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What happens when Michigan residents get injured in another state?

April 8, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Personal injury attorney explains how laws work, and what happens when Michigan injury victims are hurt out of state


Today’s guest blog is from my friend Tim Titolo, an excellent Las Vegas personal injury attorney. Tim and I have both spoken at seminars on traumatic brain injury and truck accidents. More importantly for this blog, we have worked together in the past – when Michigan residents were unfortunately injured visiting Las Vegas. I asked Tim to talk about what happens when people from Michigan and other states get injured out of state (I will be addressing the second part of this: how Michigan’s No-Fault insurance benefits apply to Michigan residents who are injured in car accidents out of state on Tim’s blog shortly). Here’s what Tim says:

Getting hurt in Las Vegas

What happens when you get hurt while on vacation in Las Vegas? Well aside from the major vacation downer, there are some things you should know about getting the right help. I have enthusiastically accepted an invitation from my good friend and colleague, Steven Gursten, to write on his blog.

Steven Gursten and I have known each other for several years and have particularly shared interests in the American Association of Justice Motor Vehicle Section, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, and the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. Steven is an outstanding Michigan personal injury attorney who has made tremendous contributions to educating others about auto accidents and other areas of law.

When a visitor from Michigan gets hurts through no fault of their own, whether from a car, truck, motorcycle accident or slip and fall, getting a Nevada attorney can be difficult. In a case I’m currently involved with, a Michigan resident sat down at a slot machine in a casino when the chair broke apart. “Mr. D” fell backward, injuring his knee and back requiring surgery. He initially called Steven Gursten, who had the foresight to contact me for help.

This is because a Michigan personal injury attorney can never file a lawsuit in Nevada and needs to either refer or associate Nevada counsel.

Sometimes local lawyers (not like Steve) will try to settle a case without referring or associating a Nevada lawyer before the statute of limitation expires, but this can harm the case. Important testimony and evidence could get lost during the time the local lawyer tries to settle it. Nevada hotels and insurance companies, for instance, do not give out information and do a pretty good job of what I call “damage control.” They do not want to pay money to out of state victims. They have big law firms in their employ to prevent that. Unfortunately, some personal injury lawyers think they can settle a case and do not advise their clients that they need Nevada counsel. They should.

For instance, in the case I am handling, the hotel/casino is blaming the chair manufacturer and the chair manufacturer is trying to get the broken chair from the hotel. The hotel will not cooperate. Hence, I filed a personal injury lawsuit to preserve the evidence – the chair. I suspect the chair has not been preserved which will allow me to file a motion against the casino. I also located and took a statement from the witness who watched Mr. D’s tragic fall. I am working with the Michigan attorney to best help the client, Mr. D. The Michigan injury attorney is not intimately familiar with the rules and procedure in Nevada and I am. He has done the best thing he could have done for his client in contacting me.

I frequently get cases involving out-of-state residents who are injured in Las Vegas. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, so the attorney can gather information. You would be surprised to learn how employee turnover, or the difficulty in getting witness testimony from other out-of-state visitors who see the injury causing event, can hurt the case.

Not all plaintiff lawyers (those who represent consumers) are the same. I have also received calls from lawyers and injury victims trying to get a lawsuit filed – just days before the Nevada statute of limitation expires. This is not the best situation, since the Nevada lawyer knows nothing about the case and may not know the referring lawyer.

If you or someone you know gets hurt when in Las Vegas or any state other than Michigan, be certain your lawyer is looking out for your best interest. Find out if he or she will refer the case to counsel from another state. Or look into contacting a personal injury lawyer from another state yourself, and learning how you can make a successful claim.


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