Are Las Vegas Streets Safer During COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of life for individuals across the United States. Children are home from school, adults are working from home. There are fewer visits to see friends and family or to attend events. During such a disruptive and confusing times, people are doing their best to see the silver lining. More time with family and reduced pollution are some positives that have been pointed out.
Many have speculated that another bright side to the pandemic shut down is safer streets. The assumption is that with fewer cars on the road, there will be fewer accidents. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case — the risks have just changed.
Accident Statistics in Las Vegas
In 2019, there were 284 traffic-related fatalities in Nevada, down slightly from the 330 fatalities recorded in 2018. The 2020 data pre-pandemic indicated that fatalities were on the rise. January and February alone saw 14-traffic related deaths in the Las Vegas Valley. The Las Vegas Metropolitan police department has now invested 54 traffic-related fatalities.
The following statistics were compiled by the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Zero Fatalities Nevada initiative:
- One in five people admit to running a red light in the most recent ten intersections;
- Nearly 3,500 people were killed in 2016 because of distracted driving; and
- 30% of traffic fatalities were related to being intoxicated
While fewer cars on the road means less people able to run red lights, text while driving, or drive under the influence, new risks have emerged.
Reckless Drivers During the Pandemic
With emptier streets, risky drivers are taking the opportunity to put the pedal to the metal. Across the United States, state highway officials have noted a significant spike in speeding vehicles, with numerous drivers reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Las Vegas hasn’t escaped drivers seeking these increased speeds. In a three-hour period, Las Vegas police officers stopped six vehicles doing triple digit speeds. At least six fatal collisions occurred in between Las Vegas’ shutdown and the end of April, and four of the six were related to excessive speeds.
Extreme speeding is likely to result in increased vehicular deaths, even though there are fewer drivers on the road. While there may be less overall collisions, the ones that occur are likely to be more deadly. If you are struck by a vehicle going 100 mph or more, the damage and injury will be severe.
The impact of reckless driving has even wider reaching consequences during the pandemic. An increase in traffic-related injuries has the potential to place an undue burden on an increasingly overwhelmed hospital system.
Next Steps After an Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, your first step should be to seek immediate medical attention. This could be done at the scene or visiting a hospital, though a visit to the hospital can be more complicated given COVID-19. No matter what, it is important to take care of your health. Additionally, failure to secure prompt medical attention may limit your ability to recover for injuries. The other party can argue you exacerbated through the delay.
Once you have seen to your own safety, keep the following tips in mind:
- Secure a police report. A police report is a valuable piece of evidence in any car accident case. The report will include pictures of the accident scene, witness reports and contact information, and any traffic citations issued for violating traffic laws. Documentation of traffic violations is particularly important because it is compelling evidence that a party acted negligently — a critical component to proving your case for recovery.
- Watch your words. Be cautious what you say about the accident and to whom you say it. The responsible party will be looking for any opportunity to escape liability. This includes taking an innocent statement, such as “I guess I could have paid closer attention,” out of context to push the fault back on to you. Be especially careful of any statements made to the media or press.
- Keep track of paperwork. You will find yourself overwhelmed with paperwork after the accident, including medical records, doctor’s bills, and communications from insurance companies. All of this paperwork will need to be reviewed by your attorney to determine if it is relevant to your case.
- Don’t sign without reviewing. As more and more paperwork comes your way, you may be tempted to sign it without a careful review. Avoid this instinct. Some documentation can waive important rights, such as the right to file a lawsuit. Be aware of any restrictions placed on you before you sign.
- Act quickly. You may be tempted to put off taking legal action against the party responsible for the accident while you deal with your injuries. It is important not to delay too long. Any lawsuit for injuries caused by a car accident must be brought within two years of the date of injury.
One of the most helpful things you can do after a car accident is contact an experienced attorney who can help you manage each of the steps above as well as advise on the strength of your case and prepare a comprehensive case strategy.
If you are a victim of a car accident or have lost a loved one in a Las Vegas car accident, it is important to work with an attorney experienced in securing recovery for accident victims. Our team is staffed with compassionate and skilled professionals with deep experience in car accident cases. We have secured millions of dollars in settlements for our clients.
We work with our clients to analyze and advise on all aspects of their case. We understand each case is unique and deserves individual, focused attention. You should not be forced to bear the financial burden of a car accident that was not your fault.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Las Vegas, NV or the surrounding area, contact us today for a free consultation.