Every time you set foot outside your house, you take a risk. Though you may be a cautious person, you can’t count on everyone around you to drive carefully or keep their premises safe. An injury can happen in an instant — one moment you’re perfectly fine, and the next moment you have a severe injury that keeps you from walking, working, or enjoying life. In some cases, your life may never be the same.
In times like these, it’s important to know how to start a personal injury claim so you don’t have to wonder how you’ll pay for your care or get back on your feet.
Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Las Vegas
Personal injury lawsuits are about proving that your injury occurred because of the negligence of another entity and then recovering damages from the responsible party. In Nevada, there is a statute of limitations of two years to file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim, so you are highly advised to file as soon as the injury occurs. Here are the steps to follow that will help you succeed in a personal injury case.
#1: Seek medical care.
Your health is more important than anything else at the time of an accident. When first responders arrive at the scene, don’t resist an examination. Even though you may feel okay, it’s possible that adrenaline from the shock is masking the pain of an injury. If they say you need to go to the hospital, listen to them.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, keep a journal in which you detail your pain, your medical treatment plan, and whatever else you feel is appropriate to include.
#2: Don’t take the blame for the accident.
When speaking to the person who caused your injuries in an accident, refrain from saying anything he or she could use to put the blame on you. For example, you may feel the urge to apologize for something you did, but this can be interpreted as an admission of fault.
The police will ask you for a description of the accident when they arrive on the scene, and you shouldn’t admit fault to them, either. This could hurt your chances of obtaining financial compensation.
#3: Lawyer up.
Some people or entities, such as the defendant’s insurance company, may try to pay you off so you don’t take them to court, but you shouldn’t take the bribe. A lump sum of cash upfront may be tempting but is rarely enough to cover the full extent of the damage they’ve done to your life.
Instead, hire a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who can hold those at fault responsible for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.
#4: Attempt to settle through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Nobody wants to go through taxing courtroom proceedings. Our personal injury attorneys will always attempt to help you settle outside of court through alternative dispute resolution — a form of negotiation that’s faster and more affordable than litigation.
#5: Collect all necessary documentation for a lawsuit.
If mediation isn’t possible, it’s time to start collecting documentation in order for our lawyers to build your case. The proper documentation will give us (and the court) a full picture of what happened. The documentation we need from you includes:
- Photos from the scene of the accident
- Statements from any nearby witnesses
- The police report detailing the incident
- Your insurance information
- Your medical bills
- A journal detailing your pain and treatment
- Opinions from expert witnesses
If you have questions about how to obtain any of these, your attorney can help you along the way.
#6: File the claim and wait for an answer.
The first step of the lawsuit itself is filing the complaint, which explains what happened and validates your reasoning for taking the case to court. The complaint also includes your expectations in terms of compensation. From there, it’s a matter of waiting for the defendant to respond.
#7: Attend the discovery and deposition.
Once you’ve received an answer from the defendant, you’ll go through a “discovery” stage. At this stage, you and your lawyer will gather information about the accident from the other side. They are required to provide truthful information, which will guide the legal proceedings that follow.
After the discovery process, you will have the chance to face the defense in a deposition. Here, you and the other side will both get the chance to collect details from each other under oath that you weren’t able to gather in the discovery phase. The deposition determines whether or not your case will go to trial.
Once the discovery and deposition stages are complete, you’ll have one more chance to settle out of court.
How a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you can’t reach a settlement with the defendant, you will likely end up in court. In such a trying time, you need strong, aggressive and experienced legal defense on your side. Our trial attorneys can help you achieve the most favorable outcome from litigation. We pledge to make the experience as simple and hassle-free as possible for you. Call us today for a free consultation.