What you Need To know about Pedestrian Accident Attorneys in Las Vegas

A relaxing, brisk walk can be one of the most enjoyable, rewarding, and stress-free parts of your day. Unfortunately, we often forget that walking can be every bit as dangerous as driving a vehicle or riding a bike – especially with record numbers of drivers on the road (including more rideshare drivers than ever before), more workers returning to the office, massive increases in activity at retail and restaurants and record-setting levels of distracted driving (specifically driving while using a cell phone).

Pedestrians walking around Las Vegas must be vigilant and alert to potential dangers – especially vehicles driven by inattentive, frustrated, inexperienced, and/or distracted drivers – to avoid getting hit as pedestrians.

The reality – according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – is that over 70,000 pedestrians were seriously injured or killed while walking in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available). According to both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NHTSA, the number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles has been trending up for over a decade after reaching a low in 2009. The scary reality is that every hour, a pedestrian somewhere in the US is killed by a driver – a number that has been steadily increasing for over a decade.

This isn’t just a national trend, either – pedestrian fatalities are up 33% in Las Vegas – a staggering increase that is continuing to climb as more pedestrians and more drivers return to Las Vegas.

The most common contributing factors to serious injury or death in pedestrian accidents – and the times when you must be most vigilant as a pedestrian – include:

  • Low-Light Conditions – 80% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during dusk, dark, or dawn conditions.
  • Evening Hours – 51% of fatalities occurred between the hours of 6 pm and midnight, local time.
  • Roadway Locations – the most common hot spots for serious pedestrian injuries are non-intersecting locations, roadways with five or more lanes to cross, speed limits over 30 mph, and/or high-traffic locations (more than 25,000 vehicles per day).
  • Environmental Conditions – any condition that impairs a driver’s visibility and/or ability to react to a pedestrian – such as rain conditions or dust storms – increases the probability of a serious or fatal pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians Hit by Vehicles Often Sustain Serious Injuries

According to the CDC, over 104,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2021, in addition to 7,984 pedestrian deaths as a result of being struck by a vehicle – the highest number in a decade. This number is only increasing, with 2022’s preliminary data showing a 3-4% increase in pedestrian fatalities vs. 2021.

While pedestrian accidents involving fast-moving (over 30 mph) vehicles often result in grave injuries, being struck by a slow-moving vehicle in a parking lot or crosswalk still has the potential to cause significant and life-altering injuries.

Some of the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians hit by cars in Las Vegas include:

  • Broken Bones – broken or fractured bones in the legs, arms, chest, and/or pelvis are among the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians hit by vehicles. These can vary from in-place fractures to compound fractures that require surgery to address.
  • Head Injury, Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – even a slow-moving car or truck can easily knock over a large adult (let alone a small child or elderly pedestrian), potentially resulting in whiplash, a concussion, or a traumatic brain injury. This can occur either directly from contact with the vehicle, or from being thrown to the pavement/roadway. Symptoms of TBI include nausea, confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty sleeping, sensitivity to light, cognitive impairment, depression, mood swings, and dizziness. Treatment can take weeks to years and includes everything from speech and physical therapy to medication and surgery.
  • Neck & Back Injuries – being hit by a car can cause an assortment of neck and back issues, from whiplash (as a result of being thrown to the ground) to herniated discs and broken/fractured vertebrae. Any injury to the neck or back has the potential to be severe and life-altering – especially if it impacts the spinal cord.
  • Internal Injuries – Some of the most serious injuries caused by being struck by a car are internal injuries – a ruptured speed, internal bleeding, a brain bleed, a punctured lung, or other internal bleeding. Many of these injuries present no obvious signs and are only identified by trained medical personnel. Unfortunately, many individuals hit by a car feel fine in the moments immediately following the incident and decline medical care that could identify these issues before they lead to serious complications.
  • Soft Tissue Damage – Soft Tissue injuries range from cuts and contusions (bruises) to sprains, strains, and muscle/ligament tears. While they are often considered “minor,” they can take weeks or months to heal, resulting in significant loss of wages, lower quality of life, and extensive therapy and rehabilitation. In some cases, these injuries may also require cosmetic surgery to mitigate disfigurement.

One of the most important things to remember if you (or a loved one) are hit by a car – no matter how fast or slow, no matter how you’re feeling afterward – is to be examined by a medical professional as soon as humanly possible. Your body’s natural reaction to extreme stress will be to trigger a release of endorphins and adrenaline, which will dull your pain receptors and make you less likely to experience the injuries caused by the accident.

Who Is at Fault When a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Car?

In Nevada, Drivers are required to watch for pedestrians. Despite this, pedestrian accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in and around Las Vegas, with incidents on the rise over the last two years.

In many cases, the negligence, carelessness, and/or inattentiveness of the driver is at least partially responsible for the accident, yet the pedestrian is the one who suffers the injuries. As a result, drivers are given a greater share of responsibility for preventing accidents.

