For all the high-risk adventures of Las Vegas, one of the riskiest things you can do here is to be a pedestrian on our city streets. Las Vegas ranks close to the top of all major cities for pedestrian accidents. But while many pedestrian accidents do happen along the strip, many are widely scattered across Clark County.
Driver and Pedestrian Distractions
One of the most common reasons for pedestrian accidents in Las Vegas is driver distraction. We are a city of distractions and the lights and abundance of things to focus on can take a driver’s attention off the road. Couple that with cellphone use and other electronic distractions, and we have increased the distraction quotient exponentially.
Distraction is not only about the driver. Distracted pedestrians are everywhere in Las Vegas. We attract thousands of visitors each month who are unfamiliar with or merely marveling at their surroundings, taking photos, searching for directions, or engaging in other common media-driven technology distractions. But doing these while navigating our busy streets, even as a pedestrian, can be a serious injury or fatality waiting to happen.
Drunk Driving and Walking
Another common cause of pedestrian accidents in Las Vegas is alcohol use, both by drivers and pedestrians.
Las Vegas is well known as a place of indulgences and alcohol is a common one here. Nationwide, alcohol is a factor in approximately 49 percent of pedestrian fatalities. While these are mostly caused by driver intoxication, about one-third of these are caused by a drunk pedestrian. Pedestrians who are navigating the city while impaired can cause accidents, resulting in their own injuries as well as those who are sharing the road.
Pedestrian Unfriendly Roads
Unfortunately, in and around Las Vegas, infrastructure has prioritized vehicle traffic at the expense of pedestrian foot traffic. Pedestrian accidents became so problematic a few years ago that the state of Nevada declared them an epidemic, with pedestrian fatalities outpacing deaths from breast cancer and the flu.
Roadways are wider with higher speed limits, some with no dedicated crosswalks or even buffered sidewalks. At some high-traffic intersections in Las Vegas, crosswalks are not even timed to give a pedestrian sufficient time to cross the entire street.
Traffic experts have determined that there are some critical characteristics here that may contribute to the high number of crashes and pedestrian accidents, including
- Roads that are designed solely for moving vehicles
- Outdated roads that have not accounted for growth
- Speed limits that are too fast to allow for enough reaction time and stopping distance
- Poorly timed crosswalks
The Nevada Department of Transportation has worked over the years to build in safety improvements and enhanced crosswalks. But despite these improvements, pedestrians are just as vulnerable as ever on our roads.
Pedestrian Laws Are There For a Reason
In Las Vegas, we have specific pedestrian laws for the safety of all involved.
While most people assume that a pedestrian is always legally protected in the case of an accident, drivers are not always liable for pedestrian accidents. Recently, a pedestrian was critically injured after darting into traffic during the early morning hours near the strip. In this case, the driver was not impaired and simply may not have had enough time to react.
Pedestrians can be found at fault in accidents that were caused by their own behavior, such as ignoring crosswalk laws, impairment, or simply making poor decisions. In Las Vegas, there are stringent pedestrian and jaywalking laws, and violation of these can forfeit a pedestrian’s right of way rights. Consequently, the pedestrian can often be held liable for any resulting accident.
If You Have Been Injured in Las Vegas as a Pedestrian
In Nevada, we have comparative negligence laws that allow an accident victim the right to recover some damages, even if they were partially at fault for the accident. But those who are over 50% at fault cannot collect damages in an injury claim.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Las Vegas, an insurance company may try to paint your degree of fault at over 50% to deflect their liability. It is critical that you contact a skilled personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas to understand your rights under our laws.
At LV Personal Injury Lawyers, we have dedicated our careers to the rights of the victim. Call us at (702) 800-4660 to schedule a free consultation.