In a Settlement, What Is a Release?
A release, also called a “release of all claims,” essentially erases all claims you have against the at-fault party. Most settlement agreements include releases. Releases protect the defendant from further claims from the plaintiff.
What Does a Release Include?
Both parties agree to drop any claims against the other. This also means that each party agrees to forgo taking any further legal action.
A release of all claims should include:
- Involved parties
- Any claims being released
- The details of the claims being released
- The terms of the settlement (e.g., the insurance company is paying the plaintiff $500,000 to settle the claim)
- No admission of fault (e.g., settlement forms state that the defendant is not admitting fault in the case)
- Your assurance that you are not receiving further payment and will not request further payment for the injuries in question
In some cases, your settlement will include an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).
Ensure you are getting the compensation you deserve before you sign a release. Once you sign a release, you cannot go back for more money. This is true even if your injuries worsen or you require ongoing care.
Should I Sign Any Releases?
Often, an insurance company will send over a settlement agreement and release soon after an accident. This settlement is typically worth much less than your claim. Signing this release can be dangerous.
A release dismisses any claims you have against another party. This means that if you later discover your injuries are worse than you thought or caused certain expensive complications, you cannot recover any more money. This could leave you paying thousands or more out of pocket.
You should not sign a release before a lawyer reviews it. Depending on the type of release you sign, you could also be giving away your right to recover compensation.
What Is Negligence? Why Is Negligence Important to My Case?
Negligence is important to understand if you are injured by another party in Nevada.
A person or party acts negligently when they do not use the proper amount of care and caution that a reasonable person in the same situation would use to prevent harm to another individual. Likewise, a person is negligent if they act in a way that a reasonable person would not in similar circumstances.
The existence of negligence is perhaps the most important aspect of any personal injury case. In order to hold the liable party accountable, your attorney must be able to prove the defendant’s negligence and show that it directly caused your injuries. The following must be proven in a personal injury case:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant violated this duty of care in some way.
- You were injured.
- The defendant’s violation directly caused you to sustain these injuries.
Do I Have Grounds for a Personal Injury Case?
Many victims suffer the stress and financial strain of their injuries for far longer than they need to because they are unsure if they can take legal action to hold the negligent parties liable for the damages they caused. If you are a victim of another’s negligence and are wondering what options you have, there are four main questions to consider that can provide you with a better understanding of whether you may have a personal injury case:
1. Is There a Person Who Can Be Identified as the Cause of My Injuries and Losses?
In order to file a claim or lawsuit, you must be able to identify and locate the person that caused your injuries.
2. Can I Prove That This Person Is Liable for My Injuries?
Your lawyer will need to reference personal injury legislation and case law to determine whether you have legal grounds to seek compensation from the negligent party.
3. Did I Sustain Quantifiable Injuries and Losses?
Your attorney must be able to prove that you suffered compensable losses that were directly caused by the negligent person’s actions. Quantifiable losses include your medical expenses, missed wages, property damage, permanent disabilities or injuries, and emotional trauma.
4. Am I Within the Statute of Limitations?
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
If you are unsure about whether your situation meets each of these qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team for proven legal counsel.
Examples of Negligence
Negligence is an important concept in law, but sometimes it is difficult to put into everyday language for non-legal experts.
Here’s an example to illustrate. When you get your driver’s license, you are required by law to drive at or below the speed limit. However, if safety concerns such as adverse weather affect your driving, you are expected to adjust your speed to keep you and everyone around you—including other drivers—safe. Legally, this is viewed as “reasonable speed.”
Some of the road conditions that might warrant you adjusting your driving include:
- Slippery road conditions
- Traffic jams
- Potholes or other road damage
- Limited visibility
In this example, you could be considered negligent if you fail to adjust your speed to accommodate these poorer road conditions. In the eyes of the law, you may have committed what’s called a “breach of duty.” This duty simply refers to your responsibility to take action to keep those around you safe.
There are many other forms of negligence, however. If a driver receives a citation for breaking any traffic laws—from speeding to improper lane changes to reckless driving—this can be considered negligent.
Certain professionals have duties beyond those expected of laypeople. If you are a doctor, police officer, nurse, or part of an emergency response team, you could be considered negligent if you did not act according to the professional standards of your title. These standards depend on the specifics of the profession.
If you are careless and cause harm to someone, you could be held liable. There are many different situations where this would apply. Many of them depend on the specific job of the person in question. Legally, this kind of negligence is called ‘malpractice.’
Criminal and Civil Negligence
To understand this concept, we must recognize that legally there are two kinds of negligence. While normally not a crime, negligence can result in charges brought against a person in certain situations. Called criminal and civil negligence, these are similar to each other but vary according to the degree of recklessness involved.
