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By: Murphy & Murphy Law Offices

Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Guide

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The Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Guide was created by Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Craig Murphy to help Nevada residents who have suffered a serious injury.

There are many reasons why we chose to walk instead of driving a car or hoping on a bus for transportation. Maybe it’s for health, maybe it’s for the planet. Any way you slice it, walking is the best form of transportation that will always be available to us. It can also be very dangerous when people are not paying attention. Accidents are often caused by being distracted by mobile devices. Even peaking at a text, whether you’re the driver or the pedestrian can lead to a devastating accident. If you’re hit by a car while walking, the injuries can impact your life forever.

Las Vegas Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are quickly becoming widespread across the United States. Even though Nevada has a population of just under three million residents—less than 1% of the US population—the Silver State has been experiencing a steady rise in foot traffic fatalities in recent years. In 2017, 100 pedestrians across Nevada met their deaths in motor vehicle accidents. This sobering statistic is 25% higher than the number of pedestrian deaths in the year 2016, during which there were 80 pedestrian deaths in Nevada. With the number of pedestrian fatalities in the state consistently increasing since 2010, when only 41 such deaths occurred, a joint effort among authorities, drivers, and pedestrians has emerged in order to promote road safety. The Nevada Department of Transportation’s goal of “zero fatalities” may eventually become a reality.

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In the meantime, though, pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle accidents remain a big problem. Despite Sin City’s appeal to tourists as a vacation hotspot and to longtime Nevadans as a hub for job opportunities, its streets still present a danger to pedestrians and drivers alike. If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident, you will need the guidance and support of a Las Vegas pedestrian accident attorney in order to receive the compensation that you deserve. Whether you were a resident of Clark County or a tourist, our team of Las Vegas attorneys, with their years of experience in local and state law, will represent you every step of your personal injury case.

Are Pedestrian Fatalities Common Throughout Nevada?

The Las Vegas metropolitan region, as the most densely populated area in the state of Nevada, was where the majority of each year’s worth of pedestrian accidents and deaths occurred. Of the 100 pedestrian fatalities in Nevada in 2017, 78 happened in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas and its suburbs. This rate is similar each year; between 2010 and 2017, an average of three out of every four all pedestrian fatalities in Nevada happened in the Las Vegas metro area.

These statistics have not gone unnoticed. The Nevada Department of Public Safety has linked safe driving and public education efforts throughout the state to the 7% decline in traffic deaths in 2017, a year when Nevada’s population actually increased. However, authorities have maintained a watchful eye over the Las Vegas area, where the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities continues to keep climbing even as all other types of motor vehicle collisions drop in frequency.

Who is to blame for these fatalities? The answer changes from accident to accident, but there are two frequent causes: pedestrians failed to carefully prepare to cross roads, and drivers were not driving safely. Many fatalities in 2017 occurred when pedestrians neglected to look both ways before crossing Las Vegas’s busy streets, were distracted by their smartphones while crossing, or chose to jaywalk instead of using a crosswalk. In the accidents where drivers were the primary causes of pedestrian fatalities, many drivers hit pedestrians while speeding excessively or lost control of their vehicles. Whatever the cause behind these many accidents, the bottom line is that Las Vegas’s pedestrian death toll dramatically climbs each year.

If I Am a Pedestrian in Las Vegas, Where Should I Take Extra Precaution?

Pedestrian fatalities in Las Vegas are not necessarily limited to any one environment. Some areas are more prone than others to cause pedestrian deaths, such as Boulder Highway, which was named Las Vegas’s deadliest road in 2015. However, even areas where cars tend to drive slower can be home to pedestrian fatalities.

Gated communities and private streets are common sites of pedestrian accidents, and because these accidents are counted separately than those that occur on public roads, the total number of pedestrian fatalities in Las Vegas and Nevada on the whole is higher than reported. The city’s wide parking lots may also be the place of pedestrian accidents. When people on foot become lost or try to run through the parking lot, cars may quickly turn a corner, and a collision can follow.

Even though crosswalks are designed to serve as the safest possible spaces for pedestrians and motor vehicles to share, a significant portion of Las Vegas’s pedestrian deaths happen each year at intersections. Drivers who speed through lights and pedestrians who race across crosswalks at the last second can both contribute to major accidents.

