How Is Liability Determined in a Car Accident Case?

December 29, 2020 Car Accidents

Like most states, Nevada follows a fault insurance system when it comes to car accidents. If you suffer injuries in an accident someone else is responsible for, the other driver must pay for the damages you incur, such as medical bills or vehicle repairs. However, to prove your right to damages and recover from your injuries, you will need to establish the at-fault driver’s liability.

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Liability?

When you file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver’s policy, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the accident and determine who was responsible for the crash. The insurance company will consider a number of factors when investigating your claim, including the following.

  • The details of the police report.
  • The weather conditions during the accident.
  • Surveillance and traffic camera footage.
  • The applicable traffic signs, signals, and rules at the scene.
  • Statements from witnesses.
  • Whether or not a driver admitted fault after the accident.
  • How soon you sought medical attention after the accident.
  • Any conflicting statements you or the other driver may have made.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the company will decide who was liable for the accident based on the available evidence. If the company determines the other driver was liable, you will receive a settlement offer you can choose to decline or accept. If the company believes that you are responsible, you will not receive a settlement offer and can choose to appeal or escalate your claim.

Proving Negligence in Car Accident Lawsuits

If you are filing a lawsuit against the driver responsible for your accident, different liability rules apply. You will need to establish the driver’s negligence, which requires gathering sufficient evidence to prove four key elements.

  • Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the crash. All drivers have a duty to obey Nevada traffic laws and drive safely.
  • Breach of duty: The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care to you in some way.
  • Causation: The driver’s breach of duty directly caused your accident.
  • Damages: You suffered damages in the car accident that you can collect compensation for. These may include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering.

For example, say that you are driving through a four-way intersection when another driver fails to yield the right of way and crashes into the side of your vehicle. The breach of duty would be the failure to yield the right of way, and medical records, traffic footage, and police reports can establish causation. Your Las Vegas car accident lawyer can help you gather the necessary records to prove your damages, such as invoices, bills, diary entries, and pay stubs.

Nevada’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule

In some lawsuits, the court may believe that you are partially responsible for the car accident and apply Nevada’s modified comparative fault rule to your case. This law will reduce the amount of compensation you receive by the liability percentage you share. If you are responsible for 50% or more of the accident, the court will prevent recovery entirely.

For example, say you are in an accident at a four-way intersection when another driver fails to yield the right of way. The defendant provides traffic footage that shows you failed to stop at a stop sign prior to the accident. The court assigns 20% of the liability to you, and you will only receive $8,000 out of your original $10,000 settlement.

Car accident liability can be complex, especially in accidents involving multiple vehicles or limited evidence. It is important to protect your rights during this process, and a Nevada car accident attorney can help. As soon as possible following your collision, contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case.