Accidents occur daily, and parties involved seek to find out who is at fault. To be compensated as a plaintiff, you must prove that the other person is responsible for the damages caused during an accident. In negligence cases, the court determines who is at fault depending on the comparative or contributory negligence laws. In Las Vegas, courts use the modified comparative negligence rule to determine the compensation of the plaintiff. It is crucial to understand the difference between comparative and contributory negligence, especially if you are involved in an accident in Las Vegas.
Contributory Versus Comparative Negligence
If you are involved in an accident, the court will either use the contributory or comparative negligence rule in determining the damages you recover from the defendant. The court's legal process to determine your compensation if you are involved in an accident depends on the state. Some states follow the contributory negligence law while others follow the comparative negligence law. In Las Vegas, the courts follow the modified comparative fault, which will be discussed below. However, it is crucial to understand the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
Who Is to Blame?
When an accident occurs, the blame game starts as each party blames the other for the accident. For instance, Jude is late for work and is speeding at 40-mph at a 25-mph highway. As he approaches a four-way intersection, Gregory runs a red light and knocks his vehicle. Now, who is to blame for the accident, and who deserves compensation?
In contributory negligence, a plaintiff cannot recover any damages if they are even slightly responsible for the accident. If two drivers bump into each other and the jury determines that both were at fault, none of them will receive any compensation. Similarly, suppose a plaintiff files a complaint, and the jury determines that they are 1% responsible for the accident. In that case, they will not receive any compensation for their damages and losses from the defendant.
Due to the unfair stance the law has on the plaintiff, most states, including Nevada, have done away with the contributory negligence rule. Only the District of Columbia and the states of Alabama, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina still use the contributory negligence law. In the above example involving Gregory and Jude, under contributory negligence, none of the parties will receive compensation since they are both partially responsible for the accident.
Gregory is at least 1% responsible for the accident for running a red light. Similarly, Jude is also at least 1% responsible for the accident for over speeding.
Due to the harsh nature of the contributory negligence doctrine, most states now use the comparative negligence doctrine. Under the contributory negligence doctrine, a plaintiff might receive compensation from the defendant for their injuries. There is a catch, though. The compensation they receive will be determined by the percentage of their fault in the accident.
Under the comparative negligence policy, if the jury determines that Jude, the plaintiff is 35% responsible for the accident, the jury will reduce his compensation by 35%. If the court awarded $100,000 in damages, he would only receive $65,000 because he was partially responsible for the accident.
Two policies are found under the comparative negligence: the pure comparative doctrine and modified comparative doctrine, which Las Vegas follows to determine the damages a plaintiff in an accident will recover.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Thirteen states follow the pure comparative negligence law. You could recover damages in a pure comparative negligence state even if you were 90% responsible for the accident. However, your compensation is only to the extent to which you were not at fault. For instance, if the jury determines that Jude (the plaintiff) was 30% responsible for the accident, the court will award him 70% of the damages. If he were suing for $100,000, the court would award him $70,000 as damages. However, Gregory (the defendant) can also file for damages because Jude was responsible for the accident.
The amount of money you will recover in a pure comparative negligence state depends on how much you claim damages and the extent of your fault in the accident. The states which follow the pure comparative negligence rule include Washington, Alaska, South Dakota, Arizona, Rhode Island, California, New York, Florida, New Mexico, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Most states, including Nevada, use the modified comparative negligence rule. In Las Vegas, you will only receive damages to the degree of fault of the defendant. If you are involved in an accident, and the other driver is at fault, you will receive damages to the extent of the defendant's fault. However, in Las Vegas, you will not receive any damages if you are more than 51% responsible for the accident. Should you get involved in an accident, you should obtain the services of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm to help you claim the damages.
Other states use the 50% rule, which states that you do not receive any compensation if you are 50% responsible for the accident.
In the above scenario involving Jude and Gregory, for instance, if the jury deliberates that Jude is more than 51% responsible for the accident, he will not recover any damages. Should the jury determine that Jude is less than 51% responsible for the accident, the court will award him damages. The damages will be less the percentage of his fault in causing the accident. If Jude is 30% at fault, his damages will be reduced by 30%. When you are involved in an accident, especially in Las Vegas, you should obtain the help of a highly experienced personal injury lawyer who is apt at representing you in court. An experienced lawyer will present concrete evidence that will increase your chances of being awarded damages.
What Does the Law Say About Negligence In Las Vegas?
Since Las Vegas is Nevada's state, the courts use the modified comparative negligence doctrine to award you as the plaintiff damages. Although you, as the plaintiff, might be partially responsible for the accident in Las Vegas, the law does not hinder you from seeking compensation. Provided you have not surpassed the 51% threshold.
The damage you are awarded as a plaintiff is proportionally reduced in relation to your fault. If you are 40% at fault, you will only receive 60% compensation from the defendant.
Which Are the Elements of Negligence That Warrant You to Be Awarded Damages
In case of an accident, you must prove that the defendant was negligent if you are to be awarded damages. You must prove damages or harm, duty, causation, and breach.
If the driver of a car caused you injury through an accident because of their carelessness, you could charge them with negligence. Proving negligence is not a straightforward process, and you need to hire a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm that is well versed in personal injury laws to represent you in court. You are in a better position of proving negligence and being awarded damages by using a qualified lawyer to represent you in court than going at it alone.
The Four Elements of a Negligence Claim
To win a negligence case as a plaintiff in Las Vegas, you must prove the following:
- Duty — The defendant owed you a legal duty of care
- Breach — The defendant breached that duty and caused the accident by failing to act or acting in a specific manner.
