In a Nevada personal injury car wreck case, you can file a claim for negligence, negligence per se, or both. You may file a claim for negligence per se when the at-fault driver violates a traffic law that causes the very type of car wreck that the law was intended to avoid. For example, traffic laws prohibit texting while driving because you’ll be driving while distracted. Distracted drivers are more prone to cause accidents, some of which are fatal. Pure negligence, however, occurs when the at-fault driver engages in activity that a driver should reasonably know is reasonably foreseeable to cause injury to others. An example includes putting on makeup while driving.
As straightforward as it may seem, proving negligence and negligence per se should be left to seasoned car wreck lawyers in Las Vegas, NV, such as the lawyers at Eric Roy Law Firm. You may call us at 702-423-3333 or fill out our online contact form.
What Are Damages?
Damages are divided into three categories: compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages. Each serves a separate purpose. Compensatory damages serve to make you whole again and compensate you for the losses you sustained. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant’s reckless, wanton behavior to deter her or him from ever committing this act again. But be aware that a court will only award you punitive damages if you’re at first awarded compensatory or nominal damages. Nominal damages serve to acknowledge that the defendant violated your rights, although you didn’t sustain any actual damages.
To be more specific, compensatory damages cover your economic and non-economic injuries. Economic injuries are what you can easily calculate, whereas your non-economic injuries are what you suffered emotionally and psychologically. Examples of economic compensatory damages are: hospital bills, ambulance transportation bill, lost wages from work, etc. Examples of non-economic are: pain and suffering and humiliation (should you become disfigured from the car wreck).
Now, onto punitive damages. Punitive damages in Nevada have a cap, as in there is a stopping point at which a court will not award you anymore money for this damage type. If a personal injury court awards you less than $100,000 in compensatory damages then your punitive damage amount is capped at $300,000. If you’re awarded $100,000 or more, your punitive award amount is capped at three times whatever the compensatory amount is.
Finally, let’s discuss nominal damages. Your nominal damage amount is intentionally miniscule because it’s meant to reflect the fact that you didn’t suffer any harm. For example, suppose your car wreck only leaves your car with a slight ding that can be fixed for $250, and you weren’t injured, didn’t need a doctor, and didn’t have to miss work at all. Here, there’s no evidence, such as medical receipts, to suggest that a court should award you thousands. But suppose the at-fault driver dinged your car because the driver was drunk driving and speeding. In that case, you may feel that the at-fault driver should be taught a lesson because something far worse could’ve happened. In such a case, seeking nominal damages to open the door to punitive damages is a logical decision.