Under Nevada laws, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks. If failure to yield results in hitting a pedestrian, a driver can face serious penalties, including a charge for reckless driving.
Nevada Pedestrians at Risk
Nevada ranks sixth in the nation for pedestrian fatalities. A recent report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, “Pedestrian Safety Special Investigative Report,” shows that Nevada has consistently ranked among the 10 worst states for pedestrian fatalities in the last five years.
Failure to yield for pedestrians crossing the street is a major problem seen by accident lawyers in Washoe County. Pedestrian injuries and deaths continue to rise every year in Reno, a city that is filled with millions of tourists visiting busy casinos and nearby Lake Tahoe.
In Reno, 2019 was the deadliest year in the past five years for pedestrians. According to data from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, 16 people were killed by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the street. Three out of four drivers fail to stop for pedestrians crossing the street. Most pedestrian fatalities occur in busy areas with marked crosswalks and traffic-control signals, but some do occur in more rural areas without designated crosswalks.
The pedestrian fatality rate in Reno far outpaces the national average. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, seven out of 16 deaths occurred inside the McCarran loop, with clusters of them on Fourth and Sixth streets near Valley Road and along the I-580 corridor through the heart of Reno. Some fatalities occurred in areas without marked crosswalks where street lighting was dim or non-existent, while others happened in well-lit busy areas near casinos. Three deaths involved pedestrians over the age of 50 who were visiting the Reno community assistance center in the downtown area.
Nevada Failure to Yield Lawsuits
In Nevada, state laws mandate that all drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether official traffic-control devices are in place or not. If crosswalks do not have traffic signals or crosswalks are not marked, a driver must still slow down or stop to let pedestrians safely cross the street, road, or highway.
Pedestrians hit by automobiles, motorcycles, or bicycles while walking across a public road, street, or sidewalk can file a “pedestrian knockdown” lawsuit with an accident lawyer who handles personal injury cases. These types of lawsuits are more common in Nevada than in other states. Even if the driver and pedestrian are both at fault for the accident, the pedestrian may still be entitled to recover damages with one exception, the pedestrian may not be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If liability is 50 percent or less, recoverable damages include:
- Medical expenses for injuries
- Lost wages during treatment and recovery
- Lost future earning potential (if the pedestrian can’t return to work)
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (if the pedestrian dies)
- Punitive damages
Nevada injury claims limit the amount payable for pain and suffering to $350,000. If the driver is a government employee such as a police officer on patrol, liability is capped at $100,000 for medical bills and lost wages. Otherwise, there are usually no caps for compensatory damages on Nevada injury claims.
In a pedestrian knockdown lawsuit, the injured pedestrian can sue various parties, depending on the details of the accident. Liable parties can include the driver of the vehicle; the driver’s employer, if he/she was on duty at the time of the accident; and the city or county where the accident took place, if the city or county government was negligent in maintaining safe roads with proper signage and traffic signals.
Many pedestrian injuries seen by a Reno accident lawyer are caused by negligent drivers. However, to win a lawsuit, negligence must be proven in court. There are four main elements of proof needed by a plaintiff on a negligence claim:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty
- The breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury
- The plaintiff’s injury resulted in damages
In Nevada, all types of personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. A Reno accident lawyer can gather all necessary documents necessary to prove negligence and ensure they are filed with the court within the required statute of limitations.
Products Liability Lawsuits
If the car, motorcycle, or bicycle in the pedestrian knockdown lawsuit may have malfunctioned and caused the accident, the plaintiff can file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. However, the plaintiff needs to prove that the vehicle was defective at the time of the accident, and the defect caused the plaintiff’s injury.
A Reno accident lawyer who handles product liability cases can explain the details of the lawsuit and deal with responsible manufacturers who may refuse to accept liability for injuries.