Legal Strategy Matters: Nevada Injury Victims can Collect Only One Settlement
When you work with an experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer, you will begin to realize the value of experienced counsel. It’s not just the nice suits and the law degree that make the difference — a good accident lawyer also knows how to open up a case and take an eagle-eye view of it, accounting for various cross-cutting strategies. In light of a recent Nevada Supreme Court decision, this perspective proves valuable for more than just insight.
Imagine that your child is playing at a friend’s house. The friend’s house is actually a condominium unit with a small semi-private yard space, and the object of play is a mid-sized trampoline. Your child is playing on the trampoline and is ejected from it at a strange angle, thrusting her into an abutting window sill of the condominium and leaving her with a serious neck injury. You are devastated, and when your grief ebbs sufficiently for you to consider the situation, you decide to sue. Who will you sue, and for what?
The first reaction is probably to sue your child’s friend’s parents. They should not have let the children play unattended. They should not have kept the trampoline in such a small space. They should not have owned a trampoline of that size to begin with. Humans are social creatures, and it is fully within our nature to seek redress from the nearest individual in a situation like this. You know the parents, you blame them, and you will seek damages from them.
This makes sense from many standpoints, but it may not be the best legal strategy. What financial resources do the parents have? How likely are you to succeed in convincing a jury or a judge that these parents acted negligently or unreasonably? What will the after-effects be if you fend off medical-cost bankruptcy for your family but pass the costs on to another family unit?
As it turns out, suing the parents might be only one component of an ideal legal strategy. As an experienced Nevada injury trial attorney can tell you, a better approach is likely to incorporate not only the parents’ decisions but also the potential missteps of various parties. Shouldn’t the trampoline have been designed with less spring potential? Shouldn’t the condominium association have had prohibitions on trampolines in the units’ private spaces? Shouldn’t the designers of the condominium buildings have anticipated the hazards of play in obviously dedicated outdoor play spaces?
Now we’re getting somewhere…we can bring a complaint against various entities to advance multiple legal theories of negligence and also to increase our chances of prevailing in trial. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A case decided by the Supreme Court of Nevada last fall explicitly applied what is known as the “double recovery doctrine,” which says that if a plaintiff settles a claim of injury with one of several parties, it cannot then recover damages from other, diverse parties blamed for the same injury. This makes intuitive sense, although from the plaintiff’s perspective it can be hard to understand how only one of the many responsible parties should pay while the others go unpunished.
One of the most important services an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can provide is professional distance. That is not to say that we do not empathize with and care for our clients, but we do maintain the distance necessary to see beyond today and tomorrow and into the months and years to come, which allows us to guide our clients toward the legal solutions that will best accommodate them after a devastating injury or wrongful death. If tragedy has struck your family, contact us today for a free consultation so we can help you understand your legal resources and identify the strategies that will begin you on the path toward becoming whole again.