When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If your claim meets certain conditions, you should hire a personal injury attorney as soon as you can find a good one. Not every victim requires the services of a personal injury lawyer, but many do. 

Don’t just think about winning and losing; think about how much money you can win compared to the magnitude of suffering you’ve endured. Following are some factors you should consider when wondering whether you should hire a dedicated Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

Is There a Large Amount of Compensation at Stake?

People fight over money. And the more money is at stake, the harder they fight. Insurance companies, for example, have a lot of funds and resources to investigate large claims. Corporations dedicate entire legal departments to disputing claims like yours. You will need someone to help you fight back and put you on equal footing with these formidable companies. 

Is Liability in Dispute?

Nevada’s modified comparative fault law allows an accident victim to recover damages even if they were partially at fault. For example, you might have suffered a slip and fall accident while intoxicated, and you fell in a store that failed to repair its malfunctioning escalator. 

Nevada reduces a victim’s compensation by their percentage of fault. If you were 30% at fault, for example, the court will subtract 30% from your awarded damages. However, if your fault was 51% or greater, you receive nothing, no matter how significant your damages were. 

The other side will try to pin as much blame as possible on you at the settlement table and in court. A lawyer can do the negotiating for you, and they can help you prepare any answers you may need to answer under oath in court or at a deposition. 

Were You Seriously Injured?

You might be seriously injured and not even know it. Certain types of head injuries, for example, don’t start showing symptoms until hours or even days later. For that reason, seek immediate medical attention after an accident to establish that the accident was the cause of your injuries. Otherwise, you might lose your claim.

The biggest issues with a severe injury are whether you will ever recover fully and what your lifetime medical expenses and lost earnings will amount to because of the accident. You’ll need a lawyer and possibly an expert witness to estimate this amount so that you don’t make the mistake of demanding too little in damages.

Does the Defendant Lack Financial Resources?

In most personal injury claims, the victim files a third-party claim against the defendant’s insurance company. Not all injuries are insurable, however. 

Additionally, there is always a limit to how much the insurance company is legally obligated to pay on any claim. This limit appears in the insurance contract between the insurance company and the insured party. If your damages exceed the policy limits, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for additional compensation.

Your Lawyer Should Know How to Execute the “Deep Pocket Strategy”

In many cases, the theoretical value of the victim’s personal injury claim is large, but the defendant is underinsured or uninsured. Under these circumstances, a good personal injury lawyer will be looking for other defendants who can afford to pay your claim. 

Some possible examples include:

  • The employer of an on-duty pizza delivery driver who causes an accident while on the way to make a delivery. You can hold the employer vicariously liable as long as the delivery driver is not an independent contractor rather than an employee.
  • Manufacturers and other dealers of dangerous products. Under the right circumstances, you can sue anyone in the chain of distribution.
  • A social host who supplies alcohol to a minor who then injures someone due to their resulting intoxication.

Skilled personal injury lawyers know many other ways to claim damages against additional defendants so that you can receive full compensation.

Are You Filing a Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of a Deceased Victim?

If the victim died in the accident, you can file a wrongful death claim if you are an heir of the decedent or the personal representative of their probate estate. Compensation amounts are typically large, and the legal ramifications are serious enough to require the advice of a wrongful death lawyer.

Is the Case Complex?

Certain types of claims are inherently complex, while others are complex only on a case-by-case basis. Medical malpractice and product liability claims, for example, tend to be complex.

Are Multiple Parties Involved in the Case?

Ten people injured in a construction accident suing five individuals, two partnerships, and four corporations exemplify a legally complex case. However, they are not at all uncommon. If your case looks like this, you need a lawyer. 

Are You Suing the Government?

Suing the government requires that you comply with certain rules that don’t apply to ordinary personal injury claims. These rules are almost always complicated with a detailed process and less time to file. Contact an attorney for help if a government entity is involved in your case.

Are You Seeking Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous that the court wishes to punish the defendant and send a message to others who may repeat the offense. You probably won’t win punitive damages, but a lawyer will significantly increase your chances of receiving them. If you get them, the court will add them to your compensatory damages.  

Do You Plan to File a Lawsuit?

Many victims file lawsuits in personal injury cases even though they plan to eventually settle the case out of court. 

There are at least three main reasons why you might file a lawsuit even while you ultimately plan to settle:

  • To prove to a stubborn defendant that you are serious
  • To meet the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit
  • To get access to the pretrial discovery process so that you can use court orders to demand evidence that is in the possession of the other party

You can withdraw your lawsuit any time before the jury announces its verdict, giving you plenty of time to settle. Nevertheless, drafting a formal complaint to initiate a lawsuit is a job for a lawyer – and so is the pretrial discovery process. 

Do You Need to Draft a Settlement Agreement?

You need to draft a settlement agreement before you can complete your settlement. Have a seasoned lawyer prepare it for you. A minor mistake in the wording of a settlement agreement can cause major problems later. If the other side presents you with a settlement agreement, have your lawyer review it closely before signing it. 

Advising you when to accept a settlement offer and when to reject one is another way a personal injury lawyer can help you. Remember, your lawyer cannot settle your case without your permission.

If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet

On top of this, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash can result in you being found to be partially at fault for your injuries.

This can lead to a significant reduction in the amount of compensation you’re eligible for—even if the accident was the result of another person’s negligence.

Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer For a Free Initial Consultation to Discuss Your Claim

Most Las Vegas personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations where they can listen to your story and answer your questions. Once you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, you will be in a much better position to determine whether you need a lawyer. The attorney might even be able to provide you with a ballpark estimate of the value of your claim.