Pedestrian accidents are a severe issue in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Sun, about two thousand and sixty pedestrian accidents occurred between 2008 and 2011. A pedestrian accident can happen anywhere and at any time. If injured, it might take time to recover the emotional and physical pain, not forgetting financial losses caused by the negligent conduct. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this alone. Consulting an attorney at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm is the initial step of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Pedestrian Fatality Rate in 2019 Was the Highest in Thirty Years
According to the Vision Zero Program, the increasing fatality rate has garnered attention across the United States. Vision Zero Program is an initiative whose purpose is to bring the fatality rate to zero.
The Governor Highway Safety Association estimates that pedestrian deaths in 2019 rose by five percent compared to 2018. With approximately six thousand five hundred and ninety recorded deaths, this was the highest fatality rate since 1988. That means two deaths in every one hundred thousand pedestrians, which is the highest since 1997.
Since 2009, deaths have risen continuously year after year after an almost stable decline since 1988. In 2009, the number of fatalities was four thousand one hundred and nine. That translates to a fifty-three percent increase in 2018 and a sixty percent increase from 2009 through 2019.
Also, the Federal Highway Administration reported that the number of cars increased by 0.8 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.
The GHSA attributes the increase as one of the possible reasons for the increase in the fatality rate. Other reasons highlighted include:
- Americans are moving towards heavier motor vehicles.
- Pedestrians walking in the dark
- Most roads are designed with motor vehicles in mind rather than people.
- Pedestrians and drivers are often drunk
- Distracted driving
- The use of cellphones has soared
Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen the Most?
Since 1975 both car accidents and pedestrian fatality rates in the U.S. have declined. However, the decline is much steeper for pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths fell thirty-seven percent from seven thousand five hundred and sixteen in 1975 to four thousand seven hundred and thirty-five in 2013 compared with a twenty-four percent decline in car deaths in the same duration. Thanks to the different states and GHSA engineering and enforcement solutions for protection.
Non-intersections are rated the highest where most pedestrians are hit at. A report by the United States Department of Transportation indicates that at least 70% of pedestrians walking, running, or jogging got involved in collisions in 2012. Many of the accidents occurred during the night between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am and when weather conditions were clear. Surprisingly, only 11% of the accidents occur during snowy, foggy, and rainy weather conditions, while eighty-nine percent happen during usual weather conditions.
Other common locations when pedestrian accidents happen in Sin City include:
- Huge commercial parking lots: Shopping malls, hotels, among other commercial hubs, have parking facilities, which enable a correspondingly significant number of on-site traffic accidents. The areas are vulnerable to pedestrian collisions, given the location and layout of the parking lots. The features make it easy for pedestrians to take unmarked side alleys to reach the next row of parked motor vehicles or get lost. As a result, fast-moving vehicles cannot stop in time to avoid an accident.
- Sidewalks: Often, pedestrians die while walking along sidewalks near intersections when an oncoming car crosses in the walking lane. Although municipalities build sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians, the sidewalks offer little protection for foot traffic. Children are the most vulnerable to becoming victims of distracted or drunk motorists veering over curbs and merging onto sidewalks. It is because children love walking, riding bikes, and playing games. Although most children understand basic traffic safety rules, children below ten years do not have the good judgment to negotiate car traffic safety.
Understanding What Causes Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian is an individual walking in a developed area like a neighborhood or along a road. When you decide to walk down a street with cars, you are automatically increasing your risk of being involved in a crash. Even if you stay on the sidewalk and wait for a protected signal before crossing an intersection, you cannot control or predict the motorists' conduct.
Nearly all pedestrian accidents are caused by negligence. Here are some of the causes of pedestrian collisions:
Las Vegas is famous for strip clubs and casinos. It is legal to walk around with alcohol. It attracts thousands of visitors every year. Sadly, this results in thousands of alcohol-related accidents. According to the Impaired Driving Critical Emphasis Area Fact Sheet, approximately three hundred and eighty-four people succumbed. In contrast, six hundred and thirty-seven persons were severely injured in drunk driving accidents in Nevada between 2013 to 2017.
Men between the ages of twenty-six and thirty-five were the largest demographic in the accidents. Most of these wrecks took place during the weekends. Also, around twenty-five percent of the accident involved pedestrians.
Irrespective of the quantity, alcohol consumption affects a driver's coordination, reaction time, and judgment. That means the intoxicated driver will make poor decisions and cause preventable accidents. The drunk driver might also experience impaired vision and fail to see a pedestrian, especially at night.
Walking While Intoxicated is Dangerous
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority, pedestrian deaths account for approximately fourteen percent of traffic deaths in the U.S. Most deaths occur in urban areas, such as Las Vegas. Alcohol causes 49% of all pedestrian accidents. Of these deaths, it is the pedestrian who is intoxicated one-thirds of the time.
