Reno Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal Injury Claims in Nevada
The last thing that any of us ever expect when going about our everyday lives is sustaining a serious injury. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, our Reno attorney has seen many innocent victims have to endure physical, emotional, and financial hardships after an unexpected accident causes serious damage.
With more than 30 years of experience, our firm is dedicated to helping you if you've been the victim of an accident that was caused by someone else. Our firm has the extensive knowledge necessary to file a personal injury claim to seek the proper compensation you need and deserve.
On This Page
- Understanding Your Case
- There Must Be Claims Under Nevada Law
- Elements of a Personal Injury Case
- First-Party Claims vs Third-Party Claims
- Important Questions to Consider
- Your Case Value
- Types of Damages You Can Recover
- Documenting Evidence of Your Damages
- Should I Settle Before Going to Trial?
- How We Can Help
- Why Hire Us
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 or her.
Similarly, you can be in an auto accident in which the other driver is clearly at fault, but if there are no signs of physical damages, there isn't a good personal injury case.
There are numerous claims possible in any given injury case. These include:
- Negligence per se (when the violation of a law is involved)
- Breach of Contract
- Insurance Bad Faith
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:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party who brings the claim)
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach was the legal cause of plaintiff's injuries
- 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.
Usually, you make a claim against the insurance company that provides coverage to the party at fault. This is called a "third-party claim" because you are, in essence a "third party" in so far as the other side's insurance policy is concerned. You may also make a claim under your own (first party) medical insurance and property insurance policies.
This is a "first-party claim” because, under these policies, you are the party insured and, therefore, you are the party to be covered. If your own carrier pays expenses such as doctor/hospital bills or auto repair bills, they probably have a right of reimbursement against the third party who caused the damages.
- What is the statute of limitations for your type of claim?
- Who are the attorneys involved in the case?
- Which insurance companies are involved?
- Is the case in arbitration? If so, who is the arbitrator?
- Is the case before a judge? Who is the judge?
- Is the case before a jury?
- How will the parties, the attorneys, and the jury interact?
How much is your case worth? The answer to this question has a ring of Zen to it. Your case is worth what you can get, that's how much it's worth. So what can you get? The answer depends on a variety of things.
Understanding the difficulty of proving certain claims, and the chance that the defense may be able to prevail with certain defenses, such as comparative negligence, must be factored into any analysis of how much a case is worth. An assessment of damages is a useful first step toward an understanding "what you get."
A useful second step is understanding and accepting that no one can tell you exactly what you might get if your case proceeds to a contested hearing. This is why having an experienced attorney that can help guide you through these complex processes is vital for success of your case.
A good place to start out is a general understanding of the legal concept of damages. Simply put, there are different types of damages that correspond to a particular claim.
One basic type of damages is out-of-pocket loss. This is money that has actually been spent because of an injury: hospital and doctor bills; physical therapy; medical devices; lost earnings; specific property damage (a wrecked auto, for example).
A second type of damages is what lawyers call "general damages." These consist of pain and suffering, and the intangible harm that results from any injury.
Examples include physical pain that disrupts a person's normal life; inability to participate in sports, hobbies, and other common lifestyle activities; physical difficulties encountered in earning a living; psychological harm (emotional trauma); loss of consortium, love, and support.
Punitive damages are assessed against parties who act willfully, with malice, oppression, or fraud. Egregious conduct that somehow shocks or offends is generally necessary to support an award of punitive damages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer. In cases where punitive damages are assessed, the court looks in part to the wealth of the defendant to determine the propriety of a punitive damages finding. A fine of $10,000 may mean nothing to a billionaire, and may bankrupt a modest wage earner.
Punitive damages are not available in negligence cases because negligence cases do not involve intentional actions or behavior. Punitive damages are, however, available in fraud cases because it is a claim that necessitates a showing of intent.
Keep copies of all medical records and bills. These are the essential evidence of out-of-pocket medical damages. Wage loss can be documented with pay stubs and related business records. Tax returns are often requested.
Having this information clearly documented and readily available can be a great help during the claims process.
Figuring out when to settle a case is difficult. Factors such as increasing costs, attorney's fees that may escalate close to trial, and eliminating the risk of a contested hearing must be carefully considered. The general idea, even if sometimes incorrect, is that the higher the medical bills, the greater the damages.
In Nevada, insurance companies tend to offer two to three times the medical bills as compensation for victims of car accidents with soft tissue injuries. Although insurance companies often deny it, they do use arbitrary formulas such as this to evaluate claims.
However, it is important to remember that the higher the costs, the less you get and the longer a case goes on, the higher the costs tend to be. Costs are lowest before a case is filed and becomes litigation. After litigation starts, the parties pay court costs, they pay for depositions, and they often pay expert witness fees.
The best point to resolve an injury case may be after medical damages are clear but before litigation. This, of course, depends on whether reasonable offers are advanced at that time.
The most effective way to understand the value of your case, and whether to settle before going to trial, is by retaining skilled legal counsel. You can speak with us about your legal matter by scheduling a complimentary case evaluation.
When it comes to injury-causing accidents, our legal team is relentless. We know that you are experiencing a difficult situation and you - and your family - are looking for some answers. Our personal injury attorney stands by your side throughout the duration of your case so you never feel alone in the process.
We are fully dedicated to representing your best interests and protecting your rights throughout the entire case. Our team can also help you with bike and boating accidents, product defect cases, and dog bite injuries.
If you've sustained an injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Our firm provides award-winning counsel that has been the top choice for many clients in the past, and we have confidence that we can help you, too.
Our lead attorney was selected to receive the 2014 Avvo Client's Choice Award in Personal Injury. Our founder is also rated 10.0 Superb by Avvo and he has been recognized by the The National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer.
Our commitment to our clients goes above and beyond the call of duty. We truly care about you and your case. Because no two cases are ever the same, we take the time to understand your situation, discuss your goals, explain your rights and options, and build a strategy tailored to your specific needs.
With the Law Offices of Steven J. Klearman & Associates on your side, you can have peace of mind and focus on your recovery while we handle your legal matter.
- Assessing Your Risk In Personal Injury Litigation
- Dissecting the History of the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases in Nevada
Fast and Caring Service
Our office is full of friendly, caring, extremely experienced people who will take the time to talk to you about your case when you call.
A Strong Track-Record of Favorable Outcomes
We've handled thousands of personal injury cases with a track record of success. We regularly obtain six and seven-figure results for our clients.
Over 30 Years of Legal Knowledge & Experience
Our Reno-based founding attorney Steven J. Klearman has over 31 years of experience handling serious injury cases in northern Nevada courts.
Board Certified Personal Injury Specialist in the State of Nevada
Fewer than one percent of Nevada attorneys are Board Certified to handle Personal Injury cases.