Every day, people end up in hospital with serious injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. They have to spend a lot of time in pain and undergoing complex medical procedures. They keep accumulating expensive hospital bills. At the same time, their wages stop coming in and the entire family is plunged into debt.
However, personal injury laws in the state of Nevada protect accident victims. These people have the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party’s insurance company or to take the responsible person to court. With the assistance of experienced Henderson personal injury attorneys, these accident victims can win their cases. The main question they have is: “how much is my personal injury case worth?”
The Definition of a Personal Injury Case
First of all, a personal injury lawyer will try to establish whether you have a case. Here is what you need to know in this respect.
Personal injury law relies on four core principles:
- Proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care
- Proving that the defendant breached their duty
- Proving that the breach of duty caused your bodily injuries and property damage
- Proving that you suffered economic damages as a result of the event.
The elements above indicate one important fact: that the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. This is why you should always hire a personal injury lawyer to find relevant evidence, prepare your case and negotiate your claim or represent you in a personal injury lawsuit.
What Are the Factors that Determine the Value of a Personal Injury Claim in Henderson?
The state of Nevada allows personal injury victims to recover three types of damages:
1. Economic Damages
As we explained above, a personal injury case is ultimately based on the existence of economic damages. These damages are usually:
- Hospital bills
- Costs of medical treatment and physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity (if you are left with a permanent disability that prevents you from working)
- Costs of life care (if the accident victim is left with severe disabilities.
These elements are difficult to estimate on your own. However, a personal injury attorney has sufficient experience to make sure that your claim includes all your economic damages and that they are properly and fairly estimated.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages represent a form of compensation for your pain and suffering. The personal injury attorney will talk to you, your family, and your doctors, in order to understand the mental and psychological impact of the traumatic event on your life.
Some of the main elements included in the non-economic damages are:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (inability to have an intimacy)
- Humiliation (in case of accident victims left with visible disfigurements and disabilities).
The actual amount you will receive depends a lot on how much the jury empathizes with the accident victim. In some instances, such as burn accidents, jury members tend to award larger compensation amounts, because they can relate to the plaintiff’s suffering (everyone has experienced a small burn at least once). Ultimately, though, the personal injury attorney’s ability to plead on behalf of their client may make the difference.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages (Nevada Revised Code 42.005). A judge may award this type of damages if the fault party acted with gross negligence or malicious intent in causing the plaintiff’s accident. The primary purpose of this type of damages is not to compensate the victim, but to punish the responsible party and serve as a warning for others.
The elements of the perpetrator’s behavior that make a personal injury case eligible for receiving punitive damages are:
- Conscious disregard.
Punitive damages are capped in the state of Nevada. This means that you may only receive:
- $300,000 if your compensatory damages (economic damages and non-economic damages) are less than $100,000
- Three times the amount of the compensatory damages if these damages are $100,000 or more.
There are some exceptions, though. There are no caps on punitive damages for personal injuries caused by:
- Defective products
- Bad faith in insurance coverage
- Violation of state or federal laws that prohibit discriminatory housing practices
- The emission, spillage, or disposal of hazardous, toxic, or radioactive materials, and wastes
- A traffic accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How the Comparative Negligence Principle in Nevada Affects Your Claim
The comparative negligence doctrine, applicable to personal injury cases, states that a person may recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for their accident. This principle is very useful because only in a few cases does one person bears 100% of the responsibility.
Therefore, the judge will instruct the jury in a personal injury lawsuit to determine the plaintiff’s s degree of responsibility for their accident, as well as the amount of damages they would be entitled to recover. This amount will be reduced by the plaintiff’s proportion of fault. For example, if a person is 20% at fault for their personal injury accident and the amount of their damages is $100,000, they will be awarded $80,000.
Now, this means that the other party’s insurance company will strive to prove that your degree of fault is higher. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Henderson will prove your case with evidence and legal arguments and establish your accurate proportion of fault.
Hire a Professional Nevada Personal Injury Firm!
As we tried to explain in this article, there are many factors influencing the final settlement amount or jury award in personal injury cases. At Nettles Morris Law Firm, your case will be handled by experienced attorneys, who have won millions of dollars for their clients.
We encourage you to contact us and schedule a risk-free initial consultation and obtain a reliable legal opinion on your case. Our mission is to help injured persons and their families. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay any upfront fees. We will collect our fee after we win your case, out of the settlement amount.
Call us now at 702-410-6329!