Justice Law Center has been fighting to protect the rights of the citizens of Ely Nevada for decades. Nowadays, the major insurance agencies seem to make it their business to shortchange people who have been inured in an accident. This is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Having a good injury lawyer representing you after you have been injured tells the insurance agencies that you will not be taken advantage of.
After you have had an initial consultation with an injury attorney, and you decide to hire them to represent you, there is a process that generally takes a good amount of time before they can get you your money. We like our clients at Justice Law Center to be as informed as possible. So, we have detailed the entire process from right when hire your Ely Personal Injury Attorney, to the day that you cash your check.
The first step after you have been injured and someone else is at fault, (sorry breaking your toe on the coffee table on your way to the fridge at 2am doesn’t count,) is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. If you try to negotiate with the insurance agencies yourself, you will be at a severe disadvantage unless you have personal injury law experience yourself.
Here at Justice Law Center. We work on a pure contingency fee basis for personal injury cases. That means that our fees are deducted from the amount of money won for you, be it through a jury trial award or a settlement. You will never have to pay a retainer to Justice Law Center for your injury case and if we do not get you any money, we don’t get paid.
Understanding The Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law set forth in each state that regulates how long someone has to file a lawsuit to purse civil claims after being injured. If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired your case will likely get dismissed and you can be ordered to pay the opposing parties attorneys fees and court costs.
It is important to seek representation immediately after an accident, because if you wait, it restricts the amount of time your injury lawyer has to negotiate with the insurance agencies. If you wait until the very last minute to hire an attorney, they will immediately have to file a lawsuit that could have not even been needed if you had not waited. If your lawyer has to file a suit, then there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done and the back-end fees will be much greater.
In Nevada, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you will have three years from the date of the negligent act or omission that caused harm or injury. If the harm or injury was discovered after the fact, then you have one year from that date to file. If you are injured due to some product liability, or in the case of a wrongful death, you have two years to file a lawsuit.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
In a formal personal injury claim, the injured party is known as a plaintiff, and is the one who seeks financial compensation from another party that the plaintiff claims is liable, is known as the defendant. In some cases, it will be the actual person who caused the accident to be labeled as the defendant, or it could be the liable parties insurance agency, or both.
The first step of the process involves your personal injury attorney sending what is called a “demand letter.” This is a simple letter from your attorney to the defendants asking for compensation for the damages that have occurred. These damages include medical bills, lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, lost time and experiences with friends and family and damage to property. This demand letter will detail why the defendant is legally responsible for the damages as well as a complete accounting of all of the damages that were sustained due to the incident.
This state of the process is called the “pre-litigation stage.” This means that there has not been a lawsuit filed and your attorney is attempting to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. During this stage the insurance company can accept or deny the demand letter. A denial of the demand could because the insurance agency believes that the accident was the injureds fault, or there is a lack of evidence showing that it was the insured party’s fault. Sometimes the insurance agencies will deny a demand letter for no discernible reason whatsoever as well.
If the demand letter is denied, or they insurance agency’s counteroffer is way too low, your personal injury lawyer will have to file a complaint in civil court. This complaint gives formal notice to the court and the defendant that the plaintiff is seeking compensation for the damages. In most cases the complaint is filed against the insurance agency that is refusing to pay, but there are situations where other defendants will be named as well.
After the complaint has been filed, your injury lawyer has 120 days to formally serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint. After proper service has been completed, the defendant then has 20 days to respond to the complaint. If the defendants do not respond to the complaint within the allotted time frame, your lawyer can file for the court to award a default judgment in your favor.
The Discovery Phase of your Personal Injury Case
The discovery phase is when both sides “discover” information about the case. This is when both sides, the plaintiff, and the defendant, uncovers and exchanges evidence that they plan to present to the court. Any witnesses that either side intends to call in court must be disclosed during this phase as well.
If either party wishes to question the other, a disposition will occur. Most often dispositions will be conducted as an “Examination Under Oath.” This means that anything that is stated at a disposition can be used as evidence in court, and any lies told during the disposition can be considered perjury.
During the discovery process either side can file motions with the court. These motions can be to have the case dismissed, delayed or for the court to reach a judgement prior to a jury trial.
Personal Injury Claim Settlements
Regardless of their posturing, the insurance agencies do not want to take your case to trial. They might state that they will take the case to trial, but most of the time they are just trying to get leverage when it comes time to negotiate a settlement. This negotiation is usually done through a planned meeting between the insurance agency attorneys and your personal injury attorney called mediation.
A settlement is an agreement that is made between the plaintiff and the defendants, where the plaintiff agrees to drop the lawsuit in exchange for a set amount of compensation from the defendant. This settlement is put into writing and signed by both parties before the lawsuit is dropped. A settlement is how over 90% of personal injury cases resolve in the end.
When Your Case Does go to Trial
If for whatever reason a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, then the case will go to trial. Sometimes the trial will be just in front of a judge, or sometimes in front of a jury. The outcome of a trial with be either the judge or jury deciding that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and, then will also decide how much they owe for compensation, or they will decide that the defendant is not liable and dismiss the case.
Trails for personal injury cases are extremely time consuming and very expensive. This is why the majority of cases will be settled beforehand as it usually benefits both sides to agree on a settlement.
One the judgment has been made, either side has a limited amount of time to decide if they want to object to the judgement made by the judge or jury and file an appeal. If neither side files an appeal, the personal injury case is over.
Personal Injury Attorneys at Justice Law Center
While Ely Nevada is a small town, injury casing accidents and even malpractice still happen here all the time. You could just be going about your daily business, and in the blink of an eye, your whole life is turned upside down. Being injured in an accident is a stressful and scary time, and it will impact your whole family.
Here at Justice Law Center, our personal injury lawyers understand this, and will do everything in their power to ensure that the entire process is as painless as possible for you and your family. We will fight with the insurance agencies to not only make sure that your medical bills are paid, but to also compensate you for your pain and suffering, lost wages and the stress and fear that the accident has inflicted on your family.
We have been helping the people of Ely, and all over all of Nevada, for decades and will be here for you. Call us today for a complimentary consultation.