Civil negligence charges are brought by the person who believed they were harmed. Criminal negligence cases are brought by the U.S. government. Civil negligence cases are far more common than criminal cases. However, criminal negligence cases come with stiffer penalties.
How Circumstances Can Change Potential Negligence
Here are two examples of damage to your car. In the first example, your accident was caused by another driver behaving unreasonably and breaking the law. In the second, the damage was out of the other person’s control.
- EXAMPLE A: Imagine you are driving home from work. You stop at a red light and wait for it to turn green. Once your light turns green, you start driving through the intersection. Just as you begin crossing the street, another car slams into you. The other driver was texting on his phone, didn’t see the red light, and struck your car.
- EXAMPLE B: Let’s say you are at the grocery store. You park your car a few spaces away from the outdoor cart receptacles. As you leave your car, a shopper wheels their cart to the receptacle and pushes their cart into place. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind comes by. The wind pushes the cart out of the receptacle and it slams into your car, scuffing the paint and denting your door.
Remember that while the examples above seem clear-cut, each case is unique and has its own circumstances that need to be considered. To find out whether your accident or injury was caused by another person’s negligence, contact our personal injury attorney’s office in Nevada.
Determining Negligence in Both Examples
In the first example, the person who was texting and driving was distracted. This is something a reasonable person would not do. Even if texting while driving was legal, the driver neglected their duty to keep you safe by driving while distracted. Legally, you would likely have a very clear case of a negligence claim against the other driver.
In the second example, the person returning the cart to the shopping center’s outdoor cart receptacle behaved reasonably. They put the cart in the correct place rather than leave the cart abandoned in the parking lot. Their actions could be considered reasonable, despite the wind blowing the cart into your vehicle and causing damage.
In this instance, a negligence claim would be much harder to prove. You might have to establish that the person was careless in putting the cart into the receptacle and ignored the prevailing wind conditions. A personal injury lawyer from our team may be able to investigate your case and help you determine whether you have legal standing.
Understanding Gross Negligence
Gross negligence occurs when someone exercises no degree of care to keep you safe. While no hard and fast degree separates negligence from gross negligence, generally, courts consider an act a matter of gross negligence if the person or company’s actions were “higher in magnitude” than standard negligence.
For example, if someone who ran the red light while texting did so while speeding over 100 miles per hour, they might be liable for a gross negligence claim. In some cases, gross negligence applies if the other person is maliciously trying to cause you harm. We will examine this idea later in this guide.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability law involves a property owner’s responsibility to take reasonable actions to keep their property free of potential dangers. Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent their visitors and patrons from being harmed, and if they fail to do so, they can be held liable through a premises liability claim for any injuries that resulted.
Standards for Premises Liability in Nevada
There are several factors to consider for premises liability cases in Nevada. Some of them include:
- Property owners are responsible for the safety of people entering their building or land.
- Property owners are not necessarily automatically liable for all injuries that happen on their premises. Other parties may be liable.
- Liability comes down to whether the owner acted unreasonably.
- People entering the property can be considered guests, invitees, or trespassers.
- If you are injured while on someone else’s property, it’s your responsibility to prove the property owner was negligent.
As with other forms of personal injury, you may qualify to receive compensatory damages. These damages include both financial loss and pain and suffering. If you were the victim of intended or malicious harm, you might qualify for punitive damages.
Nevada’s comparative negligence law (NRS 41.141) would also apply, meaning that your settlement could be reduced based on your own degree of partial fault for the injury.
What Are the Different Standards for Different Entrants on a Property?
A property owner’s responsibility for the safety of those entering their premises depends on what kind of person is visiting. This is determined by the visitor’s intent.
Business owners have the highest degree of duty for customers entering their property. They have a significant (but lesser) degree of duty to protect visitors who have mutual benefit for coming onto their premises. While trespassers aren’t invited and technically should not be on the property, the owner does have a certain amount of duty to keep them safe, though to a far lesser degree than a customer is entitled to.
Below, these responsibilities of care are further broken down.
- Was the Visitor a Business Invitee?
As mentioned above, business owners must extend the highest degree of care to people entering their property to buy goods or services. The owner must conduct regular inspections of the property. They must fix any possible dangers, be on the lookout for potential hazards, and take care of them quickly.
- Was the Visitor There for Mutual Benefit?
The law classifies a licensee if someone visits another person’s property for mutual benefit. You are a licensee if you visit your friend’s house to watch a football game.
Owners have an obligation to warn guests about possible dangers. They also have what’s called “reasonable time” to discover any potential hazards. Guests should also avoid any obvious hazards.
- Was the Visitor a Trespasser?
