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It’s Dangerous To Cross The Street

A 70-year-old man is dead following a pedestrian-auto crash in North Las Vegas.

The incident occurred as the man – whose name was not released – crossed Las Vegas Boulevard near Lake Mead Boulevard; the man was outside the crosswalk. A sedan hit the man and injured him; he was transported to a local hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead. The sedan driver – whose name was not released – remained at the scene and police do not anticipate filing charges at this time.

Authorities said they had ruled out alcohol and speed as contributing factors.

Fact Issues in Pedestrian-Vehicle Crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is injured every seven minutes in a collision with a vehicle. This estimate is probably low, because it only includes incidents that take place on public roadways. The NHTSA study also points out that pedestrian fatalities are going up, while motor vehicle occupant fatalities are going down. This discrepancy may be because more people are walking than they were before, but no one is really certain.

What is certain is that children under 14 and adults over 65 are the most at-risk age groups and that most of these incidents occur outside marked crosswalks. That later statistic becomes important when discussing legal issues. Some of the serious injuries that pedestrians sustain in these incidents include:

  • Head Injuries: Motorcyclists have helmets and motorists have seat belts and air bags to protect their heads, but pedestrians have nothing.
  • Internal Injuries: The severe jarring motion often associated with pedestrian-auto crashes causes internal organs to rub together and hemorrhage.
  • Broken Bones: Actually, “crushed” bones is a more apt description, because that is normally the result in pedestrian-auto crashes.

Victims are entitled to damages that include compensation for economic losses, like physical rehabilitation costs, and noneconomic losses, like emotional distress.

Legal Issues in Pedestrian-Auto Crashes

Since most (70 percent according to the NHTSA study) pedestrian-auto crashes occur outside the crosswalk, there are often intricate legal issues involved.

Many times, the insurance company tried to deny liability by invoking the sudden emergency defense. This doctrine absolves tortfeasors (negligent drivers) from liability if they are responding to an unexpected situation, like a tire blow-out or hood fly-up. Since they are so common, a jaywalking pedestrian is not a completely unexpected situation and therefore not a “sudden emergency” in the legal sense, so this defense typically does not apply. The outcome is usually the same regardless of whether the pedestrian walked into traffic or “darted into” traffic.

Contributory negligence sometimes applies, because a jury often concludes that both parties were at least partly responsible for the wreck. Nevada is a modified comparative fault state that has a 51 percent bar. If a jury determines the jaywalking pedestrian was 30 percent at fault, the tortfeasor was 70 percent at fault, and the victim’s damages were $10,000, the victim would recover $7,000. But if the jury divided fault 50/50, the victim receives nothing because the tortfeasor’s liability was not at least 51 percent.

Reach Out to a Zealous Attorney

Pedestrian-auto crashes often involve complicated factual and legal questions. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely handle matter in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.