What If You're At Fault, Too?

This is one of a number of articles that deal with basic legal concepts when you're in an accident in Nevada.

Accidents, like the challenges of life, aren't always straightforward, and defense attorneys are adept at making the most of complexity.

So what happens when you're in an accident and you may have some fault, too?

Nevada law is generally clear on this issue. N.R.S. 41.141 provides, in part, as follows:

41.141. When comparative negligence not bar to recovery; jury instructions; liability of multiple defendants

1. In any action to recover damages for death or injury to persons or for injury to property in which comparative negligence is asserted as a defense, the comparative negligence of the plaintiff or his decedent does not bar a recovery if that negligence was not greater than the negligence or gross negligence of the parties to the action against whom recovery is sought.

2. In those cases, the judge shall instruct the jury that:

(a) The plaintiff may not recover if his comparative negligence or that of his decedent is greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of multiple defendants.

(b) If the jury determines the plaintiff is entitled to recover, it shall return:

(1) By general verdict the total amount of damages the plaintiff would be entitled to recover without regard to his comparative negligence; and
(2) A special verdict indicating the percentage of negligence attributable to each party remaining in the action.

Basically, this means that if your case ends up at an arbitration or a trial, you will be barred from recovery only if you are determined to be more than 50% at fault.

If you are determined to be 50% or less at fault, then whatever award you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

The full text of this statute and others can be found at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/law1.cfm