Every year, Nevada witnesses a significant number of pedestrian accidents, often leading to severe injuries and distress for those involved. These incidents not only impact the physical well-being of individuals but also pose substantial legal challenges. In this comprehensive guide, you learn about different aspects of pedestrian accident injuries in Nevada.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a pedestrian accident in Las Vegas, understanding your rights and the available legal options is paramount. At Pedestrian Accident Injuries, we offer expert legal support to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Do not navigate this challenging journey alone; let our experienced attorneys guide you every step of the way.

Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries in Nevada

Pedestrian accidents can lead to various injuries, ranging from minor to life-altering. Below are the common types of injuries suffered in pedestrian accidents in Nevada:

Fractured and Broken Bones

Pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles often result in fractured and broken bones, a consequence of the unprotected and vulnerable state of pedestrians. The nature of these injuries varies significantly in terms of severity and long-term impact.

Fractures sustained in pedestrian accidents can be categorized based on their severity:

  • Hairline fractures. These minor cracks in the bone may not cause immediate disability but can be painful and require healing time.
  • Simple fractures. These involve a single break in the bone.
  • Compound fractures. More severe, these fractures involve the bone breaking into several pieces, sometimes piercing the skin, and are prone to infection.

The impact of a vehicle can affect different bones, including:

  • Leg Fractures (Tibia and Fibula). The lower extremities are often the first point of contact in a pedestrian accident. Tibia (shinbone) and fibula fractures are common. These injuries can range from simple fractures to more complex breaks involving displacement of bone fragments.
  • Hip Fractures. High-impact collisions can result in hip fractures, which are particularly serious due to their role in supporting body weight. Such fractures can lead to long-term mobility issues, especially in older adults.
  • Upper Extremity Fractures. When pedestrians instinctively use their arms to protect themselves during a crash, it can lead to fractures in the arms, hands, or wrists. These injuries can impact daily activities and may require surgical intervention.

The treatment for fractures depends on the type and severity of the injury:

  1. Non-surgical treatment. Treatment for less severe fractures may involve immobilization with casts or braces and physical rehabilitation therapy.
  2. Surgical treatment. Severe fractures, like compound fractures, often require surgical intervention to realign and stabilize the bone fragments using pins, plates, or screws.

The recovery process varies, with factors such as age, overall health, and the severity of the fracture playing a role. Some fractures may heal within weeks, while others may take several months or longer. Complications such as non-union (where the bone fails to heal properly) or infection can prolong recovery.

Bodily Disfigurement

Bodily disfigurement resulting from pedestrian accidents often leaves permanent and visible marks that extend beyond physical pain to psychological trauma. In pedestrian accidents, the lack of physical protection often leads to severe types of disfigurement, including:

  • Deep cuts or abrasions result in significant scarring. Scars, especially those on visible areas such as the face, may require surgical procedures like skin grafts or laser treatments.
  • In extreme cases, a pedestrian accident can lead to the amputation of limbs, either at the accident scene or as a necessary medical intervention later due to severe injury.
  • Injuries to the face, including broken bones, deep lacerations, or burns, could lead to long-term or permanent disfigurement.
  • Burns, severe abrasions, and road rashes can cause substantial skin damage, potentially leading to permanent disfigurement.

Visible scars or loss of limbs can significantly impact a person's body image and self-esteem. You may struggle with feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment. The altered appearance can lead to social withdrawal and isolation, as victims may feel uncomfortable in public or social settings. Disfigurement can also lead to long-term psychological issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Treating or rehabilitating bodily disfigurement often involves a multidisciplinary approach:

  • Plastic surgery or reconstructive procedures can help reduce the visibility of scars or repair damaged areas.
  • For lost limbs, prosthetics can aid in restoring functionality and improving the quality of life.
  • Mental health support is crucial to helping victims cope with the trauma and adjust to life after the accident.
  • Physical therapy helps with regaining mobility and adapting to new physical limitations.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are among the most critical and life-threatening. Due to the unprotected nature of pedestrians, the force of impact on a vehicle can cause severe damage to internal organs and lead to internal bleeding. These injuries often require urgent medical intervention and can have long-lasting effects.

