Investigators believe that unsafe speed may have contributed to a fatal car crash between two SUVs in the Northeast Valley.
According to police and witnesses, 20-year-old Eduardo Morales-Urrtia, of Las Vegas, entered the intersection of H Street and Owens just as the light changed, and just as a 55-year-old man, whose name was not released, was finishing an unprotected left turn. Because of the force of the collision, Mr. Morales-Urrtia’s GMC Jimmy left the roadway and struck a light pole before overturning. He was killed almost instantly; the other driver and an 18-year-old passenger were both rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries, but they are expected to survive.
The driver remained at the scene and did not show signs of impairment, according to police.
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Car Crash Causes
Speed is a primary or contributing factor in many of the serious accidents that take place on Las Vegas-area roads, largely because according to Newton’s Second Physical Law, speed multiplies the force in collisions between two objects. Essentially, excessive velocity moves every crash up to the next level, so near-misses become non-injury crashes, fender-benders become serious injury crashes, and serious injury crashes become fatal collisions.
In intersection collisions, speed adds another dangerous dimension, because of reaction time. In the half-second or so it takes for drivers to see a hazard, move their feet from the accelerator to the brake pedal, and step on the brake, a slow-moving car might only travel a few feet, but a fast-moving car may travel sixty feet or even more. Impairment by alcohol, drugs, or lack of sleep has an even greater effect on reaction distance, because the driver’s reactions are so much slower in these conditions.
Another salient point about intersection collisions is that, in many cases, both drivers are at least partially at fault. In these situations, the jury must divide fault between the victim and the tortfeasor (negligent driver) based on the evidence.
Nevada is a modified comparative fault state that has a 51 percent liability threshold. So, in order to recover damages, the victim’s percentage of fault can be no more than 49 percent, and the damages are reduced proportionally. Assume Vicky Victim was speeding, Terry Tortfeasor was intoxicated, Vicky’s damages were $50,000, and the jury divides fault at 60 percent to Terry and 40 percent to Vicky. Under these facts, Vicky would recover $30,000. But if the jury divided fault 50-50, Vicky would get nothing, because Terry’s liability did not exceed the legal threshold.
Last clear chance is a somewhat related concept in these cases. Assume Vicky was attempting an unprotected left turn in front of Terry. If the jury determines that Vicky could have avoided the crash but failed to do so, liability for the wreck flips from Terry to Vicky. For the defense to apply, Vicky (or anyone else) must have the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, and not the last possible chance.
Reach Out to a Zealous Attorney
Excessive speed makes dangerous crashes even more dangerous. For a free consultation with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We take care of your medical bills so you can focus on getting better.