Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrian Crossing in the Rain

Pedestrians do not always have the right of way. In general, pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections with traffic lights, but there are situations in which pedestrians may not have the right of way. Pedestrians must also follow traffic laws and signals, and exercise caution when crossing the road outside designated pedestrian areas. Pedestrians always have a responsibility to exercise caution and not enter the roadway suddenly or unexpectedly.

What Is the Right of Way?

Pedestrians include any person walking along a road or other developed area. The right of way refers to the legal right of a pedestrian or vehicle to proceed ahead of other traffic. In other words, it’s the right to go first. Right of way is determined by a variety of factors, including traffic signals, stop signs, and road markings. 

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?

Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians who are crossing at a marked crosswalk. In addition, drivers must come to a complete stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has safely crossed the road. Failure to do so can result in a traffic violation and fines.

Nevada is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians. The city of Las Vegas along with the state and federal government have made pedestrian safety in Las Vegas a priority. Efforts have been made to lower speed limits, increase line of sight around intersections, and to ensure that all crosswalks are properly marked and governed by traffic signals.

When Do Pedestrians Not Have the Right of Way?

There are many situations where pedestrians may not have the right of way. Some situations in which Pedestrians are required to yield to vehicles include when they are:

  • Crossing the road outside of a marked crosswalk or pedestrian crossing
  • Suddenly stepping into the road in front of a moving vehicle without giving the driver sufficient time to react
  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing the road against a traffic signal

Jaywalking refers to crossing the road in a location that is not designated for pedestrian traffic. This can be dangerous, as drivers may not be expecting pedestrians to be crossing the road in that location. Jaywalking can also be illegal and result in fines or other penalties.

Pedestrians also may not have the right of way if they are crossing the road against a traffic signal. For example, if the pedestrian signal is red, pedestrians are required to wait until the signal changes to green before crossing the road. Crossing against a traffic signal can result in traffic violations and fines.

Just because pedestrians may not have the right of way in certain situations, it doesn’t mean that drivers do not have a responsibility to drive safely and watch out for pedestrians. Drivers must always exercise caution and be prepared to stop for pedestrians who may unexpectedly enter the roadway. It is also important for drivers to be particularly cautious in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present, such as school zones, residential areas, and downtown areas.

The Responsibilities of Pedestrians

As a pedestrian, you have certain responsibilities to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Some of the responsibilities of pedestrians include:

  • Obeying traffic signals
  • Staying alert
  • Walking on designated pathways
  • Wearing visible clothing
  • Being mindful of other pedestrians

Pedestrians should obey traffic signals and only cross the road at designated crosswalks or pedestrian crossings. As a pedestrian, you should always look both ways before crossing the road. Pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings and stay alert at all times. Avoid distractions like using a cellphone while crossing the road. Pedestrians should walk on designated pathways and not walk in areas meant for vehicles or bicycles. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic. Pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing to make them more visible, especially at night or in places when there is not a lot of light. Pedestrians should avoid alcohol or drugs that may impair their judgment and reaction time while crossing the road. They should also be mindful of other pedestrians and avoid obstructing pathways or blocking access to crosswalks or pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians should respect the right of way of other vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians who have the right of way.

Pedestrians will want to be cautious even when they do have the right of way. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 6,721 pedestrian fatalities in 2020 in the United States. Pedestrian fatalities account for about 17% of all traffic fatalities. Additionally, an estimated 82,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes in the United States in 2020. There have even been reports of a pedestrian fatality involving a driverless car.

The Responsibilities of Motorists

While pedestrians are responsible for following the laws and looking out for their own safety, motorists also have important responsibilities when it comes to ensuring pedestrian safety. Some of the key responsibilities of motorists include:

  1. Yield to pedestrians: Motorists should always yield to pedestrians who are crossing the road, particularly at designated crosswalks, pedestrian bridges, or pedestrian crossings.
  2. Observe speed limits: Motorists should observe posted speed limits and reduce their speed in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present, such as school zones, residential areas, and downtown areas.
  3. Avoid distractions: Motorists should avoid distractions such as using a cellphone or eating while driving. Distractions can lead to a delay in reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident involving a pedestrian.
  4. Use signals: Motorists should always use turn signals when turning, particularly at intersections where pedestrians may be present.
  5. Watch for children: Motorists should be particularly watchful for children who may dart out into the street unexpectedly.
  6. Give adequate space: Motorists should give adequate space to pedestrians, particularly bicyclists or pedestrians who are using the roadway. Motorists should also be aware of parked cars and avoid driving too close to the curb.