Internal injuries from pedestrian accidents can include:

  • Internal Bleeding. This can occur in various body regions, including the abdomen, chest, or head
  • Organ Damage. Vital organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or lungs can be damaged upon impact.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A head impact can cause bleeding or swelling inside the brain, leading to a TBI. Symptoms can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
  • Fractured Ribs and Thoracic Injuries. The force of an accident can lead to fractured ribs, which can subsequently damage internal organs like the lungs or heart.
  • Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm. A severe impact on the abdomen can cause a tear in the abdominal aorta, the major blood vessel supplying blood to the body, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding.

Since internal injuries are not always visibly apparent, they can be particularly dangerous. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are critical for diagnosing internal injuries, allowing doctors to visualize damage to organs, bones, and tissues.

Symptoms like abdominal pain, dizziness, fainting, or blood in the urine can indicate internal injuries and should prompt immediate medical attention.

The treatment for internal injuries depends on the type and severity. In cases of severe organ damage or internal bleeding, emergency surgery may be necessary to repair the damage and save the patient's life. Medications to manage pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent infection may be prescribed for less severe injuries. In some cases, hospitalization for close monitoring may be required to ensure no complications arise.

Lacerations, Abrasions and Contusions

Pedestrian accidents can result in various surface injuries, including lacerations, abrasions, and contusions, often caused by a collision with a vehicle or secondary impact on the ground or other objects.

  1. Lacerations

Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in the skin. They can occur from contact with broken glass, metal parts of the vehicle, or rough road surfaces. Treatment might involve cleaning, stitching, and possibly surgery in severe cases. If not treated properly, lacerations can lead to infection or significant scarring.

  1. Abrasions

Abrasions are surface wounds where the skin is scraped off. These are common when a pedestrian's skin rubs against the road (road rash). Treatment includes cleaning the wound to prevent infection and allowing it to heal naturally. More severe abrasions might require medical attention to remove debris and dead skin.

  1. Contusions

Contusions are bruises caused by blunt trauma. While they may seem minor, contusions can sometimes indicate deeper trauma, especially if they are widespread or very painful. Treatment generally involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Severe contusions may require further medical evaluation.

Back and Neck Injuries

Back and neck injuries are a significant concern in pedestrian accidents, often leading to chronic pain, limited mobility, or even paralysis. The lack of protection for pedestrians makes them vulnerable to these types of injuries, which can have immediate and long-term effects. Injuries affecting the back and neck are:

  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Herniated Discs. The force of a collision can cause the discs in the spine to rupture or shift, leading to pain and mobility issues.
  • This common neck injury results from sudden head and neck movement, especially in rear-end collisions.
  • Compression Fractures. These occur when the bones in the spine collapse, which can happen in severe pedestrian accidents.

Diagnosis and treatment could involve medical imaging, for example, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Many victims require physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair spinal damage or relieve nerve pressure. Managing pain is also a critical component of the treatment process.

Lost Hearing and Vision

In cases of head trauma, which is a common injury in pedestrian accidents, hearing loss can occur either due to direct injury to the ear or to the auditory pathways in the brain. The severity can vary, ranging from partial to complete hearing loss.

Vision loss in pedestrian accidents can result from direct trauma to the eyes, optic nerves, or brain areas responsible for vision. Such injuries can be caused by the initial impact or secondary contact with objects or the ground.

The loss of crucial senses like hearing and vision can be deeply traumatic. It can lead to significant lifestyle changes, affecting a person's independent ability to work and engage in social activities.

Recovery may involve extensive rehabilitation and adaptation to new ways of living. For instance, individuals who lose their hearing may need to learn sign language or use hearing aids, while those who lose their vision might require orientation and mobility training to use canes or service animals.

Such losses are often considered in claims for damages, particularly under non-economic damages, for their significant impact on the quality of life.

Fatalities or Deaths

Pedestrian accidents can tragically result in fatalities, with the lack of protection making pedestrians highly vulnerable, especially in high-speed collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a total of 7,388 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2021, marking a 13 percent increase from 2020 and accounting for 17 percent of all crash fatalities. 

