What Happens If I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty?

Juries are used in both civil and criminal cases. For example, you may have a jury trial in a pedestrian accident case or a slip and fall accident case. You may also have a jury if you are charged with a crime and request a jury trial.

Penalties for Failing to Serve on a Jury

You must appear for jury duty if you receive a jury summons. The court may excuse your jury duty for a variety of reasons, but failing to show up for jury duty can result in penalties.

According to NRS 6.040, failing to attend and serve as a juror can result in a contempt of court charge. The judge may issue a fine of not more than $500 for missing jury duty.

Does My Employer Have to Let Me Off Work for Jury Duty?

Claiming that you cannot miss work is not a sufficient reason to miss jury duty. Nevada law requires employers to allow employees to miss work for jury duty. Employers who do not make accommodations for jury duty could be fined up to $1,000 and serve up to six months in jail.

An employer who fires an employee for attending jury duty could face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination.

How Can I Get Out of Jury Duty in Nevada?

There are some reasons why the court may excuse a person from jury duty. Common reasons why a person may request an excuse for jury duty include, but may not be limited to:

  • the person is 70 years of age or older;
  • the individual has a physical condition or disability that makes serving on a jury impractical;
  • the person maintains a fictitious address because of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual assault reasons;
  • service on a jury was completed within the last year; and,
  • the individual cares for a person with a disability or has young children with no options for care other than the individual.

If you have a conflict in your schedule with jury duty, the court may postpone your jury duty until another session of court. However, you need to contact the Clerk’s Office for the Nevada court in which you are to appear for jury duty as soon as possible. The sooner you contact the court, the better chance you have of the court granting your postponement request.

Disqualification for Jury Duty

Some people are not eligible to serve on a jury. Common reasons for jury ineligibility include:

  • minors under the age of 18 years;
  • people who are not United States citizens;
  • cannot speak English fluently;
  • individuals convicted of treason or felons who have not had their civil rights restored; and,
  • people who have been certified by a physician as being incapable of serving on a jury because of mental or physical impairments.

Before you assume you would be disqualified from jury duty, contact the Nevada Court for further clarification.

Preparing for Jury Duty in Nevada

If you cannot get out of jury duty, prepare for your service by finding out where you need to park and what time you need to appear. You should make sure that you leave plenty of time to arrive at court, locate a parking space, and enter the courthouse. Most courts provide detailed instructions for jurors on their websites.

Many courts have rules for attire in the courtroom. As a general rule of thumb, you may want to avoid wearing hats, sunglasses, flip-flops, shorts, tank tops, and garments that have offensive images or language. Business casual attire or church clothing is usually the best choice for jury duty attire.

Most courts do not permit jurors to bring cell phones in the courtroom. You can check with the Clerk’s Office for the rules regarding electronics in the courtroom. However, you may want to bring a book to read during long waits.

Serving on a Jury is an Important Duty

The right to a jury trial is an essential part of our legal system. While jury duty may be inconvenient, it is important. If you have a personal injury case against another person, that person may request a jury trial.

During the trial, you and the opposing party each present evidence and testimony to support your claims. The jury decides the facts of the case based on the evidence and testimony.

At the conclusion of the case, the jury considers all evidence and renders a verdict. Either party may appeal the jury verdict if they are unhappy with the verdict. The key to remember during jury duty is that if you were one of the parties, you would want everyone on the jury paying attention and using their best judgment to decide the case instead of wondering why they could not get out of jury duty.

Seven Ways a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You After an Accident

If someone suffers an injury in an accident, they might have a legitimate claim to file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation. However, getting money isn’t always easy and it’s not always swift. That’s where a personal injury lawyer can help to make a difference. Here are seven things a personal injury lawyer can do to help their client secure a meaningful financial award after an accident.

Help Injured Plaintiffs Understand Their Legal Rights and Options

Nothing an unexpected accident is easy or straightforward. That’s also true for the processes that are involved in recovering compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Procedures and rights vary from state to state.

For example, some states, like New York, have no-fault insurance laws, which require car accident victims to seek benefits from their own insurance provider first, regardless of who’s responsible for their injuries. Other states, like Texas, have at-fault insurance rules, which means whoever is at fault pays. 

Unless someone regularly handles injury claims or is fluent in the law, it’s fairly easy to get confused, overwhelmed, and stressed out during a pursuit of compensation.

That’s where an attorney can help. A personal injury lawyer knows the laws and procedures that will affect a plaintiff’s case. An attorney who specializes in personal injury law will be able to help guide an accident victim and help them through the processes that are involved in getting money. A lawyer can explain everything and make sure that the plaintiff understands what’s going on and what has to happen in order to get a financial recovery.

