Nevada Negligence Lawyer
Negligence is the basis for most civil cases, although an individual or company can be criminally negligent as well. The civil law of negligence is based upon the concept that a reasonably prudent person should act in a certain way. Negligence is the result of an individual (or entity) failing to fulfill a duty owed and falling below the standard of care by not acting as a reasonably prudent person should.
The bottom line of negligence law is that individuals (and companies) must exercise reasonable care and consider foreseeable harm that they may cause to others.
Negligence is also often used to describe “accident and injury law” or “personal injury law.”, which may include not only negligence cases but strict liability and intentional injury cases.It encompasses injuries caused by accidents, dog bites, defective products, medical malpractice, other professional malpractice such as business errors, and nursing home abuse.
The Three Prongs of Proving Negligence
To prove negligence, the injured person must show that his or her injuries were caused by the act or failure to act of another individual (or company.)
Proving negligence has three prongs. In other words, the injured person must show that it is more likely than not (i.e. preponderance of the evidence) that:
- The defendant had a duty to the injured person,
- The defendant’s act or failure to act was not reasonable and caused the injured person’s injuries, and
- The injured person suffered some form of injury as to be entitled to damages.
What kind of attorney handles negligence cases? Attorneys who focus their practice on negligence cases will typically refer to themselves as “personal injury,” “accident,” “defective product,” or “malpractice” attorneys. The term “personal injury attorney” is most commonly used.
What does “causation” mean? “Causation” means that “but for” the defendant’s act or failure to act, when there was a duty to do so, injury would not have occurred. In other words, because the defendant did something (or failed to do something he or she should have done), someone was injured.
What financial compensation can an injured person receive if negligence is proven? The goal of negligence law is to make the injured person whole; meaning, to put the injured person back in the position he or she would have been but for the defendant’s negligent act. Courts can’t turn back the hands of time and prevent injuries from occurring, so they provide financial compensation in the best attempt to make up for injuries.
Injured persons can recover lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering damages. If the act that caused injury is particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded as a punishment.
The spouses and families of injured persons can receive financial compensation as well, in the form of all of the above if the injured person died (i.e. wrongful death), and through loss of consortium claims for losses suffered due to a strain in the relationship
Damages The term, “damages,” refers to the loss the injured person has suffered. Special damages are actual pecuniary losses suffered such as lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. “General damages” is compensation for a loss that can’t be quantified by a dollar amount such as pain and suffering. “Punitive damages” refers to an amount of money awarded to an injured person to punish the defendant whose actions were particularly egregious.
Loss of Consortium “Loss of consortium” refers to a loss sustained by the spouse of an injured person. Specifically, the loss may be loss of sexual relations, love and services due to the injury, caused by the negligent act of another individual (or company.)
Tort A “tort” is a civil wrong, other than a contract, for which there is a remedy. Much of tort law is based upon a negligence theory. Other theories of liability include strict liability and intentional torts.
Tortfeasor An individual (or company) that commits a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which there is a remedy. The tortfeasor’s actions or inactions and the resulting harm are often negligence based and a result of carelessness. Sometimes, intentional acts, or strict liability, are the basis for torts.