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Timeline of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Case According to a Personal Injury Lawyer

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Timeline of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Case According to a Personal Injury Lawyer

It is impossible to reduce any personal injury claim to a definite timeline. Parts of the legal process work more like an “if/then” flowchart than a linear process. 

Nevertheless, a description of the typical timeline of a Las Vegas personal injury case can give you an idea of what to expect.

Collect Evidence at the Scene of the Accident (If You Can)

Since your health should be your first priority, gather evidence only to the extent that your body allows you to do so. 

The following evidence could be useful later:

  • Photographs and videos of everything that might be relevant-–injuries, property damage, skid marks (for car accidents), and even the weather if it might have played a role.
  • Collect identification documents, contact details, and insurance information for anyone involved in the accident, including witnesses.
  • Anything else your intuition tells you might be relevant.

Cooperate with the police if they arrive to take an accident report. Although you probably can’t use a police report in court, you can use it during settlement negotiations.

Seek Prompt Medical Treatment

Seek medical treatment if you suffered any impact at all, even if you feel no pain. A post-accident adrenaline rush can mask symptoms that might appear later. Medical records are the most credible possible form of evidence.

Talk to a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer

You might not need a lawyer if your losses aren’t serious enough. The problem is that you might need a lawyer to tell you whether or not you need legal representation. Due to the contingency fee structure almost all personal injury lawyers use, they have no motivation to lie to you about your claim. 

Personal injury consultations are typically free and cover the following topics, among others:

  • The probable strength of your claim (how likely you are to win)
  • The probable value of your claim
  • The amount of your legal fees, expressed as a percentage of your eventual compensation
  • How to handle case expenses such as investigation and expert witness fees

Personal injury lawyers only get paid if they win. If a lawyer offers to represent you, they believe they can win your claim. 

Preliminary Investigation

Your lawyer will perform a preliminary investigation of your claim to help them prepare a demand package. 

For example, they might interview witnesses to a slip and fall caused by a malfunctioning department store escalator. They will probably ask you numerous questions. They might ask you to produce documents, such as a copy of a waiver of liability that you signed. 

The Settlement Demand Package

After completing the consultation and the preliminary investigation stages, your lawyer will likely begin preparing a demand package. This includes a settlement demand letter along with supporting evidence. They will need to prepare it carefully and present it to whoever will be liable for paying your claim. Typically, this party is an insurance company.

Offer and Counter-Offer: Settlement Negotiations

Hopefully, the settlement package will kick off the negotiation process. The opposing party will probably respond with a reservation of rights letter (a formality) and a low initial settlement offer. After that, negotiations often proceed into a ping-pong game of offer and counteroffer for a while.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In many cases, filing a lawsuit is the right move, even if you have no intention of ever going to trial. 

The main benefits are:

  • You will beat the Nevada statute of limitations deadline.
  • You’ll start the clock to trial ticking, thereby putting psychological pressure on the opposing party.
  •  You will qualify to engage in the pretrial discovery process.

You can only use small claims court if your claim does not exceed $10,000. If it exceeds the maximum amount, your claim is too large for small claims court. If you file in regular civil court, the court will impose more meticulous formal requirements on the filing process.

The Discovery Phase

The pretrial discovery process is one of the most useful inventions of the legal system. It allows each party to gather evidence that is in the possession of the other side. 

If the party receiving a discovery request refuses to cooperate, the sending party can ask the court to sanction the uncooperative party. Ultimately, discovery helps tilt the balance of power in favor of one party or the other.

The most potent legal weapons in the pretrial discovery arsenal are:

  • Depositions: cross-examinations of witnesses out of court but under oath
  • Interrogatories: written questions that the recipient must answer in writing
  • Demands for production: This weapon includes (i) demands for the production of physical evidence for examination and (ii) demands to copy documents
  • Requests for admissions: Formally admitting to facts not in dispute can simplify your claim to the benefit of both parties

Remember, the discovery process is a two-way street. The opposing party can demand evidence from you as well.

Return to the Negotiating Table

The ultimate goal of most people who participate in pretrial discovery is to gather so much favorable evidence from the defendant that they have no choice but to settle on your terms. In a truck accident claim, for example, your lawyer might seek concessions from the other side based on favorable information recovered from the at-fault driver’s event data recorder.  

However, it doesn’t always work that way. Unfavorable evidence might surface, or the parties might still find themselves deadlocked even after the discovery process. In the event of a deadlock, you might need to bring in a third party to help you resolve your claim.

Attend Mediation

In mediation, a trained third-party mediator intervenes in your case to help both parties reach a mutually acceptable solution. In fact, a skilled mediator can greatly expedite the resolution of your claim. Las Vegas courts strongly favor mediation because it helps reduce the size of their busy dockets.

Work Out a Settlement

Settlement of a personal injury claim involves an exchange of promises. 

The defendant, for example, promises to pay you a pre-agreed amount of compensation. In exchange, you agree to dismiss all actual and potential claims arising out of the accident that injured you. The defendant will almost certainly insist that you promise not to pursue future claims that you haven’t even discovered yet.

You need a lawyer to help you draft your settlement agreement. Of course, the defendant’s lawyer might object to some of the terms, but this is something you can work out through last-minute negotiations.  

Go To Trial (If Settlement Efforts Fail)

Following is a general summary of the basic components of a civil trial:

  • Jury selection: This process is competitive. Although the parties can waive a jury trial, juries try most personal injury cases.
  • Opening statements by each attorney
  • Witness testimony and cross-examination by both sides, starting with the injured party: The parties introduce their evidence using witnesses.
  • Motions and objections
  • Closing statements by each party’s lawyer
  • Jury instructions (from the judge to the jury)
  • Jury verdict

Appeals are relatively unusual, but they happen sometimes.

A Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Guide You Through the Claims Process

An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you decide how to handle your claim in a rational, step-by-step manner. They can also advise you against making mistakes that could sink your claim, like talking about your case on social media. 

If your damages are substantial, your odds of collecting the full value of your claim are probably much better with a personal injury lawyer than without one.

Contact a personal injury attorney at (702) 222-9999 for a free consultation.

Areas We Serve

At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers our personal injury lawyers serve the following localities: Angel Park, Anthem, Boulder City, Downtown Las Vegas, East Las Vegas, Gibson Springs, Green Valley, Henderson, Lake Las Vegas, MacDonald Ranch, McCullough Hills, Mission Hills, Paradise, Peccole Ranch, Queensridge, Reno, Seven Hills, Smoke Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, The Lakes, The Strip, Whitney, and more.
We also represent accident victims in Oakland, CA.

About Our Firm

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, located in Las Vegas, NV, is a personal injury law firm established over 30 years ago.
We have 100+ years of combined experience securing hundreds of millions for injured people throughout Nevada. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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