Two impaired drivers collided with one another in the Southeast Valley, sending three people to the hospital.
Following the car wreck at the intersection of Sandhill Road and East Tropicana Avenue, Metro Police officers arrested both 24-year-old Omar Arellano and 22-year-old Dennis Chavez. According to witnesses, Mr. Arellano was eastbound when he struck Mr. Chavez’s Ford Focus, which was already in the intersection. The force of the impact propelled the Focus into a utility pole. Both drivers, along with a Focus passenger who was not wearing a seatbelt, were seriously injured.
The third victim’s name was not released.
Alcohol Liability Issues
Beginning in the 1990s, lawmakers began passing aggressive anti-DUI laws and many courts freely gave law enforcement controversial new tools to enforce these laws. Even still, alcohol accounts for about a third of the fatal car crashes in Nevada.
Alcohol is a powerful depressant that slows the central nervous system, impairs judgment, and makes concentration difficult. As a result, impairment begins with the first drink. Additionally, since the standard of proof is so low in negligence cases, any evidence of prior consumption, such as a credit card receipt from a restaurant that serves alcohol, is probably sufficient to prove impairment in court.
Liability may be even easier to establish if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was arrested for DUI or another alcohol-related infraction, such as driving with an open container. Under the negligence per se rule, tortfeasors are usually liable for damages as a matter of law if they violate a safety law and that violation causes damages.
In both traditional negligence and negligence per se cases, victims are entitled to compensation for their medical bills and other economic damages as well as their loss of enjoyment in life and other noneconomic losses.
In many intersection collision cases, both drivers are at least partially at fault. Often, the jury simply divides liability for the accident 50/50.
Such an outcome usually denies fair compensation to the victim. In fact, since Nevada is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar, such an outcome entirely denies all compensation. For a victim in Nevada to recover a proportional share of damages, the tortfeasor must be at least 51 percent at fault.
So, an attorney must delve deeper into the causes of the accident. For example, in the above story, it appears that one driver entered the intersection illegally. If that is the case, that driver should arguably bear more legal responsibility, even though both drivers were impaired.
In some states, comparative negligence has nothing to do with the person’s driving behavior, because seatbelt non-use is admissible to reduce the victim’s damages. But Nevada lawmakers have expressly outlawed the so-called seat belt defense. Therefore, even if victims are not properly restrained, they are still entitled to the full measure of damages.
The lack of a seat belt defense allows Nevada jurors to focus on the issues involved in the collision itself rather than the victim’s efforts to reduce damages before the accident took place. Such obligation does not exist under the laws of Nevada or any other state.
Count On an Experienced Attorney
Intersection collision cases often involve complex legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.