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When more than one driver is at fault in an accident in Nevada, the potential recovery of damages will be governed by the state’s contributory negligence law.

Contributory Negligence and Liability in Automobile Accidents

When both drivers who were involved in a motor vehicle crash had some fault in the accident’s cause, the potential for recovery in a personal injury lawsuit will depend on the percentage of fault that is allocated to each driver. Any award that may be given by a jury will be reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to the plaintiff. Nevada has a statute that outlines how contributory negligence is applied in accident cases.

Nevada Revised Statutes 41.141

The contributory negligence law can be found at Nevada Revised Statutes 41.141. Under this law, when a defendant to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit asserts contributory negligence as a defense, the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages is not barred if his or her percentage of fault in the accident’s cause is not 51 percent or more. Judges instruct juries that the plaintiff will only be able to recover if his or her fault is less than the fault allocated to the defendant.

Understanding the Law

Contributory negligence means that a plaintiff may be able to recover some damages even if he or she shared part of the fault in the accident’s cause. However, if his or her share of the fault was 51 percent or more, his or her recovery will be barred. His or her recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to him or her. For example, in a case in which the plaintiff is assigned 30 percent of the fault, the gross award in a jury verdict will be reduced by 30 percent. This means that if a jury awards gross damages of $100,000 in an accident, the plaintiff will receive a net award of $67,000.

Assessing Liability

Personal injury attorneys often evaluate the claims of potential clients in order to determine liability. They may then offer an assessment of the case and whether the person is likely to recover damages when both parties share liability.