According to an article published in Los Angeles Times, Sin City ranks 15th for pedestrian collisions among other cities in the country. However, only sixteen percent of the deaths occur on the strip. The rest occur throughout Las Vegas, including near:
- Liquor stores
- Restaurants serving alcohol
Most road users do not realize how hazardous it can be to walk drunk. When you are walking and involved in a collision, you don't have the same degree of protection as car occupants. Also, motor vehicles have lights that make them more observable to other road users while a human being is smaller than a motor vehicle.
So will You recover compensation if you are partially responsible for your pedestrian accident? Under comparative negligence laws, you will still receive damages provided the judge determines that the defendant was more than fifty percent liable. In other words, if you are at least fifty-one percent at fault, you will receive nothing.
Distracted driving is an increasing challenge. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving caused three thousand one hundred and sixty-six deaths in 2017. It is 8.5% of the year's total fatalities.
During the day, more than four hundred and eighty-one thousand drivers use their cellphone while driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about nine persons die, and at least one thousand are injured daily in distracted driving accidents.
Common causes of distracted driving include the following:
- Using a cellphone
- Drinking or eating
- Tending to babies
- Programming GPS
- Adjusting a stereo
- Allowing an unrestrained pet in the motor vehicle
- Reading a billboard advert
- Grooming or applying makeup
How Distracted Driving Causes Pedestrian Accidents
Distracted driving could be categorized into four, namely:
- Visual distractions - These are distractions that take the driver's eyes off the wheel and road. A visual distraction takes the attention of the driver from the wheel for approximately 4.6 seconds. That means if the vehicle is at 55 miles per hour, the driver will travel the length of a football field during that duration. The distraction impairs reaction time.
- Auditory distractions - Sounds and noises in the vehicle could distract a driver. For instance, if children are fighting or crying, the noise could divert the driver's attention.
- Manual distractions involve taking the hands off the wheel. It can happen when changing GPS, eating, or drinking. Even though the driver's eyes are on the road, they have poor control over their vehicle. It also delays reaction time.
- Cognitive distractions are things that cause the driver to take their mind off driving or lose focus. A perfect example is using a phone.
Possible Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Any traffic-related accident can lead to injuries, but car accidents involving a pedestrian can be severe. It is due to the pedestrian's lack of protection and degree of vulnerability.
The serious of the injuries depends on factors like:
- The car's speed
- The angle of impact
- Where the motor vehicle struck you
- The design of the car
- Where your accident occurred
Some of the injuries you are likely to suffer include:
When a motor vehicle comes into contact with a pedestrian, the body doesn't have any protection. More than three thousand pounds of steel and metal colliding with an unprotected individual, in the hip and leg area can lead to severe broken bone injuries. You can suffer broken injuries in your:
Broken bone injuries can be disabling as far as mobility is concerned. For instance, if your arm is injured, you are limited in performing everyday activities like cooking, grooming, bathing, and cleaning.
If the injury is severe, you might require hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, orthopedic care, and a lengthy recovery period. That means you will incur substantial medical expenses.
Also, the injury might affect your ability to return to work.
Traumatic Brain Injury
According to the CDC, approximately one hundred and fifty-five people succumbed every day to injuries, including traumatic brain injuries in 2014 alone.
A traumatic brain injury occurs due to a sudden blow or jolt to your head, originating from a blunt or penetrating trauma. Usually, the impact causes your brain to collide with your skull's interior, damaging lobes, or even your entire brain. Depending on the severity of the injury, you might look okay. However, your brain might continue to undergo a delayed trauma, where it swells and pushes against the skull's interior. It reduces the flow of oxygenated blood.
Common signs and symptoms of TBI include:
- Disorientation or confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Loss of concentration
If you're experiencing either of these signs and symptoms following your pedestrian accident, seek immediate medical attention. TBI symptoms vary with patients since every injury is unique. Diffuse injuries like diffuse axonal or concussion, for instance, will result in a reduced degree of consciousness.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are injuries to tissues that connect, support, surround body structures and organs like muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments. Common examples of these injuries are:
- Sprains - Damage to ligaments because of joint overextension
- Contusions (bruises)
- Strains - Overuse of tendon and muscles
The injuries could result in significant discomfort and pain in stiffness, bruising, swelling, and soreness.
How your soft tissues are impacted depends on the speed of the car.
Please note, most soft-tissue injuries do not cause instant pain immediately after the accident.
A road rash refers to your body's abrasions after the body comes in contact with the road. As a pedestrian, you are likely to suffer road rash injuries when you get involved in the accident. The effects on the injury can permanently alter your life, depending on the seriousness.
Medical experts evaluate the seriousness of these injuries and classify them by degree. The degrees range from the most minor to the most severe.
A first-degree road rash injury involves scraping the first skin layer. These injuries recover after weeks and don't leave permanent scars.
Unlike the first-degree road rash injuries, the second-degree injuries break the epidermis. Typically, the wounds recover on their own, and scarring is not likely.
