A lot of lawyers will tell you a lot of different things about your case, but not so many will actually explain how the legal system works and what's necessary to prove your case. Here's a simple guide.
There Must Be Both Liability And Damages
In every case it's necessary to prove both liability (which is another word for legal responsibility) and damages. You can be hurt in an auto accident, and therefore have damages, but if the other driver involved is not liable, you do not have a good case against him. Similarly, you can be in an auto accident in which the other driver is clearly at fault, but if there aren't any physical damages there isn't a good personal injury case.
There Must Be Claims Under Nevada Law
There are numerous claims possible in any given injury case. These include negligence, negligence per se (when the violation of a law is involved), and negligent infliction of emotional distress. These sorts of claims arise in common law; the courts have developed them. There are also various claims that arise from statutes, passed by the legislature, and sometimes claims arise from regulations, which are generally enacted by agencies. In most injury cases, though, claims arise under common law.
All claims are made up of elements. For instance, in Nevada, as in many states, in order to prove negligence you need to demonstrate through evidence (usually testimony or documents) that: 1) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party who brings the claim); 2) that the defendant breached that duty; 3) that the breach was the legal cause of plaintiff's injuries; and, 4) as was explained above, that the plaintiff suffered damages.
When does a defendant owe a duty? When is a duty breached? What types of damages are compensable? The answers to these questions vary from state to state. Lawyers are trained to research the law to understand the meaning of the different elements that make up any given claim and to answer these questions in the context of each unique case.
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