Sometimes, an accident may be more than one person’s fault. You might be the victim of an accident even though there were things that you could have done to avoid it. You might wonder whether you can recover for your injury accident even if you’re partially to blame. Nevada has laws that attempt to make it fair to everyone after an accident occurs with a system of modified comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence attempts to apportion liability to those who are most at fault for an accident. It’s essential to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer for any accident, but especially those dealing with comparative negligence. Here’s how Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rules work in personal injury cases.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Nevada Revised Statute 41.141 is Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule. The law says that fault isn’t necessarily a bar to recovery in a personal injury accident. A victim may still be able to recover some of their damages even if they’re partially to blame for the event.
Under Nevada law, a person can still recover for some of their damages even if they caused the accident in part. As long as you’re not more than 50 percent to blame for the accident, you can recover for some of your losses under Nevada law. If you’re more than 50 percent to blame for the accident, you can’t recover for your losses.
If you’re partially to blame, your damages are reduced by the percent that you’re at fault for the accident. For example, if you’re 20 percent to blame, you recover for 80 percent of your damages. If your total damages are $100,000, you recover $80,000. You forfeit the remaining 20 percent because that’s your share of fault for the accident. You total the amount of your damages and then reduce them by the percentage of your fault.
What If There Are Three or More Parties Involved?
According to Nevada law, your damages are proportioned by fault. Each person pays their share of fault. If there are three people at fault for the accident, each person pays according to their percentage of fault.
If one person is 40 percent to blame, another person is 35 percent to blame, and yet another person is 25 percent to blame, each person pays their percentage share of the others’ damages. It can result in a situation where one person’s recovery is offset by what they owe to others for their share of fault for damages to the others.
Who Decides Fault?
It’s up to the jury to decide fault in a personal injury case. They listen to all of the evidence, and they determine each person’s fault by a percentage. When the jury begins their deliberations, the judge gives the jury instructions about comparative negligence.
The jury reviews the case and apportions the damages by a percentage to everyone involved. The jury doesn’t have to assign a percentage of fault to anyone. Instead, they’re free to decide that someone is entirely at fault and that someone else isn’t at fault at all. In most cases, their decision is final.
Are There Times When Comparative Negligence Doesn’t Apply?
There are some circumstances where comparative negligence doesn’t apply. In these cases, the victim may look to any of the defendants for a complete recovery for their losses until they’ve recovered for all of their damages. In any of the following cases, the courts say that it’s most fair to make everyone responsible for all of the victim’s damages:
- Intentional torts like assault and battery or intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Leaking a toxic substance
- Acting in concert with someone else to hurt the victim
- Products liability cases
What’s the Difference Between Modified Comparative Negligence, Pure Comparative Negligence, and Contributory Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a state law. While all states have some kind of law for comparative negligence, the laws can vary significantly between states. Some states like Nevada use modified comparative negligence. Other states use the rules of pure comparative negligence and contributory negligence.
Comparative negligence allows an accident victim to recover for a share of their damages regardless of what they did to contribute to the accident. Even if the victim is 99 percent to blame, they can still look to a negligent actor for the remaining one percent of losses. Nevada’s system of comparative negligence is modified. In Nevada, if a victim is more than 50 percent to blame, their right to recovery is barred completely.
Victims in states that use a contributory negligence system can’t recover at all if they’re in any way to blame for the accident. Even if a victim is only one percent at fault, states with contributory negligence rules prevent the victim from getting any kind of recovery. Nevada lawmakers didn’t think it was fair to block someone from recovering if they’re only slightly to blame. That’s why Nevada adopted modified comparative negligence as their system for recovery.
How Do I Prove Comparative Negligence to the Jury?
To prove comparative negligence, you must carefully build your case to present to the jury. You may need to work with an expert witness to show how the accident occurred.
You should carefully call witnesses and develop other pieces of evidence that are calculated to show the jury how the other side contributed to the accident. Your injury attorney can help you develop a strategy to build the evidence and arguments carefully for your case.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
If an injury accident occurs, an attorney can help you evaluate how Nevada’s modified comparative negligence laws can apply to you. They will ensure you understand your rights under Nevada law and the most effective way to build your personal injury case.
Your attorney has your best intentions in mind when reviewing the case and building a strategy. They also have the experience of dealing with these laws frequently, so they can better help you when they apply to your situation.