Whether you use your own power to get to work, to exercise, or to travel from your vehicle to inside a building, most of us get where we need to go using our own two feet. While there are lots of upsides to walking, walking while you’re distracted can also be dangerous.
When you try to multitask while you walk, you can get hurt. With smartphones, music, and other technology, it’s easier to be distracted while you travel on foot than ever before. Walking while distracted can also raise questions of liability, so it’s essential to work with a qualified personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a distracted walking accident. Here’s some helpful information about the dangers of distracted walking in Las Vegas.
What’s a Distracted Walker?
It’s so easy to divert your attention while you walk down the street. Whether you’re listening to music, texting, or even reading a book, there are all kinds of ways to take your eyes away from where you’re going. Walking distracted can slow your reaction time and make it harder to notice dangers in your path.
Even though you might not have a vehicle under your control, taking your eyes and attention away from where you’re going can still have serious consequences. Sometimes, a distracted walker can even have legal liability if someone gets hurt because they are not paying attention. Additionally, if you get hurt while you’re walking distracted, your failure to pay attention fully can reduce your compensation or ultimately prevent you from recovering for your damages.
Ways You Can Be a Distracted Walker
When people think about distracted walking, they think about texting while walking. But that’s just one way to walk distracted. Here are several ways that you can be a distracted walker:
- Talking on the phone
- Speaking with a friend as you walk
- Looking at street signs or buildings nearby
- Reading a book or newspaper
- Failing to pay enough attention to stay on the sidewalk or notice objects in your path
- Listening to music or an audiobook
- Eating or drinking while you walk
- Looking down completely, so you don’t notice what’s coming
You May Have an Accident With a Vehicle, Another Pedestrian or an Object
When you walk distracted, there are a lot of ways that you can run into trouble. You might run into another person. You might walk right into the street and oncoming traffic. Another way to get hurt is to trip on the sidewalk or run into something in your path.
When you’re hurt while you walk, you can suffer an immediate injury. Even a minor injury can make it harder to live your life, while significant injuries can severely impact your daily activities. In many cases, a person on foot can avoid pedestrian accidents and injuries when they pay attention to what’s around them as they walk.
You Have to Be Careful While You Walk
A pedestrian has a duty to be careful while they walk. They must behave reasonably and safely. When a pedestrian breaches their duty of care by listening to music or with another distraction, they may be liable to others for the damage that results. They may also limit their ability to recover from someone else who behaves negligently.
If a pedestrian gets hit by a car, many people assume that the person in the car is always at fault. That isn’t necessarily the case. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to be reasonable and careful. Even a pedestrian can be at fault for acting in a negligent way that results in harm.
But You Don’t Have to Watch Every Step
Even though a pedestrian has a duty to be careful, you don’t have to go to extremes. You only have to do what’s reasonable. Consider what a reasonable person would do in the same circumstances. That’s all a pedestrian needs to do to avoid liability for distracted walking.
Look at the Totality of the Circumstances
When you’re hurt because of a distracted walking pedestrian accident, the jury looks at the totality of the circumstances to determine fault. They look at your actions and the actions of anyone else involved in the accident. The jury decides what’s fair based on what everyone was doing and what they should have been doing at the time the accident occurred.
One case that involved an injured person on foot was the Nevada Supreme Court case Joynt v California Hotel and Casino. In that case, the pedestrian was in a crowded space where there were a lot of people present. Someone asked to get by.
The person on foot took a step backward and tripped over a fixture. The court said that even though the pedestrian should have watched where he was going, the business might share liability because they allowed that many people in a crowded space. It’s up to the jury to look at everyone’s actions and decide where to place the blame.
Fines and Criminal Charges
A pedestrian can face civil fines or even criminal charges for distracted walking. Nevada law 484B.287 prohibits jaywalking. If there’s a traffic control device on the street, you must cross in the crosswalk. Fines for jaywalking begin around $100, but it can cost you more.
If you’re seriously endangering others with the way that you’re walking, you might also face a charge of reckless endangerment. Nevada law 202.595 prohibits any act that shows willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. In most cases, serious harm must occur for law enforcement to even consider bringing this kind of charge for the way that someone’s walking.
How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you have been hurt because of distracted walking, whether you were the pedestrian or involved in another way, it’s important to speak with a qualified injury attorney. Your attorney can review the facts of the case to determine liability.
They will help you prepare your personal injury claim in a way to allows you to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. Even if the circumstances in your case seem cut and dry, you may still be able to recover for your losses.