KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

Sadly, Nevada repeatedly ranks in the top ten states for pedestrian fatalities.  I know you are thinking it is because we have so many tourists.  However, almost 90 percent of the victims are local residents of Nevada.  Whether driving or as the pedestrian, there are some safety tips you should always bear in mind.             http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/qtpedestrian.pdf

  • Crosswalks: A crosswalk exists at any intersection. It does not matter if  there are

markings on the ground or not. (NRS 484A.065)

  • Drivers: Must use due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian at all times.

(NRS 484B.280)

  • Pedestrians: Are required to use the sidewalk and the nearest crosswalk, pedestrian

bridge or tunnel when they are available

  • Signals:    A steady hand means do not enter the intersection, A FLASHING

HAND means do not enter but those in the crosswalk may finish, and

a WALKING PERSON means you may enter if it is safe.

Unfortunately, 2017 was the deadliest year ever recorded for Nevada pedestrian accidents.  https://www.reviewjournal.com/traffic/2017-was-deadliest-year-for-pedestrians-in-las-vegas-valley/  In Nevada, there were 78 pedestrian fatalities in 2017 as opposed to 58 in 2016,  and 60 in 2015 which was the previous record holder.   Many may argue that the legalization of marijuana in Nevada is to blame.  However, it is reported that none of these fatalities involved marijuana impaired drivers.  Unfortunately, some of these tragic accidents did involve drivers who were impaired by alcohol.  Most resulted from distracted pedestrians who were looking at their cellphones while crossing at intersections.   Always remember the age old rule, look both ways before you cross the street.  Some fatalities occurred by pedestrians jaywalking and failing to obey the rules of the road for pedestrian crossings.

Nevada is trying to make our roads and highways safer for pedestrians.  The Nevada Department of Transportation is planning a three million dollar project to install flashing beacons, wider medians and crosswalks at eight intersections and midblock segments of Boulder Highway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Boulder Highway has been called the deadliest stretch of road in Nevada with nine pedestrian fatalities on that road in 2017.  Even with projects underway to improve pedestrian safety, the best advice is to follow the rules for pedestrian traffic and stay safe.

The Rules of the Road for the state of Nevada are outlined in chapter 484B in the NRS and NRS 484B.280 thru NRS 484B.297 and following these rules can keep you and your family safe and avoid pedestrian accidents. The following is a summary of these codes:

Driver’s must “exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.”  This means that drivers must avoid hitting a pedestrian at all times if possible.  If a driver thinks he cannot avoid the collision, he must “give an audible warning with the horn of the vehicle if appropriate.”   When a driver sees a pedestrian on a or near a highway or street, or near a bus stop or near a school, he must use due care while driving.

Clients often ask the question of “who has the right of way” when a pedestrian is involved.  NRS 484B.283 provides the rules for pedestrian crossings and states as follows:

(a) When official traffic-control devices are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the highway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the highway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the highway as to be in danger.

(b) A pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

(c) Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle until the driver has determined that the vehicle being overtaken was not stopped for the purpose of permitting a pedestrian to cross the highway.

(d) Whenever signals exhibiting the words “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are in place, such signals indicate as follows:

(1) While the “Walk” indication is illuminated, pedestrians facing the signal may proceed across the highway in the direction of the signal and must be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles.

(2) While the “Don’t Walk” indication is illuminated, either steady or flashing, a pedestrian shall not start to cross the highway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed the crossing during the “Walk” indication shall proceed to a sidewalk, or to a safety zone if one is provided.

(3) Whenever the word “Wait” still appears in a signal, the indication has the same meaning as assigned in this section to the “Don’t Walk” indication.

(4) Whenever a signal system provides a signal phase for the stopping of all vehicular traffic and the exclusive movement of pedestrians, and “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” indications control pedestrian movement, pedestrians may cross in any direction between corners of the intersection offering the shortest route within the boundaries of the intersection when the “Walk” indication is exhibited, and when signals and other official traffic-control devices direct pedestrian movement in the manner provided in this section and in NRS 484B.307.  . . . .

      NRS 484B.287 outlines when a pedestrian must yield right-of-way to vehicle; when crossing at crosswalk is required; rules for crossing diagonally; and additional penalty if violation occurs in pedestrian safety zone.       NRS 484B.287 states as follows:

(a) Every pedestrian crossing a highway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.

(b) Any pedestrian crossing a highway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.

(c) Between adjacent intersections at which official traffic-control devices are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

(d) A pedestrian shall not cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.

(e) When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements. . . .

It is important to note that there is a special provision for all blind persons which is  NRS 484B.290  which give Right-of-way to all persons who are blind and requires all drivers who approach a blind pedestrian who is using a service animal or carrying a cane or walking stick that is white or white tipped with red has the right of way and any driver approaching shall come to a stop and take precautions before proceeding into the intersection.

NRS 484B.293  states that  “Pedestrians shall move whenever practicable upon the right half of crosswalks. NRS 484B.297  states that “where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent highway.”  When a sidewalk in not available, pedestrians are required to  walk on the left side of those highways facing the approaching traffic.  It is also against the law to solicit money or a ride on the side of the road as a pedestrian from passing drivers, although this is sadly, frequently seen in our state.

It is against the law for any pedestrian who is under the influence of intoxicating liquors or any narcotic or stupefying drug to be within the traveled portion of any highway.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-484B.html

If you or a loved one is injured as a pedestrian, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

If you or a loved one is trying to decide whether to hire an attorney to handle your injury claim, this blog contains some important information for you to consider.  Hiring a professional for any job will yield a better result than doing it yourself for the first time.  The benefit of having an experienced, professional, knowledgeable advocate on your side fighting for your rights cannot be understated.  When you hire an attorney to handle your personal injury claim, you receive the following immediate benefits:

1) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT

2)  BETTER MEDICAL CARE

3) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT FOR YOUR VEHICLE

4) EXPERIENCE FIGHTING INSURANCE COMPANIES 

5) REDUCED STRESS OF NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE

    INSURANCE COMPANY

EXPERIENCE

            When hiring an attorney, experience is critical.  I have over twenty years of experience in dealing with insurance companies.  I have the knowledge of the law, and personal experience in dealing with the methods used by insurance companies in handling claims.  I worked for a major insurer for nine years and trained insurance adjusters in dealing with attorneys.  This experience is critical in representing injured victims against these large corporations.

NO OUT OF POCKET COSTS

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we pay for all of the costs of your case including obtaining records, court costs and expert fees.  We make sure the other side pays the costs and the attorney’s fees.  No payments will come out of your pocket.   Personal injury matters often involve claims of disputed liability. A person is injured and an insurance company or corporation wants to claim that it is their fault. It is imperative to obtain the appropriate experts while evidence is still available. Without an attorney, you will not be able to have an expert inspect the premises or the scene of an accident in time to preserve your claims. Attorneys have resources to pay for these costs on behalf of their clients that can also often be substantial.  I have worked with many experts over the years and can retain the proper expert for your case while evidence is still available. Often times, the retention of experts early in the case can lead to a timely settlement and avoid a trial that would take place without such experts being retained.

WE HANDLE YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM

I was shocked the first time I learned that many personal injury attorneys do not assist clients with their property damage claim. I have always handled this part of a claim for clients and made sure that their cars were warranted after repairs and that they received the highest amount  possible for a total loss of their vehicle in those cases. Often times we go back-and-forth many times with the insurance company on a total loss to make sure that our client receives a fair market value of their vehicle. Many law firms will tell you that you need to handle the property damage yourself because they are not taking a percentage of that matter. I have always handled this at no cost to my clients as part of their personal injury claim.

