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Man sitting in his car after a car accident

Car Accident Injuries: Establishing Liability

Many people don’t think about it, but when we drive our cars, we are putting great faith in all the other drivers on the road to act safely and responsibly. In a moment of inattention or poor judgment, a driver can completely alter the course of numerous lives. Cars and trucks are powerful and dangerous machines that can seriously injure or kill people in an instant. Therefore, the law imposes a “duty of care” that drivers owe to other drivers—and financial liability for those who breach that duty to the detriment of others.

Drivers Have a Duty of Care

When a car accident occurs due to the negligence of another driver, the victim has a legal right to file a lawsuit. In order to prevail, the victim has the burden to prove that: (1) the other driver had a duty of care to the victim; (2) the other driver breached that duty; (3) that the breach of duty resulted in the victim’s injury; and (4) the victim suffered recoverable damages. Establishing negligence, or “fault”, is, therefore, a critical issue to resolving personal injury claims. It is also a hotly contested issue as the insurance companies for negligent drivers will go to great lengths to avoid having to write a check.

What Factors May Play into Fault

When determining fault, juries are tasked with looking at whether the responsible driver acted with the level of care that a reasonable person would have used. Juries can look at a broad range of evidence about the accident, including testimony from the parties, witness testimony, photographic evidence of the vehicles and accident scene, and expert testimony.

Juries can also look at traffic laws, police reports, and criminal charges that stemmed from the accident. However, while violations of traffic laws and criminal laws can be a very important consideration, they are not determinative of liability as they involve different questions of law than in the personal injury case.

Comparative Negligence

Fault can also be spread amongst several parties, including the victim. Nevada operates under a “modified comparative negligence” model, which allows juries to apportion a percentage fault for an accident between the parties. So if the person suing another driver is found 10% liable versus a defendant’s 90% liability, then the defendant will be responsible for paying 90% of the damages awarded by the jury. Significantly, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% liable for the accident, then the plaintiff cannot recover anything.

Trust Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a full-service law firm that offers legal services to individuals. If you have suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s actions, contact us. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced, highly-regarded professionals who will fight for legal justice. You have significant legal rights and you deserve a lawyer who will work tirelessly for you. We work on a contingency fee basis. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an initial consultation or contact our office through our website.