Personal Injury

What Is Comparative Negligence, And What Are Its Effects On An Injury Claim?

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After some car accidents, it’s very easy to see which party was responsible and who is liable for the damages. But more often, more than one party has some responsibility for partially causing the accident, including the person who was injured.

Like many other states, Nevada enables at-fault parties to collect compensation for injuries they suffered. But in order to receive compensation, the injured party must not be primarily at fault. Their compensation will be scaled to the percentage of liability that they are found to have in the accident. This is called the law of comparative negligence. Your Las Vegas car accident lawyer can work with you to help you understand who was at fault in your accident and whether you are able to file a claim for your own damages.

Comparative Negligence Laws in Nevada

In Nevada, comparative negligence laws determine how much liability a person has for causing their own injuries while still being able to seek compensation from other responsible parties. Nevada follows a 51% rule, which allows injured claimants to seek damages for their losses as long as their liability is less than that of the other responsible parties. This means you must be less than 51% responsible for the accident, and your damages will be scaled to the percentage that you were liable for. For example, if you are determined to be at 40% fault for an accident, you are entitled to 60% of the damages you would have received if you were not at fault.

Negligence describes the fairly properly anticipating consequences of actions that cause injury and/or damage to another person in a manner that is considered reasonable under the circumstances.

How Is Negligence Determined after a Car Accident in Nevada?

After an accident, the law enforcement officials who come to the scene will interview each person involved and any witnesses who might be present, evaluate the scene, and develop an understanding of what happened. They will then write a report describing the situation.

Insurance companies will review police and accident reports, contact claimants and insureds, evaluate medical records, review vehicle damage, and interview witnesses to gather evidence. Once this is complete, the insurer may indicate comparative negligence on behalf of the person who is filing for damages in an effort to reduce the amount they need to pay for damages.

When it comes to investigating claims and negotiating settlements, insurance companies are at an advantage with their experience and resources. A claimant who wishes to dispute the insurance company’s determination of fault may find it to be quite challenging. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer who can investigate and negotiate on your behalf to help you achieve the highest possible settlement.

Why Do Insurance Companies Hope to Find Comparative Negligence?

Insurance companies are not charities; they are businesses that want to make money and will limit their payouts in order to protect their bottom line. The more comparative negligence they can attribute to a claimant, the less money they will need to pay toward that person’s injuries and damages. Their determination of comparative negligence will reduce any payments they make toward the injuries unless the claimant is able to produce evidence that disputes their assessment. This is why it’s always recommended to work with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney after you’ve been involved in a car accident in Nevada.

What if One of the Drivers was Uninsured?

Compared to other states, Nevada has a relatively high number of uninsured drivers. Although auto insurance companies are required to offer policies that cover uninsured and underinsured drivers, called UIM policies, drivers are not required to purchase this insurance. However, your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer will recommend purchasing UIM coverage whenever you can afford to do so. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing that your damages are covered by your own insurance company in case you are in an accident that was caused by someone who does not have sufficient insurance or the ability to pay for your damages and injuries.

A driver who is uninsured will also be subject to the law of comparative negligence and will be unable to pursue compensation for their own damages if they were more than 50% at fault for the accident.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me with Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence means that the more at fault you are for causing an accident, the less compensation you can recover. Your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can advocate on your behalf by gathering factual evidence and analysis about the accident and then presenting that information in a way that minimizes your responsibility while maximizing the compensation you may be able to receive. An experienced attorney can identify weak points in an insurance company’s arguments, cast doubts on their assertions, and establish credibility in your favor so that you can obtain compensation to help with your recovery. Don’t try to face a car accident settlement alone!

This article is courtesy of Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, a leading personal injury firm in the state of Nevada that focuses on providing effective representation for victims of car accidents.

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