David Copperfield, the famed magician and fixture of Las Vegas casino shows, recently made national headlines when he was forced to disclose how one of his illusions works. The disclosure came through a personal injury case brought by a man who was injured after he volunteered for Copperfield’s “Lucky #13” trick at the MGM Grand. The illusion involves thirteen guests who disappear from stage and then reappear a short time later at the back of the arena. As Copperfield revealed, this is accomplished by having the volunteers sprint through tunnels under the audience. The plaintiff in the recent personal injury case was injured during this frenzy.
While this was a story of a rather exotic kind of Las Vegas casino injury, it is not at all uncommon for people to be hurt at Las Vegas resorts. Here are three early steps to build a strong case if you choose to sue.
Start Building a Record
One of the most common defenses raised in a casino resort lawsuit is to attack the plaintiff’s early actions. “The plaintiff didn’t seek medical attention until three months after the alleged injury, after they had already lawyered up.” “The first our company heard about this alleged injury was when this lawsuit was filed.” Objectively, facts like these shouldn’t matter if a person was truly injured and is seeking a legal remedy within the statute of limitations. But juries are often persuaded by these disingenuous arguments.
You can prevent these counterattacks by taking limited actions early after your injury. Seek all necessary medical treatment to relieve your immediate suffering. If you are concerned about your medical bills, you can transport yourself to a hospital instead of taking an ambulance ride, and you can visit an urgent care facility rather than the emergency room.
Put the casino resort on notice – but be cautious. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, staff may already be aware of it. You can inquire whether they are completing an incident report and try to ensure that the facts are accurately recorded. Take note of the date, time, precise location, and which staff were involved. Otherwise, you can send a short email or certified letter to the resort shortly after your injury informing them that you were hurt and are exploring your legal options. Beyond providing basic notice, it’s best to provide only minimal details.
Keep Things Quiet
An old phrase should never be far from your mind: loose lips sink ships. If your case makes it to trial, the rules of evidence will control what can be argued in court. You generally want all the good information for your case to come in, but you also want to prevent bad information from reaching juror’s ears. You have probably heard of the idea of “hearsay,” which basically means a statement someone made before the trial that is being repeated in court. Hearsay is generally not allowed, but there is an exception for certain statements made by the parties to the suit.
If you go around talking to your friends, neighbors, and other people about your potential legal case, you might spoil your chances. Descriptions of your injuries, discussion of the money you hope to recover, and other unguarded statements might come back to haunt you.
Contact an Attorney
Many personal injury attorneys operate on a contingent-fee basis and offer free consultations. What that means for you is that you can meet with an attorney, tell your story, and get some basic orientation with no cost beyond your time. Benson & Bingham, are experienced Nevada personal injury attorneys and can help you think through the strengths and weaknesses of your case, estimate the cost of hiring experts and obtaining other evidence, and calculate what damages might be available to you.