WE ALLOW YOU TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY

Dealing with insurance companies takes a great deal of time and causes you a lot of frustration.  The insurance company is not on your side.  They will try to trick you and this is a stress you do not need to deal with when you are injured.  You do not have time to collect your medical records, police records, review documents and talk to the insurance adjuster over and over again.  Let my years of experience as an insurance defense lawyer work for you.

ATTORNEYS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO HELP YOU

Insurance companies will use every possible argument to not pay your claim.  A strong understanding of the law and access to medical, biomechanical, police and premises experts are often necessary to prove your case.  Often there are also insurance coverage issues that require an experienced understanding of insurance law.  As an insurance defense attorney for over 10 years, I have the experience to handle any coverage issue that could arise in your case.

ATTORNEYS ARE OBJECTIVE

As an injured victim, you can be frustrated and furious with the insurance process which often moves slowly and requires a ridiculous amount of duplicitous paperwork.  An attorney can handle all of those details and remain calm and focused in order to guide you seamlessly through the process.

AN ATTORNEY WILL  ADVISE YOU THE BEST WAY TO RESOLVE YOUR CASE

With many years of experience handling these matters, I know that an adjuster will not always offer a fair settlement in a timely manner.  In fact, often times, a lawsuit is necessary to obtain a fair settlement of your claim.  At my office, we prepare every case to be ready to go to trial or arbitration or  mediation and will advise you of the best option for your case.

LAWEYERS ARE EXPERIENCED IN UNDERSTANDING HOW OTHER MATTERS CAN IMPACT YOUR CASE

Often times, other matters in your life may seem unrelated but can actually impact your injury claim.  Events like a pending bankruptcy can be substantially impacted by a personal injury action.  For example if you have filed a bankruptcy within the last few years and are currently paying on the bankruptcy plan the bankruptcy court must be notified of any substantial settlement that you receive.  In fact failure to notify the bankruptcy court can be considered a fraud upon the court and you could  be required to pay back all of your debts or turn over your settlement funds to the court. Lawyers can also advise you on how to handle matters like social media during a pending personal injury matter. Insurance companies can be ruthless in their efforts to investigate and discredit claimants.   Likewise prior criminal matters can sometimes impact your case and can be handled by an attorney to minimize or avoid impact on your personal injury case.  The same holds true for prior injury claims. Insurance companies will always want to blame any injury you have on a prior claim or a work claim. Attorneys know how to handle these matters. I have worked with many people over the years who have sustained multiple injuries and we have successfully recovered for each of their injuries

YOU WILL RECEIVE MORE MONEY WITH AN ATTORNEY

It is a known fact that the clients who have attorneys receive higher settlements than Claimants who do not.  And it is not always only about how much money is paid by the insurance company, it is often about how that money is distributed. An attorney will maximize all conflicting policies including health insurance subrogation lien’s, Medicare and medical payments coverage to make sure that the expenses are as low as possible and that the client receives the maximum settlement of the funds.  An attorney can also make sure the client receives medical care desperately needed in the event that health insurance is not available or too difficult for the client to obtain the treatment needed.

AN ATTORNEY CAN HANDLE YOUR CASE TO ITS NECESSARY CONCLUSION

Finally insurance companies always know if a claimant does not have an attorney they do not have the ability to take the matter to the final stage, which is a jury trial, if a settlement cannot be agreed-upon. Unfortunately insurance companies will take advantage of people because of this fact and never offer a reasonable settlement that a jury would award in their case because they know the claimant does not have the ability to go to a jury trial without an attorney. You should protect your rights from the beginning. I have tried dozens of cases and also see it as a trial judge on a part-time basis. I have the experience in the court room that you need to receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to receive

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM BICYCLE ACCIDENTS

Most drivers do not realize that bicyclists have the same rights and are required to follow the same laws as drivers of motor vehicle in the state of Nevada. They must ride to the right unless they are preparing to turn left or are able to match the speed of traffic. Like drivers of cars, bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals and they are required to use hand signals for turns and stops.      http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/qtbicycle.pdf

  • Rules for Motorists: Safe passing is the motorist’s responsibility.

(NRS 484B.270.  A motorist must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance between your car and the bicycle.

  • Correct Size Bike: To determine the correct size bike, children should  sit on the

seat with knees straight and feet flat on the ground and adults should sit on the seat with one knee nearly straight and foot on the ground when foot is on the pedal in its lowest position.

  • Helmets:              Bike helmets are not required by law in Nevada but “they can reduce  the risk of head injury by 85 percent when worn correctly”  according to the nation Highway Transportation Safety Board.
  • Night Riding: Bicyclists are required to wear bright clothing during the day and

reflective clothing at night.  At night bicyclists must have a white lamp in the front visible from at least 500 feet away and a red tail reflector that can be observed  by a vehicle’s low beams from 300 feet away.  There must also be Reflective material on the sides of the bike that can be seen in low beams from at least 600 feet away or a lamp visible from both sides from 500 feet away. (NRS 484B.783)

Unfortunately, every year  in Nevada, bicyclists are killed while riding on the roadways.  Although Nevada does not rank in the top state for bicycle accidents thankfully, most bicycle accidents can be prevented if motorists and bicyclists follow basic safety rules and the rules of the road. http://ots.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/otsnvgov/content/Resources/2017_Highway_Safety_Performance_Plan_FINAL.pdf

The Rules of the Road for bicyclists in the state of Nevada are outlined in chapter 484B in the NRS and NRS 484B.760  thru NRS 484B.783  and following these rules can keep you and your family safe and avoid a bicycle accident.  If fact, requiring your children to follow these laws is also part of the code.  NRS 484B.760 states  “The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit the child or ward to violate any of the provisions.”  Some rules seem consistent with common sense but unfortunately, the rules were created in response to often a lack thereof.  For example , NRS 484B.773 forfids to attached himself to a moving vehicle driving on a roadway while on  an electric bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle.

      Likewise, NRS 484B.780 states that “No person operating a bicycle or an electric bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.”

The following is a summary of these codes that applies to bicycles and electric bikes traveling legally on our roadways: 

TURN SIGNALING

      NRS 484B.768  Required action of operator of bicycle or electric bicycle when turning from direct course; when signal not required.

1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, an operator of a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway shall not turn from a direct course unless the movement may be made with reasonable safety and the operator gives an appropriate signal. The operator shall give the appropriate signal at least one time but is not required to give the signal continuously.

2.  An operator of a bicycle or an electric bicycle is not required to give a signal if:

(a) The bicycle or electric bicycle is in a designated turn lane; or

(b) Safe operation of the bicycle or electric bicycle requires the operator to keep both hands on the bicycle or

electric bicycle.

      NRS 484B.769  Signals required to be given by operator of bicycle or electric bicycle on roadway.  An operator of a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway shall give all signals by hand and arm in the manner required by NRS 484B.420, except that the operator may give a signal for a right turn by extending his or her right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle or electric bicycle.

NUMBER OF PERSONS CARRIED ON A BIKE

      NRS 484B.770  Where bicycles or electric bicycles may be ridden; limitation on number of persons    

      carried on bicycle or electric bicycle.

1.  A person propelling a bicycle or an electric bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a

permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

2.  No bicycle or electric bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for

which it is designed and equipped.

RULES OF THE ROAD

      NRS 484B.777  Operating bicycle or electric bicycle on roadway.