What to Do as a Pedestrian if You are Injured by a Vehicle

If you are a pedestrian and have been injured by a car, you will want to first seek medical attention. You should call for an ambulance if necessary or go to the nearest emergency room. Even if you feel fine, it’s important to get checked out, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Next, you will want to call the police or ask someone to call on your behalf. The police will create a report that documents the accident and its circumstances. This report may be necessary if you decide to file a claim for compensation. You will also want to gather information about the driver and the accident. Get the driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance information. Also, get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

It is a good idea to take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the car and any injuries you have sustained. Finally, you will want to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Remember, your safety is the top priority. If you have been injured, seek medical attention first and follow the guidance of your healthcare provider. Once you are stable, focus on documenting the accident and find a pedestrian injury lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you file a claim with the driver’s insurance company.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim

If you have been injured while walking in Las Vegas, you may have expenses due to medical bills, lost wages, and possibly property damage. You will want to seek help from a Nevada personal injury attorney who will draft a demand letter that outlines the extent of your injuries, the medical expenses incurred, and the compensation you are seeking. Your attorney will then negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If an agreement is reached, the case will be settled without going to court.

If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit will initiate the litigation process, which can include discovery, depositions, and trial. There are several factors that will influence whether your personal injury case settles or goes to trial. When your claim is more severe, the chances of a settlement decrease. Some of the factors that will affect whether your case settles or goes to trial include:

Your case may be settled at any time during the litigation process, or it may proceed to trial. If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will determine the outcome of your case. If you win your case, you will receive compensation for your injuries. If you lose, you may be able to appeal the decision. When a personal injury case goes to trial, a jury is selected and both the plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney present opening statements. The plaintiff’s attorney then presents evidence and calls witnesses to testify, followed by the defendant’s attorney doing the same. Each side can cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. Both sides then present their closing arguments to the jury, who then deliberate and come to a verdict. If the plaintiff wins, the amount of compensation is determined by the jury or judge. If the defendant wins, the plaintiff does not receive compensation. Either party may appeal the verdict if they believe errors were made during the trial.

What Compensation Is an Injured Pedestrian Entitled To Receive?

The type of compensation an injured pedestrian may be entitled to can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. In general, however, an injured pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for the following:

  1. Medical expenses: This includes reimbursement for any medical bills, including hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, medication, and other related costs.
  2. Lost wages: If the pedestrian is unable to work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, both past and future.
  3. Pain and suffering: The pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering they have experienced as a result of the accident.
  4. Disability and disfigurement: If the pedestrian has suffered a permanent disability or disfigurement, they may be entitled to compensation for the impact this has on their life.
  5. Property damage: If the pedestrian’s personal property was damaged in the accident, such as their clothing or personal belongings, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing those items.
  6. Wrongful death: If the pedestrian was killed in the accident, their family members may be entitled to compensation for their loss, including funeral and burial expenses and loss of financial support.

An experienced personal injury attorney can provide more specific guidance on what compensation may be available in a particular case.

Pedestrian Safety in Las Vegas

Pedestrian safety is a significant concern in Las Vegas. The city attracts millions of visitors every year, and the busy streets can make it a challenging place for pedestrians to navigate safely. Pedestrians can stay safe by crossing the street only at designated crosswalks or intersections, looking both ways before crossing, and wait for traffic to come to a complete stop before stepping into the street. The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings and stay alert while walking.

Pedestrian safety is also the responsibility of motorists on the road. Motorists should obey all traffic signals and speed limits, remain alert, and yield to pedestrians. The best way to prevent pedestrian injuries is through both pedestrians and motorists acting responsibly.