Nevada is a modified comparative fault state, and this can complicate your personal injury claim. Even if you’re only trying to receive compensation for property damage, the law applies.
So, what is a modified comparative fault, and how does it affect your case? We’ll look at the impact of modified contributory fault on a personal injury case, along with what the law can mean for your own.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence
While some states assign blame to one party, Nevada law allows it to be divided up. Sometimes, this can seem fair, and in other cases, you may feel like pulling out your hair in frustration.
A modified comparative fault law allows you to seek compensation for damages even if the accident is partially your fault. However, like most laws, there are limitations. You can’t seek damages if you’re over 50% to blame for the accident. However, if you’re found to be 50% or less to blame, you can file a claim for damages.
Before you get too excited at potentially being able to recover your losses, the modified comparative fault also impacts how much you can receive in compensation. If the accident is 50% your fault, then your compensation is reduced by the same amount.
For example, if your damages total $100,000 and you’re assigned 50% of the blame, your award is only $50,000. In other words, you get half of your damages. As for the other half, you’re responsible for paying any outstanding damages whether it’s vehicle repair costs or medical expenses.
If you’re 51% to blame for the accident, you can’t file a claim for damages regardless of the severity of your injuries. This may also apply to a wrongful death case, but this can vary depending on the unique circumstances of the accident. In this instance, it’s best to consult with an attorney before you decide to forego legal action.
How is Blame Assigned
Blame in an accident can be assigned by the responding authorities or a jury. In most car accident cases, blame is assigned by the authorities, and it’s noted in the police report. Yes, you need a police report to file a personal injury/property damage case if the accident involves one or more motor vehicles.
Other types of accidents, like a slip-and-fall at work, probably aren’t going to be reported to the authorities. This is when the jury takes over and decides how much of the blame you’re responsible for. Depending on your unique case, the jury can come back with one of two verdicts.
- A standard verdict doesn’t assign blame. In other words, you’re awarded damages and don’t have to worry about the amount being reduced.
- A special verdict is when the jury assigns blame. As long as the jury doesn’t decide you’re more than 50% to blame for the accident, you can receive damages.
- If the jury comes back with a special verdict, the judge will reduce your award by the percentage of your fault.
Adding to the confusion is when more than two parties are assigned blame in an accident. Think of a multi-car pileup as an example. More than one party may be assigned more than 51% of the blame.
Someone’s award may also be offset by what they owe the other parties. For example, you receive 50% of your damages but owe the other drivers. By the time you settle with the other parties, you may not have anything left.
When is Shared Comparative Fault Not Applicable
Just when a modified comparative fault starts making sense, a loophole pops up. There are specific cases when a modified comparative fault doesn’t apply.
Remember, shared comparative fault only applies or doesn’t apply to civil cases. When it comes to criminal cases, you can’t share the blame. However, you may be convicted of a lesser charge depending on the circumstances.
The five types of civil cases where modified comparative fault may not apply are:
- Strict liability
- Intentional tort cases. For example, assault, battery, intentional inflicting emotional distress, and false imprisonment.
- The disposal or spillage of hazardous chemicals and/or substances. Emissions also fall into this category.
- Defendants act together to cause harm.
- The injury or property damage is caused by a product either sold, manufactured, or used in Nevada.
If your case meets one of these five guidelines, you may be entitled to 100% of your damages from one or more defendants.
If a defendant is found to not be completely responsible for your injuries or property damage, they can file for reimbursement from the other at-fault parties. Don’t worry; once you’re awarded a judgment, the defendant can’t get it back.
What is Negligence and How is Fault Proven
Negligence is when the actions of the defendant/s result in injury or property damage. You must prove the defendant’s actions were intentional or beyond the scope of society’s norms. You must also show that you weren’t aware of the hazardous conditions and that the accident is the direct cause of your injuries.
Before you start panicking over proving negligence, take a deep breath. Proving negligence often isn’t as difficult as you may expect.
Since this is Las Vegas, security cameras are everywhere, and chances are one of them recorded your accident. Along with video footage, you may also have eyewitnesses, and their testimony can be invaluable in proving negligence. For example, a witness may have noticed the defendant’s actions leading up to the accident. They may have also witnessed the accident taking place.
our medical records are crucial in a personal injury and negligence case, which proves you did sustain injuries. Sometimes, even maintenance records can serve as proof. For example, if you tripped in a pitch-back hallway at work the maintenance records may indicate when the light was last serviced. The more evidence you can provide, the easier it is to prove your personal injury claim.
Don’t Go Through a Negligence Case Alone
Under the modified comparative negligence law, which acknowledges that more than one party can be at fault in an accident, understanding your legal standing can be complex. Whether you bear partial responsibility or are entirely blameless, consulting with an attorney is highly advisable.
An experienced attorney can effectively navigate these nuances, helping to clarify your position and advocate for your rights. Their expertise is instrumental in striving for a fair assessment of your case, ensuring you receive appropriate compensation for your damages, and maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome.
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