Make Sure The Accident is Subject to an Independent Investigation

Most personal injury cases involve an insurance company or two. Insurers will not want to pay more than they have to – or anything at all – after an accident. So, you can be certain that they’ll investigate to find any reason to deny a claim for benefits. This investigation will be thorough and likely aided by several experts. 

That’s a huge advantage for insurers, especially considering that the average person doesn’t have the same resources or connections. But, you know who does? A personal injury lawyer. An attorney can make sure that an accident is also subject to an investigation that’s independent of state agencies or insurance adjusters. This attorney-driven investigation can help to level the playing field.

Stop Insurance Companies From Taking Advantage of an Accident Victim

Insurance companies tend to have an upper hand and advantage when dealing directly with accident victims. These insurers handle thousands and thousands of claims every year. In fact, they designed the processes and know how to tip things in their favor. Insurers are also well-aware that the average person doesn’t have a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the law, relevant procedures, or their legal rights. At the same time, accidents are quite stressful.

So, insurers will go to great lengths to take advantage of all of these things. A company might deny a claim altogether, hoping that a plaintiff gives up and walks away with nothing. Others might offer a quick settlement that’s attached to a clock, in an effort to scare them into accepting way less money than their case is really worth.

When a personal injury lawyer enters the picture, things change. Insurers aren’t able to rely on their old manipulative tricks and tactics. Instead, they’ll have to communicate and negotiate with someone who has extensive training and experience. 

Bring in Experts to Assist in the Valuation of a Claim

Again, insurance companies aren’t on an accident victim’s side. Their sole interest is in protecting their bottom line and increasing profits. That’s diametrically opposed to paying out cash to accident victims. So, insurers will put a lot of time and effort into assessing the value of a claim. You can be certain that they’ll do everything in their power to assess a value that’s as low as possible. 

So, the last thing an accident victim should do is allow insurance companies to unilaterally decide what their case is worth. This can be accomplished by hiring an attorney who has experience handling personal injury cases. Most lawyers work hard to establish professional relationships with experts in their local area, including:

  • Accident reconstructionists
  • Medical experts
  • Psychiatric experts
  • Property assessors and appraisers
  • Vocational experts
  • Engineering experts
  • Manufacturing experts, and more.

These professionals can review information and evidence related to a case and provide invaluable insight about:

  • Why an accident probably happened,
  • The victim’s injuries,
  • How those injuries will likely impact the victim’s life, today and in the future, and
  • What the victim’s damages are likely worth.

Attorneys can rely on expert testimony and input to support claims for compensation. This approach can help to ensure that all damages are calculated properly, increasing the odds of securing a fair settlement or award.

Negotiate a Fair Settlement Offer

Insurance companies would much rather negotiate a settlement with an accident victim than opposing counsel. When a plaintiff is represented by a lawyer, insurance companies have a much more challenging road ahead. They won’t be able to extend a lowball offer and hope the technique works. Instead, they’ll have to come up with a legitimate offer that will be given serious consideration.

That’s because personal injury lawyers are skilled in the art of negotiation. They know what steps must be taken to obtain a fair and meaningful settlement offer from an insurance company or at-fault party. A personal injury lawyer can ultimately be the difference between a meaningful recovery and little-to-no money, at all.

Litigate a Claim in Court, If Necessary

Most personal injury cases end with a private settlement between two parties.  However, there’s always a chance that the two sides won’t agree on a deal and a case might have to go to a judge and/or jury. That’s probably the last thing an insurance company wants, especially if the claimant is represented by an attorney. Insurance companies don’t fare particularly well in court. Juries are often reluctant to side with insurers when an accident victim is hurting and their lawyer makes a strong case. 

A personal injury lawyer knows that there’s always a chance that a case will go to trial. So, personal injury lawyers spend time honing skills and learning the rules that might apply, should they have to go to court. A skilled trial attorney knows how to explain complicated legal theories to a lay audience, paint a picture for the jurors, and get them on their injured client’s side.

Provide Emotional Support and Assistance

At the end of the day, personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims can be really stressful. That’s on top of the stress that accompanies the injuries and trauma of an unexpected accident. A personal injury lawyer can offer invaluable support and guidance at one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. A lawyer can handle every aspect of a legal case, giving the client the time they need to focus on themselves without distraction. Many times, that opportunity can make a world of difference – in the client’s financial, mental, physical recoveries.

Legal Resources

Three Things to Know About Workers’ Compensation Insurance

State and federal laws in the United States require many employers to carry what’s known as workers’ compensation insurance. It’s an insurance policy that’s designed to (a) protect employers from a lot of lawsuits and (b) help injured workers get money in their hands quickly after an accident.

