Reno Personal Injury Attorney Explains Comparative Negligence

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Receiving an injury because someone else was not careful can have horrible results for the victim. These can be emotional, physical and financial. As a result, victims of automobile accidents or accidents that occur because property was not maintained, require the guidance of a personal injury attorney. A Reno personal injury attorney can help the victim wade through determining the percentage of fault and can persuade a judge or jury to award fair damages.

How to Determine Liability

First, a Reno personal injury attorney can help an accident victim if the accident victim has a case. The lawyer will then help persuade the court that the fault lies with the other party. The courts will ask if the plaintiff was at fault in any way and if the accident victim took reasonable precautions. Of course, what is reasonable is subjective and an attorney will need to argue the point. The court will also ask if the defendant had a reasonable duty to protect the injured party. Plus, there are various percentages of blame to be assessed.

The History of Contributory Negligence

At one time, laws in the United States followed what was known as contributory negligence. The concept came from England and meant that if a victim was responsible in any way for the accident, then they could not recover damages. However, this was a bit harsh if the person was determined to be only two percent to blame. Then the person who was 98 percent would not be held responsible at all.

Pure Comparative

As a result, 13 states now determine damages under what is known as pure comparative negligence. This means that the percentage of fault is determined and damages are awarded based on that figure. Unfortunately, there is no formula to determine percentages of fault, and this is left up to the common sense of a jury or judge. This is where a good personal injury attorney can really make a difference.

Modified Comparative – 50% Rule

Pure comparative negligence has its critics too. Someone can be 98 percent at fault for an accident and still recover two percent damages from the victim. As a result, 12 states now use a modified comparative negligence with a 50 percent rule. If the plaintiff is more than 49 percent to blame for the accident, he or she cannot recover any damages. Again, the percentage is determined by a jury, and a Reno personal injury attorney can advise a client on whether to proceed or not.

Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule

Thirty-eight states including Nevada use a modified comparative negligence formula with a 51 percent rule. This works in the same way as the 50 percent rule, but the plaintiff cannot go over 50 percent liability. Keep in mind that this is true no matter how many other defendants there are. Because the line is so fine and the fault is not determined by a formula but by humans using their best judgment, a personal injury attorney is a necessity.

If you are the victim of an accident, speak to a personal injury attorney right away. A personal injury attorney will help to determine if there is any comparative negligence, and what this could mean to the case. Since laws vary from state to state, a lawyer will be able to determine if the case has any merit and will be able to present the best evidence. That’s a critical factor to receiving damages when deciding who is at fault is so subjective.

Your Personal Injury Attorney Reno,

Steve Hess

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