Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Lawyer's Edge
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish

Personal Injury Law 101
A lot of what the average citizen sees regarding our system of civil justice is fiction.

Television shows about lawyers are popular, but they are largely unrealistic. TV ads by personal injury law firms often portray a level of competence which is not matched by the professional reputation of that firm. Such ads which encourage potential clients to file lawsuits can also cause us to be skeptical about the validity of injury claims in general.

However, real people do suffer injuries in auto accidents and other accidents caused by another person’s negligence. The only legal recourse these people have is to assert a claim for compensation against the negligent parties or their liability insurance company. In general, most injury claims are settled without a lawsuit, and most lawsuits are settled before trial.

There are two major issues in personal injury cases: liability and damages. In Nevada, one party is liable to another if the negligence of the party alleged to have caused the accident is greater than that of the injured party. Under our comparative negligence system, the injured persons can recover 100% of their damages if the other party was totally at fault, or a reduced percentage if the claimant is partly at fault. If liability is established, the injured person is entitled to be compensated for medical expenses, loss of earnings plus “pain and suffering.” The latter element involves a subjective evaluation of the physical pain, disability and loss of enjoyment of life which has resulted from the injury. There is no magic formula in making that determination, but experienced attorneys and insurance adjusters can usually reach a fair settlement. If not, a jury or an arbitrator will make the decision. Since there are often many legal complexities in these cases, an experienced, reputable attorney should be retained to handle most personal injury claims.

Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, visit his website at

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