1.  Every person operating a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway shall, except:

(a) When traveling at a lawful rate of speed commensurate with the speed of any nearby traffic;

(b) When preparing to turn left; or

(c) When doing so would not be safe, ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising

due  care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

2.  Persons riding bicycles or electric bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on

paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or electric bicycles.

USE OF REFLECTORS

      NRS 484B.783  Lamps, reflectors and brakes required on bicycles and electric bicycles.

1.  Every bicycle or electric bicycle when in use at night must be equipped with:

(a) A lamp on the front which emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front;

(b) A red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which must be visible from 50 feet

to 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle;

and

(c) Reflective material of a sufficient size and reflectivity to be visible from both sides of the bicycle for

600 feet when directly in front of the lawful lower beams of the headlamps of a motor vehicle, or in

lieu of such material, a lighted lamp visible from both sides from a distance of at least 500 feet.

2.  Every bicycle or electric bicycle must be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make

the wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

It should be noted that NRS 484B.767 creates an exception to following these rules for a peace officer, fire fighter, an emergency medical technician, an advanced emergency medical technician or a paramedic Certain persons operating bicycle or electric bicycle while on duty are not required to comply with laws in certain circumstances.  If these first responders are acting in the course and scope of their duties by responding to an emergency, they are not required to follow these statutes.

Nevada is trying to make our roads and highways safer for bicyclists.  In a study conducted by the Nevada Department of Transportation, “Southern Nevadans indicated that they would like wider and more physically separated bike lanes and sidewalks, more regional paved shared use paths, and safer routes to school. The Nevada Department of Transportation recommends programs and policies that support walking and bicycling for all ages and abilities and about 2,023 miles of walking and bicycling facilities when the proposed system is completely built out (1,336 new miles).”  https://altaplanning.com/wp-content/uploads/RTC-Regional-Bicycle-and-Pedestrian-Plan.pdf    Even with projects underway to improve bicyclist safety, the best advice to follow the rules cyclists and motorists to stay safe.

If you or a loved one is injured on a bicycle, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

SCHOOL ZONE REGULATIONS AND RULES FOR VEHICLES

It’s that time of year again. Kids are back in school,  school zone lights are flashing, and the police are out in force enforcing the law in school zones. However, sometimes drivers don’t always recognize the law in a school zone. Flashing lights and speed limit signs are self-explanatory. But some regulations are a little bit more obscure.  A brief review of these rules can help drivers in Henderson and drivers in Las Vegas and especially our kids stay safe and drivers free from penalties.

MOST IMPORTANT RULES IN A SCHOOL ZONE:

  • Stop immediately for the crossing guard;

2) Stop for a school bus when traveling in the same direction or on a

roadway that is non-divided traveling the opposite direction;

3) Remember school buses are not permitted to drive over 55 miles per hour so drive accordingly;

4) The speed limit in front of a school is 15 miles an hour while lights are flashing;

5) U-turns are not permitted in front of a school when children are present;

6) Always use extreme caution in a school zone and never be distracted by cell phone or radio. Put our children safety first.

The following are the statutes in Nevada which govern traveling in a school zone:

OBEY THE CROSSING GUARD

NRS 484B.350  Stop required in obedience to direction or traffic-control signal of school crossing guard; penalty; additional penalty if driver is proximate cause of collision with pedestrian or person riding bicycle.

1.  The driver of a vehicle:

(a) Shall stop in obedience to the direction or traffic-control signal of a school crossing guard; and

(b) Shall not proceed until the highway is clear of all persons, including, without limitation, the school crossing guard.

2.  A person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

3.  If, while violating subsection 1, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle, the driver is subject to the additional penalty set forth in subsection 4 of NRS 484B.653.

4.  As used in this section, “school crossing guard” means a volunteer or paid employee of a local authority, local law enforcement agency or school district whose duties include assisting pupils to cross a highway.

NEVER PASS A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS WHILE THE SIGNS ARE OUT

 NRS 484B.353  Overtaking and passing school bus: Duties of driver; exceptions; penalties.

1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, the driver of any vehicle, when meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any school bus, equipped with signs and signals required by law, which has stopped to receive or discharge any pupil and is displaying a flashing red light signal visible from the front and rear, shall bring the vehicle to an immediate stop and shall not attempt to overtake or proceed past the school bus until the flashing red signal ceases operation.

2.  The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is positioned in the other roadway. The driver of a vehicle need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus where traffic is controlled by a traffic officer.

3.  Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and:

(a) For a third or any subsequent offense within 2 years after the most recent offense, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 and the driver’s license of the person must be suspended for not more than 1 year.

(b) For a second offense within 1 year after the first offense, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500 and the driver’s license of the person must be suspended for 6 months.

(c) For a first offense or any subsequent offense for which a punishment is not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b), shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500.

BUS DRIVERS ARE ALLOWED TO REPORT VIOLATORS

NRS 484B.357  Report by driver of school bus of failure of driver of vehicle to stop; submission of report to school district and Department; provision of notice to owner of vehicle.

1.  The driver of a school bus who observes a violation of NRS 484B.353 may prepare a report of the violation. The report must be signed by the driver and include:

(a) The date, time and approximate location of the violation;

(b) The number and state of issuance of the license plate of the vehicle whose driver committed the violation; and

(c) An identification of the vehicle by type and color.

2.  The driver of a school bus who prepares a report pursuant to subsection 1 shall, within 2 working days after the violation, send the report to the superintendent of the school district and a copy to the Department, which shall thereupon mail to the last known registered owner of the vehicle a notice containing:

(a) The information included in the report;

(b) The provisions of NRS 484B.353; and

(c) An explanation that the notice is not a citation but a warning of the seriousness of the violation.

MAXIMUM SPEED OF A SCHOOL BUS

 NRS 484B.360  Maximum speed of school bus.  A school bus shall not exceed:

1.  A speed of 55 miles per hour when transporting pupils to and from school; or

2.  The speed limit posted by a public authority for the portion of highway being traversed when  transporting pupils to and from any activity which is properly a part of a school program.

SCHOOL ZONE SPEED RULES

NRS 484B.363  School zone or school crossing zone: Speed limit; designation; signs; U-turn and overtaking another vehicle prohibited; determination of hours in which speed limit is in effect; additional penalty if driver is proximate cause of collision with pedestrian or person riding bicycle.

1.  A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour in an area designated as a school zone except:

(a) On a day on which school is not in session;

(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;

(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or

(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.

2.  A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 25 miles per hour in an area designated as a school crossing zone except:

(a) On a day on which school is not in session;

(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;

(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or

(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.

3.  The driver of a vehicle shall not make a U-turn in an area designated as a school zone or school crossing zone except:

(a) When there are no children present;

(b) On a day on which school is not in session;

(c) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;

(d) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or

(e) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone or school crossing zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.

4.  The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another vehicle traveling in the same direction in an area designated as a school zone or school crossing zone except:

(a) On a day on which the school is not in session;

(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;

(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or

(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone or school crossing zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.

5.  The governing body of a local government or the Department of Transportation shall designate school zones and school crossing zones. An area must not be designated as a school zone if imposing a speed limit of 15 miles per hour would be unsafe because of higher speed limits in adjoining areas.

6.  Each such governing body and the Department of Transportation shall provide signs to mark the beginning and end of each school zone and school crossing zone which it respectively designates. Each sign marking the beginning of such a zone must include a designation of the hours when the speed limit is in effect or that the speed limit is in effect when children are present.

