What Happens When You Hit a Pedestrian With Your Car in Nevada?

by Gina Corena

posted in Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney on December 30, 2022

What Happens When You Hit a Pedestrian With Your Car in Nevada?

Hitting a pedestrian with a car is a driver’s worst fear. Pedestrians are at a severe disadvantage on the road. Motorists are relatively unharmed in collisions, while pedestrians suffer the brunt force of the vehicle. When a driver hits a pedestrian, knowing how to react can mitigate some of the damaging consequences. 

How Many Pedestrians Are Hit by Automobiles in Nevada?

According to Smart Growth America, thousands of pedestrians are injured every year. Since the pandemic, driving has decreased. However, pedestrian deaths have increased by 4.7%.

In the last reporting year:

  • More than 7,485 pedestrians have been killed
  • On average, 18 people die after being struck by a motor vehicle a day
  • Nevada currently ranks as the 8th most dangerous state for pedestrians

Most pedestrians are killed or injured in urban areas. Major cities, like Las Vegas, are finding the current infrastructure is insufficient to support multiple means of transportation. Pedestrians and cyclists are increasing in urban areas that lack the proper safety measures. 

Are Pedestrian Fatalities Increasing in Nevada? 

Pedestrian deaths are increasing in major cities in Nevada. According to a recent news article, Las Vegas has seen a 33% increase in pedestrian fatalities. Despite law enforcement efforts and educational programs, the city is facing a major infrastructure crisis.

For example, Boulder Highway accounts for nearly 10% of all pedestrian fatalities in Nevada. The 15-mile stretch is scheduled for improvement using the $40 million federal grant recently acquired. 

So far this year, Vegas has reported 36 pedestrian fatal accidents. While official numbers are still being compiled for last year, the state is working to improve roads and pedestrian safety. In Clark County, all new roads wider than 60 feet must have detached sidewalks. 

Investigations have revealed the following main causes of pedestrian deaths:

  • Low visibility where pedestrians are walking
  • Negligent motorists speeding or recklessly driving
  • People walking on the interstate on and off ramps
  • Pedestrians walking along highways 

Major cities in Nevada do not have the infrastructure in place to protect pedestrians, claiming the cities are at least 20 years behind. 

Is the Driver Always At Fault for Hitting a Pedestrian in Nevada? 

The driver may not always be at fault for hitting a pedestrian. Nevada state law follows the comparative negligence doctrine to allocate blame.  

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that allows someone who is partially to blame for an accident to collect damages from a negligent party. Fault is allocated on a percentage basis. As long as a victim is less than 50% responsible for the collision, they are entitled to damages.

However, a partially at-fault victim is not allowed to collect damages in full. Instead, they are entitled to a percent of the compensation. 

For example, suppose a driver hits a pedestrian that is jaywalking. The pedestrian may be found 20% responsible for causing the crash, and the driver allocated 80% of the blame. If a judge awards the pedestrian $10,000, they will be entitled to 80% of the damages. 

When Can a Driver Be Found Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in Nevada?

Motorists are required to watch for pedestrians. Given the disproportionate amount of damage a person will sustain when hit by an automobile, drivers are given a greater share of responsibility for preventing an accident. 

Drivers can be held liable for a pedestrian accident in the following situations:

  • The driver veers off the road
  • The motorist is driving distracted
  • The driver was speeding
  • The motorist failed to yield the right-of-way at a crosswalk, intersection, or other common pedestrian crossings 
  • The driver runs a red light or stop sign

When is a Pedestrian At Fault in a Traffic Accident? 

Though less common, pedestrians may be found to share blame in car accidents. According to the article above, 27 of the 36 people killed while walking were considered to be at fault for failing to cross at a crosswalk.

Pedestrians may be found at fault if they:

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

Under the comparative negligence doctrine, critical evidence can be gathered to allocate blame fairly to pedestrians and drivers. In a personal injury claim, the fault percentages will then be considered when awarding damages. 

What To Do After a Nevada Pedestrian Accident?

If a driver hits a pedestrian with their car in Nevada, it is important not to panic. Traffic collisions can be overwhelming. However, hitting a pedestrian is often more traumatic. Drivers should:

  1. Assess injuries and call for help
  2. If the pedestrian is conscience, encourage them not to move and wait for the paramedics to arrive
  3. If able, make the scene safer with cones or directing traffic away from the injured person
  4. When law enforcement arrives, give them contact and insurance information
  5. Gather as much critical evidence as possible, including pictures of the scene and witness information
  6. Seek medical attention

The immediate hours after hitting a pedestrian are crucial. Many drivers inadvertently make mistakes that can legally hurt them. 

What Not To Do After Hitting a Pedestrian With Your Car

Corena Car Accident Law

Hitting a pedestrian with a car is horrifying. It is crucial that drivers remain calm and avoid exacerbating the situation with poor decisions. After hitting a pedestrian, never:

  • Flee the scene of an accident
  • Attempt to conceal or throw away evidence
  • Speak to anyone at the accident without representation
  • Interfere with emergency personnel
  • Post on social media pictures or details of the accident
  • Speak to people about the traffic accident during the course of the investigation or trial

After calling for help, drivers must wait until help arrives on the scene. Typically, the fire department, law enforcement, and an ambulance will arrive to assess the situation. Paramedics will treat injuries. The pedestrian will likely be taken swiftly to the hospital. 

Drivers may feel compelled to explain themselves or apologize. However, it is in their best interests to remain silent. Never speak to law enforcement, paramedics, or any potential witnesses without speaking to an attorney first.  

Remain polite and cooperative. If pressed by Nevada law enforcement, it is acceptable for a driver to respectfully decline from questioning until they have spoken to an attorney. 

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, please call 702-680-1111 or contact us online so we can start discussing your case.

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