When a case makes its way to the State Supreme Court, it involves what could be called a ‘question of law’ that the court feels should be clarified. That appears to be what occurred with a case in which a passenger in a vehicle being driven by someone with an enormous amount of alcohol and the presence of cocaine in his system was awarded damages after being permanently injured. The issue centered on Nevada’s comparative negligence law and how it should be applied at the trial level.
According to the Las Vegas Sun:
“A $4.5 million judgment awarded to a Las Vegas man who was severely injured when the car he was riding in overturned in July 2002 has been upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court.
Aaron Cromer was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic with severe disability to his hands, arms and legs when the car driven by William G. Wilson rolled over.
Wilson was convicted of felony drunk driving and reckless driving. Wilson’s blood alcohol level was 0.31, and the state’s limit to legally drive was 0.10. And he also had cocaine in his system.
The court said a jury trial should then have been held on the amount of damages and whether Cromer was partly responsible for the accident.
The jury in the civil case ruled that Wilson was liable and was 75 percent at fault and Cromer was 25 percent at fault.
Wilson was allowed at trial to argue comparative negligence on the part of Cromer to reduce the amount of the judgment.
The court said combining the issue of liability and damages at the trial was the incorrect legal procedure but added, “The appropriate outcome was reached.”
Therefore, not only does a driver owe a duty of care to his passengers, but when he is convicted of charges relating to the accident it will mean that a civil trial on the merits of liability is not necessary. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a drunk driver, you need the help of Las Vegas auto accident attorneys who understand what it takes to hold someone who causes harm accountable. Contact the Sam Harding Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.