The National Safety Council analysis of pedestrian traffic fatality data shows that pedestrian deaths rose by 12.5% from 2020, and these fatalities accounted for about 17% of traffic deaths in 2021​​. Alcohol impairment was a factor in 41% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2020, accounting for 2,647 deaths​​.

Pedestrian fatalities vary by age, with the largest number of deaths occurring among 55- to 64-year-olds (1,343) in 2021. Children aged 5 to 9 experienced the fewest number of pedestrian deaths (50) in 2021, yet these deaths still represented nearly 14% of all traffic deaths for this age group​​.

The percentage of speeding-related pedestrian deaths among children younger than 15 has doubled from 6% to 12% since 2018​​. The continued uptick in sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has been noted as a contributing factor to the severity of pedestrian impacts in the event of a collision​​.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) emphasizes a safe system approach, focusing on safe people, speeds, vehicles, roads, and post-crash care to enhance pedestrian safety​​.

Recovering Damages For Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Recovering damages for injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents involves quantifying the financial and emotional toll of the accident and seeking adequate compensation. The process of recovering damages involves the following steps:

Investigate the Accident

Investigating a pedestrian accident aims to establish the facts of the accident, determine liability, and gather evidence to support the victim's claim. This includes examining the location of the accident for clues such as skid marks, vehicle debris, and traffic signs. The road layout, visibility, and any hazards that might have contributed to the accident are also considered.

Interviews with witnesses can show how the accident occurred. Witnesses may include bystanders, other drivers, or passengers. Police reports often contain valuable information, including the officer's observations and conclusions about the accident. These reports might also include results from any alcohol or drug testing conducted on the driver.

If available, footage from traffic cameras, dashcams, or nearby security cameras can offer an unbiased view of the accident. Examining the vehicle involves providing evidence of the driver's behavior, such as whether the driver was speeding or failed to brake.

Investigating the driver's history for past violations or patterns of negligence can be instrumental in establishing liability. Here, accident reconstruction experts can help you understand the dynamics of the accident, such as the vehicle's speed at the time of impact.

Document Evidence

Documenting evidence forms the basis for establishing liability, supporting claims for damages, and ensuring fair compensation. Identifying who was at fault in the accident is crucial for pursuing a claim against the responsible party. Evidence, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, helps determine the cause of the accident and who is responsible​​. Without proper documentation, it may be challenging to prove the extent of injuries or their impact on the victim's life​​.

Types of evidence to gather include the following:

  • Police Reports. The official police report often contains vital details about the accident, including statements from witnesses and the parties involved​​.
  • Photos of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage provide visual records that can be compelling evidence​​​​.
  • Medical Records. All records related to injuries and treatment, including diagnostic tests, X-rays, and medical bills, are critical for proving medical expenses and the extent of injuries​​​​.
  • Witness Statements. Independent witness statements can corroborate the victim's version of events and are crucial evidence in pedestrian accident cases​​​​.
  • Video Surveillance. Footage from traffic cameras or nearby businesses can provide a clear picture of the events leading up to the accident​​.
  • Expert Opinions. Consultations with medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, or other professionals can provide insights into the cause of the accident and injuries​​.
  • Driver Information. Information about the driver involved, including insurance information, is essential for the claims process​​.

Prepare and File a Claim/Lawsuit

Preparing and filing a claim or lawsuit requires a detailed understanding of the legal system and an in-depth assessment of both economic and non-economic damages. The process involves several critical steps, from the initial preparation to the filing and subsequent proceedings.

  1. Understanding Damages and Settlements

In personal injury lawsuits, for example, damages are categorized into special (economic) damages and general (noneconomic) damages. Monetary damages include quantifiable losses like medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic damages cover intangible losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. These are crucial in determining the value of a lawsuit​​.

An acceptable settlement offer should cover all medical expenses (current and future), lost wages, and additional amounts for pain and suffering. The amount to ask for in a settlement will depend on factors like the economic and non-economic damages, the strength of the case, and the defendant's ability to pay​​.

