Being involved in a truck accident is one of the most traumatic experiences for anyone. It is by far one of the worst types of traffic accidents, resulting in multiple casualties and even loss of life. And a Las Vegas truck accident attorney knows that winning such a claim is extremely difficult. The accident victim has to fight against some of the biggest insurers representing trucking companies. In many cases, you will have to file a truck accident lawsuit.
The likelihood of a case going to trial increases with the amount of damages you claim. And, in our experience, truck accident victims require extensive and expensive medical care. Moreover, they are unable to go back to work for a long period of time. Some victims are even unable to return to their regular job or work at all, as a result of life changing injuries and disabilities. In such cases, your case may not be concluded through negotiations, but by filing a lawsuit with your Las Vegas truck accident attorney.
A Quick Timeline of the Steps Leading to a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Nevada
After you hire a Las Vegas truck accident attorney, they will prepare a demand letter and send it to the party or parties responsible for your accident. This letter contains:
- Your identification details
- The place and time of the accident
- A brief description of the circumstances of the accident
- The amount you seek in compensation and justification for it.
One the other party (usually, an insurance company) receives the letter of demand, the negotiation phase begins. Your attorney and an insurance adjuster will conduct discussions, present their points of view and arguments. As explained above, if the compensatory amount you seek is very high – in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars – the insurance company will refuse to settle.
They believe they have a better chance of getting your claim reduced in court. When it is clear that no amicable agreement can be reached, your attorney will instruct you to file a truck accident lawsuit.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations in Nevada for any legal actions concerning personal injury cases is 2 (two) years after the date of the accident. This is why you need legal representation by an experienced Las Vegas truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Insurance companies are notoriously trying to delay making a decision in a claim, hoping that you won’t notice that the time to take legal action is running out.
A lawyer at the Nettles Morris law firm will not let insurance companies get away with this tactic. Once it is clear that they do not want to settle, the truck accident attorney in Nevada will give you the necessary instructions for filing a lawsuit.
Who Will You Name as Defendants in Your Lawsuit?
When you file a lawsuit with your Las Vegas truck accident attorney, you must name one or several defendants. They will receive notification of your legal action in order to prepare their defense and respond to the case. In a truck accident lawsuit, your lawyer may instruct you to name several defendants:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer (if the accident was caused by a design or manufacturing error)
- The owner of the cargo (if overloading or improper loading played a part in the accident).
It is important to remember that negotiations do not cease completely after you filed a truck accident lawsuit. Indeed, some insurance companies finally agree to settle once they realize that you are not giving up. You can withdraw your legal action without any issue if you manage to reach an out of court settlement.
What You Must Know about the Pre-Trial Phase
Before the trial begins, both parties go through the so-called discovery phase. This is when both your Las Vegas truck accident attorney and the opposing counsel will collect information concerning the accident. You will most likely have to give a deposition before the opposing counsel – just as the truck driver will have their deposition taken by your attorney.
At this point, all types of relevant information can be accessed by the other party, including:
- Your medical records
- Any prior traffic violations
- Mobile phone logs.
This is why it is crucial to be 100% honest with your truck accident attorney in Nevada. Disclose any pre-existing medical condition or old injury. If you know you were partly at fault for the accident, say exactly what it was about. Nothing will remain hidden once your case reaches the trial phase.
How to Persuade the Court That You Deserve the Compensation You Seek
An experienced Las Vegas truck accident attorney will strive to prove the negligence of all defendants:
- The truck driver’s negligence and breach of duty of care
- The trucking company vicarious responsibility for their employee’s negligence
- The fault of a truck manufacturer who sold an unsafe vehicle.
There are several levels of negligence recognized by Nevada law. First of all, the simple negligence involved in most traffic accidents: distracted driving, drowsy driving, and failure to adapt the driving style to poor weather conditions.
Secondly, there is the concept of negligence per se. First defined in Barnes v. Delta Lines, Inc., negligence per se is “when a defendant violates a statute which was designed to protect a class of persons to which the plaintiff belongs”. For instance, running a red light represent negligence per se, because that traffic signals exists to protect drivers who have the right to cross the intersection at that specific moment.
Finally, there is the concept of gross negligence – a willful or wanton conduct, indicating complete disregard for the safety of others. Speeding while driving under influence is an instance of gross negligence, which entitles the plaintiff to seek punitive damages in a truck accident lawsuit.
A Few Words on Your Own Partial Fault
In most situations, the accident victim may have been slightly negligent. Maybe you failed to get out of the blind spot of the truck just before the crash. Or maybe you were not wearing a safety belt. Irrespective of what it was, you ca be sure that the other party will try to make it more serious than it really was, trying to make you look more at fault than you were.
Your lawyer will tell you that it is impossible to reduce your proportion of fault to 0. However, since the state of Nevada applies the comparative negligence principle, it does not mean that you will lose the case. As long as you were less than 50% at fault, you are well within your legal rights to seek compensation.
Will You Have to Testify in Your Truck Accident Lawsuit?
There is no legal requirement for taking the stand as a plaintiff. You already gave all the necessary information to the opposing counsel during the deposition. However, it can be beneficial for the judge and jury to hear your story and understand how the accident affected you.
Don’t worry, you will receive plenty of coaching beforehand from your Las Vegas truck accident attorney. Also, if the opposing counsel tries to ask you misleading questions, they have the right to object to it. If the objection has merits, the judge will prevent the opposing counsel from requiring an answer from you.
An Experienced Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney Can Win Your Case!
Nettles Morris law firm relies on over 30 years of combined experience. We know how to negotiate a settlement and how to defend your right to compensation in court, as well. No matter what, we don’t stop fighting until we win the maximum compensation you deserve.
We know that a lawsuit is an intimidating experience for most people, but in some cases, this is the only chance of getting justice and the compensation amount you deserve. If you were injured in a truck accident, schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible: 702-410-6239!