What is comparative negligence?

Accidents between vehicles on Nevada roads often occur because of negligence. Negligence is the failure of a person to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. When it comes to driving, reasonable care may involve avoiding driving distractions, following traffic signage and laws, and maintaining one’s calm when conditions are challenging.

When two vehicles collide it may be the case that one of the drivers was completely responsible for the accident. For example, if a driver is stopped at a stop sign and the other driver drives directly into the back of the victim’s car then the second may be completely at fault for the crash.

Now, however, imagine in the same scenario but that the first car had defective rear brake lights. If there were no glowing red indicators on the back of the car it may have been more difficult for the second driver to determine that the first car was stopped. Though the second driver should have taken precautions when approaching the other car and may have seen the stop sign at the intersection, it is possible in this expanded scenario that the first driver and presumptive victim contributed to the incident by driving a car with defective lights.

This is where comparative negligence comes into play. In Nevada, a presumptive victim cannot recover their damages if it is found that they were more than 50 percent responsible for the harm that caused their losses. In our above scenario, if a court found that the presumptive victim was 60 percent responsible for the crash due to their defective brake lights and the other driver was 40 percent responsible then the victim may not get their damages at trial.

The state’s comparative negligence law is more complex than discussed herein. Readers should talk to personal injury attorneys about their car accident cases and how the comparative negligence law may impact their ability to recover.