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What Is Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury laws are designed to protect the rights of people who have been seriously injured by the negligence or recklessness of another person or company. Simply put, people deserve justice when another person harms them; and the best way to help the injured people is to financially compensate them for the expenses and the effects of their injuries.

To hold someone accountable for a personal injury, the injured person must be able to prove “fault”, or “negligence”, on the part of the responsible person or company. What is negligence? Negligence is the breach of a duty of care that a reasonable person owes to another person.

Elements of a Negligence Claim

To prevail on a personal injury claim, a plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) must prove the following four elements to a jury:

  1. A duty of care exists. This is the duty that a reasonable person has to another person in the same circumstances, and includes a responsibility to follow the law and to take reasonable steps to avoid causing an accident.
  2. The defendant breached that duty. It must also be proven that a defendant breached that duty toward the plaintiff, and failed to act in a manner that a reasonable person would avoid causing the accident.
  3. A plaintiff must prove that there is a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s serious injuries. That but for the defendant’s breach of duty, the plaintiff’s injuries would not have existed.
  4. Damages are owed. A plaintiff must demonstrate that there is some actual economic or non-economic harm that they have suffered from the accident that caused their injuries. Economic damages can include medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of use, or loss of consortium.

Defense to Negligence

Defendants to lawsuits can raise defenses to try to limit or shield them from liability. One of the common defenses when it comes to personal injury lawsuits is that the plaintiff shares in the responsibility, or is primarily at fault, for their injuries. Prevailing with a defense means that a defendant can dramatically reduce, or even eliminate, the monetary damages they have to pay to a plaintiff.

Nevada is a “modified contributory negligence” state, which means that juries are permitted to decide what percentage of fault that each party in a lawsuit bears. So long as a plaintiff is less than 51% responsible for an accident, then they can collect the percentage of damages for which the defendant is responsible. For example, if a plaintiff is found 15% at fault and the defendant is 85% at fault for an accident, then the plaintiff can collect 85% of the damages that the jury awards. In contrast, if a plaintiff is found to bear 51% or more of fault, then they cannot collect damages.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. is Here for You

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. offers aggressive, high quality legal representation to people who have been seriously injured by the negligence of others. Our personal injury attorneys are respected, proven professionals who have obtained millions of dollars in damages on behalf of our clients. We pursue maximum compensation for our clients and work on a contingency fee basis. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.