Comparative Negligence in Nevada: Will it Affect Your Compensation?
You might think that the laws concerning negligence in personal injury cases apply equally across the country, but that isn’t the case at all. In truth, every state has its own methods of determining responsibility. In Nevada, the doctrine of comparative fault or negligence holds sway.
Those in the know refer to comparative fault in Nevada as the rule of 51 percent. This means that anyone who has suffered a personal injury due to the actions or neglect of another individual or entity will only be eligible for compensation if his or her own liability remains below 51 percent (in other words as long as your negligence is not greater than that of the defendant’s or group of defendants, you recover a portion of your damages) By this metric, if you should prove to have been more than half responsible for the accident that has left you in your current impaired condition, you stand to collect nothing at all.
The Nevada comparative negligence statute does more than simply determine whether you stand to collect any damages. It also affects the percentage of any compensation for which you may be eligible. For example, if you should be found to have been 25 percent responsible for your accident, your damage award will be reduced by an equal percentage, and you will collect only 75 percent of what you would otherwise have received.
Breaking Down the Specifics of Comparative Negligence
While you may feel that the harm you have suffered is entirely the fault of the other person, the laws in Nevada may see things somewhat differently. The defendant in the case is likely to claim that you, yourself, were at least partially if not entirely to blame for the incident. To make this determination, the judge or jury will have to decide whether your percentage of negligence exceeds the total percentage attributable to the defendant or defendants.
If the decision returns in your favor, the judge or jury will first decide upon the total amount of compensation that would accrue to any plaintiff in a similar situation whose own actions played no part in causing the accident. The comparative negligence law will then reduce that initial amount by the percentage at which it has deemed your own disregard or inattention to have played a role.
For example, imagine that you have slipped and fallen outside a billion-dollar big-box store. You did not emerge from the incident unscathed, and at this point, dollar signs are dancing in your head. It is true that the sidewalk at that point was broken, so didn’t the store have an obligation to get it fixed in a hurry? Since it did not, it’s easy to assume that the entire fault lies in the lap of the owner.
That may not be completely true. What you neglect to consider is the fact that the store had blocked off the area with barriers, tape and warning signs, all of which you failed to heed as you stepped into the danger zone. The law could easily find that the business had done its part to protect your safety and that its percentage of the blame is no more than 20 percent. This would leave you more than 51 percent at fault, and your right to compensation would be zero.
On the other hand, if those warning signs and barriers were flimsy or poor lighting conditions made them hard to see, the ruling could go in your favor. It might put you only 10 percent at fault, leaving you to receive 90 percent of the total compensation to which such an accident would otherwise have entitled you. On the other hand, it could find you entirely blameless, in which case you would receive it all.
Proving Comparative Negligence
In any negligence case, proving that you have a right to compensation will require you to show that the other party not only had a duty of care to you but that he failed to meet it. You must show that if the other party had not breached that duty, you would not have suffered the injury of which you currently complain.
You will also have to prove that your current suffering is entirely due to the other party’s negligence and did not occur for any other reason. Finally, you will have to demonstrate that you were truly injured as a result and therefore did suffer a loss.
In the end, however, Nevada’s comparative negligence laws are bound to affect the amount of compensation you eventually stand to receive from any judgment in your favor.
The laws concerning comparative negligence in Nevada can be complicated. If you should find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury due to the negligence of another party or parties, you may be eligible for compensation. To learn more, call The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys today and let us work to help you receive the maximum amount to which you are entitled. Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys is available 24/7.