prefer proving that the driver was negligent per se, meaning there was an express violation of statutory regulations. In any case, most of the road accidents that occur result from a motorist’s disregard for the law.
To prove that the driver is to blame for the accident, your lawyer needs to demonstrate that:
The Motorist Had a Responsibility to Observe Traffic Regulations
Before receiving a driver’s licenses, all motorists have to take a test that confirms their knowledge of traffic rules, and the consequences of violating these rules. With such a system in place, the driver who caused the pedestrian cannot argue that he/she was unaware of an imposed duty of care to all other road users, including pedestrians.
The Driver Disregarded the Traffic Regulations
Failing to comply with rules on the road will be the center of focus in this case, which will then determine that a breach of duty of care occurred. If your lawyer can show what actions the defendant took part in contrary to Nevada Traffic Laws, you will have successfully established the breach of the duty of care as the second requirement in determining fault in the driver.
The Driver’s Traffic Violations are the Direct Cause of the Accident
When you face a fast-approaching vehicle, you may lose all sense of body coordination, and your mind may even blackout for a moment. Subsequently, you may not remember what happened moments before the accident for a cohesive establishment of direct blame. However, the evidence that your personal injury attorney presents works well in proving that there was the proximity of the defendant’s violations of the incident.
You Suffered Harm From the Accident
When you present all the necessary documents that validate your claims of harm and damages, all the steps in establishing negligence come together.
With these strong strategies of establishing fault on the driver, you will be assured of subsequent success and compensation from the judge.
2. Determining an Employer’s Fault in Vicarious Liability
Sometimes, an employer is vicariously liable for any action that his/her employee takes partakes. However, there are several requirements that your personal injury attorney must prove if you decide to file a suit against a driver’s employer for the consequences of the pedestrian accident.
The Driver Must Have Been Within The Scope Of Employment
Mostly, anything that an employee does within working hours can be taken to be for the employer’s benefit. Thus, the employee will be within the working scope, regardless of whether he/she does what is right or wrong. Vicarious liability places blame on the employer as long as the worker was in the process of fulfilling the supervisor’s requests or work orders.
What this means is that you can include a driver’s employer as the primary defendant if the accident occurred during a working period. The driver who knocked you down may have been on a delivery errand or could have been on his/her way to pick the employer up at a specified location.
The Driver Works for The Defendant
Choosing to sue a driver’s employer requires sufficient proof that he/she pays the driver an incentive for each completed task, or has employed the worker under contractual circumstances. Therefore, your lawyer must provide documentation as evidence of an existing employer-employee relationship between the person who knocked you down in the accident, and the defendant in your case.
Establishing the proximity of employment to the causation of damages will have your lawyer run the ‘but for’ test. The most straightforward analysis may produce a result that shows, if the employer did not send the driver out for an errand run, he/she might not have injured you in the accidents.
Comparative Negligence and Reduced Compensation
In reality, even you, as the claimant, may have something to do with the pedestrian accident. You may have been distracted when driving, disregard the ‘don’t walk’ traffic sign on the edge of the crosswalk. Other times, you may face the direct consequences of standing in risky spots at an intersection to make sales or an advertisement. Despite obtaining permission legally to engage in such commercial activities, you accept liability for any harm caused by your actions and remove any blame from the authorities that issue consent.
When the defendant’s attorney successfully proves your contributory negligence in the pedestrian accident, you may worry about the outcome. However, Las Vegas incorporates the comparative negligence rule that allows the claimant a secure win if the defendant still carries up to half the liability. Therefore, what counts is that you both played a part in causing the accident. To your dissatisfaction, you may have to settle for a lesser compensation sum, that the judge calculates according to the percentage of your contributory negligence. Nevertheless, you receive a reimbursement form the defendant for his/her role in causing the harm.
Time Limitations of Bringing Claims Forth
Las Vegas operates on an explicit time limit that offers claimant up to two years from the occurrence of the pedestrian accident to bring a suit forth. Any delays in filing a lawsuit within the stipulated time may cause further complications to your case, and may not even guarantee a hearing date to begin a trial.
Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm Near Me
Surviving the effects of a pedestrian accident may be devastating, especially if you suffer severe personal injuries or lose a loved one to the incident. The best step you can take is to file a lawsuit that establishes fault on the correct party, to secure compensation for the harm done. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, you will receive the best litigation services in any personal injury lawsuit you may wish to file. We guide all our clients on how to recover all losses sustained from a pedestrian accident, while offering moral support for the tough times faced. We will be happy to hear from you and get you the justice you deserve. Give us a call today at 702-996-1224.