Personal Injury 101: Comparative Fault

Personal injury cases come down to whose side of the story is the truth.  Or more accurately, which side is more truthful. This may come as a surprise to some, but the victim injured in an accident can actually be found partially responsible.

This week, Personal Injury 101 is focusing on the concept of comparative negligence.

This principle, used by most states (including Nevada), essentially means the victim and the accused wrong-doer share fault for an accident.  

Let's say you were involved in a car accident and hurt. The defense can argue comparative negligence, claiming you are also to blame for the accident. If the percentage is over 50% (in some states it is 50% or more, and in some states it is 51% or more), then you would not be able to collect any damages for your injury. If it is found by a judge or jury that you were 20% at fault, then you would be able to collect 80% of your total damages.

The other option is contributory negligence. That means that no matter what percentage of fault the plaintiff may share, the recover is reduced by that amount. For the few states that use the other extreme, pure contributory negligence, if the injured person was found to be at fault in any capacity at all (shared fault) he or she is unable to collect any damages.

For more quick hits of legal jargon, check out our other Personal Injury 101 topics.  

Or if you've got questions about a legal situation, give Pickard Parry Pfau a call.  We'd be happy to assist you.