Let’s look at some possible scenarios where people are injured in Nevada.
- Hector is traveling at 85 miles per hour on a Las Vegas highway when a pickup truck sideswipes him while it was trying to change lanes. Hector sustains a concussion in the crash.
- Barbara is standing in an area of a Clark County warehouse store which is clearly marked “Customers Keep Out” when some stacked boxes fall on top of her. Barbara suffers a broken arm and leg as a result.
- David visits an outpatient clinic in Green Valley to get treatment for a severe skin rash, but then suffers a severe reaction to medication which he knew he was allergic to but failed to warn the treating physician about. David slips into toxic shock and winds up in the hospital for four days.
Now, the question: are Hector, Barbara, and David entitled to any damages in a lawsuit?
Though every case is different, the short answer is: quite possibly. This is true even though all three of them appeared to contribute to their accidents in a minor way.
That’s because the state of Nevada operates under what is known as a comparative negligence fault structure. This means that if two or more parties are at fault, a court can determine how much blame can be placed on each of them, and damages are adjusted accordingly.
For example, if Barbara was determined to be 20% at fault for being in a restricted area, then she would only receive 80% (100%-20%) of whatever damages a court decided to award her. So if she sustained $8,000 in medical costs, Barbara would actually receive $6,400 in compensation.
But there’s another aspect of Nevada negligence law that’s very important. The state has adopted what is known as “the 50% rule.” This corollary states that if any party is deemed to be 50% or more responsible for an accident then that party receives no damages. The idea is that a person or group which is mostly to blame for an accident should not be compensated.
If we look at the abovementioned scenarios again, it appears by the information supplied that though Hector, Barbara, and David were partly to blame for their accidents, they could still receive damages because they were not primarily responsible for the accidents.
Again, each case has its own unique set of facts. If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult a qualified personal injury lawyer who can answer specific questions about your unique case.