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Who is the “Reasonable Person” in Nevada Personal Injury Law?

Who is the “Reasonable Person” in Nevada Personal Injury Law?
Many personal injury cases hinge on the distinction legal rules draw between subjective and objective analysis of the facts surrounding the plaintiff’s injuries. Sometimes the subjective facts are central: did the defendant see the plaintiff before hitting her with his car, or not? But legal rules that are at the heart of personal injury cases in Nevada try to distance the analysis from the subjective recollections of the people involved, by asking instead whether their actions were the sort that a reasonable person would take under the circumstances. Lawyers spend a lot of time crafting arguments and assembling evidence to show what the “reasonable person” would do in a given situation.

The reasonable person is a kind of measuring stick

Many legal rules ask the question: “Was the action reasonable under the circumstances?” Notice that this question doesn’t ask if the action was reasonable in the opinion of the person who did it. Instead, the reasonableness standard asks judges and jurors to take a step back from the subjective experience of the people involved in the case to ask if an ordinary prudent person make the same choice, all things taken into account. The goal is to lend a degree of objectivity to the analysis in hopes of reaching a fairer outcome for everyone involved. In many personal injury cases that go to trial, the reasonable person standard can play a big role in the way jurors are instructed to assess the facts and circumstances of the case. Would a reasonably prudent person opt to have surgery under the circumstances? Would a reasonable person have reacted to an oncoming car by slamming on her brakes? Would a reasonable person have climbed a ladder knowing that it was broken?

Reasonableness is central to many legal rules

Whether something was reasonable comes up many times in a personal injury case. Here are a few examples:
  • Negligence. Personal injury lawsuits in Nevada focus on whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries by acting negligently. One of the elements of negligence asks whether the defendant took reasonable steps to protect the plaintiff from harm. A landowner who leaves an aggressive dog off leash because he believes leashes are cruel probably hasn’t acted reasonably to protect others from being bitten.
  • Mitigating damages. A plaintiff is required to have taken reasonable steps to mitigate the damages that resulted from the initial injury. A plaintiff who refuses all medical treatment because she’s terrified of hospitals won’t be compensated for her worsening condition, because she didn’t act the way a reasonable person would.
  • Expense reimbursement. A plaintiff’s costs associated with treatment, lost income, and attorneys fees must be reasonable to be recoverable. When it comes to costs, expert testimony is often required to show that medical bills weren’t inflated or the attorneys weren’t overbilling.

Experienced personal injury lawyers understand the reasonable person

The attorneys at GGRM have been navigating the complex rules of personal injury litigation for decades. Let our expertise help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation with an attorney call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

How Car Accident Liability is Determined in Nevada

How Car Accident Liability is Determined in Nevada
In Nevada, someone who is at fault for an auto accident is responsible for compensating the other people involved in the accident for their personal injuries and property damage (usually through the at-fault driver’s insurance). Determining whether someone is at fault in a car accident is a legal question requiring a careful examination of the facts of the accident, the drivers involved, and the surrounding circumstances. In Nevada the rule applied to most car accidents is modified comparative negligence. To understand this rule it helps to break it down into its constituent parts.

Basic negligence in car accidents

Most car accident cases in Nevada rest on the initial question of whether the at-fault driver acted negligently. Negligence is a common legal standard in many kinds of civil lawsuits. In a negligence case, the plaintiff (that is, the injured party) tries to prove that the at-fault driver (the defendant) was not driving with a reasonable level of care in light of the circumstances, and as a consequence injured the plaintiff. Quite often the facts of the accident determine what a “reasonable level of care” means. A cell phone distraction looks different depending on whether it took place on a sunny day at normal speeds or on a rainy night at speeds well in excess of the limit.

Comparative negligence can offset some liability

But basic negligence doesn’t account for an important feature of car accidents: it’s relatively rare for one driver to be exclusively at fault. In response, Nevada applies the rule of comparative negligence, which offsets the at-fault driver’s responsibility by the extent to which the other driver (or drivers) contributed to the accident. For example, say the defendant swerved into the plaintiff’s lane and caused the plaintiff to smash into a guard rail. If the plaintiff was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the accident, the defendant could argue that the distraction impeded the defendant’s reactions and therefore contributed to the accident by, say, 20%.