- Causation — It was the action or the lack of action on the part of the defendant that caused the accident and resulted in your injury
- Damages — You suffered harm or injury because of the action of the defendant
More Details on The Four Elements Used to Prove Negligence
The first consideration the court will look at is whether the defendant owed you a legal duty. In some cases, your relationship with the defendant might create a legal duty. Every driver must drive carefully. Due to this relationship, the defendant has a legal duty to the plaintiff.
Breach of Duty
The next step will be for the court to determine if the action or the defendant's inaction breached the plaintiff’s legal duty. For instance, Jude had a duty to stop at the red light. He, therefore, breached this duty to Gregory by failing to observe the traffic rules. The court bases the verdict on the actions that a "reasonable prudent person" would take. According to the law, a reasobale prudent person is a legal standard by which a normal person is expected to behave in a particular situation. For instance, a typical driver is expected to stop at a red light - that is what "a reasonable prudent person" would do.
The third element that the court will consider when determining a negligence case is causation. As a plaintiff, you have to show that the defendant caused you harm. You could not sue another driver for damages even if they were texting or driving carelessly if their actions did not cause you any injury. In Jude and Gregory's case, Jude can show causation because Gregory rammed into his car and caused him harm.
Another aspect that the court will consider with causation is whether the defendant would have foreseen the result of his behavior. By jumping a red light, Gregory knew that he might ram into an oncoming vehicle. However, if Gregory had jumped a red light for an unforeseeable reason like an act of God, the chances of the negligence charges sticking are minimal.
The last element of a negligence charge is damages. As the plaintiff, you must show that damages occurred and you were injured in the accident. The defendant usually compensates you in monetary terms to cater to expenses that you incurred as a result of the accident.
Proving negligence is not a clear-cut case as you have to prove that the defendant was at fault and caused the accident due to their negligence.
You Can Be Compensated for Pain and Suffering in Nevada
In Nevada, the court can compensate you for pain and suffering if you are injured because of another person's negligence. If you suffer injury from a car accident, you have a right to be compensated. A personal injury's repercussions are far-reaching and go beyond medical treatment bills and losses incurred due to lost wages.
When you are injured in an accident, your life's quality is affected, and your routine is disrupted. As an accident victim, you can suffer from depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
However, to have a chance of being compensated, you must prove your pain and suffering claim. The best way to go about this is by hiring a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm.
What Exactly Is A Pain and Suffering Compensation Claim?
Pain and suffering are common words used in everyday language, but the terms are a legal concept for the law.
Pain and suffering can be categorized into two: physical and mental.
Physical pain and suffering
- This encompasses the pain you endure during recovery.
- Suffering from pain (in the future) prevents you from enjoying the activities you enjoyed before the accident.
Is Las Vegas a No-Fault Accident State?
As it happens, you might get involved in a car accident while in Las Vegas. The question now becomes, how do you go about filing for compensation? You might also wonder if you should contact your insurance company for compensation, or should you get compensation from the driver's insurance company at fault? Unlike some other states, Las Vegas follows the at-fault accident system, which means that the car driver that causes an accident is liable to pay for compensation. In Gregory and Jude's case, if the court determines that Gregory was at fault for jumping a red light, the court will award the damages to Jude.
What Does A No-Fault State Mean?
As a plaintiff, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage when you get involved in an accident. The question now becomes - whose insurance agency should compensate you? Is it your insurance company or the insurance company of the defendant?
The answer to this question varies from state to state. However, in Las Vegas, the driver responsible for the accident has to compensate you for the damages caused. This is because Nevada is an at-fault accident state.
However, twelve states follow a no-fault accident system, which means that both parties receive compensation from their respective insurance companies. In these states, it does not matter who is at fault. As a requirement, each driver must have insurance to cover themselves in case of an accident. At times, insurance is not enough to cover the extent of the damages. In such a case, you can file a claim so that the driver's insurance company at fault tops up and covers the remaining compensation amount.
How Are Claims Handled in Las Vegas In Regards To Auto Accidents?
In Las Vegas, a jury determines who is at fault in case of an accident. Although the insurance company pays for the injuries, the case is filed against the driver.
To have a chance of winning compensation for both property damage and personal injury, you have to prove that a breach of responsible driving by the other driver caused the accident.
Although you might file a lawsuit personally, you should obtain the services of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm to help you out with the case. Doing so will increase your chances of compensation.
Often, a defendant confesses of being in the wrong and later recants their testimony once they speak to their insurance companies. Therefore, to help build a strong case, you should collect as much evidence as you can so that it becomes easy to prove damages, fault, and liability.
Below are some of the ways you can collect the evidence you need to build a strong case.
- Take photographs and video footage of the accident.
- Gather eye witness reports
- Obtain cell phone records.
- Use police reports
- Obtain documentation that records the injuries.
- Use crash reconstruction reports
- Use expert opinion in the case.
Is It Possible to be Denied Compensation?
However, it would be best if you realized that a court could deny you compensation for an auto accident in Las Vegas. If the jury determines that you were 51% responsible for the accident, you will not receive the defendant’s compensation. Similarly, your compensation reduces by the percentage you are at fault for the accident. If you were 10% responsible, your compensation reduces by 10%.
Call a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
Nevada is an at-fault accident state. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident, you are liable to be compensated for personal and property damage. As a plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant was at fault, and you are eligible to be awarded damages. However, proving a negligence case in Las Vegas is challenging, and that is why you should seek legal counsel from the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. Contact us today at 702-996-1224 to speak to a personal injury lawyer.