Pretty simple, right? In theory, yes. In practice, no. Workers’ compensation laws are fairly complex. To make matters worse, they’re often drawn to benefit employers and insurance companies, not injured workers. Here are three important features of workers’ compensation that are important to understand.

Workers’ Compensation is a No-Fault System

There are two ways to structure rules regarding insurance claims – fault and no-fault.

Under a fault system, the person (or parties) responsible for an accident is financially liable for resulting harm. More specifically, their insurance company is on the hook for paying out claims because their insured party is at fault. At the same time, a party who is responsible for an accident can be partly or entirely barred from recovering compensation.

Before an accident victim can recover compensation under a fault system, fault has to be established. That’s often quite time consuming, because fault is often contested. No one will want to accept responsibility, so it can take time to investigate and get a clear picture of what happened and who’s to blame. 

Under a no-fault system, fault does not have to be established in order for an accident victim to be able to recover compensation. After a car accident, for example, parties in a no-fault state simply turn to their own insurance providers for money to pay for things like medical bills and the cost of replacing or repairing damaged property. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident – the victim’s own insurer pays. 

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. However, its the employers who have the insurance. If a worker gets hurt on the job, he or she can file a claim for benefits, regardless of whether or not they contributed to their own injuries. Similarly, it typically doesn’t matter if an employer caused an accident. Benefits are available, regardless of who caused or contributed to the accident.

Why is a No-Fault System Important?

Workers’ compensation has to be a no-fault system in order for it to accomplish what it’s designed to do. If fault were an issue, employers wouldn’t be protected against an onslaught of personal injury lawsuits. 

Similarly, if fault needed to be established, it could really extend the length of time it takes to resolve a claim. When a worker is injured on the job, that’s time they probably don’t have when faced with rising medical costs and lost wages. So, a no-fault system helps to ensure that employees who need money can get it faster than if they had to pursue compensation through a contested civil lawsuit.

Workers Have to Get Hurt While Performing Job-Related Tasks to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

Generally speaking, an employee must be injured at work or while performing an essential job-related task or duty in order to be eligible to receive benefits from a workers’ compensation insurance policy. So, a worker doesn’t necessarily have to get hurt on a job site or in an office to qualify for benefits. As long as a worker is performing a task that’s necessary to do their job, an injury might qualify them for benefits. 

For example, let’s say a worker is driving a truck to haul materials to a construction site. On the way to the site, the worker gets into an accident. Since they were performing a job-related task, they might be able to secure benefits from their employer’s workers’ comepnsation insurance policy.

What if that worker got into an accident while driving to work that morning? In that case, the injuries stemming from the accident likely wouldn’t qualify. That’s because, generally speaking, traveling to and from work doesn’t count as part of a job. Injuries must be sustained at work or while performing an essential job-related task.

Similarly, many states prohibit workers from recovering benefits if they’re injured on a break. Lunch breaks are typically considered to be an employee’s own personal time. So, most accidents that happen on a break from work-related activity aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, it’s important to note that a worker may qualify if they skip their break and eat while continuing to do their job.

In the end, it ultimately boils down to what a worker was doing at the moment they suffered an injury.

Workers’ Compensation Only Provides Limited Benefits

Workers’ compensation insurance was designed to keep injured workers financially stable after a job-related accident. That’s it. Financially stable, and nothing more. So, injured workers are only entitled to certain benefits after they get hurt. While specific benefits (and calculations thereof) vary from state to state, workers’ compensation typically covers costs associated with:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Temporary and/or permanent disability, and
  • Death.

Medical bills are generally paid in full, as long as the expenses are necessary and appropriate. However, most injured workers have to seek care from a pre-approved medical doctor. Insurers reserve the right to deny benefits if workers see their own doctor. 

Other benefits aren’t paid in full. When it comes to lost wages or temporary disability, for example, workers often receive a percentage of what they earned before they got hurt. For permanent disability benefits, payments are often calculated based on the degree to which an employee is impaired or disabled.

So, workers’ compensation benefits might not be enough to keep an injured worker afloat after an accident. While any stream of income can help, many workers are often forced to look at other options to supplement their workers’ compensation benefits. Some qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Others might have to consider another type of job – one that can be done with their current injury or disability. 

It’s important to note that employees waive their right to sue their employer under the worker’s compensation system. However, that doesn’t mean that an injured worker can’t file a lawsuit if someone other than their employer caused them to get hurt. Injured workers can also consider pursuing compensation from co-workers, product manufacturers, property owners, or other negligent third parties. Employers might even be liable if their actions rose to the level of gross negligence.

By filing a lawsuit, injured workers can potentially recover damages for things that aren’t compensated under the workers’ compensation system, including pain and suffering and emotional distress. Any money obtained through a personal injury lawsuit can help to offset the financial stress a worker faces after an on-the-job accident.