Can the Pedestrian Be at Fault in a Car-Pedestrian Accident?

Pedestrians may suffer the worst of the injuries inflicted by collisions with motor vehicles, but this doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to financial compensation from the driver. It is possible for a pedestrian to be at fault for an accident in Nevada – potentially barring eligibility for monetary damages. Find out when a pedestrian is at fault for a car-pedestrian accident in Nevada to understand your rights after this type of crash.

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way in Nevada?

Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not automatically have the right-of-way in Nevada. Under Nevada Revised Statutes Section 484B.287, pedestrians must yield to oncoming drivers when crossing a highway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or intersection. Crossing a highway while using a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing also requires yielding the right-of-way to vehicles upon the highway. In addition, no pedestrian may cross the road at any place between adjacent intersections unless there is a marked crosswalk (a practice known as “jaywalking”).

Under state law, no pedestrian may step into the road from a place of safety, such as a curb, in front of an oncoming vehicle that is approaching quickly enough as to make it impossible for the driver to yield. Las Vegas has its own Municipal Code of Ordinances regarding pedestrians, as well. It is similar to state law in that pedestrians must yield the right-of-way except at crosswalks. Crosswalk use is required between adjacent intersections that have traffic control signals.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Vehicle-Pedestrian Collisions?

Human error is the number one cause of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. This can refer to mistakes made by either the driver or pedestrian. A driver may ignore a pedestrian’s right-of-way at a crosswalk, for example, or a pedestrian may step out into the road when he or she does not have the right to cross. Common mistakes made by motor vehicle drivers that cause pedestrian accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Red-light running
  • Ignoring stop signs
  • Passing a driver that is stopped at a crosswalk
  • Passing a school bus

Pedestrians can also be at fault for collisions, however, by violating one of Nevada’s traffic laws or behaving negligently. If a pedestrian steps out into traffic when he or she does not have the right-of-way, for example, or is walking while distracted by a cell phone, the pedestrian could be found at least partially responsible for a related collision. An investigation of the crash is necessary to determine its cause and identify who is liable (financially responsible).

Who Is at Fault for a Pedestrian Collision in Nevada?

In Nevada, a fault-based car insurance law determines who must pay for a car accident. This law does not automatically hold a driver responsible for a crash involving a driver and a pedestrian. Instead, fault goes to the party that caused the crash. This is the party that had a legal responsibility (a “duty of care”) to avoid injuring the victim, who breached his or her duty of care, and who caused the pedestrian accident. This party could be the motor vehicle driver, the pedestrian, a third party or a combination of parties, depending on the circumstances.

What Is Nevada’s Comparative Negligence Law?

If both parties are found to share fault for the accident – such as if the pedestrian didn’t have the right-of-way but the motor vehicle driver could have prevented the crash by paying attention to the road – Nevada’s comparative negligence law will apply. This law reduces an injured victim’s financial recovery by an amount equivalent to his or her degree of fault for the accident. As long as a pedestrian is found to be less than 50 percent at fault for a crash, he or she can still recover partial damages.

For more information about liability for an accident involving an injured pedestrian in Nevada, contact Koch & Brim, LLP to request a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.