While a property owner only owes a small amount of duty for the safety of trespassers, they are still expected to show basic care in certain matters. Property owners can’t set a trap to physically harm a trespasser, for example. However, children who trespass onto someone else’s property fall into their own category.
- Was the Trespasser a Child?
Despite being trespassers, children on another’s property without their knowledge or consent are entitled to a higher duty of care by property owners. Children may be tempted by what’s called an “attractive nuisance.” Swimming pools and other temptations may draw the unintended attention of a child, resulting in their injury.
Property owners’ degree of duty to protect children from trespassers include:
- Did the owner know kids may trespass on their property?
- Was there a risk of death or grave injury to children by the nuisance?
- Were the children too young to understand the potential danger of the nuisance?
- Did the owner fail to protect children from the hazard?
I Was Assaulted in a Hotel Parking Garage; Is There Anything I Can Do?
Unfortunately, many injuries sustained by victims could have been avoided had the property owners employed proper security for their premises. Negligent security occurs when a property owner does not take reasonable precautions to protect visitors and patrons from harm and can include a lack of security guards, untrained security personnel, and faulty security systems. If you were harmed because of security negligence, call our office today to discuss your legal options to pursue compensation for your injuries.
I Was Punched by a Bouncer and Had to Go to the Emergency Room – Can I Sue the Nightclub?
Excessive force injuries are far too common in Vegas, and the victims are often left with expensive medical bills. Whether or not you did something that warranted your removal from the club does not justify the bouncer’s use of unnecessary force against you, and you may be able to hold the nightclub liable for your injuries and medical expenses.
You can get help from a knowledgeable Las Vegas excessive force lawyer. You can call our team to discuss the specifics of your situation and determine your legal options.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Case?
How long it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the specific situation. Some cases are simple, and many only take weeks to settle. Others may take months or years. Factors that may affect how long it takes to settle an injury case include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
There are several reasons a more severe injury may affect how long a settlement takes:
- It may take time for you to reach maximum medical improvement. You do not want to settle a case until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) or received a detailed prognosis. If you settle before you have reached MMI, you might leave thousands on the table.
- More severe injuries are often worth more. This can lead the insurance company to deny or delay your case to avoid paying you the compensation you deserve.
The Other Side May Dispute Fault
If the other side disputes fault, you’ll end up having to take time to defend yourself against accusations of fault. Building this part of your case can take time.
The Insurance Company May Refuse to Offer You a Fair Settlement
The insurance company often offers a low settlement soon after an accident. Injured victims often accept these settlements because they assume that is the most they can recover. Our team will negotiate with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve. However, this may take weeks or even months.
What If I Lost Wages Due to My Injury?
If your injury caused you to lose wages, you could recover compensation. You can recover any of the following:
- Any time you took off to recover from your injuries
- Any time you were unable to work due to the pain from your injuries
- Any time you took off for doctor’s appointments
You can also recover compensation if your injuries cost you money in the future. For example, if you work in a factory that requires you to stand for long periods of time, an injury can keep you from doing that. You may need to work fewer hours or get a less-paying job. You can recover the difference in pay.
You can also recover compensation if your injuries take away your ability to work. If you are self-employed, you can still recover compensation; however, those losses may be more difficult to calculate. Our team will help you determine what you can recover for lost wages.
You Can Also Recover Lost Benefits
If your injuries cause you to lose your job, our team can help you recover compensation for any lost benefits, such as:
- Health insurance
- 401(k) contributions
- Retirement benefits
Our team will fight for every cent you are due.
How Do I Pay for a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Many people forgo legal help because they think they cannot afford a lawyer. They assume they will need to pay thousands of dollars in upfront fees or hundreds of dollars an hour. This is not true.
The De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers team is paid on a contingency-fee-basis. Our payment is contingent on your case winning. A contingency-fee basis means:
- We do not accept a retainer.
- You pay no upfront fees or costs.
- You do not pay for our time out of pocket.
You do not pay us for our time unless and until we obtain compensation for you. We recover our payment via a percentage of your verdict or court award. This percentage ranges from 30 to 40 percent.
We will discuss our pay scale during your initial consultation.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case?
Although you have the legal ability to seek compensation without the representation of legal counsel, doing so is likely not in your best interest. There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas. Personal injury law is complex, and it is important that you are aware of your rights and all available options before you choose how you will pursue justice for your injuries.
At De Castroverde Law Group, our attorneys are experienced in all types of personal injury claims and lawsuits, and we can create a detailed case to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. When you enlist a seasoned Las Vegas injury lawyer from our firm, you can be confident that your rights will be protected, your voice will be heard, and you will not be taken advantage of by the insurance company or the defendant.