Understanding Nevada’s Fault Law

Nevada state law follows the comparative negligence rule when it comes to determining monetary damages owed to an injured plaintiff. Nevada gives an injured plaintiff involved in a personal injury case the ability to recover a percentage of his or her damages as long as one or more of the defendants were 50% more responsible for the accident that caused the injuries.

Comparative Negligence Explained

Other terms used for comparative negligence include comparative fault, shared fault, modified comparative fault, or modified comparative negligence. Under Nevada’s comparative negligence law, if an injured plaintiff is partly to blame for the accident that caused the injuries, the total monetary compensation he or she would be entitled to would be reduced by the percentage of blame for the incident.

Nevada follows the comparative negligence rule, but with a twist. This is because under a “pure” comparative negligence or shared fault theory, blame for the accident can be distributed in any manner as long as the sum total adds up to 100%. To remedy the outcome for a personal injury lawsuit party who is minimally to blame for the accident, Nevada instead follows a “modified” comparative negligence rule, and has since the 1970s. Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule only allows for a plaintiff to recover monetary compensation if he or she not more than 50% at fault.

Available Damages in Nevada

When an injured plaintiff seeks monetary compensation in a Las Vegas, Nevada personal injury lawsuit, he or she is seeking compensatory damages. Simply put, compensatory damages provide payment to a plaintiff for past and future losses suffered as a result of the accident and injuries. There are two types of compensatory damages — economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that can be quantified by a dollar amount. They encompass financial losses such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and lost capacity to earn income. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, encompass harm that does not necessarily include out-of-pocket expenses such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, or physical impairment.

In most Nevada lawsuits there is no monetary limit on the amount a plaintiff is able to recover as compensatory damages. These damages can be awarded in the amount the judge or jury deems both fair and reasonable. In medical malpractice cases, however, non-economic damages are limited to a maximum of $350,000 irrespective of the extent of pain and suffering or the amount of economic damages.

Finally, there is a third type of damage — punitive. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants whose bad behavior caused the accident and put others on notice that this behavior will not be tolerated in the future.

Legal Help in Las Vegas

If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident in Las Vegas, or anywhere else in the state of Nevada,  contact the skilled Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today. We have experience representing the injured across Nevada and will seek the monetary compensation to which you may be entitled.

(image courtesy of Marcus Castro)