If you are considering a personal injury claim in Las Vegas, it’s important that you understand that your case may not be a 100% claim in your favor. This is due to the shared fault concept, and you need to know exactly what it means for you and the potential outcome of your case.
What Is Shared Fault?
While you may think that your injuries are the responsibility of the other party, if your case goes before a jury, that may not be the outcome. Las Vegas follows the concept of shared fault, which simply means that if you had a part in causing the accident, it will lessen the amount of your claim. If it is determined that your actions were a contributory part of the cause of your injuries, the overall percentage will be removed from your final settlement.
How It Works
There are some accidents in which fault is clear-cut, such as if someone runs a red light and hits you. However, others may be the result of a combination of factors. For example, if you were riding your bike and were struck by a vehicle as you crossed before your light changed, you would be partially responsible for the accident – your negligence in crossing against the light contributed to the driver of the vehicle hitting you.
If you are found to be partially at fault, the jury may determine that 30% of the accident was your fault. This means that if your case were worth $15,000, you would only receive $10,500 after your percentage of fault was deducted from the final amount. It is important to note, if the jury finds that you are equally responsible for the accident, such as if you also rode your bike out in front of the vehicle that struck you while you were crossing against the light, you would not be able to collect any monies from the other party. A 50% responsibility in the accident bars you from being able to collect any damages in the case.
Effects on Settlements
While shared fault is often determined during a court case, insurance companies can also bring up the amount of fault during the settlement stage, as well. Due to this, it is important that you hire a Las Vegas attorney that can help you with your settlement process. He or she will be able to go over the accident and police reports with you to determine whether shared fault is applicable in your case. Insurance companies are always working to limit the amount of money that they have to pay out for their policyholders. This means that the claims department may try to claim shared fault, even when it does not exist in the case. An attorney can help you prove that your actions did not play a role in the accident.
Shared fault can drastically lower the amount you can be paid for your case, or even eliminate a settlement altogether. Make sure you have an attorney on your side to protect yourself in this kind of case.