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An out-of-control SUV barreled onto the sidewalk, struck a pedestrian, and ended up on top of a pickup truck.

The wreck occurred in the West Valley, near the intersection of West Sahara and South Rainbow. According to investigators and witnesses, a 30-year-old man hopped the curb in an SUV, striking a pedestrian on the sidewalk. The collision threw him into a nearby car dealership lot, where he died almost instantly. The SUV continued rambling into that same car lot. It overturned and came to rest on top of one of the vehicles in that lot. First responders rushed the man to a local hospital with serious injuries.

None of the names were released.

Speed and Pedestrian Crashes in Nevada

High-velocity crashes are almost always fatal in pedestrian-auto crashes. And in these accidents, “high velocity” is a relative term. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is travelling 30mph or under, the pedestrian fatality rate is under 10 percent. However, at 40mph or greater, the fatality rate grows exponentially to over 90 percent.

In vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, multiple restraint and protective layers protect both drivers and passengers. But pedestrians have no such protections. So, they often suffer from serious injuries like:

  • Internal Wounds: As in the above story, the force of the impact usually throws the victim a great distance. When the victim lands, internal organs smash against each other. The resulting internal bleeding sometimes goes undetected for quite some time.
  • Head Injuries: That same impact often causes serious head injuries. Since dead brain cells do not regenerate, these injuries are always permanent. Surgery and physical therapy can ease the symptoms considerably, but they cannot “cure” these wounds.
  • External Trauma Injuries: Much of the blood loss comes from the severe lacerations and other wounds which these accidents cause. In fact, many victims lose so much blood that they may already be on the brink of organ shutdown before they reach the nearest hospital.

To reduce or deny compensation for these injuries, insurance company lawyers often rely on a number of legal loopholes. One of the most prominent ones is the contributory negligence defense. If lawyers claim that the victim “darted out” in front of the tortfeasor, they are usually setting up this defense. Nevada is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, even if the victim was 49 percent responsible for the injuries, the tortfeasor must still pay a proportional share of damages.

Wrongful Death Damages Available in Las Vegas

Fatality accidents are usually quite complex in Las Vegas. They sometimes involve two separate lawsuits against the same tortfeasor.

Nevada’s wrongful death statute limits damages in these cases to pecuniary losses. In general, this category includes economic damages, such as lost future financial support, and noneconomic damages directly related to the victim’s fatal injury. The family’s grief and emotional pain is usually not an issue in wrongful death cases.

To obtain compensation for these losses, the survivors may pursue a separate negligent infliction of emotional distress action against the tortfeasor. Nevada is one of the few states which recognize NIED actions. The elements are:

  • A negligent injury to a close relative, which
  • Substantially caused the plaintiff’s damages.

Both these elements are present in Las Vegas wrongful death cases. So, survivors may be entitled to money that can help assuage their grief during an extremely difficult time.

Team Up With a Dedicated Lawyer

Pedestrian-auto accidents often cause fatal injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.