  1. Filing Process and Legal Procedures

A lawsuit typically starts when the plaintiff files a complaint containing factual allegations and the type of relief sought. This complaint must be served on the defendant, who then has limited time to respond​​. After the initial pleadings, a scheduling conference is set, followed by the discovery phase, which can last 6-10 months. This phase is crucial for gathering information from both parties and third parties​​. After discovery, parties often engage in settlement discussions or file motions for summary judgment, seeking a judgment without a trial​​.

  1. Timeframes and Tax Implications

The time to negotiate a settlement can vary greatly, depending on the case's complexity and the parties' willingness to negotiate. This could range from a few months to several years​​. The taxability of settlements depends on the nature of the settlement or award. Generally, compensatory damages for physical injury are not taxable, but other damages, like those for lost wages, may be taxable​​.

  1. Statutes of Limitations and Venue Selection

Every state has different deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits, known as statutes of limitations. California allows up to two years, and missing these deadlines can be a costly mistake, leading to the dismissal of the case​​.

Deciding where to file the lawsuit involves selecting the appropriate state, the venue within the state, and the right court. This is typically influenced by where the incident occurred in California and the residence of the parties involved​​.

  1. Preparing for the Lawsuit

At this stage, your lawyer should help with drafting the complaint. The complaint, or petition, is the document that initiates the lawsuit. It should detail the parties involved, the circumstances of the injury, and the legal reasons for holding the defendant responsible​​.

  1. Negotiating and Reaching a Settlement

Before and during the lawsuit, parties often negotiate to settle. This is a critical phase where the strengths and weaknesses of each side's case are assessed, and fair compensation is negotiated based on the damages incurred​​.

In many cases, parties may opt for mediation to facilitate settlement discussions. This can happen before key events like oral depositions to save resources and time. A successful settlement should ideally compensate for all the losses, including economic and non-economic damages​​.

  1. Finalizing and Implementing the Settlement

Once a settlement is agreed upon, a formal agreement is drafted and signed. The defendant usually has a specified period, typically 30 to 60 days, to make the payment. The settlement agreement must detail the payment terms and conditions​​.

After a settlement is reached, you should consider aspects like the allocation of the settlement amount, tax implications, and any ongoing medical or rehabilitative needs that the settlement amount might finance​​.

  1. If the Case Goes to Trial

If a settlement is not reached, the case may proceed to trial. This involves preparing evidence, witness testimonies, and legal arguments to be presented in court. Both sides will have the opportunity to present their case before a judge or jury​​.

At the end of the trial, a verdict is delivered. The court will issue a judgment detailing the compensation amount if you win. However, court decisions can be appealed, prolonging the case's resolution​​.

Damages Available for Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrian accidents can result in substantial damages, both financial and non-financial. You are entitled to compensation for a variety of losses, which can be categorized into two main types, including:

  1. Monetary Damages

Monetary damages in pedestrian accident cases include:

  • Compensation for all medical treatment related to the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work post-accident.
  • Lost earning capacity if you suffer a disability that affects your ability to earn in the future.
  • Other out-of-pocket costs include prescriptions, medical supplies, transportation, and services like housekeeping and childcare.

Calculating these damages involves tallying up all receipts, bills, and documentation related to the accident and its aftermath.

  1. Non-Monetary Damages

Non-monetary damages encompass the following:

  • Pain and Suffering.
  • Emotional Distress.
  • Physical Disfigurement.
  • Lost Consortium.
  • Lost Enjoyment in Life.

These damages are more subjective and challenging to quantify. They often rely on the victim's testimony and medical reports. Calculating non-economic damages may involve using methods such as assigning a daily value to the victim's pain and suffering or applying a multiplier to the total economic damages.

Find a Competent Car Accident Lawyer Near Me

For victims of pedestrian accidents in Las Vegas, recovering damages is a daunting task. This is where the expertise of a competent car accident lawyer becomes invaluable. A skilled attorney can guide you through documenting evidence, calculating damages, and negotiating with insurance companies. They ensure that all aspects of your case, including economic and non-economic damages, are thoroughly considered and represented.

At Dallas Horton & Associates, our experienced attorneys are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at 702-820-5917. We are here to support you every step of the way.