las vegas injury attorneys

A terrible accident has left your loved one incapacitated. That person has lost the ability to understand the situation or communicate wishes. On top of the prospect of having to provide long-term care, your family’s financial situation has become severely stressed because of another party’s negligence. A personal injury claim could provide much-needed funds, but the victim’s incapacity complicates things. An injury lawyer in Las Vegas can guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim for an incapacitated individual. 


Nevada Definition of Incapacity

 According to Nevada Revised Statute Section 132.175, incapacity is legally defined as the severe impairment or loss of mental reasoning function. An incapacitated person has lost the ability to understand what is going on, make reasonable decisions, or communicate decisions. 

 Severe physical injuries inflicted by accident can deprive someone of mental abilities due to brain trauma or prolonged coma. However, a person disabled by physical injuries but who still retains good mental function would not meet the definition of incapacitated to assign another person or entity the power to take legal action against the party responsible for harming the person. 

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Durable Power of Attorney and Guardianship

 When a terrible thing happens that leaves someone incapacitated, that person might have already executed a power of attorney. This document names who will take over financial and personal affairs in the event of incapacity. The person named within a power of attorney would then have a good chance of winning court approval as the victim’s guardian. Guardianship status is needed to move forward with a personal injury claim on behalf of someone else. A personal injury lawyer could help you manage the guardianship process on top of documenting the accident. 


 In the absence of a power of attorney, a close family member or other person close to the victim may still request guardianship from the court system. Personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas assist people with this step because mistakes could lead to delays or denials. Legal representation could also be critical if you anticipate challenges to your wish to be the guardian or competing for guardianship applications from other relatives or concerned parties. 

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Petitioning for Guardianship

 An injury lawyer can explain which court forms must be completed so that you can request a guardianship. Your initial court filings will outline the reasons that make the guardianship necessary. You will need to include medical documentation that describes the person’s disability in detail.

 After reviewing this petition, a court will schedule a hearing. At this hearing, the judge will confirm that the person has lost mental and communication abilities and needs third-party financial and legal affairs management. 

 Should a judge deem the petition acceptable, then a court order granting you guardianship will be issued. The order will outline the details of the guardianship. The incapacitated person will then become your ward. 

 Nevada has three types of guardianship:

  • Authority to manage personal and medical affairs
  • Authority to manage financial and estate affairs
  • Authority to manage all affairs

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 For someone left incapacitated after an accident, the guardian will likely receive an order that grants full authority to manage the person’s personal and financial affairs.

 A guardianship can be either permanent or temporary. If a person eventually recovers some capacity, guardianship may be adjusted in the future. Although you would welcome the chance of some level of recovery, you should not wait to proceed with guardianship action if a personal injury claim needs to go forward. A statute of limitations on filing personal injury lawsuits could expire before someone regains capacity. Even a temporary guardianship can allow you to initiate the claim and pursue compensation.


Moving Forward With a Personal Injury Claim

 Once you have the legal authority to act on behalf of the victim, you can claim a personal injury against the responsible party. If a car accident led to your loved one’s incapacity, then a car accident lawyer Las Vegas can represent you. 

 Regardless of the source of injury, an injury lawyer in Las Vegas will perform similar services to help you file a claim. To pursue compensation, a lawyer can:

  • Investigate the accident
  • Identify evidence of negligence
  • Collect medical records outlining the extent of injury and suffering
  • Organize expense records to place a value on the claim
  • Locate applicable insurers
  • Negotiate a settlement with insurers
  • Take the case to court, if necessary

 This process might proceed slowly, but an injury lawyer can recommend strategies for managing outstanding bills while awaiting an accident settlement. Additionally, as a guardian, you will have to go to court at times to confirm that you are acting in the ward’s best interests

 As the personal injury claim develops, you may have to make a decision about accepting or rejecting a settlement offer. The negligent party will likely be motivated to avoid court due to the risk of a high jury award. Legal advice can help you gauge the likelihood of getting more compensation if you go to court instead of accepting an offer. 

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Duties and Powers of a Guardian

 Becoming the guardian of an incapacitated person is a significant responsibility. Depending on the powers granted to you by the court, you may assume the right to:

  • Choose where the incapacitated person lives
  • Make end-of-life decisions
  • Approve medical treatment
  • Manage the ward’s real estate
  • File lawsuits on behalf of the ward
  • Pay the ward’s living expenses
  • Apply for government benefits for the ward

Knowledgeable Las Vegas Injury Attorneys 

 At Moss Berg Injury Lawyers, we work solely with accident victims and their families. Cases involving incapacitated persons add extra layers of complexity for their loved ones, who must navigate the guardianship and personal injury systems. Our attention to detail could benefit you when you grapple with a severe situation with massive financial consequences. 

 We will document every legitimate expense that we can identify so that your injury claim fully reflects losses. A severe car crash or other accident that has left someone incapacitated may require litigation because the negligent party may hope to limit the cost of compensating a victim. You do not have to deal with this contentious and deeply upsetting situation alone. Find out how we can help during a free consultation. Call us today.