Car accidents, pedestrian collisions, premises liability claims, product liability, medical malpractice – These are some typical examples of personal injury lawsuits. If you have sustained injuries in an accident in Las Vegas because of a person (or entity) who breached their ‘duty of care’, you could claim compensation for the damages. The settlement can help cover your medical bills, wage losses, and future treatment costs, and in some cases, victims can even recover punitive damages. Winning a claim, however, won’t be easy without lawyering up. In this post, we are sharing common mistakes you must avoid when hiring a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer. Click here for more details.
Hiring a random lawyer
Would you visit an endocrinologist for your brain surgeon? The obvious answer is no. The same is true for personal injury claims. You cannot just hire any random lawyer you know. Instead, find an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and has worked on cases that are similar to yours. Relevant experience is a key factor for winning a fair settlement.
Not asking for a free assessment
Injury law firms in Nevada typically offer a free initial consultation for clients. This could be your perfect window for knowing the worth of your claim and understanding the factors that can influence the eventual outcome. Insist on a free assessment in person.
Not asking questions
When you hire an injury lawyer, you have to ask questions related to their body of work. While you have to trust an attorney for their word, their overall expertise depends on how effectively they answer your questions. You can ask questions like –
- How long have you been practicing in Las Vegas?
- What are your typical cases as an injury lawyer?
- Will you work on my case personally?
- What can you tell me about your top cases and settlements?
- How can I get updates about my claim?
- Do you have experience going to court for similar lawsuits?
- If yes, what were the outcomes of those cases?
Paying an upfront fee
Never pay an injury lawyer right away. PI lawyers usually charge on a contingency basis, where they only get paid when and if they win. If you don’t make a recovery, you don’t have to pay the fee. The contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement, and depending on the circumstances and work involved, the fee could be as high as 40%.
When you don’t need an attorney
Just because you were injured in a crash or accident, does it mean that you need an injury lawyer? Well, the short answer is no. You can avoid hiring a lawyer if –
- You have endured only a few scratches, or your injuries are minor
- Your claim’s worth is less than $10,000
Like we mentioned, most law firms in Las Vegas would be happy to offer a free consultation session with their injury lawyers. You could still get to meet a legal expert and decide on the scope of your case. Good lawyers don’t want to waste their time, and if your claim is not worth pursuing, they may even turn down the case. At times, an injury lawyer may even suggest that you accept the insurance offer because it’s unlikely that you would get more.
How to find a good injury lawyer in Las Vegas?
- Firstly, ask around. If you know friends and relatives who have worked with injury lawyers in the past, just get references. Google search can help you find local law firms in your area. Law websites like Nolo, Justia, and Avvo are useful too.
- Don’t hire an attorney because they are available. Instead, read our questionnaire above and make a list of things that really matter for your case. You can get a fair idea of what to expect as you proceed with the claim.
- Asking about the trial experience is a must. Because most injury lawsuits are settled outside of court, not many injury lawyers can claim that they have experience of going to trial. However, having a lawyer who knows how to handle different types of lawsuits is a big advantage.
- Be clear with other costs. Your attorney will have to incur a few expenses to fight the legal battle. This involves relying on medical experts to know your injuries, talking to accident reconstruction professionals, and using private investigators when needed. You are required to pay for these expenses, even if you lose. It’s best to get a ballpark in advance.
- Get references. You can talk to a few previous clients of the injury lawyer to learn about their experience. Law firms in Vegas usually offer that information for free. If you don’t want to trust references alone, you can always go back to Google and check independent reviews posted by clients. Too many negative reviews could be a red flag.
How soon should you hire an attorney?
Ideally, you should contact an injury lawyer as soon as you get medical care and before you deal with the insurance company. Remember that the insurance adjuster would try to get a statement from you, and if you reveal anything or say things that are not exactly true, you may lose your claim. It’s best to get an attorney at the earliest so that you can avoid common mistakes.
Beware of insurance tactics
Common insurance tactics include
- Trying to dissuade you from hiring an injury lawyer
- Discouraging you from seeking medical care
- Getting you to sign a release that could give the adjuster access to your medical records
- Sharing wrong facts
- Asking you to accept the first offer
- Calling you immediately after the accident to get you to say things
- Downplaying your injuries
- Delaying your claim
If the insurance company has rejected your claim already, you must let an attorney take over as they can help you decide whether you should pursue a lawsuit in civil court. Nevada’s statute of limitations gives you two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
Contact an attorney now to know more about personal injury law!