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How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

Large Corporate Defendants

In a situation where a large corporation is the defendant, such as Wal-Mart or Coca Cola, most people think that the case is automatically worth more because the corporation has a lot of money. Others assume that they are less likely to win their case because the corporation will use that money to fight the case with expensive legal representation. In reality, these large companies tend to have video surveillance and procedures to handle these cases. They will promote honesty and truthful reporting of the situation to ensure that they are never accused of falsifying information or concealing evidence. They will likely pay for an accident that is clearly their responsibility, but they will fight any case that is clearly not their responsibility, and their liability will be clearly established by their own investigation.

We are not suggesting here that corporations are always known for their honesty and upstanding behavior. We are only saying that the case can become much more expensive and time consuming if an employee is instructed to conceal evidence or lie in court proceedings. It is more reputable and cost effective for the corporations to handle each and every case in an entirely unimpeachably ethical manner. This is exactly why these large corporations are more likely to have things like surveillance and specific standard procedures for when such incidents occur.

Rear End Collisions with Minimal Damage

If there is very little property damage in a rear end collision, it is presumed to have been a low impact collision, whereas T-bone collisions and head on collisions are typically at higher speeds. The low amount of damage to the vehicle can be used to convince the jury that the injuries are not real, not severe, or not caused by the accident. It can be very difficult to convince a jury to award a large amount of damages when there is little damage to the vehicle.

Multiple Claimants

Frequently, there are multiple claimants to an auto accident. For example, after a vehicle is T-boned and has rolled, everyone involved is rushed the hospital with serious injuries. However, a low impact rear end accident can result in only a few passengers seeking treatment, and it is unlikely that all of them experienced serious injuries.

History of Prior Claims / Pre-Existing Injuries

If you have an extensive history of making personal injury claims, then these pre-existing injuries and prior claims can make any present or future claims less valuable. This is because you can wind up looking less credible and as if you are someone who makes a habit or a profession out of filing such claims. However, if you have a prior injury that was serious, then you may be able to credibly argue that you were seriously hurt again, thanks to this pre-existing injury, even in a less damaging accident. For example, a jury might expect an older person to experience more painful injuries than a younger person, unless that younger person has a history of surgeries for something like back problems. This would suggest that the younger person would endure more painful injuries from the accident than someone who had no similar history.

Medical Expenses Payment

Generally, the most important thing in your case is going to be the exact amount of the settlement after the medical bills and attorney fees are paid. In some situations, too many medical expenses can completely poison the case because if the insurance is nowhere near enough to even cover these medical expenses and you cannot collect from the at-fault driver, then you won’t have any way to obtain the compensation for medical expenses that you need and whatever you do receive will not be enough to eliminate your debt. Even in a smaller case, like a low impact accident, you can wind up with excessive medical expenses if you don’t have health insurance. For example, without insurance, your emergency room visit might be over $3,000 for a couple of hours, $500 for the doctor, $150 from the radiologist, etc. You’ll get the bills later with hardly any room to worry about the expense of the chiropractor that you need to see for regular treatment of the injuries. The chiropractor alone might be willing to accept one-third of your settlement, but with everyone else standing in line, this small case can be poisoned by excessive medical expenses that your recovery couldn’t possibly reach.

Time-Frame of Settlement Process

A larger claim will typically require more signatures for the settlement. This is because, for insurance companies, it is wiser to be cautious about such things. Thus, imagine that five signatures are required for your settlement. Nobody at the insurance company wants to be the first sign, and whenever somebody finally is the first to sign, there is still plenty of time to wait for the rest of them to get around to it. However, if you choose to settle the claim within the policy limits, and if the insurance company believes that a jury may award more than this in trial, then the insurance company may be motivated to sign off on the claim more quickly. They would rather do this than risk liability in a case where the jury ultimately awards more than the policy limit when a prior offer was received for an amount within the limits. This can make the insurance company legally responsible for turning down a more affordable settlement when it was offered, assuming that they had knowledge of facts to suggest plausibility of the claim being worth more. They hate to take these kinds of risks.

