After you have been injured in an accident, one of the last things that you are probably thinking about is how your personal injury case will proceed through court. However, understanding the different steps and timing involved in a personal injury case can better prepare you for what is ahead and not add any more stress to this difficult time. The personal injury attorneys at Ladah Law Firm understand this complex process and are here to help you navigate through the legal process of your claims.
Filing of the Lawsuit
Under Nevada law, if you have been injured in an accident you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you do not file within this time period, the statute of limitations applies and you are barred from bringing a case against the responsible parties, thereby denying you compensation for your claims.
Once the lawsuit has been filed in a Nevada court, the discovery process will begin. On average, the discovery period will last between six months to a year to complete. During this time, attorneys on both sides of the case will get the chance to fully investigate the claims. This investigation takes place in a variety of ways, including interrogatories, depositions, accident scene review, medical record review, witness statements, document review and more.
Interrogatories are written questions that you are required by law to answer, and depositions are in person interviews of all people involved in the case. The purpose of discovery is for both sides to have full and complete information regarding the case as well as understand everything that may be presented in front of a jury at trial.
Negotiation and Mediation
After discovery is completed by both sides, the attorneys enter into a round of negotiation and mediation. This is usually the second round of negotiation that takes place during a personal injury case, with the first happening before a lawsuit is filed. However, during this round of negotiation attorneys from both sides of the case have a full set of information to use. Negotiation at this level can last for days or weeks leading up to a trial.
At this time, the court may also order the parties of the case into mediation in an attempt to resolve the situation without the need for trial. During mediation, a neutral third party hears both sides of the case and rules on both liability and damages. The parties can either accept the ruling of the mediator or reject the decision and go to trial.
If all attempts at negotiation and mediation fail, then the personal injury case will go to trial. At trial, attorneys for all parties involved in the accident will have the opportunity to present their case to a jury. The jury then decides the percentage of liability for each party involved and the total amount of damages that should be awarded. While a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, the actual trial can take place months or even years after the filing of the case.
In the vast majority of cases, the jury's verdict is binding on the case and can only be overturned in a small number of specific circumstances. Once the case is finished, any compensation awarded can be collected by the entitled parties and the personal injury case is complete.