Nevada follows the comparative negligence doctrine to allocate blame in pedestrian injuries, which allows an individual partially to blame for an accident to collect damages from a negligent party. Fault for an accident is allocated on a percentage basis, so as long as the victim is less than 50% responsible for the accident, they are entitled to damages on a percentage basis.

For instance, if a pedestrian uses a crosswalk against the light and is struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian may be found 5% responsible. In this case, if the judge awards $50,000 as compensation, the pedestrian will be entitled to 95% (100% – 5% = 95%) of this total, or $47,500.

Indications That a Driver May Be at Fault for Hitting a Pedestrian:

In Nevada, a driver may be held liable for hitting a pedestrian in the following situations:

  • Not following the rules of the road
  • Speeding
  • Driving while Distracted
  • Driving under the Influence
  • Driving while Using a hand-held cell phone or other device while driving
  • Veering off the road or out of a lane
  • Failing to Yield to a crosswalk, intersection, or common pedestrian crossing
  • Failing to observe surroundings in a parking lot or other area
  • Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign

Indications That a Pedestrian May Be at Fault:

While a pedestrian being responsible for being hit is less common, they may be found to share blame. A pedestrian may be held partially responsible in the following situations:

  • Jaywalking or improperly crossing a road
  • Failing to yield to right-of-way when not at an intersection
  • Entering a crosswalk against the light
  • Walking in the road when there is an available sidewalk

However, even if a pedestrian is found to be partially responsible for the incident, the pedestrian can still receive compensation due to Nevada’s Comparative Negligence doctrine. Having a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney well-versed in these types of accidents can be the difference between obtaining fair compensation and suffering in silence. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to place the blame solely on the pedestrian when the driver is also responsible.

The attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law have worked with thousands of people who have been injured by cars, trucks, and bikes. Our team includes a former insurance defense attorney who is intimately familiar with the tactics and tricks used by insurance companies to deny claims and skirt their responsibility – knowledge and experience we use to get you every dollar you deserve.

What To Do After Being Hit by a Car or Truck in Nevada:

If you’ve been hit by a car or truck while walking, it is critical to follow the below steps. Accidents can be overwhelming; this is doubly true of pedestrian accidents, which can feel even more traumatic. If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while walking, follow the below steps:

  1. Remain At The Scene – it is against Nevada law to flee the scene of an accident. If you can, move out of the roadway to the nearest, safe location. If the motorist attempts to flee the scene, attempt to take a picture of their license plate, along with other critical details like the type of vehicle (car, truck, SUV), color, make/model, and details of the driver (sex, hair color, skin color, etc.). If the driver flees the scene, share these details with the police when they arrive so they can more effectively locate the driver and arrest him/her for fleeing the scene.
  2. Call For Help – If you’ve been hit by a vehicle, it is always advisable to call 9-1-1 and seek medical help, even if you feel fine. Many of the most common injuries caused by being hit by a vehicle will not be obvious to you in the moments following the accident.
  3. Collect the Drivers Information – ask the driver for their driver’s license and insurance information. If possible, take multiple pictures of both with your cell phone; if not, write down the details.
  4. Don’t Say You Are Uninjured – it is very common for motorists who hit pedestrians to say things like, “Are you OK?” or “I’m so glad you’re not hurt.” Instead of agreeing, respond with, “I’m not sure how I am,” “I need to see a doctor.” or “I feel OK right now.” These statements are not definitive and leave the possibility that your condition will change.
  5. Speak To Law Enforcement – when law enforcement arrives at the scene, answer their questions truthfully. Be cooperative, honest, and assertive – do not allow the driver who hit you to dictate the report. If you aren’t sure or don’t remember, say that. It is OK to be unsure of what happened. Ask for a copy of the police report.
  6. Gather As Much Evidence As Possible – collect other information about the scene and the accident, including taking photos of any of your injuries, the location where the accident occurred, the vehicle that hit you, traffic signs, traffic cameras (if there are any), security cameras (again, if there are any), the nearest cross-streets, and any other details. If you speak to the driver before the police arrive, record any statements or admissions of fault, such as, “I’m so sorry I hit you.” or “I didn’t see you.” – a skilled attorney can use these to ensure the driver is held responsible for their actions.
  7. Collect Witness Details – witnesses can play a vital role in any pedestrian accident
    claim or lawsuit. If anyone saw you get hit, collect their name and contact information (phone, email). It is often best to write this down in your phone, or (better yet) provide them your number and ask them to text their contact information to you (this will save a record with your phone company and ensure that you receive the correct phone information).
  8. Do Not Post on Social Media – insurance companies and defense attorneys will use anything posted on your social media to minimize your damages. Do not post anything about the accident, your injuries, or your activities following the accident (for instance, if you post about going to a party, they may use that to argue you were not really injured).
  9. Save Your Record, Receipts, & Prescriptions – maintain a detailed file/folder of all your medical information following the accident – medical records, doctor notes, missed work, lost pay, prescriptions, etc. All of this can be used by your personal injury attorney to more accurately calculate your damages and ensure you are compensated fairly.
  10. Maintain A Pain Journal – keep a daily log of your pain, activities, and limitations. This is an easy, readily-admissible way to show a judge your pain and suffering due to the accident. Note any stiffness, soreness, inability to do previously everyday activities, inability to work, difficulty concentrating, headaches, other injuries, doctor appointments, physical therapy, etc.
  11. Call Sam & Ash Injury Law – the last thing you probably want to do after being hit by a car is to call a lawyer. However, time is of the essence in these matters, and getting the right Las Vegas Pedestrian Attorney on your team immediately can be the difference between getting fair compensation for your injuries and being left to fend for yourself against an army of insurance defense lawyers. The attorneys at Sam & Ash will defend your rights, advocate on your behalf, and fight for the compensation you deserve so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Do’s & Don’Ts as a Pedestrian After an Accident:

