What Is Liability?

Liability for a personal injury generally means that another party breached their duty of care and that breach caused your injury. As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you have the burden of proving that the other party is liable for your damages. If you cannot prove liability, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries and damages. 

Generally, everyone has a duty of care not to cause injury or harm to another person under tort laws. In addition to general negligence claims because of a breach of duty, other types of claims could result in liability for damages.

General Negligence Claims

Negligence is the most common cause of action for personal injury claims. Slip and falls, auto accidents, and most wrongful death claims fall under the category of negligence claims. 

You have the burden of proving each of the following legal elements to establish negligence:

  • The individual who caused your injury owed you a duty of care, such as a duty of care to follow Nevada traffic laws
  • The party breached that duty of care, such as a driver failing to yield the right of way or following too closely 
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the party’s breach of duty

The level of care a party must use varies with the circumstances and facts of the case. A jury bases whether a party breached their duty of care based on the “reasonable person” standard. 

Jury members decide what a reasonable person would have done given the same circumstances. Then, they compare the defendant’s conduct to that standard. If the defendant failed to meet that standard, the jury might find the defendant negligent and liable for damages.

However, defendants may not be judged liable for events that were not within their control or they could not reasonably foresee. Because proving causation and fault can be challenging, it is best to speak with an accident lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.

Strict Liability 

Strict liability holds a party financially responsible for damages even though the party might not have been negligent or intentionally caused a person’s injury. Product liability is a common example of strict liability. Proving the product was defective and that it caused your injuries and damages can be sufficient to prove liability.

A party could also be strictly liable for abnormally dangerous activities. In these cases, the activity is so dangerous that there is still a risk of injury or harm to individuals, even when the party exercises a reasonable level of care.

Some states have strict liability laws for dog bite cases. However, Nevada does not apply strict liability for this type of personal injury. You can prove liability for dog bite injuries by proving negligence or an intentional tort.

Intentional Torts

Parties may be held liable when they intentionally cause someone harm or injury. Many intentional torts lead to criminal charges. However, law enforcement does not need to charge someone with a crime for that person to be liable for damages in civil court. 

Examples of intentional torts include, but are not limited to:

  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Homicide
  • Assault and battery

The outcome of a criminal case does not necessarily impact liability in a civil action. On the other hand, a guilty verdict in criminal court does not guarantee that a person will win a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Vicarious Liability

Typically, you can only hold the party who caused your injury liable for your economic and non-economic damages. However, there are situations in which another party could share liability for the harm caused by another person.

An example is an employer being held financially responsible for the damages caused by an employee acting within the ordinary course of employment. 

For instance, an employee in a grocery store drops food on the floor and fails to clean it up. As a result, a customer slips and falls, causing an injury. Therefore, the grocery store owner could be liable for the damages caused by their employee failing to clean up the mess or providing adequate warning of a hazard or dangerous condition.

Effects of Nevada’s Comparative Negligence Law on Liability for Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death

The legal theory of comparative negligence holds each party accountable for the damages they cause based on their percentage of fault. In other words, if you are partially at fault for the cause of your injury, you cannot recover full compensation under Nevada’s comparative negligence law.

For instance, suppose a jury decides that you were 20% responsible for causing a motorcycle accident. If so, your compensation would be reduced by 20%. 

However, Nevada caps comparative negligence at 51%. Therefore, if you are 51% or more at fault for causing your injury, you cannot recover any money for a personal injury claim. 

Call Us for a Free Consultation with a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney 

You deserve compensation for all damages caused by another party because of an accident or other wrongdoing. Our legal team works diligently to prove the other party is legally liable for these damages and recover maximum compensation for your claim. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation at (702) 570-9000 with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer.