After an accident, having a personal injury checklist allows you to know what you need to do to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. Sustaining an injury due to an accident can be a traumatic experience, regardless of the type of accident you were involved in. Apart from the physical pain, you may also suffer property losses, missed work, mounting medical bills, and long-term physical limitations. Your personal injury checklist should include gathering evidence at the accident scene, reporting the incident, seeking medical attention, and considering hiring a personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
Why It Is Important to Have a Nevada Personal Injury Case Checklist
It is crucial to have physical evidence and recollections of witnesses and involved parties when it comes to establishing the liability of negligent parties and proving the extent, nature, and causation of injuries. In Nevada, personal injury cases that have this critical evidence preserved are much easier to settle at fair value. If the case proceeds to trial, this evidence becomes even more critical, as it is the basis of proof of liability and damages.
Many pieces of evidence may not be immediately apparent to non-attorneys, so it is essential to have a checklist to avoid missing crucial steps. Even attorneys often use checklists to avoid forgetting important steps. Since every case is unique, these lists cannot include every type of evidence possible. However, they can describe the most common evidence needed to successfully resolve a personal injury claim. By collecting as much of this evidence early on, you and your attorney may retain a significant head start on resolving the claim promptly and at full value.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Nevada
Personal injury law encompasses various injury types. Some of the most common personal injury cases in the United States are:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents refer to any incident involving a motor vehicle that results in damage to property or bodily injury. Such incidents often occur due to negligence or recklessness, such as texting while driving, speeding, or failing to yield the right of way. If you have been injured due to someone else’s fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Personal injury cases can be divided into the following subtypes:
- Auto accidents: These are the most common subtype of personal injury claims, involving accidents that occur between two or more cars.
- Motorcycle accidents: These accidents can result in severe injuries and are quite common.
- Trucking accidents: Although these accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, commercial truckers are usually well-insured.
- Pedestrian accidents: These accidents occur most often in urban areas and can lead to wrongful death claims.
Medical malpractice cases involve injuries caused by a physician’s negligence or inappropriate treatment. These personal injury cases generally require the doctor to have violated a rule or taken erroneous, careless, or inappropriate steps while treating a patient. Some examples of such errors include surgical mistakes, incorrect diagnosis, failing to diagnose a dangerous condition, and prescribing the wrong medication.
Product liability claims arise when an individual suffers an injury from a consumer product that is unreasonably dangerous. It is not necessary for the injured party to be the person who purchased the product. To prove a product liability claim, one must establish that the product contained one of the following types of defects: a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or inadequate warnings about the product’s dangers.
Premises Liability/Slip & Fall
Owners or operators of a public establishment, and even a private residence, have a legal obligation to ensure that their premises are safe for guests, people performing legal duties such as mail carriers, and even some types of trespassers. If the owner or operator of a premises fails to ensure that it is safe for guests, he or she may be liable for injuries sustained by a guest on the premises. Businesses are the most common targets of premises liability claims. Slip and fall accidents are the most frequent type of claim.
Common Injuries From Personal Injury Claims
The compensation that can be claimed in a personal injury case is determined by the type and severity of the injuries sustained by the victim. Here are some examples of common injuries that may be involved in a personal injury claim.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common type of injury in legal cases, which can occur due to motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, falls, and sports injuries. TBIs can have a significant impact on a victim’s cognitive abilities, physical functioning, and emotional control.
Neck injuries can occur when the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the neck are sprained or strained. This type of injury can be extremely painful and restrict your ability to work or participate in regular activities.
Injuries can occur to various muscles and soft tissues in the back, including the spinal cord discs. As the back plays a crucial role in movement and other activities, injuries such as sprains, strains, herniated discs, bulging discs, slipped discs, or pinched nerves can lead to immobility, making it impossible for the victim to work until he or she recovers. In certain cases, back injuries may also require surgical intervention.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
The spinal cord plays a crucial role in transmitting signals from the brain to different parts of the body, enabling them to move and function effectively. Any damage, such as to the nerves or vertebrae, can disrupt the sensory abilities and mobility of the victim. Some individuals who suffer from spinal cord injuries end up temporarily or permanently paralyzed in all parts of the body below the location of the injury on their spine. Paralysis is a disability that can force the victim to rely on a wheelchair and restrict his or her ability to live or work independently.