When Should I Reach Out to a Pedestrian Accident Attorney After an Injury?

Regardless of the type or severity of your injury, contacting a pedestrian accident attorney should be among your highest priorities. Once you have received medical attention and spoken with the proper authorities, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as you are able. Time is so important, and speaking with a pedestrian accident attorney shortly after your accident will allow you to prepare for your legal claim. You will be advised to provide as much documentation as you can, as your attorney will need to know the ins and outs of the accident that led to your injury in order to provide full support.

Pedestrian accidents in the Las Vegas area have a high casualty rate and a near-guarantee of injury. Pedestrian accident cases tend to focus on two factors: who was at fault for the accident and how severely the pedestrian was injured. The pedestrian accident attorneys at our Las Vegas office are committed to defending injured parties and their loved ones in the courtroom, and no personal injury case is unworthy of consideration. If you have any questions or concerns about the first steps after a pedestrian accident, our team of attorneys would be glad to provide comprehensive advice.

Frequently Asked Questions | Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Guide

What is a Pedestrian Accident?

What happens if you’re a pedestrian and you’ve been hit by a car and injured? There are many factors that are involved in these types of cases. What you will find, shockingly, is that the insurance companies and the insurance adjusters will often out-of-hand deny these cases. They will claim that you, as the pedestrian, were at fault – you were crossing against traffic or you stepped out in front of the car, or somehow it was your fault – whether that’s true or not. They make that allegation and they always try and deny your claim. It’s shocking to me, but it happens repeatedly.

If you’ve been hit as a pedestrian by a car, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a case, even though the insurance company and the insurance adjuster will tell you that. What needs to be done is to investigate your claim and investigate the facts of the case. Many times, we can take the police report and witness statements, and gather other evidence at the scene to establish that you weren’t at fault. It was the driver’s fault – they weren’t paying attention, they didn’t follow the traffic laws, they didn’t follow the rules of the road, and they are responsible for your injuries. If you’ve been injured because you were a pedestrian and hit by a car, you need to talk to an attorney who has the experience in dealing with these kinds of cases because they’re not as simple as you think.

We often hear that the pedestrian always has the right of way, but the insurance adjuster will tell you, “No, that’s not true. It was your fault, and your claim is denied.” What you need is an attorney who knows this area of law, who knows how to deal with these personal injury cases that involve some unusual circumstances, and who will take the time to build your case and build your claim.

Is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Different from a Car Accident?

One of the primary differences is that typically, the insurance company for the guy driving the car is going to say that you were partially or primarily at fault for causing this because you were not paying proper attention. Had you been paying proper attention, you could’ve avoided getting hit by the car. Let’s forget about the fact that their driver wasn’t paying attention and ran into you. They want you to forget about that. They want to blame it on you.

Very often, the insurance company, the insurance adjuster and even the insurance lawyer will be able to convince a jury that you were somewhat at fault. Even though you may have some partial amount of fault that is attributed to you by the jury, that doesn’t mean that you’re not entitled to be paid for the injuries and the damages that you’ve sustained. What you need is an attorney who deals with these kinds of cases, who can properly evaluate and prepare your case so that you can get the compensation that you’re entitled to, that will pay you for your damages, your injuries, your medical and your future injuries.

How Do I Pick a Pedestrian Injury Attorney?

If you were a pedestrian and you were hit by a car, and injured, chances are you’re going to need to hire a lawyer. How do you know which attorney is best? All these lawyers’ advertisements on TV, billboards and their websites all look the same. What does that tell you about the ability of that attorney? What does that tell you about whether that attorney is really the best attorney for you? How do you know?

Number one, you have to have an attorney who has experience in this area of law and has done these cases before. Number two, you need a trial lawyer. You need an attorney who is a board certified personal injury specialist who is a trial attorney because oftentimes these cases are going to require the filing of a lawsuit and the preparing of a lawsuit. Finally, and most important, you have to have a very good working relationship with that lawyer because you may be working with this lawyer as a team, on this case, for the next couple of years. If your lawyer is too busy and has too many files to talk to you and to know who you are, they’re not going to be able to help you. If they don’t talk to you and answer your questions, and are not willing to take the time up front, they’re not going to give you the time of day to build up your case. You’re just going to be waiting for money to fall out of the sky from the insurance company, and that’s not going to happen.