7.  With respect to each school zone and school crossing zone in a school district, the superintendent of the school district or his or her designee, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation and the governing body of the local government that designated the school zone or school crossing zone and after consulting with the principal of the school and the agency that is responsible for enforcing the speed limit in the zone, shall determine the times when the speed limit is in effect.

8.  If, while violating any provision of subsections 1 to 4, inclusive, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle, the driver is subject to the additional penalty set forth in subsection 4 of NRS 484B.653.

9.  As used in this section, “speed limit beacon” means a device which is used in conjunction with a sign and equipped with two or more yellow lights that flash alternately to indicate when the speed limit in a school zone or school crossing zone is in effect.

SCHOOL ZONE SIGNS ARE UNIFORM IN ALL SCHOOL ZONES

NRS 484B.367  School zone or school crossing zone: Requirements for signs; placement of portable signs.

1.  Each permanent sign which designates a school zone or school crossing zone and the speed limit in that zone must be uniform in size and color and must clearly designate the hours during which the speed limit applies.

2.  Each portable sign designating a school zone or school crossing zone and the speed limit in the zone must be uniform in size and color. A portable sign may be placed on or beside a roadway only during those hours when pupils are arriving at and leaving regularly scheduled school sessions.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM INJURIES FROM FIREWORKS

MOST COMMON  FIREWORKS INJURIES ARE LISTED BELOW:

 

  • Burns to hands
  • Injuries to the eye
  • Cuts and fractures to the hands
  • Amputations of thumbs and fingers
  • Facial injuries
  • Hearing loss

 

The Fourth of July means celebrations and parties for many Americans. It can also mean injuries from fireworks. Small fireworks and sparklers are the cause of many injuries on this holiday.   It is important to remember that fireworks are not toys and close supervision of all children is a must. Sparklers burn at extremely high temperatures. Fortunately, most fireworks injuries can be prevented.  The following are helpful tips to avoid these six common fireworks injuries, as well as what to do in case an injury does occur. (taken from Healthgrades)

https://www.healthgrades.com/explore/6-common-fireworks-related-injuries?fullPageView=true

  1. Hand Burns

A burned hand or finger is the most common injury from fireworks. A minor burn causes redness and pain. More serious burns cause blisters. The most serious burns cause white leathery skin and damage under the skin. Don’t let children use fireworks. Never pick up a firework that has not gone off. If you do light fireworks, keep water close by in case of fire. Minor burns can be treated by cleaning and over-the-counter pain medicine. All other burns need emergency treatment.

  1. Eye Injuries

Eye injuries from fireworks can range from minor burns to complete loss of vision. An exploding firework sends dangerous particles flying through the air. They can pierce an eyeball. You can get an eye injury by standing too close. Wear protective eyewear if you are handling fireworks. Better yet, go to a fireworks show instead of doing fireworks at home. Stand at least 500 feet away. There is no first aid for a fireworks eye injury. Leave the eye alone and get emergency medical treatment.

  1. Hand Fractures and Lacerations

Besides burns, fireworks can cause severe hand injuries. These include deep cuts, torn tendons, and broken bones. Severe hand injuries require emergency treatment. Before emergency help arrives, a little first aid may help. Take off any jewelry, cover the hand with a clean cloth, put an ice pack on it, and keep the hand raised.

  1. Facial Injuries

Powerful fireworks can cause serious injuries to the face. Besides harming the eyes, fireworks can burn the face. Severe injuries to the face can also include broken bones and loss of facial tissue. To keep from getting hurt, don’t use any type of powerful firework. Never light a fuse with your head bent over the firework. If you do get injured, keep your head at a level above your heart. Put a clean cloth over the injury. Apply an ice pack. Get emergency care as soon as possible.

  1. Amputation

Many severe hand injuries from fireworks cause loss of a finger or thumb. First aid includes cleaning, covering with a clean cloth, applying ice, and keeping the hand raised until you get emergency care. If part of a lost finger can be found, clean it with a saltwater solution. Then wrap it in gauze, put it in a watertight bag and place the bag on ice. Take the finger with you to the emergency room.

  1. Hearing Loss

Very loud noise from fireworks can cause hearing loss. This could be temporary or permanent. Noise is measured in decibels. Noise louder than 85 decibels can cause damage to hearing. A firework going off three feet away can be 150 decibels. Besides loss of hearing, symptoms can include ear pain and ringing in the ears. Stay at least 500 feet from fireworks to prevent hearing loss. First aid includes covering the ears and getting away from the noise. Then make an appointment for an ear and hearing check with your doctor.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge all of our fellow Nevada residents to prevent injuries and have a safe and happy Fourth of July.  The following safety tips can reduce the risk of injuries:

  • Always follow the directions on the fireworks package very carefully;
  • Be sure not to set off fireworks near fire hazards such as tall grass, dry leaves, and other dry debris.
  • Do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergency purposes, and soak any used or misfired fireworks before discarding to prevent fires or accidental ignitions.
  • Never allow children use fireworks without adult supervision. Even simple fireworks like sparklers have been known to cause injury
  • Never alter or modify or experiment with homemade fireworks.

In calendar year 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were 11,900 fireworks-related injuries in the United States.  The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are the result of consumers not using them properly. Common mistakes include lighting the fireworks improperly, lighting the fireworks too close to other people, or lighting fireworks while holding them in one’s hand. Even when used properly, fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause severe injuries. Reported fireworks-related injuries have included loss of eyesight, burns, and lacerations, punctures wounds and even death.

However, often fireworks can malfunction and cause injury.  Improperly manufactured fireworks can explode prematurely before users have made it a safe distance away.  Also, a defective fuse may ignite the explosive powders in the firework in a way the manufacturer did not intend, causing the firework to explode in an unexpected way. Finally, fireworks designed to soar through the air, such as bottle rockets, can take unpredictable flight paths, injuring onlookers or hitting nearby vehicles and buildings.

Fireworks injuries can be catastrophic and an attorney should be contacted immediately.  If injury occurs, it is important to immediately take the following steps:

  1. Immediately take as many photos as possible of the scene, the debris, and  the injury.
  2. Take the name, address and phone number of every person present who witnessed the accident.
  3. Most importantly, keep all remnants of the firework including the packaging and the receipt.

If you are injured by Fireworks, Know your Legal Rights

Whether a spectator at a fireworks show gone wrong or the user of a malfunctioning firework, victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the firework injury, a number of legal theories may apply. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured by fireworks.

If you are injured as a spectator, you may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable through negligence.  This may include the organizers of the shows such as cities or hotels that may be liable for failing to properly supervise the activity. Although a city’s liability may be limited by state law, entities hiring fireworks companies still have a duty to protect attendee’s from injuries. Cities and hotels and other show organizers can be negligent in fulfilling their duty to supervise and open the door to liability if they are negligence.

        When fireworks malfunction and cause injury, the injured person may be able to recover substantial damages from the manufacturer, the importer of foreign-made fireworks, or the local retail seller. All of these entities have a duty to sell products that function properly.  Under the theory of products liability, they may be liable for any injuries caused by a defective firework. http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/fireworks-injuries.html

Over the past decade, thousands of people in the United States have been injured by fireworks.  Aside from 2005, the number of people injured has risen steadily every year.

Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries: 2000–2015

Year Estimated Injuries Injuries per 100,000 People

2015 11,900 3. 7

2014 10,500 3.3

2013 11,400 3.6

2012 8,700 2.8

2011 9,600 3.1

2010 8,600 2.8

2009 8,800 2.9

2008 7,000 2.3

2007 9,800 3.3

2006 9,200 3.1

2005 10,800 3.7

2004 9,600 3.3

2003 9,300 3.2

2002 8,800 3.1

2001 9,500 3.3

2000 11,000 3.9

Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The estimate for 2003 excludes an estimated 150

emergency department-treated injuries following the nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI. Population estimates for 2010 to 2015 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01), U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Release Date: December 2015. Population estimates for 2000 to 2009 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NST-EST2009-01).Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.

People often mistakingly think that only the illegal fireworks cause injury.  This is a misconception. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, small fireworks accounted for a substantial number of fireworks related injuries in 2017.

Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries

By Type of Fireworks Device

June 19–July 19, 2015

Fireworks Device Type Estimated Injuries     Percent (%)

Total 8,000 100

All Firecrackers 1,200 16

Small 500             6

Illegal 200                                                       3

Unspecified 500                                                       6

All Rockets 900 11

Bottle Rockets 800 10

Other Rockets 100 1

All Other Devices 3,700 47

Sparklers 1,900 24

Fountains 100              1

Novelties 300              4

Multiple Tube 400              5

Reloadable Shells 800              9

Roman Candles 300              3

Homemade/Altered 200  3

Public Display 200              3

Unspecified 1,700  21

 

Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Based on 208 NEISS emergency department-reported injuries between June 19, 2015 and July 19, 2015, and supplemented by 31 completed In-Depth Investigations (IDIs).

Fireworks types are obtained from the IDI, when available; otherwise, fireworks types are identified from information in victims’ reports to emergency department staffs that were contained in the NEISS narrative. Illegal firecrackers include M-80s, M-1000s, Quarter Sticks, and other firecrackers that are banned under the Federal Hazardous

Substances Act (FHSA) (16 C.F.R. § 1500.17). Fireworks that may be illegal under state and local regulations are not listed as illegal, unless they violate the FHSA. Subtotal estimates are presented below the estimates for firework type. Estimates are rounded to the nearest 100 injuries. Estimates may not sum to subtotal or total due to rounding. Percentages are calculated from the actual estimates, and they may not add to subtotals or the total due to rounding.

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Fireworks_Report_2015FINALCLEARED.pdf

Who Is Liable to Pay for Your Medical Bills

Injuries from fireworks can be serious and the medical bills to treat such injuries can be substantial.  Homeowners’ insurance protection liability coverage is often available, but is it extremely important to contact an attorney first to discuss the facts of your case and determine if coverage applies.  If you or a loved one is injured in a firework accident, do not give any statements until you speak with an attorney. Criminal laws and contractual provisions apply in every instance. Liability coverage under a homeowner’s policy can cover the medical expenses, pain and suffering  and property damages. This means that if someone other than you or a family member sustains an injury in your home or on your property, your insurance policy may pay for their medical expenses. Health insurance will cover any injuries you or a family member may have sustained in a firework accident and should be used first.

Your homeowner’s insurance policy may also protect you in the event you are sued for an accident involving fireworks you are lighting which causes injury to a guest or passerby.  For a covered loss, your homeowner’s policy will pay the cost of litigation including attorney’s fees and a judgment, should the person suing you succeed in getting the lawsuit to court. The Insurance Information Institute (III) has found that the typical homeowner’s insurance policy has a liability limit of $100,000. I would advise you to check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage if you typically put on a large fireworks display.  

However, if your state or county has made firework shows illegal in your jurisdiction, and you put on a private show in spite of the law, your insurance company may not be responsible to pay for any damages that you may incur as a result of a firework caused fire or injury. It is important to review your policy for an “illegal acts” exclusion. Because the use of certain fireworks was illegal, you should not have been using them.  Unlike the coverage on your home, the law of negligence would apply to your guests and they would be covered by your policy for your gross negligence in setting off illegal fireworks.

City Of Henderson and Clark County Fireworks Laws

Legal Use of Fireworks in the City of Henderson and Clark County

“Only fireworks labeled as “Safe and Sane” are legal for use on private property for one week of the year, from June 28 until 11:59 p.m. on July 4. Safe and Sane fireworks can only be used on private property and cannot be used on the street or sidewalk, or on public property such as parks, schools, or federal land.

Safe and Sane fireworks are not toys and should not be played with by children. Safe and Sane fireworks can cause major injury to adults and children and are capable of starting large fires, so exercise extreme caution when using Safe and Sane fireworks. “

http://www.cityofhenderson.com/fire/community-programs/fireworks-safety

Illegal Fireworks In the City of Henderson and Clark County

“Fireworks that fly through the air, explode, or rotate on the ground are illegal throughout Clark County, including the City of Henderson. They are deemed unsafe because the fireworks user has no control over where they land, which can potentially cause a fire. Illegal fireworks are usually sold outside Clark County and on the Indian Reservation. Those purchased on the Indian Reservation are expected to be used on the Reservation at a special designated area and should not be transported off the property. Illegal fireworks brought into Clark County can be confiscated, and a person possessing or using them can be cited. The penalty is a $1,000 fine and/or a maximum of six months in jail.

Private use of fireworks of any kind is not allowed on public property, such as those owned by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Lake Mead Recreational Area, or City of Henderson parks, trail facilities, streets or sidewalks. Use of fireworks on public property can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail as well as the costs associated with resource damage, suppression costs, and injuries. Safe and Sane fireworks are illegal at any time of year other than the week of June 28 until 11:59 p.m. on July 4. “    

http://www.cityofhenderson.com/fire/community-programs/fireworks-safety

If you or a loved one is injured by fireworks, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

HOW DO I GET MY CAR FIXED AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

  • If you do not use your own car insurance to fix your car, you will have to wait for repairs even when its not your fault.
  • Your insurance company will get their money back from the other insurance company for the repairs to your car if the accident is not your fault.
  • Call your own insurance company after an accident.
  • The Hunt Law Offices handles your property damage claim, many personal injury law firms make you handle it yourself.

If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident, dealing with the injuries and the time off work is difficult enough. https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/car-accident-faq.php Handling the wrecked car is an additional headache you don’t need.  The NSTSB estimates that as many a 24 million vehicles are damaged in accidents a year. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812013

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we handle the property damage for you so you can focus on getting well.  When you are involved in an accident, it is bad enough to deal with the trauma and pain of the injuries associated with a motor vehicle accident. There is also the issue of having your car repaired. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC we take this issue off your plate. We handle this on your behalf. It is important to note that many personal injury law firms do not handle this part of your claim. They simply advise you to call the adjuster.

This can be a very frustrating process for injured victims who are not familiar with how insurance companies work and what responsibilities are required of them by contract.  When people are involved in motor vehicle accidents, most people do not understand that the at fault driver has no obligation to immediately jump to assist you as far as your vehicle repairs are concerned. Remember, the adverse insurance company is working for the adverse driver. They are in no hurry to get your vehicle repaired. Many people are afraid to call their own insurance company because they believe the rates will go up. This is not the case. http://www.rmiia.org/auto/steering_through_your_auto_policy/Filing_an_Auto_Claim.asp

You should always call your own insurance company and you should always have your vehicle repaired through your own insurance company. The reason this is important is because they have a fiduciary and contractual responsibility to you to get your vehicle repaired properly. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we work with independent body shops that are not tied to the insurance companies that offer lifetime guarantees on the vehicle repairs. Many people also think that they must use an insurance company body shop to obtain such a guarantee.  That is not true.

