Pedestrian Hit by a Car: What to Do When That Happens?

Ben Bingham Car Accident Attorney
Ben Bingham, Car Accident Lawyer

What happens if you are walking or jogging around Nevada and a car hits you? You will need to call a car accident lawyer.

The possibility of being hit by a car in our state is all too real, especially in the cities. Just recently, Nevada reported the fifth-highest number of pedestrian deaths in the country. There are 2.78 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people. That’s more than triple the rate of the lowest-ranked state.

Las Vegas ranks #21 in the country for most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians.

Not only that, but pedestrian deaths are rising, and Nevada is unfortunately the seventh highest state in this increase. Ninety-nine pedestrians were killed in the last year for which statistics are available, versus 80 the year before. Even more disturbingly, this increase is occurring even as the total traffic fatalities from all types of accidents falls.

In the country as a whole, 7,450 pedestrians were killed in the last year for which statistics are available, and almost 129,000 pedestrians had to be taken to emergency departments for injuries. In one recent nine-year period, moreover, pedestrian traffic fatalities rose 27 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 75 percent of pedestrian deaths happen in cities, and roughly the same percentage occur when it’s dark. In 48 percent of pedestrian-vehicle crashes, one or both parties have consumed too much liquor, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Intersection collisions are responsible for 18 percent of pedestrian crashes.

Guess what? Each one of these factors is very present when people go out, either in Las Vegas or in Reno. Many visitors and residents walk. They are often celebrating and drinking. The Strip is active at night. People cross at intersections and outside of them. While pedestrian-car accidents can happen anywhere in Nevada, they are more likely to occur where many cars interact with many pedestrians.

But pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere—around schools, in residential areas where children play and run, at airports, shopping malls, and casino parking lots, and more.

Nevada law can also exacerbated the problem of cars hitting pedestrians. In many states, pedestrians always have the right of way. Many people may grow up out of state believing that pedestrian right of way is a universal rule. It is not.

In Nevada, pedestrians have the right of way at designated crosswalks and at intersections, per Nevada statute NRS 484B.287. But pedestrians outside of crosswalks or intersections are expected to yield the right of way to cars and other vehicles. In other words, in those situations, they do not have the right of way—but may believe they do if they are unfamiliar with the law.

What to Do if You Are Hit by a Car

So what should you do if you are hit by a car?

The first step is to ensure your safety. If you are injured badly (bleeding or can’t walk, for example), call 911 right away or have someone do it for you.

If you are shaken but do not appear to be severely injured, call the police and move to a safe position nearby where the police can find you. Do not remain in traffic or in an unsafe place where more vehicles can strike you.

The police will make a police report. The police report is perhaps the most important piece of evidence should you decide to take legal action for damages against the party at fault for the accident. The officer will report facts about the accident, including where it took place, when it took place, and who was involved. The facts will include what happened, statements by all parties, and trajectories of the accident.

Be sure to answer all the officer’s questions completely and truthfully. Obtain a copy of the police report.

You also need to obtain the contact information of the car’s driver, just as you would in any accident. Get the name, insurance information, and email address.

You may wonder how you obtain this information if you call 911 and are taken away in an ambulance. Again, your first priority is being treated for serious injuries. A 911 call will alert the police as well as emergency responders in an ambulance. A report will be made if you are at a hospital, and you will be able to obtain it. You will also be able to obtain the driver’s contact information. In other words, don’t hesitate to get medical attention because you feel you have to complete these steps first at all costs.

The same is true if the accident rendered you unconscious. Police reports will be made as a result of the accident, and from them, you can track down the driver and the driver’s insurance company.

If you are not seriously injured, continue to get evidence at the scene. If you have a smartphone or other camera with you, take pictures of the scene. Show both cars and the surrounding area, including trajectories and obstacles that show how the accident occurred.

Take pictures of your injuries, and do that as soon as possible, because injuries may heal. You want evidence that shows the full extent of what the injuries were. If you are taken away from the scene, take pictures of your injuries as soon as you can.

Talk to any eyewitnesses and get their contact information as well.

Finally, even if you don’t feel seriously injured, get checked out either by your doctor or at an emergency room. Some injuries don’t have signs, or only show signs hours after the fact. A doctor will know what to look for and can look for these types of injuries. They can tell you how to care for your injuries or give you a clean bill of health.

Save all of the bills for medical treatment after a pedestrian-car accident. These can include:

  • Ambulance ride from the scene
  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Doctor’s bills
  • Prescription medication
  • Assistive devices, such as crutches or wheelchairs
  • Physical therapy

Why? Because while the chief action you should take is ensuring your safety, it’s also prudent to gather evidence of the nature and extent of your injuries. Doctor’s bills and other documentation of your medical care constitute potentially important evidence in a later legal proceeding. And if you didn’t cause the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay the bills that resulted.

Who Is Legally Liable if I’m Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian-car accident may result in huge medical bills. In addition, injuries may leave you unable to return to work immediately, or perhaps at all. The person at fault for these injuries should pay for them.

Under Nevada law, an injured pedestrian can receive damage compensation for:

  • Medical treatment bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Costs of rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship

If you need more information and assistance, an experienced pedestrian accident attorney at Benson & Bingham can help you learn your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.

Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-382-9797

Benson and Bingham