How to Prove You are Not at Fault in a Car Accident
Car crashes happen every day in Clark County. They remain one of the leading causes of accidental injuries in the United States. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 42,000 people were killed in motor vehicle wrecks in 2020 alone. Many hundreds of thousands more sustained serious injuries. If you were involved in a bad collision in Las Vegas, you need financial compensation to pay medical bills and support your closest loved ones.
Nevada is an at-fault car accident state. To maximize your financial compensation after a serious crash, you are going to need to prove liability. This raises an important question: How do you prove fault for a car accident in Nevada? The short answer is that you need to build a case supported by compelling, well-organized evidence. In this blog post, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers explain why fault matters and provide a brief guide for proving that you were not at fault in a crash.
Nevada is a Fault-Based Car Accident State: Comparative Negligence
Under Nevada law (NRS § 41.141), car accident claims are governed by a comparative negligence standard. In effect, this means that fault is extremely important. A party deemed “at fault” for a crash will be legally liable for the resulting damages. Notably, the specific amount of blame assigned to each party will determine their share of liability. Here is a straightforward overview of how Nevada’s comparative fault standard works:
- 1.One Party At Fault (Liable for 100 Percent of the Damages): Imagine that you are involved in a multi-vehicle car accident in Las Vegas. An investigation reveals that the crash was caused entirely by the other driver, who was texting and driving at the time of the collision. In total, you suffered $20,000 in damages in the crash. As the other motorist was deemed 100 percent at fault, they are liable for 100 percent of your damages—or $20,000.
- 2.Two or More Parties at Fault (Liability Split Proportionality): Adding another facet to the previous example, imagine that you were speeding and that contributed to the accident. The driver who was texting is found liable for 80 percent of the accident. However, your speeding is deemed to be the cause of the other 20 percent. In this scenario, you would be liable for 20 percent of your own damages and your compensation would be reduced proportionately—down 20 percent, from $20,000 to $16,000.
As these examples make clear, fault matters in Nevada. You need to prove that you were not at fault for your crash—otherwise, you will not be in the best position to maximize your financial compensation. Even a small percentage of blame for a serious accident could take thousands of dollars out of your settlement check. It is imperative that you know how to build a strong and persuasive case that clearly shows that you were not at fault for a traffic collision.
An Overview of the Evidence Used to Establish Fault in a Car Accident Claim
Understanding the importance of proving fault, you also need to know what types of evidence can be used to build a strong case. The evidence in a car accident case can come in a wide variety of different forms. Ultimately, anything relevant to determining how and why the collision occurred could be useful. Here is an overview of the most common types of evidence used to prove fault/liability in car accident injury claims in Nevada:
- The Police Report: The accident report serves as the basis of liability in a significant percentage of car accident claims. All serious collisions—those that result in injuries or major property damage—should be reported to state or local law enforcement. An officer should be dispatched to control the scene and help document what happened. Always get a copy of the official police report after a serious crash. It can be used to help prove that you were not at fault.
- Photographs: It is a best practice to take extensive photographs (and videos) of a crash. Try to capture the vehicle damage, the wider accident scene, and anything else that seems like it might be important to prove what happened and why. These photographs can often provide a lot of information related to fault. For example, a picture of the crash damage might help to clear up which vehicle hit the other vehicle.
- Surveillance Camera Footage: If you were driving in an urban area (or were on a road with commercial business) it is possible that your crash may have been caught on a surveillance camera. Take a look at the crash scene to see if there might be any cameras around. You need to act quickly to get third-party surveillance camera footage as most businesses only store their videos for a limited amount of time.
- Statements By the Parties: You have a right to give personal testimony as to how the crash happened. Anyone else involved in the accident has the same legal right. Taken together, the statement of the parties can go a long way towards telling the story of fault. This is particularly if someone admits full (or partial) liability or otherwise makes an admission against interests. For this reason, it is best to work with insurance adjusters through an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney after a serious crash.
- Eyewitness Testimony: Third-party eyewitness testimony is also important as it can be used to help provide independent corroboration of how an accident occurred. To the best of your ability, try to secure the name and contact information of anyone who saw your crash. They may be able to give a statement that you were not the one who was at fault for the accident.
- Cell Phone Records: Cell phone records may help to establish liability in a case where a driver is accused of texting and driving or talking on the phone and driving. Even if they deny liability, you may be able to subpoena their cell phone records through your Las Vegas car accident attorney to get proof of exactly what they were doing and when they were doing it.
- Truck Company Records: Commercial trucking is highly regulated. The companies that operate in the industry are held to strict safety standards, including driver training requirements, driver service hour limits, and truck inspection protocols. After a serious accident with a tractor-trailer, your Las Vegas truck accident lawyer can take legal action to get a wide range of records and information directly from the company.
- Expert Analysis: In more complex accident cases, an expert witness may be called upon to help determine fault. Accident scene reconstruction experts have the professional skills to analyze evidence and help figure out exactly who caused the crash. If you are involved in a highly disputed car accident case, an experienced attorney can connect you with a reliable expert witness.
How a Las Vegas, NV Car Crash Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights
Liability: Building a Strong Case that Proves Fault
To maximize your financial compensation, you need to prove fault. When filing an accident claim, you want to submit a strong and well-supported case that clearly demonstrates the other party’s liability. When insurance companies recognize the true strength of your claim, they are far more likely to take you seriously. Only when they see that you know how to put together a claim that could hold up in court will the insurer start to offer full and fair financial compensation in a settlement. At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas, NV car accident lawyers know how to put together a case that proves fault. We get results for our clients.
Damages: Comprehensively Documenting the Extent of Your Losses
Of course, fault is just one aspect of a car accident injury claim. Once fault is no longer an issue, your case will move on to the matter of damages. In Nevada, car accident victims have a right to recover financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages. You may be able to get money for vehicle repairs, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
That being said, the big insurance carriers are not especially interested in paying out full financial support. Even when you clearly prove that you were not at fault, they will try to limit your settlement by undervaluing your damages. Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers have the skills and tenacity to get you and your family the maximum available financial compensation.
Call Our Las Vegas, NV Auto Accident Attorneys for a Free Review of Your Case
At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas motor vehicle crash lawyers work tirelessly to provide the highest level of representation to our clients. With deep experience handling car wreck claims, our firm has helped clients recover in excess of $200 million in financial relief. If you have questions about proving a collision was not your fault, we can help. Call us at 702-252-0055 or connect with our firm directly online for your free, no-obligation appointment. From our Las Vegas law office, we are well-positioned to handle motor vehicle accident injury cases throughout Clark County.