Here’s what you need to do: call a number of attorneys. See who talks to you. See who takes an interest in you. See who takes the time to answer your questions and find out what your case is about. When you talk to those lawyers, figure out who was it that you had the closest connection to, who you felt would do the best in protecting your interests, who had your interests at heart. That is how you find the best attorney for your case.

What Are the Benefits for an Injured Pedestrian?

The driver of the car that hit you, their insurance company should be responsible if they were at fault. They ultimately should pay for your medical expenses, your out-of-pocket expenses, your wage loss, any disabilities that you have going into the future, and any future medical care that you’re going to have. They aren’t going to pay that money to you as you incur it.

You’re not going to get money from them as you go to the doctor or as you have an out-of-pocket expense, or go to various x-rays, MRIs and different scanning facilities and things like that. In fact, what the insurance company wants is for you to become strapped financially, so that you just cave in and take whatever pittance they’re willing to give you. That is not in your best interest.

What you need to do is talk to a skilled personal injury trial attorney who will investigate your case, determine what your injuries are and find out what you are entitled to receive due to the extent of your injuries and damages.

What If I’m Partially at Fault for the Accident?

If the driver of the car is more at fault than you were, you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries and damages. If it’s 50/50, both of you are equally at fault, you’re still entitled to be compensated for your injuries and damages. If you’re more than 50% at fault, under Nevada law, you then are not entitled to be compensated for your injuries and damages, no matter how badly you were hurt. That’s why these cases are very fact-specific. You need an attorney who’s going to get out and investigate the case, talk to the witnesses, go out to the scene, do the investigation, and figure out exactly what happened, exactly who’s at fault and what the probable percentages are.

Who Are the Liable Parties in a Pedestrian Accident?

Maybe you are crossing in the crosswalk. You have the right of way. A driver looks to their left, looks straight ahead, but doesn’t turn to look to their right, turns and runs you over. That person is responsible. Their insurance company is responsible. They will have to pay for your damages. These are very fact-specific cases. Oftentimes, immediate investigation is required to protect and preserve the evidence that’s going to be necessary to build your case. It’s quite frequent that no matter what happened, the insurance company is going to say that it was your fault, and they’re going to deny your claim.

What If I’m Injured in a Hit-and-Run?

I had a call the other day from a man who was hit as a pedestrian and the driver took off, fled, hit-and-run driver. He wanted to know, what can I do? Do I have a claim? I had to take a great deal of time to unpack the situation and see what happened. The first thing is this: were there any witnesses who could identify the car? Did someone get the license plate number of that car? If they did, we can find out who that driver was. We can track him down. We can bring a claim against him.

If no one was there to get the information from that driver, what do you do? If you have a vehicle and it has insurance, and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can make a claim against your own insurance policy for the coverage that protects you from other drivers, whether it’s a hit-and-run driver, an uninsured driver, or a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. If you have health insurance, make sure all of your treatment is done under your health insurance policy.

How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Pedestrian Accident Case?

As with most cases, pedestrian accidents can be resolved in a relatively short period of time or it can take years. It depends on the facts of the case and how hard the insurance company and the insurance lawyers are fighting it, how bad your injuries are, and what the extent of your damages are.

If you were hit by a car and you only had sprain/strain type of injuries, you might only need to go to a chiropractor for six weeks to a couple of months, then your claim can be resolved after a couple of months. If you were hit by a car and you’ve been seriously injured, and you required surgery and ongoing care, or you have future care, you really can’t even evaluate the value of your claim. You need to have a clear picture of how badly you were hurt and what the extent of your recovery from those injuries is going to be, and what the residual effects are going to be going into the future. That may take over a year of medical treatment and analysis to figure out. If we have to file a lawsuit, it could take another year or two before your case is resolved at trial or settled.

It’s on a spectrum that depends on a lot of things – the nature of your injuries, how long it takes you to get better, and how tough the insurance company is going to fight it. Unless you have an attorney, who has experience in dealing with these kinds of cases, and who is a trial lawyer that the insurance company knows is willing and able to take that case to trial, they’re not going to settle it.

Here’s what you can do to make sure that your case is resolved as soon as possible. Get a lawyer who knows what they’re doing. Get a lawyer who will do the hard work that is required to prepare your case.