Traffic Accidents on Nevada’s I-15
One of the Most Dangerous Roads in the Country
Interstate 15 (or I-15) has long been considered one of the most dangerous roads in the US. In a 2005 MSNBC Dateline report, 1-15 was listed as the most dangerous high-speed road while a recent MSN list dubbed the infamous roadway as one of the “Highways to Hell.” Over a five year period, 173 people died while traveling on Highway 15.
What makes the 125-mile stretch of highway between Las Vegas and Southern California so dangerous? It certainly is not the terrain – the land is flat and relatively risk free. Most reports point to driver behavior, including speeding, falling asleep at the wheel and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as the main causes for the high number of deaths on I-15. For some time, it was rumored that the road was not patrolled regularly by the police, encouraging more bad behavior by drivers in a hurry to get to the Strip for a weekend getaway or in a rush to return home.
Others blame not only driver behavior for the high number of fatalities, but also the condition of Nevada’s roadways, particularly in light of the recent cuts in the state’s road and transportation budget. From 2003-2007, nearly 400 people lost their lives on Nevada roads. This amounts to 1 death on a road every 22 hours. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average number of highway deaths in Nevada is nearly 5 percent higher than the national average.
A 2008 report issued by the Road Information Program (TRIP), a nonprofit organization that researches highway traffic issues, found that roadway design was one of the most import factors in reducing the number of accidents on Nevada roadways. The report suggested the state take such measures as adding rumble strips, improving signage, resurfacing roads, adding turning and passing lanes and improving guardrails and lighting. However, it is difficult for the state to improve its roadways on a limited budget.
Out-of-State Drivers and Accidents
Since I-15 is one of the primary routes into and out of Las Vegas as well as being a corridor between California and the Mountain-West region, many of the drivers involved in accidents on the interstate are not from Nevada. This can create a host of problems when it comes to seeking compensation for property damages and injuries and pursuing a legal claim against the person responsible for causing the accident. It also means working with medical providers and insurance companies in different states and the headache that comes with it.
How a Nevada Attorney Can Help
One of the most important ways an out-of-state driver can minimize the stress and hassle of being involved in an auto accident in Nevada is hiring a Nevada attorney.
Some of the reasons for hiring a Nevada lawyer include:
The laws are different in every state. This is especially true when it comes to assigning fault in car accident cases. For example, Nevada is a proportional comparative fault state. This means that if a person is found to be more than 51 percent at fault for causing the accident, the person will not be able to recover any compensation for the accident, even though the other driver was still found partially at fault for the accident.
Not all states have the proportional comparative fault rule. California, for example, is a comparative fault state. In jurisdictions following this rule, the amount of damages an injured person can recover is reduced by the percentage of fault they have in causing the accident. Thus, if the person is found 40 percent at fault for the accident and their total amount of damages is $10,000, the most the person can recover is $6000.
Nevada attorneys will also know and understand the applicable local laws and rules that apply to the case, such as the statute of limitations and local rules of evidence and civil procedure.
Attorneys must be licensed by the state to practice law in that jurisdiction. An out-of-state attorney cannot file a claim on a person’s behalf in Nevada unless the attorney also holds a valid Nevada attorney’s license. Thus, it is important to work with an attorney licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction where the injury occurred.
A local attorney will have resources in the community. This is important, especially if the case has to go to trial. The attorney will be able to work with local experts to investigate the accident. The lawyer also may have local physicians and other medical specialists to evaluate the injuries caused by the accident and testify to their findings in court. The lawyer will also be familiar with the court system, judges and attorneys representing the defendant driver and the insurance companies.
Most people may not want to hire an out-of-state attorney because they assume it will mean they have to travel to Nevada to meet with the lawyer. But in many cases, the attorney will be able to handle the claim without the out-of-state driver ever being present.
If you have been harmed in an accident on I-15 or another Nevada roadway, contact an attorney experienced in handling motor vehicle accidents. Out-of-state drivers who have been injured on Nevada’s roads should consult a Nevada-licensed attorney about their case as soon as possible after the accident.