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What is a Personal Injury Case?

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What is a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury claim arises when you suffer harm that the law holds someone else responsible for. Typically, this means the at-fault party and/or an insurance company.

Although defamation is sometimes characterized as a “personal injury,” most personal injury lawyers handle claims of physical injury, not injury to someone’s reputation, as in a defamation case.    

The Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

The most common types of personal injury claims include vehicle accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, dog bites, product liability, nursing home abuse, wrongful death, and intentional torts. We explain each of these below.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are the most common types of auto collisions, while truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and motorcycle accidents tend to produce the most serious injuries.

Premises Liability

A premises liability claim arises when you are hurt because of negligently-maintained premises. Typically, a customer sues a business establishment.

The most common type of premises liability claim arises from a slip and fall accident. For example, a grocery store employee may have negligently failed to mop a spill, or a restaurant might have failed to clear the ice from its parking lot. These hazards can lead to slips and falls.

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim arises when a healthcare professional (typically a doctor or a hospital) makes a serious error that harms a patient. 

Dog Bites

Most of the time, a Nevada dog owner is not liable to someone who is bitten by their dog unless the dog has behaved aggressively in the past. The idea behind this is to provide the dog owner with notice of the dog’s aggressive tendencies before imposing liability. 

Product Liability

You can file a product liability claim if a defective product injures you. For example, you may have a claim if you were injured in a car accident after your defective brake drums failed. Alternatively, you may take legal action if you suffered an illness because of a defectively-manufactured prescription drug. 

You can typically win a product liability claim without proving that the defendant was at fault.

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse can be active, but it is usually passive (allowing bed sores to form on a resident’s body, for example).

Intentional Torts

Imagine that a bar bouncer unjustly beats you. You can probably sue the bouncer and/or bar for battery, an intentional tort. It is the bouncer’s intent to hurt you that provides you with a viable personal injury claim.

Wrongful Death

A personal injury claim becomes a wrongful death claim if the victim dies from the injury. In Nevada, close relatives and the victim’s estate executor can sue for wrongful death.

How To Prove a Personal Injury Claim Based on Negligence

Most personal injury claims are based on negligence, which means something like carelessness. 

To win a negligence claim, you must prove:

  • The defendant breached a duty of care owed to you. For example, running a stop light and plowing into your car would qualify. Alternatively, your doctor might breach their duty of care by failing to order lab tests after you complain of certain symptoms.
  • You suffered a physical injury.
  • The defendant’s misconduct was the foreseeable and direct cause of the injury you suffered.

Like most other personal injury claims, you must prove your negligence claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” That means you must prove a greater than 50% likelihood that the defendant meets the legal standard for liability. 

Damages Available in Nevada Personal Injury Cases

Damages” is a legal term meaning money you receive if you win a personal injury claim. Nevada law recognizes economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Most victorious personal injury claimants receive economic and non-economic damages. However, most do not receive punitive damages, even if they win their claim.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are any damages you can easily count. For example, medical expenses, lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses all qualify as economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are intangible, often psychological damages. The most commonly imposed form of non-economic damages is “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering damages compensate you for your suffering arising from an injury. Other non-economic damages include emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are an extra amount that courts sometimes award to punish the defendant rather than to compensate the victim. Nevertheless, the money still goes to the victim. The defendant must have acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. Nevada courts do not often award punitive damages.

Modified Comparative Negligence Under Nevada Law

Comparative negligence is a principle designed to calculate damages when more than one party was at fault for the accident. 

In Nevada, the system is fairly simple, at least for a two-party case:

  • If the accident victim was more than 50% at fault for the accident, they receive no damages
  • If the accident victim was 50% or less at fault, they will lose whatever percentage of their damages that equals their percentage of fault for the accident.

The calculation gets more complicated if three or more parties were at fault.

The Contingency Fee Arrangement: How Personal Injury Attorneys Are Paid

A contingent fee is a fee that is deducted from the amount you win in your case. You might agree, for example, that your legal fee will amount to one-third of your total winnings. 

This arrangement can benefit you in several ways:

  • You can hire a lawyer even if you’re broke. It is the quality of your claim that matters, not the size of your bank account.
  • Since your lawyer won’t make any money unless you win, they will not take your case unless they believe they can win it. That means if the lawyer agrees to take your case, your chances of securing compensation are probably excellent.
  • Your financial risk is next to nothing. If your lawyer agrees to pay your case expenses up front and deduct them from your award, you cannot lose money on your case.

If you run into a personal injury lawyer who is unwilling to offer you a contingency fee arrangement, don’t hire them.

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Nevada

In a personal injury case, the statute of limitations sets the deadline by which you must either file a lawsuit or abandon your claim. If you miss the deadline, any judge will dismiss your personal injury lawsuit at the defendant’s request. You won’t even be able to settle your claim out of court. After all, why should the opposing party bother negotiating with you?

In most cases, you have two years from the date of an accident to file a Nevada personal injury claim. In the event of a wrongful death claim, you have two years after the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit. Limited exceptions to these deadlines apply under special circumstances.

Consider Hiring a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You Resolve Your Claim

Do you need a personal injury lawyer? That depends on the facts of your case. You almost certainly need a lawyer if your damages are substantial. 

Of course, you might not even know the value of your claim at first. That’s okay because you can always schedule a free consultation with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney at (702) 222-9999. They might be able to give you a ballpark estimate of your claim’s value after a short consultation. 

Areas We Serve

At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers our personal injury attorneys 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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