What if I Contributed to My Injuries in My Personal Injury Case?
After an accident, you may find yourself overwhelmed with medical costs, lost wages, and even repair bills. These costs continue to compile, forcing you to seek out other options for payment. If you are considering a lawsuit against the negligent party, the first question you may ask is whether you qualify for compensation if you contributed to your injuries in some way.
In these types of personal injury claims, the negligence is not as clear. For example, during a car accident in which you were rear-ended, you were not wearing a seatbelt. While the person that rear-ended your vehicle ultimately is responsible for the accident and damage, your not wearing a seatbelt caused you to have more serious injuries than if had you worn the seat belt in the first place. This is referred to as contributory negligence, because your negligence contributed to the injuries you received.
But, if you contribute in anyway, does that mean you cannot seek compensation from the responsible party?
Nevada’s Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
Nevada relies on a variation of the Modified Comparative Negligence Theory. This is a defense that can reduce the amount of damages a plaintiff will receive in a negligence-based personal injury claim – but it is solely based upon the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible for or contributed to their injuries. Nevada Revised Statutes 41.141(a) states that any action to recover damage for injury or death where comparative negligence is used as a defense, the plaintiff does not earn recovery of damages if their negligence was greater than the gross negligence of the defendant. In other words, if your contribution is more than that of the defendant – over 50 percent – you cannot legally request compensation for your injuries, regardless of whether or not you were responsible for causing the accident.
In these types of claims, a judge will instruct the jury that:
- The plaintiff cannot recover if their negligence is determined to be greater than the negligence of the defendant.
- If the jury determines that the plaintiff can recover damages, the total amount of damages will be awarded to the plaintiff, without any regard to the comparative negligence.
Unlike states that use contributory rules – meaning your compensation amount would be reduced based on your percentage of fault – Nevada allows you to collect all damages as long as you are not more than 50 percent liable for the injuries or accident.
However, please note that comparative negligence does not apply to strict liability cases, intentional torts, toxic or hazardous substances, and a handful of other cases.
Speak with a Nevada Personal Injury Attorney
If you were involved in an accident and feel that you contributed in some way to your injuries, you should still speak with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney regarding that accident. Contact the team at De Castroverde Law Group regarding your potential case, and we will assess if contributory negligence laws apply to your claim. Call for your consultation appointment at 702-222-9999, or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.