Again, the other insurance company is representing the other driver and is not on your side. They will even give you misleading information or even false information. At Hunt Law Offices,   we will fight the insurance companies for you from the first day to the last day of your claim. When making a property damage claim, your own insurance company has a statutory obligation to be fair to you. Laura Hunt will make sure that they are fair to you in getting your vehicle repaired. We will make sure your vehicle is repaired at an independent shop that works with all insurance companies and does not receive all of their money from one insurance company. We will also get your deductible back from the other driver quickly, usually before the repairs are completed.

Many people worry that when their insurance company pays any claim it goes on their record and they will be responsible and see a rate increase. Again, if it is not your fault, it will not affect your rates.  Your insurance company will do what is called “subrogate” the money that they paid on your behalf for vehicle repairs against the insurance company of the adverse driver. This means your insurance company will get their money back from the driver that hit you.  The insurance company of the driver that hit you will take their time and often drag their feet “investigating” the claim. They will not make a determination as to who is at fault timely. They are allowed up to 30 days to determine who is at fault. This is often ridiculous as generally it is quite obvious from the start.  This is a way many insurance companies save money and make interest on their money while they are simply not paying claims that they owe.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we will make sure that your car is not only repaired quickly but is repaired properly and that you receive your deductible back. We also work with body shops that provide you  a lifetime guarantee on the repairs of your vehicle. In addition, we will get you into a rental vehicle to make this process as easy as possible on you.

Some tips that we offer clients when receive their  vehicle back after it has been repaired:

  1. If the damage to your vehicle was anywhere near the trunk area, we advise clients  to take the vehicle to a car wash and spray the trunk down vigorously when they receive it back from the repair shop. It is important to make sure no water is leaking into the trunk. If you wait for it to rain in Las Vegas, it may be a long time and difficult to prove that the leak resulted from the repair and the accident.  
  2. If the auto accident involved any kind of damage to the door frames we advise clients to open and close all the doors many times as well as lock the doors from the inside and outside to make sure that everything is operating properly when the car is repaired.    
  3. If it was a front end collision and the vehicle is not operating properly, call the shop and our office immediately to report the problem.  Call within 5 days of picking up the car.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, our over 15 years of experience has taught us all of the tricks the insurance companies attempt to use to get out of paying legitimate claims. And having worked for a major insurance company for over nine years, I have the knowledge of how the insurance companies think and operate.  For the past 10 years, I have been helping and protecting the rights of people injured in an auto accidents and slip and fall accidents through no fault of their own. Let my many years of experience take this headache off your plate and let you focus on the important things in your life.

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident and your vehicle is damaged, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and that your vehicle is repaired.  If you have been in an accident and have questions about getting your vehicle repaired, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get their car repaired quickly.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

WHAT DO I DO IF I GET INTO AN ACCIDENT AND I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?

  • An attorney can help you get medical care if you have been in an accident with no out of pocket expense to you
  • An attorney can help negociate and reduce medical bills you have incurred from an accident if you do not have health insurance
  • An Attorney can make the adverse driver pay your medical bills from an auto accident that is not your fault.

If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident and you do not have health insurance, it can be a very scary experience. Of course, if hospital care is necessary you will want to go to emergency room. However, if the injuries are not life-threatening,  it is in your best interest to go to a quick care to be referred to the best course of treatment. Seeking legal representation immediately in this type of situation can help you get the medical care you need for the auto insurance funds that are available.

Many people are not aware that automobile policies are limited and do not provide unlimited medical care to people who are injured through no fault of their own. That is why it is extremely important to make sure you get the right care at the right cost.  And attorney can find out quickly what policies are involved and available for your injuries.  An attorney can maximize the use of those funds to get you the care you need and the recovery you deserve. Hospital bills can be exorbitant, extraordinary and completely unreasonable for non-life-threatening injuries. Without the insurance company provider contract discounts, it can be difficult to negotiate these bills to a reasonable cost.  However, if hospital care is needed,  an attorney can fight for you and take those medical costs from a hospital down to a reasonable figure considering the policy is involved most of the time.

According to the Center for disease control, there are still almost 30,000,000 Americans who do not have any type of health insurance.  

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/12/16297660/state-of-american-health-care-5-charts           

An attorney can also assist you in obtaining state aid in the event that you have incurred substantial medical bills as a result of an auto accident and there are not enough auto insurance funds available to cover your  medical bills. By retaining experienced personal injury auto accident attorney Laura Hunt, Esq. you will have access to the network of highly skilled and trained doctors who understand accident injuries. Experienced medical providers understand and  will treat patients knowing that they will wait for payment until after the claim has settled. Doctors are generally accustomed to waiting for payment from insurers. Most doctors who will treat auto accident patients without health insurance require an attorney lien to provide treatment.   At the law offices of Laura Hunt, PC. we work with a vast and experienced network of medical providers who can immediately treat you for your injuries at no out-of-pocket cost to you.

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident and do not have health insurance, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve.  If you have been in an accident and have question about getting treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the medical care they need quickly.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

CAN I SUE THE OTHER DRIVER IF THE ACCIDENT IS PART MY FAULT? COMPARATIVE FAULT IN NEVADA.

 

  • Is comparative negligence a bar to receiving damages?
  • What if I am 50% at fault in an accident?
  • Who determines which drivers are at fault and how much?
  • How is fault determined?

 

Nevada follows a comparative fault system of negligence. Comparative negligence is not always a bar to recovering damages.  However, if you are found to be 50% at fault or more in Nevada, you cannot recover any damages. In Nevada if the injured person’s negligence is more than all of the defendants negligence combined or a single defendant, the injured person cannot recover. However, if the injured person’s negligence is less than 50% of the cause of the injury, they can recover their damages on a prorated basis. I will proceed to explain this in detail. This is known as comparative negligence in Nevada this is codified at NRS 41.141, stated as follows:

NRS 41.141  When comparative negligence not bar to recovery; jury instructions; liability of multiple defendants.

1.  In any action to recover damages for death or injury to persons or for injury to property in which comparative negligence is asserted as a defense, the comparative negligence of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s decedent does not bar a recovery if that negligence was not greater than the negligence or gross negligence of the parties to the action against whom recovery is sought.

2.  In those cases, the judge shall instruct the jury that:

(a) The plaintiff may not recover if the plaintiff’s comparative negligence or that of the plaintiff’s decedent is greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of multiple defendants.

(b) If the jury determines the plaintiff is entitled to recover, it shall return:

(1) By general verdict the total amount of damages the plaintiff would be entitled to recover without regard to the plaintiff’s comparative negligence; and

(2) A special verdict indicating the percentage of negligence attributable to each party in the action.

3.  If a defendant in such an action settles with the plaintiff before the entry of judgment, the comparative negligence of that defendant and the amount of the settlement must not thereafter be admitted into evidence nor considered by the jury. The judge shall deduct the amount of the settlement from the net sum otherwise recoverable by the plaintiff pursuant to the general and special verdicts.

4.  Where recovery is allowed against more than one defendant in such an action, except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, each defendant is severally liable to the plaintiff only for that portion of the judgment which represents the percentage of negligence attributable to that defendant.

5.  This section does not affect the joint and several liability, if any, of the defendants in an action based upon:

(a) Strict liability;

(b) An intentional tort;

(c) The emission, disposal or spillage of a toxic or hazardous substance;

(d) The concerted acts of the defendants; or

(e) An injury to any person or property resulting from a product which is manufactured, distributed, sold or used in this State.

6.  As used in this section:

(a) “Concerted acts of the defendants” does not include negligent acts committed by providers of health care while working together to provide treatment to a patient.

(b) “Provider of health care” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 629.031.

