A pedestrian was seriously injured recently as she was crossing a Reno street after she was struck by a car. Reno police said the driver was drunk at the time of the crash.
Police said the woman suffered life-threatening injuries. Officers arrested the driver on DUI and related charges.
Nevada recognizes the legal theory of "negligence per se," which can make it easier for the injured to recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Essentially, it streamlines a crucial step in making a case.
In most personal injury cases involving car accidents, the plaintiff must prove that the other defendant caused the injuries through negligence. This means in order to hold the defendant liable for the plaintiff's damages, the plaintiff has to show evidence that the defendant had a duty of care to avoid injury to others, that the defendant breached that duty, and that this breach was the cause of the accident and the injuries.
Negligence per se applies in cases where the defendant caused the plaintiff's injury while violating a safety-oriented statute. More specifically, the statute must have been meant to protect people in the plaintiff's position. For example, a law that requires drivers to stop at a red light is meant to protect pedestrians, among others. In a case where a pedestrian was struck at a crosswalk by a driver who ran a red light, the injured pedestrian can claim the driver committed negligence per se. The plaintiff no longer has the burden of proving that the defendant acted negligently.
Asserting negligence per se does not necessarily mean the plaintiff wins the case, but it can greatly ease the plaintiff's burden. However, no one would say it's easy to win a personal injury lawsuit. It is important for the injured to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.