If you’re involved in a personal injury case in Nevada, one of the terms that you need to know about is default. Default is something that can occur in an injury case. A default occurs when the other side doesn’t file a response to the court papers. When the other side doesn’t respond to the complaint, you can ask the court to accept your statements as true and issue a judgment in your favor.
The judgment is called a default. It’s as though you won the trial. If the other side defaults, you have a binding decision in your favor, you proceed to collect it and the case ends. You and your Las Vegas injury attorney can work together to determine how a default might affect your injury case.
What Is a Default in a Nevada Personal Injury Case?
Default in a Nevada personal injury case is an order from the court that enters when a party doesn’t respond to the initial case filing documents. When the court issues a default judgment, they award a judgment against a party because that party didn’t respond to the court action.
A party who doesn’t respond to court pleadings loses the chance to participate in the case and present a defense. The purpose of a default judgment is to allow the case to go forward if one of the parties chooses not to participate. The rules for default judgment in a Nevada personal injury case are found in Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 55.
What Does a Default Look Like in a Personal Injury Case?
Let’s say that Pat is in a car accident. Kelly is the responsible driver. Pat brings a claim for recovery against Kelly and Kelly’s insurance company, Big Insurance Co. Pat carefully prepares the filing documents, files them with the court, and serves copies to both Kelly and Big Insurance Co.
Kelly responds to the complaint. Big Insurance Co. does not respond. The court issues a default judgment against Big Insurance Co. for the amount that Pat requested. Pat does collection actions to Big Insurance Co. and gets paid. Pat and Kelly continue with the case, but Big Insurance Co.’s liability is already established. Pat and Kelly settle, and the case ends.
Because Big Insurance Co. didn’t do anything to respond to the complaint, Pat asked the court to award a judgment in Pat’s favor. The court agreed. Winning a case by default judgment is kind of like winning a sporting event because the other side forfeits. If a default applies, you don’t have to prove that what you’re saying is true. Rather, the court accepts your side of the facts as true and resolves the case in your favor.
Do Defaults Actually Happen in Nevada Personal Injury Cases?
Yes, defaults do happen in Nevada injury cases. They even occur in cases that involve large insurance companies. It’s important to keep an eye on deadlines and take the appropriate actions if the other side doesn’t respond to your court summons and complaint.
To Get a Default Judgment, You Must Properly Serve the Defendants
The defendants in a personal injury case must have fair notice of the proceedings and the opportunity to respond. Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4 lists the rules for what’s called service of process in a personal injury case. You must follow the rules to make sure that the other side receives a copy of the summons and complaint or otherwise has fair notice that you’re bringing a claim.
It’s important to work carefully from the beginning of the case to make sure that the defendants have notice of the case. If you don’t follow the rules for service, the court can’t issue the default judgment. Ultimately, it makes your case take longer, and it may increase the costs. A skilled Las Vegas or Summerlin personal injury lawyer can help you take the right steps to serve the process correctly in your case.
You Can Default in a Personal Injury Case, Too
If another party in the case files a counterclaim, you need to make sure that you respond to the counterclaim by the deadline. If you miss this deadline, you could be the one in default. An experienced personal injury lawyer for defaults in Nevada can help you determine the deadlines and make sure that you respond within the time limits to avoid a default in your case.
Is a Default Judgment Automatic in a Nevada Personal Injury Case If the Other Side Doesn’t Respond?
A default isn’t automatic if the other side doesn’t respond to the summons and complaint. Default is something that you have to ask the court for. Until you ask the court to issue a default for the other party, the other side can still file a response even if they’re past the deadline. It’s important to ask for default as soon as the time limit expires.
When Won’t the Court Issue a Default Judgment in a Nevada Injury Case?
There are some circumstances where the court may not issue a default judgment. For example, if your case is against the State of Nevada, the court must review your claim before issuing a default. Also, the court can only grant a default if your claim is for a dollar amount that’s easy to calculate.
If damages are unclear or you ask for something other than financial compensation, a judge must look at the case to determine what the default judgment should say. You may still get a default if these circumstances apply, but there may be more steps and more scrutiny.
Contact Our Attorneys in Nevada for Help With Default Judgments
Are you involved in a personal injury case? Do you have questions about getting a default judgment? Our personal injury attorneys can help.
We have decades of experience working on injury cases. If a default might be an option in your case, we can help you pursue it. We can handle all of the steps in your claim including serving paperwork, preparing the default judgment, presenting it to the court, and collecting your judgment. Contact us today for an immediate consultation about your case.