Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

Nothing Comes Easy (Or Cheap) When Defending Lawsuits In Nevada

In an earlier post HERE, we told the story about Mr. and Ms. Turnbow.  If you read that earlier post you know that Ms. Turnbow was running across US95 in the dark of night in the middle of nowhere with a blood alcohol content approaching three times the legal limit.  The southbound trucker who saw her at the last minute swerved so he didn’t hit her dead on.  She was severely hurt though and lived to sue the truck driver for her injuries.  In the end, the truck driver won the suit.

But that win came at a steep price.  It took three and one-half years from the date of the accident to get the case to trial.  I’m sure the truck driver, Mr. Wasden, spent more than one night awake in his sleeper berth worried about the case.  He would have had to meet with his attorney many time and in addition provide written answers to written questions posed by the Plaintiff’s lawyer.  The trucker would have had to appear at a deposition to answer questions under oath. Ms. Wasden, the trucker’s wife, probably had to give a deposition as well even though she was in the sleeper berth at the time of the accident.  More than likely, Mr. and Mrs. Wasden were off the road dealing with the Plaintiff’s attorney and litigation issues for weeks.

As trial approached there would be more preparations.  The truck driver would have had a couple of days of pre-trial meetings with his lawyer.  The driver and the truck’s owner would be needed in the courtroom every day of the trial.  The truck driver would have testified again at trial.  The trial probably lasted five days.  There’s another two weeks off the road for the Wasdens.   As you can see, going to trial is not easy for a truck driver, no matter how much in the right he or she believes that they are.

The costs to the truck driver are only a fraction of the total cost of suit defense.  Those costs would have also included the fees and costs of the attorneys, the experts and the other witnesses.  All this get tallied into the price of insurance at one point or another.  So even though this ended up favorably for this driver and company, the cost was high to prove that the negligent drunk pedestrian running across an unlit highway in the middle of the night was more at fault than the truck driver.

Many of my clients wonder why, under facts like these, judge don’t just intervene and end the case by granting Summary Judgment.  I often ask myself that question as well.  But as we wrote HERE, summary judgment is a remedy that is not readily available to defendants.

The professional driver can learn several lessons here.  Safe driving is critical to avoid having to pay the costs of justice.  In the end, if you are sued, be ready for a long haul to trial if that is the direction you want your Nevada case to head.  And hope that you can prove, like the Wasden’s did, that the other party was more at fault than you were.

If you have questions about the litigation climate in Nevada, contact Mike Mills at mike@mcmillslaw.com or call him at 702-240-6060 x114.

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