Police are looking for the driver of a 1990s black Cadillac sedan who hopped a North Las Vegas curb and plowed into three pedestrians, sending two of them to the hospital with serious injuries.
The unidentified tortfeasor (negligent driver) was northbound on Civic Center Drive near the Gowan Road intersection when the vehicle suddenly hit three pedestrians who were on the sidewalk. All three victims were 21 or under. Even though the vehicle had significant damage to its front and passenger sides, the tortfeasor promptly fled the scene. Police also said they found some physical evidence at the scene, including a side view mirror and right side molding.
None of the names were released.
Any vehicle traveling fast enough to jump over a curb is traveling fast enough to cause serious injuries because speed is one of the most decisive factors in these instances. In fact, velocity has a multiplying effect on pedestrian injuries. Consider the following:
- If the tortfeasor is traveling slower than 25mph upon impact with a pedestrian, the pedestrian death rate is about 10 percent.
- If the tortfeasor is traveling faster than 45mph, the pedestrian death rate is about 75 percent.
Excessive velocity also increases the risk of a collision, because the faster that drivers travel, the less time they have to safely react to emergency situations. Adverse environmental factors, such as rain or darkness, make speed even more dangerous.
Legal Issues in Hit-and-Run Cases
The pedestrian injury situation, while bad enough, is obviously much worse if the tortfeasor is not immediately identifiable. Some people believe that if there is no defendant, there is no hope for compensation. But that’s usually not the case.
If the hit-and-run driver is never caught, most victims can file claims against their own insurance policies. Since the company wants to keep the victim as a customer, these cases often settle rather quickly, and in terms that are quite plaintiff-friendly.
On the other hand, if the tortfeasor is apprehended, which happens in up to 90 percent of these cases, juries often award additional punitive damages to punish the tortfeasor’s wrongful conduct. Such damages are available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor intentionally disregarded a known risk and thereby risked the safety or property of other people. That’s a very apt description for incidents like the above story because by fleeing the scene, the tortfeasor probably delayed medical attention for the victims and made their serious injuries even worse.
To bridge the gap between these two possible outcomes, attorneys often partner with private investigators who will review evidence that first responders may not have examined, such as:
- Nearby surveillance video,
- Additional witness statements, and
- Clues found at local body shops.
Additionally, because of the lower standard of proof (more likely than not vs. beyond a reasonable doubt), these cases are much easier to prove in civil court than they are in criminal court.
Connect with a Tenacious Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney
Car crashes often cause serious injuries and create intricate legal problems. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.