When you have been injured in an accident, determining who is at fault, or liable can be difficult. In most cases, in order to recover expenses like medical bills or lost wages, you must first prove that someone was negligent or careless. This can sometimes be complicated, but it is necessary if you want to recover your damages or any other compensation for your injury. Read on to learn more information from a trusted Las Vegas law firm.
What is Negligence?
According to The Schnitzer Law Firm, your personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas, negligence is when someone is careless and their actions resulted in your injury. Simply put, one person must be less careless than another in order to be deemed negligent. In law, there are four key elements that must be met in order for someone to be considered negligent.
The Elements of Negligence Include:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty
What is Duty of Care?
Everyone has a duty of care not to cause harm to other people. This can be difficult to prove because there are often no laws that indicate how other people are supposed to act. The owner of the convenience store down the street from your house must take reasonable steps to be sure you are safe, like making sure spills are cleaned up quickly. However, there is nothing written that says how often the store should check for spills. This can make it difficult to prove that the store owner was negligent if you slipped and fell due to a wet floor. In other cases, it may be easy to prove duty of care, such as someone running a red light because they were texting. In that case, there are laws that forbid texting and driving. That means the driver who hit you did not live up to their duty of care.
What is a Breach of Duty?
If someone breaches their duty of care, like the person texting and driving, their actions can be considered negligent. In that case, according to personal injury attorneys Las Vegas, breach of duty is clear as long as you can prove that the person was texting behind the wheel. In other cases, however, a Las Vegas law firm will say that it can be difficult to prove that the duty of care was breached. In the case of the spilled liquid in the convenience store, for example, the store may have been unaware of the spill as it could have happened just minutes before you slipped. In that case, it could be determined that there was no breach of duty as there was no way for them to have known the liquid was on the floor.
Examples of Causation
Even if it seems clear that the other person was negligent, such as texting and driving, a Las Vegas law firm will explain that if you contributed to the accident, any award you receive could be reduced by the percentage you were at fault. Las Vegas follows a contributory negligence doctrine. Any liability is determined according to fault. If you were also texting and driving at the time of the accident, you could be deemed partially at fault in the accident and, if your fault is higher than the other person’s, you cannot collect damages. If you spilled the water in the convenience store yourself before slipping, it could be determined that you were also partially at fault.
Explanation of Damages
The final determination regarding negligence in a personal injury case is whether any damages occurred. You must have suffered an injury, property damage, or lost income in order to file a claim. If you simply bruised an elbow that did not require medical attention before healing properly, you probably don’t have a personal injury claim. However, if you suffered a significant injury, like a broken bone or severe muscle strain that required a doctor visit, you could qualify for damages. These are things your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer should properly advise you on.
If you have injuries from an accident, see our blog, Objective vs. Subject Symptoms to learn how an insurance company differentiates between the two.
How a Las Vegas Law Firm Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Las Vegas law firm that will fight for your rights. Request a free consultation with the Schnitzer Law Firm by calling 702-960-4050 or fill out the easy form online.