Do:

  • Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
  • Move to the nearest, safe location
  • Answer questions from law enforcement honestly, to the best of your ability
  • Document evidence you find
  • Save all bills, receipts, doctors notices, prescriptions, etc.
  • Maintain a pain journal
  • Document any lost income
  • Document any pain and suffering, like insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
  • Keep a record of lost functions – elements of your job you can no longer perform, hobbies/sports you can no longer do, etc. as a result of being hit.

Don’t:

  • Flee the Scene
  • Attempt to conceal or destroy evidence
  • Lie to or deceive law enforcement
  • Interfere with emergency personnel
  • Post anything on social media about the accident or your activities after the accident
  • Speak to people about the traffic accident during the investigation without legal representation

Compensation for Pedestrians Hit by a Car or Truck

Pedestrians who have been seriously injured or killed after being hit by a vehicle are often entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, which can be recovered through a personal injury claim.

This compensation can include:

  • Medical Bills – this includes treatment for all past/present injuries suffered as a result of the accident, along with physical therapy, speech therapy, ongoing medication, etc.
  • Lost Income – Nevada law allows individuals injured as a result of other people’s carelessness to recover lost income. A study from the Injury Prevention Journal found that, on average, a person who suffers non-fatal injuries from an accident misses 11 days of work. For many families, that can be the difference between making ends meet and falling behind on bills. This can include hourly wages, overtime, bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, vacation or sick days used to recover, and perks (such as a company car, company cell phone, etc.).
  • Pain & Suffering – In addition to the economic damages above (medical bills and lost income), pedestrians who have been hit by a car/truck in Nevada may be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This includes everything from pain and suffering to inconvenience, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, physical impairment, general loss of enjoyment, and inability to engage in non-economic activities (such as sports, hobbies, or other pursuits).
  • Disability – if your injuries are so severe that a full recovery to your pre-injury self is unlikely, you may be entitled to additional compensation, over and above the economic damages (lost wages, medical bills, personal property damage, etc.) suffered as a result of being hit by a vehicle.
  • Lost Future Income – Lost wages include any income you would have earned if the injury had never happened. These are usually straightforward to calculate, as they cover a fixed period and are easily documented using pay stubs and earnings histories. However, if the accident is so severe that you will never be able to return to work or will only be able to work part-time or in a lower-paying role, you may also be owed compensation for loss of future income. Claiming these losses will require you to document that loss of future income with evidence such as statements from your doctors, medical opinions from third parties, statements from colleagues, supervisors, and/or family members, statements from financial planners/financial advisors, and/or
    opinions from other experts.
  • Wrongful Death Benefits – if you’ve lost a loved one as a result of a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to collect wrongful death compensation.
  • Punitive Damages – If your injuries result from fraud, malice, or oppression, Nevada Law (NRS 42.005) allows punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter future dangerous conduct. These damages are in addition to the economic and non-economic damages above and are capped by Nevada State Law at $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages is less than $100,000 OR three (3) times the amount of compensatory damages if the amount is $100,000 or more.

The reality is that every case – and every compensation award – is slightly different. There are cases where a pedestrian receives less than $10,000 for their injuries, while others have collected million-dollar awards for serious and catastrophic injuries. The driver’s car and other insurance policies, the nature of the accident, the severity of your injuries and prognosis for recovery, your age and income, and your share of responsibility (if any) for the accident will all play a factor in the award.

The attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law have recovered over $400M for people just like you who have been injured. Our team will handle all aspects of your case and fight on your behalf to get every dollar you deserve – so you can focus on what matters most: getting better. Unlike many other firms, we know the tricks the insurance companies use to avoid responsibility, and we won’t stop until you get the settlement you deserve. And if the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, we’re prepared to go to trial and litigate your case – because that’s What’s Right(™).

Author: Sam Mirejovsky

For more than 20 years, Sam Mirejovsky has been helping people who have been hurt due to negligence and wrongdoing. Bringing a client-centered approach to every case, Sam believes that getting the care you need and the justice you deserve is only achieved when you take the time to understand your client and their personal circumstances. This mindset has helped him change the landscape of personal injury law and recover millions of dollars for injured people and their families.