What do you do after an accident or injury? Many people are unsure if they are entitled to legal help, and even if they are, they are unsure how to go about it. The Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Shook & Stone have provided answers to some of the most common questions about the personal injury claims process (below).
What exactly is a personal injury claim?
If you were injured in an accident, or became ill wrongfully, you could potentially file a personal injury claim. This is a type of lawsuit in which a plaintiff alleges that the negligence or strict liability of another party directly caused or contributed to their injuries. Personal injury claims are filed on the basis of negligence or liability, which are civil, rather than criminal allegations. Not all claims go to trial. Personal injury cases will either be resolved at the settlement table or by way of a jury verdict.
How much will I recover?
It is impossible to determine an exact recovery amount at the outset, but the best way to determine what you can expect is to discuss your case directly with a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer at our firm. When evaluating your case, we will take into account the extent of your injuries, how much your medical care will cost, the extent of any property damage (in the event of a car accident, for example) and possibly punitive damages or noneconomic damages (i.e. “pain and suffering“). The cost of these collectively will form the entire recovery amount. After our firm comes to an agreement on the recovery amount to pursue, we will fight to see that our client is compensated for this total amount.
Is there a limit on how much money I can recover?
While there is no limit on the amount of economic damages you can recover, there is a limit on the noneconomic damage amount. Say you were injured in a slip & fall accident, and your total medical costs amounted to $1,000. There is no “cap” that states you can only recover up to $500. You are entitled to compensation in the full amount of the actual cost of medical expenses. In an attempt to reform torts throughout the United States, many states have mandated limits in order to limit excessive settlement amounts which could harm plaintiffs. Noneconomic damages can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other intangible harms.
Will I run out of time to file a personal injury claim?
According to the statute of limitations, victims have a two-year time span to file a personal injury claim. This two-year limit can start either A) The date the injury occurs, or B) The date the injury was discovered. Although victims have two years in which they can lawfully file a claim, it is important to file the claim as soon as possible after the accident. The time immediately following the accident is crucial. The evidence is more “fresh” and therefore it will be easier to build a strong case.
How do I know if I’m entitled to personal injury representation?
It is difficult to ascertain whether or not your case qualifies you for legal representation until you speak directly with an attorney. Shook & Stone encourages all those considering representation to call the firm for a free case evaluation. During this initial consultation, you can discuss your accident with an experienced legal representative who will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case. Our firm will evaluate extenuating factors such as the liability of the potential defendant, the injuries incurred, any insurance company misconduct and more.
Will my case go to trial?
Personal injury claims that are not successfully settled outside of court can go to trial under some circumstances. If your Las Vegas personal injury attorney makes your case, but the defendant refuses to offer the full amount of compensation, then the attorney will likely take the case to trial to be evaluated by a judge or jury. Most law firms will want to avoid trial, as they can make for a long and drawn-out case. However, a long and drawn-out case is a favorable alternative to injustice if the defendant is refusing to offer fair compensation for the injuries they caused.
What is the difference between negligence and strict liability?
Negligence is the principle that many personal injury claims are filed on the basis of. This means that someone’s careless actions (or lack of necessary action) contributed to or directly caused injury or illness. Strict liability, on the other hand, claims that while the defendant was responsible for the injury or illness, they did not act negligently. A defendant cannot be negligent without also being liable, but a defendant can be liable without acting negligently.
What if my insurance claim is denied? Can I appeal?
If you file a claim through insurance, such as an auto accident claim or a workers’ compensation claim, and it is denied, your case does not have to end here. You have the right to file an appeal for reconsideration of this decision. The insurance company should give you a reason why your claim was denied. If the denial was simply on the grounds that your forms were filled out incorrectly or there was missing information, then this can be easily corrected. Whatever the reason for your denial, you could potentially appeal the decision with the help of our firm.
If I’ve already retained an injury attorney, can I get a second opinion from Shook & Stone?
Absolutely. Many injury law firms in the area operate more like legal mills than advocates for wrongfully injured individuals. Some attorneys encourage their clients to settle as soon as possible for the insurance company’s first offer. This is not how we operate. If you have already retained an attorney and you are unsure that you’re getting a fair deal, contact Shook & Stone today. We’ll give you a second opinion and give you an honest estimate of how much we believe your case is worth.