(Added to NRS by 1973, 1722; A 1979, 1356; 1987, 1697; 1989, 72)

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-041.html#NRS041Sec141

In any lawsuit against a defendant for damages for death or injury to a person or injury to property, where two or more persons can be at fault,  doctrine of comparative negligence is invoked. Comparative negligence means the negligence of a plaintiff in his own injury. In Nevada, if a plaintiff’s  negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant, the plaintiff can still recover his damages. The court will reduce his damages by his percentage of negligence. A simpler way to understand this is by example.

Example:

Plaintiff and defendant are both driving eastbound on a roadway and defendant is substantially exceeding the speed limit.   Plaintiff then changes lanes in front defendant and the defendant then strikes the plaintiff’s vehicle. Both parties will likely have some fault for the accident. The plaintiff will have fault for an improper lane change and defendant will have fault for speeding. It is for a factfinder to determine the percentage of each parties fault. If it is found the defendant is 51% at fault for grossly exceeding the speed limit, and plaintive is then 49% at fault for improperly changing lanes, the plaintiff can recover 51% of his damages against the defendant However, if the jury were to find plaintiff to be 51% at fault for causing the accident, he would not recover because his own would be greater than the fault of the defendant.

Comparative fault of the respective parties is a factual decision to be determined by all of the evidence collected and preserved.  Nevada revised statute, NRS 41.141, as stated above, gives a jury guidance for determining the fault of the parties by stating that “the plaintiff may not recover if the plaintiffs comparative negligence or that of the plaintiffs decedent is greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of multiple defendants.“ Therefore,  it is always a determination of fact who is more at fault. The only way to make a factual determination is by collecting and preserving evidence and this process should begin as soon as possible. If you have been in an accident, seeking legal counsel early can make the difference as to whether or not you will be able to prove your case. The evidence must  be obtained and preserved to assist in proving what happened in the accident. Evidence like skid marks, Gouge marks in the pavement, data recorders, and police diagrams can often assist in establishing the fault of the parties. For this reason, it is critical to obtain legal counsel early and preserve relevant evidence. If you are involved in an accident, always take as many photos as you can at the scene. This is the easiest way to preserve evidence. Take photos of any marks on the pavement, the location of the vehicles following the accident and take photos of the damage to the cars. Remember that it is always a question of fact when both parties have some fault and it is impossible to make that determination without solid evidence.

https://www.nvbar.org/nvlawmag-archive-957232/NevLawyer_Feb_2010_Comparative_Neg_0.pdf

Many states have different laws regarding comparative fault of the parties. NRS 41.141 applies to all accidents which happen in any county in Nevada including Henderson and Las Vegas. If you have been involved in an auto accident in Henderson or in Las Vegas the comparative law stated above will govern.  The basic premise is that people should pay their share of damages for which they are responsible for and not more. It would be inherently unfair to make a defendant pay 100% of a plaintiff’s damages if the plaintiff was 30% at fault for causing the accident. For this reason, Nevada adopted a rule of law to be fair to plaintiffs and defendants who are involved in accidents or who are negligent causes of injuries to third parties.  

Some states have different variants of comparative fault so if you are involved in an accident in another state, it is important for you to understand the law in that state. Some states follow a strict or pure comparative negligence statute where if a plaintiff is 90% at fault for his injuries, the defendant would pay his 10% share. Nevada does not follow the strict or pure comparative negligence standard.  If a plaintiff was 90% at fault for causing his injuries in the state of Nevada, he or she would take nothing by way of their complaint.

https://www.justia.com/injury/negligence-theory/comparative-contributory-negligence/

If you have been in an accident and have question about fault of the parties, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and determining fault. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

CAN THE INSURANCE COMPANY GET MONEY BACK FROM ME? SUBROGATION IN NEVADA – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME

  • The Insurance company can recover money paid to you by another insurance company in some cases
  • Subrogation means the “right to be paid back.”
  • The insurance company does not have to give me notice they are entitled to be paid back in some cases.  You are deemed to have notice by the policy language
  • It is important to have experienced legal counsel to help you navigate the subrogation issues in any give case.

 

What is Subrogation?

Subrogation means, in legal terms, that an entity or company has the legal right to “step into the shoes” of another party and raise their claim for damages. There has been a trend the past 10 years to limit subrogation rights in many states.  Subrogation rights are exercised by insurance companies against each other and often against their own insureds. The following are some of the ways subrogation may affect you if you are involved in an accident in the state of Nevada. http://clmmag.theclm.org/home/article/anti-subro-laws

Subrogation of Collision Coverage in Nevada

The most common claims that are subrogated by insurance companies are claims for  property damage. When you are involved in an automobile accident, if you carry collision coverage on your vehicle,  your insurance company will pay for damage to your vehicle immediately without regard to fault and without undue delay. If the accident is not your fault they will “subrogate“ all monies they have paid through the adverse driver’s insurance company. This means your insurance company will get paid back for damages they paid on your behalf including rental costs and cost of repair and towing. Often times clients do not want to use their own insurance for fear that it will raise their rates. If you are not at fault for the collision your rates should not be increased. The other insurance company will pay your insurance company back on the subrogation claim. Using your own insurance is beneficial to you because your insurance company has a fiduciary responsibility to treat you fairly and pay all damages to your vehicle or a fair and reasonable total loss settlement. The adverse insurance company does not have this duty to you and their goal is usually to pay and fix as little as possible. In addition, the adverse insurance company has no duty to timely or immediately repair your vehicle and can take weeks to investigate the claim before they even agree to pay your property damage. For this reason, we highly recommend that you carry collision coverage and rental coverage on your vehicle and use your own insurance to have your vehicle repaired when you are in an accident.

Subrogation of Medical Payments Coverage in Nevada

Not all types of claims may be subrogated. In Maxwell vs. Allstate Insurance Co., 102 Nev. 502, 728 P.2d 812 (1986),  https://casetext.com/case/maxwell-v-allstate-ins-co ; the issue before the Court was whether Allstate’s subrogation rights were enforceable against their own insured.   There was a clause in the Allstate medical payments policy called a subrogation clause.  Since Maxwell had recovered from the adverse driver’s insurance policy, Allstate wanted their money back. Maxwell took the position that the medical payments subrogation clause in Allstate’s auto policy violated public policy and  the Nevada Supreme Court agreed and  found that it did violate public policy. http://ag.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agnvgov/Content/Publications/AGO_2017-11..pdf

Based upon this case, Nevada is within a minority of states that will not allow subrogation of Medical Payments coverage.  The court reasoned that a person is entitled to receive all the insurance coverages that he/she pays for under their policy.   The Court held that it violates public policy to allow an insurer, which was Allstate in this case, to collect a premium for Medical Payments Coverage and then not provide that benefit to the paying insured.

The Court further found that Allstate was required to pay the benefit to which their insured had paid for and could not subrogate or collect this money back from the insured claiming the insured was receiving a “double recovery.”  The Court held that allowing subrogation by the first-party insurer against the insured’s third-party recovery would be a windfall to the first-party carrier.  The court recognized that often time’s injuries to their first-party insured  were serious enough that recovery of both policies would be insufficient to compensate their inured. The court held Allstate’s subrogation clause was void as against public policy. http://nevadainsurancelaw.com/nevada-disallows-subrogation-firstparty-med-pay-carrier-insureds-thirdparty-recovery/

Medical payments coverage, is not fault-based. If you are driving your vehicle and you drive off the road, your med-pay coverage applies even if the accident is your fault.  Medical Payments coverage also pays for the medical bills of every passenger in your vehicle at the time of the accident, regardless of fault. Each passenger has coverage up to your medical payments limits.  If you have $10,000.00 in med-pay coverage, you and all passengers have $10,000.00 each in coverage. In the State of Nevada, there is no right of subrogation for medical payments coverage by the adverse driver.

