Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys
Hablamos Espanol 702.602.8869

Establishing Fault in Your Personal Injury Case

After an accident that leaves you with injuries, you may be wondering what you need to do to receive the necessary compensation for your recovery. Although the elements of a personal injury case are typically very straightforward, there are many different factors to consider when it comes to determining fault after an accident. It's crucial for accident victims to gain a better understanding of how fault is established before pursuing a personal injury case. This information can help victims know what options are available for their particular circumstances, and what is needed from them to ensure success. Here's what you need to know about establishing fault in your Nevada personal injury case.

Negligence

There are a few different ways a person can have legal fault for someone else's injury, but the most common or widely known way is a legal concept called negligence. When a person acts negligently, it means that they're not careful enough in a particular situation. When a person isn't careful enough, and it results in an injury to someone else, they can be liable for the victim's losses.

Duty

The first element of negligence relates to a legal obligation or responsibility, known as duty. The responsible person must have a legal duty to act carefully in the situation in question. For example, motorists have a reasonable responsibility to drive carefully for the benefit of the other drivers on the road. A doctor has a duty to treat a patient competently.

Breach

When a duty exists, the next step is to determine whether the responsible party breached that duty. For example, a motorist breaches a duty when speeding or violating another traffic law. A doctor violates their duty when they fail to recognize clear symptoms of a common disease that a reasonable doctor would have noticed.

Causation & Damages

A breach of duty must lead to the victim's damages. That is, when a motorist violates a traffic law, they're only at fault if that violation leads to the victim's injuries. Finally, the victim must have damages. The violation must cause real harm. When all of these elements are present, a person is liable to the victim for the damages that result from their negligent behavior.

Intentional Conduct

Negligence isn't the only way a person can be at fault in a personal injury case. Intentional conduct can also give rise to legal liability. This concept refers to voluntary behavior with a desired purpose or significant certainty of what the outcome will be. For example, if someone hits you and breaks your nose, they're liable for their intentional conduct. Most often, this type of liability applies in assault and battery cases.

Strict Liability

Nevada law imposes strict liability in a few types of cases. When strict liability applies, the responsible party has legal fault even if they were cautious in their actions. In these cases, just the fact that the harm occurs in a qualifying situation is enough to make them liable. One type of case where strict liability applies is a defective product case. If a manufacturer creates and sells a product that has a defect in design or faulty craftsmanship, the manufacturer can be strictly liable for the harm that results. The other type of case that Nevada law imposes strict liability for is where the responsible party undertakes an activity that is extremely dangerous. In these cases, the only thing the victim must prove is that the other person's actions caused their injuries.

Comparative Negligence

In some cases, another person's negligence might cause your injuries when you also acted negligently. You may still have a right to recover a part of your damages. Nevada uses what's called modified comparative negligence. That means you can recover for a proportional amount of your damages as long as you're not more than 50 percent at fault. For example, consider a scenario where a car accident occurs. You failed to yield, but the other driver was speeding and intoxicated. You sustain serious injuries. At trial, the jury determines that the other driver is 80 percent at fault. They say that you're 20 percent at fault. In this case, you can recover for 80 percent of your damages. If your damages are $50,000, you can recover $40,000. If the jury apportions fault the other way around and says that you're 80 percent at fault, you can't recover at all, because you're more than 50 percent to blame.

Assumption of The Risk

Some activities are so dangerous that a person who engages in them assumes the chance that they might get hurt. An example of this might be going to a trampoline park. An individual who participates in a hazardous activity should know that there are inherent risks.

Jury Determines Fault

Ultimately, the ones who determine fault in a case are the people on the jury. It's not up to the police officer who investigates the crash or even the attorneys involved in the case. Rather, it's up to the jury to examine the evidence and make a determination. The judge will give the jury instructions based on Nevada laws, and the jury will use these instructions to apply the facts that help them make their decision.

Ways to Prove Fault

Since the jury makes the big decision of who's at fault, it's important to prepare your case carefully with admissible evidence. Evidence is a crucial component to establishing fault in your personal injury case. One of the best types of evidence for proving fault is eyewitness testimony. When people testify to seeing, or hearing the accident occur, it's often a very compelling account. When that's not enough, you can back that testimony up with an expert. People who specialize in accident reconstruction can look at the facts of your case to determine fault. They can look at things like where the impact occurred and skid marks on the road. This information can provide helpful insight about how fast vehicles were driving or what else might have been going on at the time of the crash. If you are wondering which of the above options for establishing fault would be best for your specific situation, you may want to hire an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney. The skilled legal experts at Bernstein & Poisson can help. With extensive experience using Nevada law to establish fault, these committed attorneys have helped numerous personal injury victims get the compensation they deserve. Call (702) 602-8869 to schedule your free consultation with this qualified legal team.