Personal injury cases in Nevada follow complex laws and guidelines that often lead to settlements or trial that can take years to resolve. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney who understands complicated state laws and restrictions can provide important legal advice for all types of personal injuries.
Personal Injury Claims and Guidelines
A personal injury claim alleges that an individual or business entity is responsible for causing physical injuries and should pay for economic and non-economic damages. Legal causes of action that comprise personal injury cases include vehicle and motorcycle accidents, commercial bus accidents, slip and fall accidents, defective products, premises liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Depending on the type of injury and extent of damages, a personal injury claim may present complicated issues that require a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to resolve.
Nevada has specific state laws and statue of limitations that govern personal injury lawsuits and insurance settlements. When filing a case in court the following guidelines apply:
- The statue of limitations requires a personal injury lawsuit to be filed within two years after the date of the injury. If the case is filed after the two-year deadline has passed, a Nevada court will typically refuse to hear the case, and the injury claim can be barred forever.
- A personal injury claim must be filed in the civil court jurisdiction where the injury occurred or where the defendant resides. Cases filed in the wrong venue or county may be dismissed, or the plaintiff may be fined by the court.
- If damages claimed are less than $5,000, the case must be filed in small claims court, a division of the Nevada Justice Court.
- If damages claimed are a minimum of $5,000, but do not exceed $10,000, the case must be filed in Nevada Justice Court. The Nevada District Court handles claims that exceed $10,000.
Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a formal lawsuit will require assistance from a Las Vegas personal injury attorney who understands the process and guidelines of the Nevada court system. To avoid costly mistakes, court guidelines must be strictly adhered to. Since a lawsuit involves a formal process that’s demanded by the court, a personal injury case in Nevada can be lengthy. Depending on the nature of the injury, the amount of damages, and the cooperation of defendants and insurance companies involved, a personal injury case may take years to resolve. The formal process goes through several steps:
- Summons and Complaint – Notifies another party that he/she is being sued and explains the nature of the lawsuit.
- Subpoena – A legal document that requires the defendant to appear in court on a certain date.
- Discovery – A legal process that allows each party in a lawsuit to gather evidence and information from the other side, before the trial officially begins.
- Judgment – A decision made at the end of a civil lawsuit that requires payment for damages from one party to the other.
- Appeals – Petitions for a higher court to review a prior judgment.
Since each personal injury case is different, there’s no way to predict exactly how long it will take from start to finish. The process leading up to the trial may be slow, but it may take much longer for the court to assign an official court date. A trial often doesn’t commence until a year or more after an initial claim is filed. Typically, a personal injury trial does not last more than a week or two once the trial begins, but the process can be complicated. Involved parties may be called as witnesses before the court to establish accurate facts of the case. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can offer important guidance during the trial.
After the trial is over, the other party can prolong the uncertainty by appealing the case. Even with a simple personal injury case in Nevada, the entire process, from initial filing to receiving a judgment for damages at trial may take several years. If appeals are filed, it may take even longer.
Settling Your Case Our of Court
Although many Nevada personal injury claims result in formal lawsuits, some are settled out of court. Depending on the nature of the injury and damages, settling out of court can be easier, quicker, and less expensive for all parties involved. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can provide legal advice based on the specifics of injuries and damages and suggest the best way to handle a personal injury claim.
When settling a case out of court, all involved parties can determine what remains private, including the settlement amount. In a court trial, all evidence and testimony remains public, unless the judge orders the records sealed, which rarely happens in most Nevada personal injury cases.