Imagine that you have a claim that is probably worth between $75,000 and $125,000. If the policy limit is $100,000, then you can motivate the insurance company to accept this because they won’t want to risk the case being worth more than that. If the policy limit is $500,000, then you won’t have the same leverage and the claim will take more time. Also, in a situation like this, you may be able to get the policy limit, and still have a case against your own insurance company for underinsured motorist coverage. Your attorney can’t control the policy limits, but he or she can speed the settlements process with professional tactics. For example, consistently contacting the insurance company with updates and records can sometimes speed things up. In a very large case, however, you may need to file the lawsuit just to get the insurance company’s attention and force them to move forward. In some situations, a simple disagreement about the value of the case means that the case will go to trial.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about your personal injury case, you can find many of the answers right here. For questions that are more specific to your own situation, contact a personal injury attorney in Nevada.

What exactly is a personal injury?

Whenever you’ve been physically or psychologically injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, you have a personal injury. Motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, malfunctioning products, and improper care are some examples of personal injury cases. There are also medical malpractice cases and product liability cases.

How do I know if I have a case?

Whenever you’ve been injured by the carelessness or negligence of another party, you likely have a case for a claim for monetary damages. Every case is different and depends on specific facts. One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot recover any damages if you are over 51% at fault for the accident. While a police officer may issue a citation, this is not necessarily indicative of who is truly at fault. Witness testimonies can help to determine who holds the majority of fault for your accident.

What do I do with my damaged vehicle?

You will want to avoid fixing the vehicle until it has been evaluated by an insurance adjuster. You may need to give your permission for this evaluation if the vehicle is not at home.

Am I able to receive a rental car?

You should be able to receive a rental car, similar to your own vehicle, to use until your vehicle is repaired or determined to be totaled. Whenever the lien holder is paid, your rental coverage will end. Your attorney may also have rental vehicles for clients who need transportation to doctor’s appointments and other medical treatments.

Who will pay for my medical bills?

In general, you are responsible for your own medical expenses, though you can receive compensation for these expenses from the negligent party in your case. The most common ways to pay for medical bills is through health insurance, medical payments insurance coverage, and medical liens.

Can I expect my insurance rates to go up?

It is actually illegal under Nevada law for an insurance company to raise your rates if the accident is not your fault. Regardless of who is at fault, you have to report the accident to your insurance company or you may be denied insurance coverage.

What if I don’t have medical insurance and need medical treatment?

Some doctors will provide medical care on a lien (credit) basis, depending on the liability issues that are associated with your case and depending on the medical care provider. Your attorney can help you to locate a doctor who will provide care on a lien basis.

What if the hospital told me not to bill my health insurance?

Someone at the hospital may tell you that you should not bill your health insurance for injuries that occur through an accident. They may believe that your health insurance will not cover the expenses because of the liability of another party. However, this is not true. Your health care providers MUST bill your health insurance if you tell them to do so. The health insurance provider may be able to receive compensation for their expense from the at-fault party, but you can still benefit from the discount prices that you will receive by billing your health insurance.

How much time to I have to file my claim?

The amount of time that you have to file your claim will be determined by the statute of limitations that applies to your case. The statute of limitations is the time limit that you have to file a claim or lawsuit. That statute of limitations that applies to your case will vary based on the details of the accident. For example, Nevada allows two years to file a regular negligence case and one year for medical malpractice cases. There may be extenuating circumstances that can extend the statute of limitations. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn more and to avoid losing your rights.

How will my case be affected if I don’t live in Nevada, where the accident occurred?

You can always hire an attorney from Nevada to represent you, even if you don’t live here. Your attorney should be able to use different communication methods to make things easier on you. You should be able to communicate via phone, email, fax, and/or postal mail. Your own schedule can be taken into consideration and your travel requirements can be minimized where possible.

Can my home state attorney represent me if my accident occurred in Nevada?

If your accident occurs in Nevada, but you have an attorney in another state, then your attorney will not be able to represent you. The attorney who represents you has to be licensed in the jurisdiction of the case to file a lawsuit on your behalf. It is not always a simple task to determine the jurisdiction, but you can typically file a lawsuit where the accident occurred or where the defendant lives. It is possible for your home state attorney to associate with a Nevada law firm for litigation. For example, your attorney can be sponsored by a local attorney (pro hac vice).

Can I sue the manufacturer of a faulty air bag?

