One driver was killed, and two others were injured, in a serious three-car crash near Sunrise Manor.
The wreck occurred near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Nellis Boulevard. According to police, a pickup truck ignored a traffic control device and slammed into a Nicholas and Company food distribution semi truck. That vehicle overturned onto a passenger car, killing the sole occupant almost instantly. The pickup truck driver, who was one of the injured individuals, was tested for possible drug use while hospitalized.
None of the names were released; Nicholas and Company sent its condolences to the deceased victim’s family.
Duty in a Car Crash Case
When it was first introduced in English law, the concept of duty was based on the old adage that many schoolchildren learn: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But the duty of care is not an abstract moral code; rather, it is a specific and binding legal directive that drivers, and others, must follow.
Establishing a legal duty, which is nearly always reasonable care, is the first step in a negligence case. There are a number of manifestations:
- Conditional: In low-visibility conditions, like fog or darkness, and other unfavorable conditions, like wet or icy roads, motorists have a duty to drive as the conditions dictate; for example, while the posted speed limit may be 55mph, it is not reasonably safe to drive 55mph in a snowstorm.
- Operational: Failure to drive in accordance with traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs, is evidence of negligence and, in some cases, may even be negligence per se.
- Behavioral: The duty of care begins before drivers slide behind the wheel. They must be well-rested, put their cell phones away, not drink, and otherwise put safety first.
If a driver breaches the duty of reasonable care, and that breach causes injury, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is responsible for damages.
Third Party Liability
Since so many Las Vegas drivers are either uninsured or underinsured, third party liability is an important concept, because it creates an additional source of recovery for injured victims. In the above story, although it appears that the pickup driver may have been the sole proximate cause of the fatal crash, third party liability may be a factor.
While it is certainly not compelling, an apology or other similar statement can be construed as an admission of liability. That is why it is important to never say “I’m sorry” after a crash; instead, say something like “How can I help?”
One way to create third party liability in cases like this is to use the last clear chance doctrine: if a driver has the opportunity to prevent a crash, yet does not do so, that driver may be liable for damages. So, in a hypothetical trial, if the jury concludes that the truck driver could have prevented the fatality but failed to do so, the shipping company is responsible for damages, according to respondeat superior.
For the doctrine to apply, the driver must have the last clear chance to avoid the crash, as opposed to the last possible chance.
Reach Out to a Diligent Attorney
For prompt assistance with a car crash claim, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas from Naqvi Injury Law. You have a limited amount of time to act.