Being involved in a car accident, especially one that results in serious injuries, is nothing short of traumatic. At the office of Ladah Law, one of the most frequently asked questions that we get is in regards to for how much a person can sue after an automobile accident. The answer is that the value of a claim and the amount of compensation that a claimant may receive is dependent on numerous factors, and can change from case to case depending on who is at fault and more. Our attorneys are here to help you understand your right to compensation and navigate the claims process. Here’s an overview of what you should know about damages recoverable in a car accident claim.
Types of Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Claim
Before diving into the specifics of the law and how different factors can impact the amount of compensation that may be recoverable in a car accident claim, it’s important to first understand the types of compensation–or damages–that are available in a car accident claim in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas.
- Medical expenses. One of the largest expenses incurred by a victim after a car accident will no doubt be medical expenses in the form of bills for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, emergency transportation to a hospital, ongoing doctor’s visits, rehabilitation and therapy, etc. Someone who has been involved in a crash should be compensated in full for these expenses, including any future expenses related to medical care for the accident that they are expected to incur.
- Property damage costs. If a person is injured in a car accident, chances are high that their motor vehicle is severely damaged, too. This can mean thousands of dollars, or tens of thousands of dollars, in motor vehicle repair or replacement costs. Our law firm will work hard to make sure that you’re compensated for your property damage costs.
- Lost wages. If a person is severely injured, they may suffer lost wages if their injuries preclude them from returning to work. Sometimes, these wage losses are long-term; a person may never be able to return to work or earn the same income that they did before the accident. When this is the case, a person should be compensated in full for their lost wages and loss of earning capacity, including the value of the lost benefits (such as healthcare, retirement, bonuses, etc.) that they would have incurred had they been able to continue working.
- Other economic costs. In addition to the above damages, which are all the category of economic losses, a person who is injured in a car accident should also be compensated for any other economic losses they suffer that are directly related to the accident.
- Noneconomic losses/pain and suffering damages. In addition to compensation for economic losses, noneconomic damages are also recoverable in a car accident claim. Noneconomic damages are intended to compensate a victim for the value of their pain, suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, and other intangible physical, psychological, or emotional losses.
Comparative Negligence in Nevada
While a person should be able to recover every single cent they have lost due to the negligence of another party, there are multiple things that impact a claimant’s ability to recover 100 percent of their losses. One of those things is the rule of comparative negligence in Nevada.
Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state, as found under Nevada Revised Statutes section 41.141. Under this rule, a victim of a car accident maintains the right to bring forth a claim against the at-fault party for damages, so long as they were not more at fault for the accident than the other party. In other words, so long as a person is 50 percent or less at fault for a crash, they can file a claim against the other at-fault party.
But if a claimant is partially at fault for a crash, they can’t hold the other party 100 percent liable for their damages; instead, they can only hold the defendant liable in proportion to the defendant’s degree of fault. So, if a claimant in a car accident has suffered $100,000 in economic and noneconomic damages and is found to be 15 percent to blame for the crash, then they can only seek 85 percent of their total claim value from the defendant, or $85,000.
Things that Impact the Value of a Claim
In addition to the degree of the plaintiff’s/claimant’s fault in a car accident claim, there are other things that can impact the value of a settlement, including:
- Proof of damages. It’s not enough to merely claim that a person has suffered an array of economic and noneconomic damages; they must be able to prove these damages. This requires working with multiple experts, including financial experts and medical professionals, who can testify about the damages you have sustained and are likely to sustain over time. If you are unable to prove damages, your claim value will be lowballed by an insurance company.
- Proof of causation. Another thing that you must be able to prove is causation. This means that in addition to being able to prove the negligence of the defendant (and disprove any allegations of negligence made against you if appropriate), you also need to be able to prove that your injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence. Again, this will likely require working with experts, such as accident reconstruction experts.
- Insurance available. Even if you can prove the negligence of the defendant, as well as causation and damages, you may not be able to receive your full settlement award if there is no insurance coverage available. For example, if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident or if the driver who hit you is underinsured or uninsured, this could impact your ability to get the compensation award you deserve, especially if you yourself do not carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- Strength of case. Finally, the general strength of your case can impact how much you receive. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to work with an attorney.
How Can Working with a Las Vegas Auto Accident Attorney Improve the Outcome of Your Case?
Working with an attorney will likely improve the outcome of your case. An attorney is well-versed in the law, and likely has experience working on claims like yours as well as relationships with others who may be relevant to your case (insurance adjusters, judges, local experts, etc.). When you work with the auto accident lawyers at Ladah Law, we can help by investigating your case, hiring experts, proving fault and liability, calculating and proving damages, identifying all possible sources of recovery, filing a demand letter, reviewing and negotiating a settlement offer, and litigating your case if necessary.
Call Our Auto Accident Attorneys Today
In sum, you can sue an at-fault party for the full value of your case, but there are multiple factors that impact how much you may actually walk away with. When you call the car accident attorneys at the law office of Ladah Law, we can start working on your case and advocating for your right to your full settlement immediately. We offer free consultations and always work on a contingency fee basis. Learn more by calling our law office directly: 702-252-0055, visiting us in person, or sending us a message online telling us more about your case.