If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, it is critical that you speak to a personal injury lawyer Las Vegas to learn what rights you may have under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical bills as well as pain and suffering you have endured or will endure as a result of your injury. Although every personal injury case is different, all follow some basic timelines and have similar requirements under personal injury law.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal injury law is designed to provide compensation to anyone who is the victim of an accident or what are known as “social wrongs.” If you are the one injured, you are considered the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit while the person who caused your injury is considered the defendant. If more than one person caused the injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against all of them or the defendant may claim that someone else was responsible and bring them into the lawsuit as a cross-defendant. Unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof in a personal injury case is lower which means you may be able to receive compensation even if a criminal case was decided in the defendant’s favor. The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to help the injured person recover losses as a result of their injury and not necessarily to punish the person responsible. However, if the defendant acted maliciously or in a particularly egregious manner, punitive damages could be awarded.
The first thing a personal injury lawyer Las Vegas will do is determine if there has been negligence in your case. Your attorney must be able to prove the defendant’s duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty and the breach of duty actually caused the injury. You will also need to prove proximate causation as well as your actual damages. The defense attorney may try to prove that the defendant did not have a duty of care in your Las Vegas case or that the breach of duty was not responsible for your injury. However, there is often evidence that something the defendant did breach the duty of care. For instance, a customer spills water in the aisle of a grocery store and an employee notices the spill but neglects to clean it. Half an hour after the spill, you slip on the water and break your elbow. In this case, because the store employee saw the water and did nothing to clean it up, the store breached its duty of care and that breach led to your slip and fall injury. However, if the customer spilled the water just before you turned the corner and slipped, the store is less likely to have breached their duty of care, even though the spilled water caused your injury.
In all personal injury cases, there are strict filing deadlines. In Nevada, you must file a lawsuit within two years of your injury. This deadline is strict and if you miss it, you have lost your right to file a lawsuit. Not only must your lawsuit be filed within the two-year time limit, but you must also file the proper paperwork in the right court. This means that you must file a complaint and summons in the branch of the state court that applies to your case. This is known as jurisdiction and is normally where the injury occurred. It can also be where the defendant lives or does business. Once the complaint and summons have been filed, the summons must be served on the defendant. It is important that the summons be served properly or your case could be dismissed. The complaint and summons can be extremely complicated and should be handled by your personal injury attorney.
Investigation and Review
Before your case is filed, however, your attorney will interview you thoroughly about your accident. You should provide your attorney with copies of all medical records, although they may request them from your doctor to be sure they have them all. Many law offices have investigators who will also visit the scene of the accident, take photos, measurements and collect other data that will allow them to virtually recreate the accident. All of this information will be used as evidence should the case head to court.
Demands and Negotiations
Your personal injury attorney will be responsible for putting together a demand letter with all of the factual and legal support for your claim. Typically, an attorney will not make a demand until you are done treating or it’s clear the injuries exceed the insurance policy of the other driver. The demand letter will ask for an amount of money for the Las Vegas personal injury case. The amount of money is decided by the attorney and the client. Insurance companies are usually given 30 days to review the documents and respond to the demand. The insurance company will either pay the amount demanded, offer to pay a smaller amount or refuse to pay any money. If the insurance company refuses to pay the demand in full, your attorney will try to negotiate a settlement with your input. The length of negotiations varies in time based upon the unique circumstances of each case. If the insurance company will not make a fair offer, the best Las Vegas personal injury attorneys will file a lawsuit. Negotiations can take place during the lawsuit. Some cases settle before trial and some even settle in the middle of trial. The decision whether to settle the case is always up to the client. Las Vegas injury lawyers can never settle a case without the client’s approval.
Going to Trial
If your case cannot be settled out of court, it will be scheduled for trial. Depending on the complexity of your case, the trial can last one day, a week, a month or longer. In addition, just because the trial is scheduled for a certain date does not mean it will start that day. Your trial can be rescheduled due to the judge’s schedule, because a witness is unable to appear or for many different reasons. During the trial, the evidence will be presented to the judge or jury. It is impossible to predict the outcome of a trial and this is true whether a judge decides the case or a jury makes the decision. Your attorney should explain the entire trial process and may actually conduct a mock trial. This can identify weaknesses in your case and better prepare you for the trial.
If you have been injured in an accident, you may be frightened, frustrated and angry that someone else has caused you pain and suffering. It is critical after you have been injured to speak to a personal injury lawyer Las Vegas or contact a Las Vegas injury law firm to learn what rights you have under the law. It is entirely possible that the person who caused your injury will hire a defense attorney Las Vegas which is why you need to protect your own interests.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact The best personal injury lawyer Las Vegas, the Schnitzer Law Firm by completing the easy form online or giving us a call at 702-960-4050 to arrange a no-obligation consultation. You can also chat live with us on the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week to learn what rights you have under the law.