When a bone breaks, it can either be a simple fracture, which means the bone breaks but does not move from its place, or it can be a complex fracture, where the bone shatters into many pieces or breaks through the skin. Recovering from such injuries can be a lengthy process that requires surgery and physical therapy, and can lead to long-term complications such as chronic pain, permanent disability, and other related problems.
Internal Organ Damage
Accidents can result in various types of internal organ damage, such as:
- Abdominal aorta rupture
- Punctured organs caused by broken ribs
- The kidneys suffering blunt trauma
- A spleen or lung getting punctured
- Internal bleeding
Steps to Follow After an Accident
This checklist can help you know what steps to follow to protect your rights and obtain evidence for a successful personal injury claim.
Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
If you are involved in an accident caused by someone else, it’s important to gather evidence while you’re still at the scene. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene or ask someone else to do it for you.
In case of a motor vehicle accident, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles involved, their positions relative to each other, and the surrounding area. It’s also important to take pictures of any relevant details, such as nearby traffic signals, speed limits, the weather, road conditions, and speed limit signs.
For a slip-and-fall accident, take pictures of what caused you to fall, such as a spill, debris on the floor, a hole in a parking lot, or other defects. Photographs and video footage of the accident scene can be used as strong evidence to support your personal injury claim. Additionally, if there are any witnesses who saw what happened, encourage them to stay at the scene and provide statements. Get their names and contact information, so your attorney can reach out to them later.
Report the Incident
After an incident, you should report the incident to the relevant authority to create an accident report. If the accident is a road traffic accident, whether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you need to report it to the police immediately.
If the accident occurred at work, it should be recorded in the Accident Book with as much detail as possible. This is a standard health and safety procedure in most workplaces. If you had a slip and fall accident at a store, the manager should write an accident report. An accident report contains important information and details that can be helpful in the case.
Seek Medical Attention
You should get a medical evaluation after an accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Some injuries may not show any symptoms for several hours or days after the accident. Seeking immediate medical attention can help with your recovery and prevent complications. Moreover, it can help establish a connection between your injuries and the accident.
If you wait to seek medical treatment, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were caused by another event. Even if you are unsure if you have been injured, you should still see a doctor for a thorough medical examination. A doctor may identify internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, and other injuries that you initially didn’t notice and that could be potentially serious.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured due to someone else’s actions, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Personal injury cases can be complicated, and having a personal injury attorney by your side can ensure that you have the best chance of making a successful personal injury claim.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Although each personal injury case is unique and has its own set of details, a personal injury lawyer can assist you by drafting and sending a demand letter, negotiating a settlement on your behalf, or filing a lawsuit.
Negotiate a Settlement
In most cases, it is possible to settle a personal injury dispute out of court. Dealing with personal injury claims can be challenging, especially when the offending party’s insurance representative is involved in negotiating compensation. Their experience and persuasive skills can make it difficult for you to get fair compensation. However, hiring an experienced attorney can help you handle negotiations with the insurance company. Your attorney may negotiate on your behalf, and will likely have skills and experience to handle such negotiations. With strong legal representation, you are more likely to secure larger settlements for your losses and injuries.
File a Lawsuit
If you are not able to reach a settlement, or if the insurance company is trying to play you, you may have to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can help you with organizing your personal injury case and will likely have a personal injury trial preparation checklist. He or she will have litigation experience and a good understanding of the legal process, putting him or her in better position to know what evidence is necessary to prove your claim and quantify your damages. Your lawyer will also be able to present your case in the best possible way to maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.
Burden of Proof
In a civil dispute, the burden of proof is the responsibility of a party to present evidence that establishes the truth of the facts required to satisfy all legal elements. In a personal injury claim, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff and the standard of proof is called the balance of probabilities. A balance of probabilities means that the plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not or, more than 50% likely that the defendant caused their injuries.
To satisfy the burden of proof in a personal injury claim, your lawyer will conduct an investigation, gather evidence, present the evidence in court to convince the judge or jury that the defendant was likely the cause of your injuries.