What Is the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case in Nevada?

You most likely want your Las Vegas personal injury case to end as quickly as possible. An expedient case, after all, means collecting the financial compensation that you need to pay your bills sooner. Learn the basic timeline of a personal injury case so that you know what to expect from the legal process. While each case is unique, most follow the same general timelines from the filing of the claim to the resolution of the legal dispute. If you work with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney, they can give you a more clear picture of your specific timeline.

Claims Filing: Within Two Years

With only some exceptions, a personal injury case in Nevada must be filed no more than two years from the date of the accident. If you do not discover your injuries right away, you have two years from the date that you discover or that a reasonable person would have discovered your injury to file. If you wish to file a medical malpractice claim, you will have one year from the date of discovery instead. The sooner you file the paperwork to start a personal injury claim, the sooner you can resolve your case and receive a settlement check.

The Point of Maximum Medical Improvement

After you file a claim, it is important to take your time with the rest of the legal process. Although you may wish to rush into a fast settlement to end your case, this is not advisable. Most insurance companies use their lowest amounts in their first settlement offers, since they anticipate claimants negotiating back and forth. Rather than accepting the very first settlement offer, protect your legal rights by taking the time to fully understand the value of your claim. This starts with waiting until you reach your point of maximum medical improvement (MMI).

MMI means that your doctor believes you won’t recover from your injuries any further; you have reached your point of maximum physical improvement from an injury. It is important to wait until this date to settle your claim. Otherwise, you may not fully understand how many treatments your injuries require or how much you will spend on medical care. How long it takes you to reach your point of MMI depends on the type and severity of the injury. It may be a few weeks or several months. During this time, keep up with all of your doctor’s appointments and recommended treatments.

The Discovery Phase

Once your Las Vegas personal injury case is ready to proceed, both you (the plaintiff) and the other party (the defendant) will enter the discovery phase. This is a precursor to an injury settlement or lawsuit, where both sides of a legal dispute have the opportunity to collect information and learn what the other side knows. The discovery phase can take days or weeks. The timeline will depend on the complexity of the case and the level of cooperation from those involved in an investigation.

A Settlement or Injury Trial

The majority of personal injury cases in Nevada reach settlements between the insurance company and the injured party. Settlements are faster and cheaper for both parties involved. Settlements are also kept private and allow both parties to remain in control of the outcome of the case. The average personal injury settlement takes about three to six months from start to finish. If an insurance company is not offering what your lawyer believes is a full and fair settlement value for your losses, however, or if the insurer has rejected your claim, your case may have to move to trial.

A jury trial could take one year or longer from the date of your accident to complete. The timeline for a trial depends on how busy the courthouse is in your county, as this will determine how long you must wait for a court date. Once a trial begins, it will generally take a few days to a week for both sides to present their arguments and evidence to a judge and jury. The jury will then enter into deliberations and determine the outcome of the personal injury trial. From there, the losing party has the opportunity to file an appeal, which can extend the timeline of a case further.

If you are wondering how long your personal injury case in Nevada will take, consult with an attorney at Koch & Brim, LLP for personalized advice and information.