Proving Accident Negligence in Nevada
In 2014, accidents on Nevada’s roadways killed hundreds of people, including motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. A total of 290 Nevadans lost their lives, with drunk driving car accidents playing a role in 93 of the deaths. The fatalities included 70 pedestrians and eight cyclists.
In many automobile accidents, negligence plays a role. If this negligence leads to an injury or the death of someone else, the courts can find you to be legally negligent. Inattention can have a number of causes, including texting and driving or otherwise using a mobile device, eating or adjusting the radio.
Proving that negligence occurred
Proving negligence is a central requirement for most personal injury lawsuits. An injured person — or loved ones of a deceased person — must demonstrate to the court that the individual or business caused the harm by an action or the failure to take action.
You must prove three things to show that negligence played a role in an automobile accident. Through a preponderance of the evidence, the injured party must demonstrate:
- The defendant owed a duty toward the injured individual.
- The action or failure to act by the defendant was unreasonable and resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The injuries entitle the plaintiff to monetary compensation.
Does negligence always play a role?
In some auto accidents that result in injuries or fatalities, negligence is not a factor. However, even cases that ultimately did not result from negligence sometimes goes into litigation. In such cases, juries must consider the often-complex issues and decide whether negligence played a role.
A recent example is a case from 2015 in Clark County. Two individuals sued after their car was rear-ended by a semitrailer truck owned by a concrete company. A district court jury found that the defendant — the driver of the concrete truck — was not at fault. This was despite the fact that he was responsible for rear-ending the car and causing the plaintiffs’ injuries. The reason the driver was not negligent was that he was in a “position of peril” when bees flew into the cabin of his truck and one bee landed on his eye. The driver, the jury found, was not negligent because there was a sudden emergency.
Financial compensation in cases of negligence
When someone is injured through the negligent action — or failure to take appropriate action —of another individual or a business, the law seeks to make them “whole,” or restore them to their state prior to the accident. Courts cannot change the reality of injuries. However, they attempt to provide injured plaintiffs with monetary compensation that is sufficient to make up for the injuries.
After the court determines negligence, an injured person may be eligible for compensation to cover lost work benefits and wages, funeral costs and medical expenses. These include current and future costs, as well as damages for pain and suffering. In especially flagrant cases of negligence, juries may award punitive damages to stand as punishment to the defendant.
Contact an experienced Auto Accident Lawyer
If the negligence causes the injury or death of a loved one, the surviving family may receive compensation for things such as damage to a relationship. If you have questions about an auto accident, then please contact Reno car accident attorney Eric Stovall.