If you’ve already started your Nevada personal injury case or if you’re even thinking about filing a claim, it’s important to know what pretrial motions are and how they might impact your case. A pretrial motion is a formal request to have the judge rule on an issue or a question before the trial even begins.
A pretrial motion can make or break your case. It’s critical to understand how they work, how to use them to your advantage, and how to fight back when the other side tries to use them as an unfair legal tactic. Your personal injury lawyer can help you better understand how pretrial motions can affect your case. Here’s what you need to know about common types of motions in a personal injury case.
What Is a Motion?
A motion brings a question in front of the judge for a decision. It asks the judge to answer a question about the case before the trial begins. A pretrial motion sets the rules for trial.
It may result in a rule about how the parties can gather evidence for the trial. A motion may even answer a question that’s so significant that it ends the case or coaxes the parties to reach a resolution to the case.
Do I Bring a Pretrial Motion or Respond to It?
Either party can bring a pretrial motion before the court. You might be the one to file a motion to bolster your case or answer critical procedural questions. When you’re a personal injury victim who is bringing the claim, filing a pretrial motion can help make the case faster, help you build evidence, and it can make your case stronger to present at trial.
On the other hand, you might be the one to respond to a pretrial motion. If the other side files a pretrial motion, it’s up to you to respond appropriately. When the other party files a motion, you can file a countermotion to ask the judge to rule on a different issue.
Types of Pretrial Motions:
Here are some of the pretrial motions that you might encounter during your injury case:
Motion for Summary Disposition
A motion for summary disposition asks the court to decide the case immediately. When a party brings a motion for summary disposition, they’re telling the court that the other side doesn’t disagree with them about any relevant facts in the case.
The party who files the motion believes that the law is on their side, and they deserve to win the case without digging any deeper into the facts of the case. Rule 56 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure gives the rules for filing a motion for summary disposition.
Motion for Alternative Service
If the other side is hiding so that you can’t serve the paperwork, or if they’re just hard to find, you can bring a motion for alternative service. Alternative service is a way to let the other side know that there’s a case against them without having to serve them personally.
The court may ask you to post a notice at the courthouse, in a newspaper, or they may even tell you to send a social media message. You have to get the court’s approval before you can use alternative service.
Motion for Default Judgment
When the defense doesn’t file a formal response to your initial complaint, you can file a motion for default judgment. Winning a motion for default judgment means that you win your case because the other side has chosen not to participate.
If you win a motion for default judgment, the court rules in your favor, and you proceed to enter a judgment and begin the collection process.
Motion Regarding Discovery
When you bring a claim for recovery, both sides have the chance to build their case by gathering evidence. Gathering evidence that’s under the control of the other side is called discovery. As you go through the discovery process, you might disagree with the other side about what evidence you have to produce and what evidence they have to deliver.
If you ask the court to step in and resolve the disagreement, you bring a motion regarding discovery. A motion regarding discovery can also be called a motion to compel, a motion to quash, or a motion for a protective order.
Motion to Dismiss
The other side might ask the court to throw out the case based on several different grounds. They might say that there’s no jurisdiction in the court where you filed the case. A lack of jurisdiction means that the court doesn’t hear those types of cases or that you brought the case to the wrong court location.
The defense might also bring a motion to dismiss by claiming that you didn’t properly give them notice of the case. That’s called a lack of service. They might also bring a motion to dismiss by claiming that your complaint for recovery didn’t state that you’ve been wronged in a way that the defendant is legally responsible for.
That’s called a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. In some cases, if the court grants a motion to dismiss, you have the chance to file the case again. In other cases, the decision is final.
Motion to Limit Evidence
You may want to ask the court to admit or exclude specific pieces of evidence before the trial. That way, you can prepare your case knowing what’s allowed for evidence. A motion regarding evidence may also be called a motion in limine or a motion to exclude evidence.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Because a pretrial motion can impact the outcome of the case, it’s critical to work with an experienced injury attorney at all stages of the case. An experienced attorney knows how to draft your initial pleadings in a way that ensures they contain the necessary statements and claims for relief.
An experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer can help you identify critical pretrial motions, prepare, and file them. They can also help you respond to motions that the other side presents. If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim or if you’ve already begun a claim don’t take the chance of pretrial motions getting in the way of recovering the compensation you need to get back to normal.