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Understanding Nevada’s modified comparative negligence law

If you want to file a personal injury case in Nevada, it is crucial to understand how modified comparative negligence applies to you.

Like several other U.S. states, Nevada enforces fault laws and regulations for car accidents and other incidents resulting in personal injury cases.

Known as comparative negligence law, it essentially refers to the person or party responsible for an accident that injures someone else. In addition to these fault laws, Nevada relies on a key concept known as modified comparative negligence.

If you want to file a personal injury case in Nevada, it is crucial to understand how modified comparative negligence applies to you.

The foundation of modified comparative negligence
Comparative negligence allows accident victims to sue for damages, even if they are partly to blame for the accident. However, the percentage of blame they carry reduces the amount of compensation they get.

So, if you are in an accident and 30% to blame for it, you can still claim, but you will lose 30% of what you would have gotten. For example, if you claim $100,000, you will only receive $70,000 if your claim is successful.

Nevada added the 50% rule to the comparative negligence law, hence ‘modified’ comparative negligence. According to Nevada Revised Statutes Section 41.141, you can only recover damages if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident.

Essentially, this means that you can claim compensation if found to be 50% or less to blame for an accident. But your percentage of fault will still reduce your payout.

However, if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot claim damages. This rule stands no matter the severity of a plaintiff’s injuries or how negligent the other party was.

Determining fault and assigning percentages after an accident
It is ultimately up to insurers or the court to determine fault after an accident. There are several ways to do this and assign blame percentages.

Factors include violation of traffic laws, such as if anyone disobeyed a traffic signal or speed limit. It also includes human action or error that led to an accident. Insurers will consider how much each party’s actions contributed to the accident.

Most of the time, the fault is assigned through witness statements, police reports, visible damage to vehicles, and photographs taken at the scene.

When considering comparative negligence, the following hypothetical scenario applies. A driver runs a red light and crashes into another car. The other driver was slightly over the speed limit when the crash happened.

The insurer or court may determine that Driver A was 70% at fault for the accident because they skipped a red light. The other driver would then be 30% at fault for driving too fast.

How modified comparative negligence affects personal injury claims
Nevada’s 50% rule affects how personal injury claims are resolved. If you are less than 50% at fault, you can recover some damages after an accident. This would at least cover some of your expenses.

Understanding how the 50% rule works will help you negotiate a better settlement with the other party’s insurance provider. However, let a lawyer handle these negotiations on your behalf.

What to do after an accident in Nevada
You must follow the correct steps after an accident, regardless of how much you are to blame.

You must first get medical treatment if you sustain injuries in the accident. Medical records will also support your personal injury claim if you pursue compensation.

If possible, and if you are not seriously injured, you should collect evidence like accident scene photographs. You can also take photos of your own injuries and get witness statements.

It is vital to call your insurance company within 24 hours to inform them of the accident. Stick to the facts when you speak to your insurance provider. Admitting fault or giving details about the accident will affect your case negatively, and the company can even use your statements against you.

This is also why you should hire an attorney to guide you through the personal injury claims process. Your lawyer will do their own investigation into the accident and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Lawyers also understand how complicated the modified comparative negligence law can be. They can navigate it sufficiently to minimize your fault percentage where possible while highlighting the other party’s negligence.

A lawyer will likely advise you against settling too quickly. Most insurance providers may indeed try to pressure you into settling quickly and for a low amount.

Do not accept any offers or sign any documents until you know the extent of your injuries and what your claim is worth.

Also, even if you share some blame for the accident, you should still pursue compensation if you were injured. Remember, if you are under the 50% threshold, there is reason to file a case.

If you want to file a personal injury case, keep records of all your medical expenses and other bills you may neglect to pay because of lost wages. Also, ensure you document all communication with insurance companies.

Encountering a dispute
Pursuing compensation does not automatically mean you will get a payout. You might find yourself in a situation where the insurance company refuses to pay out or insists on offering an inadequate settlement.

If this happens, your lawyer will try to negotiate based on the facts of the case. If that does not work, your lawyer may suggest mediation. With mediation, there is a neutral ground where both parties can work towards the best solution.

Arbitration is an alternative to mediation but comes with a binding decision. Arbitration is not always the best route to follow, especially since there is less room for negotiation.

If all else fails, your lawyer can take your case to court. In this case, the court will decide on the compensation amount you get.

The 50% rule can work for or against you
The most important takeaway of the 50% rule is that you cannot claim anything if you are more than 50% to blame for an accident.

This is why it is always better to prevent an accident than to try and get compensation after one. Naturally, if the accident was not your fault, you should claim compensation, especially when facing a long recovery.

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