There is a ton of misinformation in the Las Vegas Valley about personal injury cases and settlements. Many mass marketing campaigns are designed to capitalize on the fact that the general public does not fully understand how the law protects them not do they understand insurance products in general.
Notice I did not say “car accident case.” Car accidents give rise to strong personal injury claims. However, there are many other scenarios that could give rise to a strong claim. When you think about your potential claim, think about the two following elements:
- Liability. Simply put, liability it is any time that you are harmed by another person’s act or failure to act. A good example would be if you were hit by a car that failed to stop at a red light. Or maybe you fell in a casino that failed to clean up a drunk tourist’s vomit. Or maybe you were roughed up by casino security. Liability arises simply because someone did something they shouldn’t, or someone failed to do something they should. I am intentionally over-simplifying, because this concept can get very complex when you have multiple parties that could be liable to each other, which is fairly common. But, some act or failure to act must have caused you harm.
- Indemnity. Once you have liability, you need indemnity. Indemnity means a third party who is contractually obligated to cover for your negligence. This case happen in several ways. First (and most common) is liability insurance. Nevada requires that all motorists have at least $15,000 in coverage for medical damages to another party and $30,000 per accident. But the sky is the limit as far as insurance policy limits.
The truth is that the average person could not pay for the injuries caused by a major collision. Also, negligence lawsuits (such as the red light scenario) are dischargeable in bankruptcy. So even if you got a multi-million dollar jury verdict against an average person, it is only worth what you can collect before that person declares bankruptcy. For the vast majority of motorists, you will only collect their insurance policy limits. If you are hit by a car driven by Donald Trump, the situation could be quite different. The Trumps of the world have money to pay for medical damages and would not qualify for bankruptcy. But, Trump probably has a very large insurance policy anyway. Insurance is designed to protect people from each other’s mistakes.
Lawyers study for most of their lives to master these concepts. But a large part of my job is to communicate the law to the general public. It is important that you understand the basic concepts behind a personal injury claim.