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Posted in Car Accidents on December 15, 2021
If you get injured in an accident in Nevada, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. You generally must prove, however, that someone was negligent and that this caused or significantly contributed to the accident. Most personal injury cases are based on the legal doctrine of negligence. The definition of negligence is the failure to use proper care. As the plaintiff, or filing party, you or your personal injury lawyer will need to establish the four elements of negligence to have a successful case.
First, the defendant (the party allegedly at fault for the injury in a civil claim) must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In the civil justice system, a duty of care refers to a legal or ethical obligation to act with reasonable care. Some duties of care are general, such as the legal responsibility not to intentionally injure another person. Others are specific to a profession or the circumstances, such as the special duties of care that medical providers have when treating patients. Understanding what duties of care a defendant owed you at the time of your accident or injury may take assistance from an attorney.
When a duty of care exists, a defendant must act in a way that a reasonable and prudent party would in the same or similar circumstances. Any action or omission (also referred to as default) that falls short of these expectations can count as a breach or violation of the duty of care. If the defendant fails to use a reasonable amount of care, such as a motor vehicle driver who decides to text and drive, this can constitute a breach of duty for civil justice purposes.
The third element of a negligence case is causation. The careless, reckless, unacceptable or criminal actions of the defendant must be the proximate cause of the injury being claimed. Proximate cause means an event that is deemed to be the legal cause of the injury due to it being sufficiently related. There must be sufficient proof that the defendant’s mistake or behavior is why you suffered the injury or loss that you are claiming. In other words, your injury would not have occurred were it not for the negligence of the defendant.
The fourth element necessary for a negligence claim is damages. In a personal injury case, damages is the losses suffered by the plaintiff because of the defendant. To have a valid claim, there must be a tangible, physical injury or other compensable loss suffered by the plaintiff in relation to the defendant’s negligence. Some of the most common damages claimed are physical injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.
Proving a personal injury case that is based on negligence does not mean showing ways in which your accident could have been avoided. Instead, it requires evidence to support the idea that the defendant did not do as much as a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation, and that this is why your injury occurred. In a car accident case, for example, proving negligence means establishing that a motor vehicle driver did not operate the car in the same manner that a reasonable driver would have, and that this is why the crash occurred.
The four elements of negligence are critical for a personal injury case in Nevada. Without clear convincing evidence of all four, you most likely cannot recover financial compensation for your losses after an accident. The best way to build a strong claim to damages in Nevada is by hiring a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can investigate your accident and help you collect evidence of the elements that are necessary to win the case. For more information about your particular injury claim, contact an attorney at Koch & Brim, LLP for a free consultation.