Vegas Driver Swerves to Avoid Jaywalker, Causes Fatal Accident

In a recent accident in east Las Vegas, a driver caused a fatal accident resulting in two deaths after swerving to avoid a jaywalker. This accident is one of many illustrating the dangers of jaywalking and inattentive driving in the presence of pedestrians. However, while jaywalkers may appear to be the primarily liable party in cases like these, drivers must also do what they can to maintain a safe environment at all times, making them potentially liable even if they attempt to avoid an accident.

Unattentive driver almost hit a shocked pedestrian.

Who Can Be Held Liable After a Car Accident With a Jaywalker in Nevada?

Generally, drivers and pedestrians owe a duty of care to others on the road, which means they must practice reasonable caution whether driving, cycling, or walking near roadways. If a jaywalker or driver practices negligence on Las Vegas roads and causes injuries to others, he or she may be liable.

For instance, in the recent accident that occurred in east Las Vegas, a jaywalker could be liable in a claim if investigations find them responsible for the two deaths that resulted from a driver’s attempt to avoid a jaywalker.

Two individuals died in a multiple-vehicle crash in Las Vegas’ east valley. The incident occurred near Nellis and Charleston boulevards when a Mazda 3, allegedly swerving to avoid a jaywalker, hit three vehicles after failing to stop at a red light. The driver, a 40-year-old man, and the passenger, a 65-year-old woman, both in the Mazda, were pronounced dead at the scene. Five individuals from the other vehicles sustained minor injuries and were treated at UMC, while two declined medical attention. LVMPD is investigating.

If victims of an accident or their loved ones believe that a driver or another party is liable for an accident and subsequent injuries or fatalities, they may seek compensation in a third-party liability claim or lawsuit.

Proving liability and recovering compensation can be difficult in these cases, as individuals must identify the liable parties involved, prove that they owed a duty of care, prove that they breached that duty of care, and that this breach led to car accident damages.

When Drivers Are Liable vs. Pedestrians

Depending on the nature of the car accident, a driver, pedestrian, or both parties could be liable for injuries and damage.

Driver Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

Drivers could be held responsible for an accident if they breached a duty of care in the presence of pedestrians.

For example, drivers could be liable when they fail to come to a complete stop or yield for pedestrians in marked crosswalks or school-zone crossings. Drivers could also be liable if they fail to stop or yield for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks if the pedestrian is on the driver’s side of the road and there is a lack of traffic signals.

Additionally, drivers must give pedestrians the right of way when turning at intersections, when pedestrians enter a crosswalk prior to a light change, and when stopping at a red light before making a turn. They also need to give pedestrians the right of way when pedestrians are entering the street from a driveway, building, or another structure, and when pedestrians cross the street with a walk signal.

In most cases, drivers must give pedestrians the right of way, with the exception of situations when pedestrians exhibit negligence or malicious intent.

Pedestrian Liability

While drivers are frequently liable in pedestrian accidents when they fail to give pedestrians the right of way, pedestrians could be responsible for an accident if they breach their duty of care.

Instances when pedestrians might be liable for an accident could include:

  • Failure to wait for walk signals or other traffic signals or neglecting to cross at designated crosswalks
  • When leaving safe locations for pedestrians and traveling in the way of moving vehicles in a manner that increases the risk of an accident
  • Walking in the middle of the road when there is a shoulder or sidewalk available for pedestrian use
  • Failure to obey barriers like railroad crossings and gates
  • Walking in unsafe locations while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Either pedestrians or drivers may be responsible for car accidents if they engage in negligent or malicious acts to cause the accident, but some cases may lead to both parties sharing liability. An example of this type of situation is when a pedestrian suddenly crosses the street in an unsafe area and a driver attempts to avoid the pedestrian but fails to take into account the safety of other drivers and pedestrians in the process, causing an accident.

Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Cases

There are several types of damages that victims or their families could recover following car accidents, whether a pedestrian or driver is liable. These damages involve financial compensation for losses suffered due to injuries or the wrongful death of accident victims.

These include:

Economic Damages

The first type of losses to consider are economic. These damages apply to the direct financial losses resulting from an accident, including medical expenses, lost income and lost earning capacity, property damage, therapy, rehabilitation, and modifications to homes or vehicles to accommodate a disability.

Non-Economic Damages

In addition, victims or their loved ones could recover non-economic damages that pertain to their personal losses following an accident. These damages include physical pain, psychological anguish such as anxiety and depression, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, trauma, and disfigurement that negatively impact victims’ quality of life.

Punitive Damages

Some cases warrant punitive damages, which are separate from compensatory economic and non-economic damages and have the goal of punishing defendants. Car accident cases don’t often involve these damages because the court needs to find defendants liable for egregious behavior, including gross negligence or malice, that led to the accident.

Only a judge or jury can award these damages in a trial setting, requiring a lawsuit to recover them. However, your accident case could involve these damages if gross negligence or malicious intent played a role in the collision and subsequent damages.

Wrongful Death Damages

If a victim dies in an accident because of another party’s improper conduct, the immediate family of the victim can seek wrongful death damages. These damages include a combination of the above economic and non-economic damages, such as those affecting victims before they succumb to their injuries.

Additionally, wrongful death damages may cover the costs of holding a funeral or burial service for the decedent.

Hiring an Attorney to Help Succeed With an Accident Case

If you believe another party is liable for an accident, knowing when to get an attorney for a car accident can increase your chances at succeeding with your case.

With the help of the right car accident lawyer, you can more effectively prove negligence and collect plenty of evidence to support your case.

There are a few key ways a car accident attorney will help you with your case, such as:

Collecting Evidence

You must have sufficient evidence that proves liability in car accident cases, which can be difficult to obtain in more complex cases.

An attorney can help gather all relevant evidence in your case, including:

  • Medical reports and bills
  • Police and accident reports
  • Footage of injuries or the scene of the accident
  • Damaged property
  • Any documentation proving non-economic damages and their value

Negotiating With Insurers

Another key way a lawyer may help you with your case is by negotiating with the liable party’s insurance company. Insurers will try everything they can to minimize the settlement amount and avoid making a full payout. In the process, adjusters could attempt to get you to settle for a low-ball offer or try to undermine the evidence you have backing your case.

Attorneys understand the tactics that insurers use to compromise claimants’ cases and can work to negotiate for the maximum settlement you’re able to recover. These professionals can calculate all damages involved and help you determine the total compensation you need, fighting for it through counteroffers and taking the case to court if needed.

Providing Personalized Representation

A good lawyer will understand that every case is different and involves varying elements. Not all car accident cases are simple and involve the same factors, which is why you need personalized legal services based on the nature of your case.

For instance, evidence might be difficult to obtain on your own, and expert witnesses may be necessary to help reconstruct the events of an accident to further prove liability. An attorney can handle all of this while you focus on recovering following an accident.

When Pedestrians and Drivers Are Liable in Accidents

Whether a pedestrian or a driver is liable for an accident in Las Vegas, taking the right approach to an accident case can help identify all liable parties, prove liability, and recover total compensation for all damages sustained.

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

Years of Experience: 20 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Arizona State Bar California State Bar Federal Courts of Nevada, California, and Arizona

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

Years of Experience: 20 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Arizona State Bar California State Bar Federal Courts of Nevada, California, and Arizona

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