Many personal injury claims filed in Las Vegas are resolved through settlement negotiations or mediation. However, when insurance companies and other parties refuse to negotiate in good faith, it can become prudent to file a personal injury lawsuit. Though filing a lawsuit extends the timeline to receive a settlement check, going to court might be the only way to receive the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Steps of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Filing a personal injury lawsuit typically occurs after we thoroughly investigate the accident and the personal injuries sustained and attempt to settle the claim through negotiations. Once we file a lawsuit, several pre-trial phases must occur before we can argue the matter in court. Those phases include:

Filing Pleadings

A lawsuit begins with the filing of pleadings. The plaintiff (injured party) files a complaint against the defendant (the party who caused the injury). The complaint is served on the defendant.

The Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure set the deadlines for filing pleadings. If they do not respond before the deadline, the plaintiff can request the court to find the defendant in default and grant the relief requested in the complaint.

In most cases, the defendant files an answer denying the allegations in the complaint. However, the defendant might counterclaim, alleging the plaintiff is at fault for various causes of action. The plaintiff may then respond to the allegations by filing an answer to the counterclaim. 

Discovery 

Discovery is the process of obtaining evidence and other information relevant to the case. Each party may engage in various discovery methods, including:

  • Request to Produce
  • Interrogatories
  • Depositions
  • Request for Admissions
  • Subpoenas

The discovery process could take several months, depending on the complexity of the case. Parties may need to depose the other party, witnesses, and experts. The parties might need to obtain evidence for experts to review and formulate opinions. 

Failing to respond to discovery requests could result in an Order to Show Cause and contempt charges. Furthermore, responses to discovery requests are under oath. Therefore, you commit perjury if you provide false information or intentionally leave out information. 

Settlement Attempts

After the discovery phase, each party better understands its position. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their case, as well as the other party’s case. Therefore, the lawyers may try to settle the case at this phase instead of going to trial.

Many lawsuits settle after the discovery phase. However, if your case does not settle, you proceed to the pre-trial motion phase. 

Pre-Trial Motions 

Pre-trial motions do not decide the guilt or innocence of a party. Instead, these motions deal with matters of law. 

For example, the plaintiff might file a motion asking the court to grant summary judgment based on the facts presented in the complaint. The defendant may file a motion to dismiss, alleging the plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence to support a claim.

The judge rules on each motion filed with the court. Unless the judge decides otherwise, the case proceeds to the trial docket. How quickly the case goes to trial depends on the court’s schedule and other factors. 

Trial & Appeals 

At the trial, the plaintiff begins by presenting their case. The plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant caused their injury. A preponderance of the evidence means that there is a greater than 50% chance the claim is true.

Most personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence claims. Therefore, the plaintiff must prove:

  • Duty of Care – The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care to act with reasonable prudence to avoid an accident or injury
  • Breach of Duty – The defendant’s actions or omissions breached their duty of care.
  • Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Damages – The plaintiff incurred damages because the defendant breached their duty of care.

Damages in a personal injury case can include economic and non-economic damages. The plaintiff can receive an award for their financial losses, such as lost wages and medical bills. They can also receive money for their pain and suffering.

The defendant can present their case after the plaintiff. Even though the plaintiff has the burden of proving a legal claim, the defense typically offers evidence to refute the plaintiff’s claim and might offer evidence of the plaintiff’s contributory fault for the cause of the injury.

The jurors deliberate and return a verdict. If either party believes they have legal grounds to overturn the verdict, they can appeal the decision to a higher court.

If neither party appeals, the jury verdict is final. If the jurors ruled in favor of the plaintiff, they also determined an amount for damages. The defendant has a personal judgment against them until they pay the plaintiff the award.

Accident victims and their families can discuss their options for receiving compensation during a free consultation with a  personal injury lawyer.

Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Las Vegas and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Las Vegas Office
10789 W Twain Ave #100
Las Vegas, NV 89135
(702) 570-9000

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Reno Office
675 W Moana Ln #206
Reno, NV 89509, USA
(775) 535-7768