However, when your skin is open, it is common for pieces of sand, gravel, or dirt to plant themselves in your wound when your skin slides along the road. When improperly cleaned, the injury can result in infections and other severe complications.
Third-Degree Road Rash
Third-Degree road rash injuries are the most severe injuries. Often, they leave permanent damage and scarring to the alleged victims. When your skin scrapes across the road, the dermis and epidermis peel away, leaving muscle tissue, fat, and bone exposed. The injury requires immediate medical treatment and might include reconstructive surgery.
What You Can Do If You Get Injured by a Motor Vehicle or Bicycle
If a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or motorist hits you, you could be entitled to receive compensation. You could bring a claim for the following causes of action:
There are four elements that you should establish to win a negligence claim in Nevada:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care
- The breach played a major role in causing your injuries
- The injuries led to damages
Negligence Per Se
You should establish five (5) elements to prevail in a negligence per se lawsuit in Las Vegas:
- The responsible party had the duty to adhere to a particular law
- The law was tailored to protect you
- The defendant broke the law
- The violation caused your injury
- The injury resulted in damages
If the collision led to death, the victim's estate or family could bring a wrongful death claim against the defendant. You should establish the following elements:
- The alleged victim died
- The death was due to the defendant's negligence or wrongful conduct
- You are a personal representative or an heir of the alleged victim
- You suffered monetary damages due to the death
Strict Product Liability
If the vehicle or bicycle in your accident malfunctioned, you could press charges against the manufacturer for strict product liability. You should present evidence that:
- The car or bicycle was defective due to manufacturing, warning, or design defect
- The defect existed when the vehicle or bicycle left its manufacturer's possession
- The product was used in a way that was reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer
- The defect caused your injuries
- Your injuries caused damages
When a biker or motorist is on duty for their job during the accident, their employer could be held accountable per the theory of respondeat superior. You need to prove the following to win the respondeat superior claim:
- The motorist is the defendant's employee during your pedestrian accident
- The motorist was acting in their employment scope during the accident
- The driver's conduct caused your injury
- The injury caused damages
How Your Attorney Can Help You
According to the Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims, “Paying for Auto Injuries,” settlements paid to victims were forty percent with legal representation than without. In a different but related study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) discovered that eighty-five percent of bodily injury claim compensation is paid to victims with attorneys. Moreover, insurance payouts are about 3.5 times higher for victims with attorneys than those without legal representation.
There are no laws that mandate hiring an attorney to bring a personal injury claim. Unlike criminal cases where defendants are given public defender services, you cannot offer free attorney services in a civil injury lawsuit. That is the reason most people choose to represent themselves. However, that is not advisable, especially if your injuries are severe, affect the ability to return to work, and have incurred substantial medical expenses. The importance of engaging an attorney comes down to results.
Consider the following ways that the attorney might help you recover a fair compensation amount:
Handles All Communications With the Insurance Providers
When you are involved in a pedestrian crash, your interests and those of the insurer are not aligned. Additionally, you might not understand your legal rights.
Usually, a seasoned personal injury attorney has experience handling negotiations and communications with insurance firms. Your attorney can also serve as a liaison between you and the insurer. It could assist in alleviating stressful communications and prevent you from saying something that might harm the claim.
Your Attorney is Objective
Pedestrian accidents and injuries can result in emotional upheaval and a lot of pain. The trauma can make it hard for you to make rational decisions concerning your accident. Your attorney will bring skills, experience, and knowledge into the case. And this will aid you to recover your damages.
Complete on Level Ground
Often insurance companies have lawyers and insurance adjusters. These professionals are knowledgeable, experienced, and are not your match. Hiring an attorney ensures you have an expert who is dedicated to protecting your interests.
Offer Legal Knowledge
Not every pedestrian accident claim is simple. Some might raise a question of responsibility or involve several tortfeasors. Your attorney understands the Nevada personal injury law and could use the knowledge to consider different case settlement strategies. For instance, the lawyer might engage an accident reconstruction expert or investigator to reveal the cause of your pedestrian accident.
Can Estimate Your Total Compensation Amount
Since your lawyer has previously handled similar cases, they have an idea about how much your claim is worth. They will tell if:
- Your idea is not realistic
- You are not considering certain expenses like loss of earning capacity and future medical expenses
- The settlement offer doesn't represent your claim's actual value
Recommendation for Medical Treatment Needs
After a collision, you might suffer injuries, and you might have injuries whose nature you have never experienced before. Your attorney has seen a lot of injuries and can recommend medical procedures and tests that can facilitate your recovery or give you more information.
Moreover, the lawyer can discuss the potential long-term effects of the injury. The information is essential when assessing your settlement offer.
Find Legal Representation Near Me
Walking is an effective way to get around Las Vegas. Regrettably, the city has never been safe for pedestrians. It ranks 15th as far as pedestrian collisions among the United States cities are concerned. If a negligent person has injured you, you are entitled to receive compensation. Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm at 702-996-1224. Our experienced legal team can assist in maximizing the compensation amount.