Fatal car accidents are on the rise in Las Vegas. Experts are still reviewing the data to ascertain the cause for the increase in crashes. However, a combination of factors including increased driving after months of lockdown, more tourists, and drunk driving are indicated as possible contributing factors.
Accident Increase Is Widespread
According to data from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, from 2020 to 2021, there has been a 20% increase in fatal car accidents. As of the end of March, 78 people were killed in 67 accidents, representing an estimated 20% increase over the same period in 2020. Moreover, these figures do not include several high-profile fatalities that occurred in April and May. Notably, the increase is not due to a disproportionate number of people staying off the road due to lockdowns because most lockdowns were not imposed until the end of March 2020.
The increase is not limited to car accidents in Las Vegas. According to the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, motorcycle fatalities are up 121% over the same period in Clark County. Moreover, Nevada as a whole is experiencing a 78% increase in motorcycle fatalities.
Causes of the Rise in Accidents
Safety experts are hesitant to draw any direct conclusions or connections that could explain the increase in accidents. However, various sources identify driving without a seatbelt, traveling at high speeds, and driving while impaired as contributing factors. Some also identify the increasingly dangerous behavior with people over-indulging in daily conveniences that were denied last year during the lockdown. Nevada public safety experts warn Las Vegas residents to observe safe driving practices, especially as the city and Clark County deal with this surge in fatal accidents.
What to Do After an Accident
If someone is injured, someone at the scene should call for emergency assistance. The priority is ensuring that everyone who was involved in the accident receives necessary medical care. Next, all drivers and individuals involved in the accident need to remain at the scene. It is illegal for people to leave the scene of an accident before exchanging information with the other drivers or giving a statement to the investigating officers.
Third, the drivers should exchange insurance information if they are able. The insurance companies will investigate and assign fault – that is not the role of the drivers. However, the drivers should take pictures of the accident, the damage, the relative position of the vehicles, and any other contributing factor. For example, if the road was poorly maintained or if there was an obstruction on the road. These pictures will help the insurance adjust ascertain the causes of the accident and assign fault.
Compensation for a car accident injury
Nevada is a fault-party insurance state which means that the insurer for the at-fault party is responsible for compensating the injured party for their damages. The insurance companies are encouraged to cooperate on these issues because it reduces costs for everyone involved and minimizes their liability if they wrongly deny coverage or compensation.
The injured party should provide copies of their medical records showing treatment, costs, and ongoing medical treatment requirements—for example, physical therapy or occupational therapy recovery. The adjustment will also examine lost wages, such as pay stubs and receipts for costs incurred because of the accident—for example, medical devices or rideshare to and from the doctor or grocery store. The adjuster will then offer a settlement that incorporates these various figures.
For more serious injuries that degrade or eliminate a person’s ability to work, there are experts such as economists who calculate the total cost of medical care and lost wages. The expert prepares the estimates based on the injured person’s age, education, health, and experience to estimate total lifetime earnings that they cannot earn now because of their injury. These two numbers: (1) long-term medical care and (2) lost wages comprise the bulk of the injured party’s claim.
Driving safely in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is in the midst of summer, which means the city is dealing with a dramatic influx of out-of-town tourists and visitors. Last year, the city had its lowest tourist occupancy since the 2008 financial crisis. These tourists likely have a year of saved funds and pent-up energy to expend in the city, which increases the dangers of driving for everyone – residents and tourists alike.
Various Nevada public officials advise residents and tourists to remain vigilant when driving on the road – especially during the summer. Driving in Nevada during the summer, including in Vegas, risks various dangers, including tire blowouts and overheated engines. Public safety experts are concerned that the combination of summer driving risks and careless tourists could drive car accident fatality figures higher.