The Nevada high court recently changed the way Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers conduct their trials in Nevada. In the past, each judge had different rules when it came time to picking a jury in personal injury trials. This meant different results, based upon which judge you had for your case. Considering there are over 20 different trial judges in Las Vegas, this was like spinning the roulette wheel of judges!
In a recent case, the Nevada Supreme Court made two major announcements in personal injury trials. See Khoury v. Seastrand. 132 Nev. Ad. Op. 52 (2016). The first ruling by the high court, is that specific dollar amounts CAN be used during jury selection to uncover potential bias regarding verdict amounts. Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers were sometimes blocked in ferreting out biased jurors. If your Lawyer wants to strike a potential juror because they don’t believe in people making claims for injuries, they can now put out hypothetical numbers and see if jurors have a personal problem with making a large award to an injured person. It is important that your accident Lawyer will have to make sure to create a record to explain exactly why the potential juror is being dismissed.
The second major change in jury trials relates to medical liens. In most personal injury cases, doctors treat injured people on a lien. Our high court decided that LIENS can be admitted in trial to show bias. But, in a footnote, the court was careful to point out that when admitting evidence of liens to show bias:
“[We] caution that this holding may not be used as a ‘backdoor’ by parties to question a treatment provider about whether and to what amount it would write-down the amount of the medical lien in the event that the plaintiff loses his or her lawsuit. Such evidence could be used by the jury to diminish the damage award and would thus invoke the collateral source rule.”
Defense attorneys wanted the Nevada court to adopt a California law allowing evidence of medical insurance, write-down evidence and the sale of liens by providers, to try and show the “reasonable value” of the bills. This argument was rejected by the Nevada Supreme Court. Defense attorneys are also prohibited from asking a doctor if they will write off the lien if the injured party loses their case.
Defense attorneys are now limited to asking the doctor on the stand if getting paid for their medical services depends on the outcome of the trial. The defense try to argue that the doctor is biased and their testimony disregarded by the jury. Your experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer will make sure that the jury hears testimony from the treating doctors that the patient’s injuries were caused by the accident at issue.
Next time, we will talk about expert witnesses in Las Vegas Personal Injury cases.