The answer to this question depends on whether or not the air bag should have deployed (because the accident was of adequate speed and velocity to trigger the air bag) and whether the air bag would have prevented your injuries if it had deployed. For example, you cannot sue the manufacturer of your air bag if you injured your leg. Even if your injuries could have been prevented by the air bag, it may be wiser to go after the at-fault driver instead of the manufacturer of your air bag. If the at-fault party does not have an adequate insurance policy to meet your recovery needs, then you may find it worthwhile to sue the manufacturer for products liability. If your recovery needs are met by the at-fault driver’s insurance, then it will be more expense and trouble than it is worth to pursue a case against the manufacturer.

Can my attorney give me a loan or money advance to survive on?

Attorneys in Nevada are prohibited from providing loans and money advances to their clients. However, the Supreme Court of Nevada does allow for attorneys to facilitate loans by helping you to find a lender. Unfortunately, there may be a very high interest rate on this type of loan. This can create a significant financial hardship for victims of personal injury cases.

If I was the victim of a crime, can I sue the criminal?

It is possible to sue a criminal who has caused injury or loss by shooting, killing, stabbing, etc. You will likely win the lawsuit, but you are unlikely to actually collect your damages. Even if the criminal has assets to cover the judgment that you receive, they are unlikely to pay you. The criminal may even go to jail and will be unable to pay you.

Who should I call if I am disabled and need financial assistance?

If you are disabled and require financial assistance, contact any of the following:

  • Social Security Disability – (800) 772-1213
  • Victims of Crime – (702) 786-2546
  • Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services – (775) 684-0500
  • Nevada Division of (Un)Employment – (702) 486-0350

How long can I expect my case to take?

You don’t want your accident attorney to settle your case too early, so you should expect the case to take several months. You need to finish medical treatment before you start negotiating. If you have a particularly complicated case, then it may take years to negotiate and settle. Contact an attorney to get a more exact answer regarding how long your specific case might take.

How much will I be paying my attorney in an accident case?

Most personal injury attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that your lawyer will only get paid if you win your case, and he or she will take a percentage of your recovery. This gives your attorney more incentive to maximize what you receive. It also allows victims of accidents to seek adequate legal representation even if they cannot afford it. The percentage that your attorney will take from the final settlement will be between 33% and 40%.

What can I expect the court costs to be in my personal injury case?

The court costs in a personal injury case will vary according to the complexity of the case. You may spend as little as $375 on these expenses, or you may spend over $200,000.

How much is my personal injury case worth?

The value of your personal injury claim will vary depending on the details of the case. You may be entitled to special damages, which include lost wages, lost future earnings potential, and medical expenses. You may also be entitled to general damages, which include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and inconvenience. There will almost always be a dispute regarding the amount of money you should receive, even if the other party is clearly at fault for your damages. Some factors that will affect the value of your claim include the type and severity of your injuries, how certain liability is, how much insurance coverage is available, and the expense of your medical care.

Will there be any legal consequences for the person who caused my injuries?

In a civil action for personal injury, the defendant is not going to face any jail time or criminal fines as they might in a criminal case. Having said that, there are occasions where punitive damages can be awarded with the intention of punishing the reckless behavior of the defendant. The goal is to ensure that the at-fault party does not repeat the negligent behavior that caused the injury.

What if an injured person passes away from their injuries before filing a lawsuit?

Whenever a person passes away because of another person’s negligence, the heirs can recover compensation through a wrongful death action. This will be a person’s closest living relative. If the cause of death was not the sustained injuries, but something else entirely, but they have not filed a suit for their personal injury case, then the case will become a survival action where the executor of the person’s estate will be able to pursue a claim.

When should I call an attorney?

When you’ve been in an accident, you need to focus on your medical needs first. Then, you need to contact an attorney as soon as you possibly can to ensure that your rights are protected and you can focus on healing. Your attorney can focus on the difficulty of the legal process by gathering evidence and initiating the claims and negotiations process.

When I meet with an attorney, what should I bring?

When you meet with an attorney, bring along with you all of the documents that are related to your case. For example, you should bring copies of your medical records and bills, copies of police reports, photographs of the accident and injuries, your insurance information, and any information that you have about the at-fault party. The more information you bring with you, the easier your case will be.

How do I choose a good attorney for my claim?

When it comes to choosing a good attorney, you need to trust your instincts and combine this personal judgment with adequate research into the attorneys that you’re considering. You should get along with your attorney and feel confident in his or her ability to represent you. Ask questions about the lawyer’s experience with cases like yours, the outcomes of those cases, and how many cases have gone to trial. If you don’t feel comfortable with the answers you receive, look into other options.

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