The modified rule protects victims

Nevada applies a modified comparative negligence rule to car accident cases, in the sense that if the fault analysis concludes that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, the defendant doesn’t owe any damages at all. The modified comparative negligence rule discourages lawsuits that seem to flip accidents on their heads, putting the accidents’ victims in the role of defendants while the truly at-fault driver seeks recovery. Of course, in practice even a seemingly clear case can grow uncertain if the factual analysis begins to edge the defendant’s contribution to the accident toward the 51% cutoff point.

It’s important to talk to an attorney after a serious car accident

Although the facts of a car accident may at first seem straightforward, they can undergo complex interpretations in the hands of attorneys who are working to protect the interests of their clients. In a lawsuit, understanding how to handle bad facts and take advantage of good ones requires the expert guidance of an experienced lawyer. Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented victims of car accidents in Las Vegas for over 45 years. If you have been in an accident and you have questions about your legal options, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

Can EMS Providers Be Liable in a Vehicle Accident?

Can EMS Providers be Liable in a Vehicle Accident?

The short answer to this question is yes. While EMS providers do have protections under Good Samaritan laws, in the event of a vehicle accident, EMS providers can be subject to liability in the form of claims involving negligent operation of a vehicle. Most states’ Good Samaritan statutes do not apply under these circumstances.

In every state there are laws on the books permitting emergency vehicles to exceed posted speed limits and/or violate the normal right of ways. However, in many cases there are exceptions that require ambulances to obey certain traffic rules. Examples may include requiring EMS vehicles to stop at traffic lights and ensure the intersection is clear before proceeding, or adhering to limitations on how much the speed limit can be exceeded by .These kinds of laws are usually specific to the state, and can vary significantly. A fundamental principle of all laws governing the operation of emergency vehicles when they are responding to an emergency is that the EMS provider operating the vehicle exercise any legal privileges or protections they may be entitled to with due regard to the safety of others. Excessive speeding and reckless operation typically violate this principle on its face, and can result in liability. In Nevada, EMS providers do enjoy strong legal protections under the state’s Good Samaritan statute (NRS 41.500). However, they are not protected from liability if there are damages resulting from “gross negligence.” For this reason, Nevada EMS workers should be as careful as possible in how they operate emergency vehicles when responding to emergency situations. Speeding, erratic driving, failing to pay attention, and texting and driving are all actions that could potentially fall under the category of gross negligence. While EMS providers are obligated to arrive at scenes as quickly as possible, haste should be tempered with safe and deliberate driving practices. GGRM is proud of our record representing law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and EMS providers. For us it is much more than a job- it is a calling. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or visit our webpage to learn more.  

Negotiating a Personal Injuries Settlement

Negotiating a Personal Injuries Settlement
Settlements are often preferable to going to trial since they can save both time and legal costs. However, if you decide to take the settlement route, the process of determining a fair amount for which to settle your injury claim can be difficult since it is dependent on multiple factors. To determine the amount of a settlement, both sides begin by deciding on their own what they think the case is worth. In other words, what a potential jury might award the plaintiff if the case went to trial. This is generally done by researching similar cases to see what juries have awarded in the past, and then factoring in the circumstances of the case at hand. In the event that an insurance company is handling the defendant’s side, there might be predetermined settlement amounts depending on the type of lawsuit. Once both sides have come up with an estimate for an acceptable settlement amount, they will begin making offers and counter-offers. As the facts become clearer and the likelihood of the plaintiff prevailing at trial is fleshed out, the prospective amount may go higher or lower. Once the sides agree on an acceptable settlement amount, they will sign a settlement agreement and the plaintiff then proceeds to drop the case. The following are some key factors that can help determine the potential value of a settlement:
  • The defendant’s assets- If a defendant doesn’t have the means to pay a high settlement, then a high settlement won’t be a possibility regardless of the facts of the case.
  • Damages- For the plaintiff, this entails what their injuries cost monetarily, physically, and mentally. Damages can also include medical expenses, lost work, and any other concrete financial losses suffered by the plaintiff.
  • Liability- This is a strong determinant for how strong the plaintiff’s case actually is, i.e. is the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Even if high damages can be shown, liability will still be the crucial issue.