Health Insurance Companies Rights of Subrogation

If you use health insurance coverage to pay for accident-related medical bills, your health insurance company will most likely have a “Right of Subrogation”.  This means that if you receive money from the adverse driver’s bodily injury liability coverage, you must pay back your health insurance carrier for what they paid out on accident-related medical bills. Some health insurance carriers will require you to sign a Subrogation Agreement before they pay your medical bills. Using health insurance coverage on an auto accident claim is benfeical because of their negotiated rates that you do not get when using medical payments coverage.  However, you can use both and maximize your coverages. You are only obligated to pay back your health insurance carrier what they paid out, not the full amount of your medical bills.

It is also important to note that Med-pay coverage is also not vehicle-specific. This means that it follows you and your family to protect them in any accident involving an automobile. It also applies to auto v. pedestrian accidents and accidents which occur when you are not in your own vehicle.    If you are involved in an accident, and have multiple insurance policies, it is critical to contact legal counsel right away to maximize your benefits. Hospitals are ruthless at going after a Medical Payments policy and then billing you the difference even though they are required to bill your health insurance first.  

Subrogation of Uninsured Motorist Coverage/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Benefits in Nevada

Subrogation also sometimes comes in the form of an Offset.  If you use your med-pay coverage and UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE or UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE on the same accident claim, your auto insurance carrier will obtain an offset for med-pay coverage paid by them but only to the extent that they believe there is an excess recovery.  This means that if you have a UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE claim, which has a value of $20,000.00, and your insurance company pays $5,000.00 in med-pay coverage, they will offset the value of your claim by the amount of your med-pay coverage. On a $20,000.00 claim, they will only pay you $15,000.00. This concept of offset was created by Nevada case law. If your claim is worth $25,000, and your carrier pays $5,000 in med-pay benefits on your claim, your carrier will pay you $20,000, if your UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE is above 15/30. It is important to point out that offset is subtracted from the value of your UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE claim, and not simply from your UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE limits. Offset also applies to UNDERINSURED  MOTORIST COVERAGE claims. On UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE claims, your carrier also gets a reduction for the adverse driver’s BI limits and offset for med-pay benefits paid from the value of your claim. https://law.justia.com/cases/nevada/supreme-court/1996/26854-1.html

If you have been in an accident and have question please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and coverages and all policies involved.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

HOW A VERBAL RELEASE WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY CAN BE BINDING – DON’T SAY IT, DON’T SIGN IT!

 

  • If you have been in an Accident, Do not verbally Discuss your injury claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company
  • If you have any pain, see a medical provider right away.  
  • Do not sign any documents given to you by an insurance company with a lawyers review.
  • Always remember the other driver’s insurance company works for them, not you

 

Laura Hunt AttorneyWhen people are involved in an auto accident, the adverse insurance company will often call them like a vulture lying in wait within a day — sometimes even hours of the accident and try to record your words or coerce you into a settlement. As an attorney working in the field for many years, I have seen and heard clients advise me of statements insurance adjusters have made that both shock my conscience and violate countless laws. However, that does not stop them from providing you with information that is incorrect in an attempt to discourage you from getting attorney to advise you of your rights.

That was exactly what happened in the case of window of Windell Gilbert vs. Cherish Fitz from the Court of Appeals in the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas, Case 05-16-00218-CV.  https://law.justia.com/cases/texas/fifth-court-of-appeals/2016/05-16-00218-cv.html.  In that case, a personal injury victim had attempted to deal directly with the insurance adjuster himself. He had given a recorded telephone statement and in the statement he agreed to accept $500 plus reasonable medical expenses from the day of the crash. Hopefully when you are reading this you are shocked knowing that any reasonable person who is injured has bills days, months, and  sometimes years after the accident. However this adjuster manipulated Mr. Gilbert to take only his medical bills from the date of the accident itself and $500. The adjuster documented the oral agreement in the telephone statement.

The insurance company immediately then sent a letter to the victim Mr. Gilbert with a check for $500 which contained release language on the check itself. The victim in that case, Mr. Gilbert, never even cashed the check because he subsequently hired an attorney who advised him not to cash the check. The attorney filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Gilbert and the insurance company counter claimed for breach of the settlement agreement they had reached on the phone.   Sadly, in the end, the insurance company won and the victim was ordered to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees to the insurance company. Although it is shocking and morally reprehensible, this is the type of conduct that the insurance companies get away with. That is why if you are involved in an auto accident it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to protect your rights immediately.

If you are in an auto accident, you are entitle for your reasonable medical bills for all care regardless of the time that it takes that is related to the accident.  You are entitled to necessary medical car until you have recovered from your injuries. You are entitled to your time off work, you are entitled to receive money for your disability and for your pain and suffering.   As is evident from the Gilbert case and the Fifth circuit Court of Appeals ruling affirming the insurance company’s verbal settlement, you will have the weight and power of a giant insurance company against you and sometimes even the courts. To protect you and your family you need the weight of an experienced attorney behind you to prevent being taken advantage of by ruthless insurance companies such as the carrier in this case who took advantage of Mr. Gilbert.

Nevada provides some protection in these cases, but the same result as Mr. Gilbert can occur in Nevada under the right conditions.  Under NRS 111.220, an agreement involving promises to take on the responsibility for debts of another are void if they are not in writing, among other types of contracts.   However, it is necessary to understand that if these types of agreements are not in writing, they could possibly be enforceable if there is written evidence of consideration meaning usually money paid. As in the case of Mr. Gilbert.

The case of  May vs. Anderson,  (119 P.3d 1254 (2005)),  https://law.justia.com/cases/nevada/supreme-court/2005/42204-1.html , involved a claim in which an auto accident occurred and all parties obtained counsel. It should be noted that, sadly, this automobile accident resulted in one fatality and several very serious injuries. The parties believe they had reached a settlement agreement and counsel for one of the injured victims sent a letter outlining the terms of the proposed settlement between the victims.  Some of the injured parties signed the settlement agreement and the estate for the deceased victim did not sign the settlement agreement. The District Court found that there was a binding settlement based upon the oral conversations of the parties even though no release was signed. The Nevada Supreme Court stated that:

[1] Basic contract principles require, for an enforceable contract, an offer and acceptance, meeting of the minds, and consideration.[2] With respect to contract formation, preliminary negotiations do not constitute a binding contract unless the parties have agreed to all material terms.[3] A valid contract cannot exist when material terms are lacking or are insufficiently certain and definite.[4] A contract can be formed, however, when the parties have agreed to the material terms, even though the contract’s exact language is not finalized until later.[5] In the case of a settlement agreement, a court cannot compel compliance when material terms remain uncertain.[6] The court must be able to ascertain what is required of the respective parties.[7]Contract interpretation is subject to a de novo standard of review.[8] However, the question of whether a contract exists is one of fact, requiring this court to defer to the district court’s findings unless they are clearly erroneous or not based on substantial evidence.[9]There is little doubt that release terms are generally thought to be material to any settlement agreement.[10]

The Court ultimately held, and agreeing with other jurisdictions, that;

An enforceable settlement agreement cannot exist when the parties have not agreed to the essential terms of the release because these provisions constitute material terms of the settlement contract. Releases terms are not mere formality. They are an important reason why a party enters into a settlement agreement. If the prevention of future litigation is one of the primary goals of settlement, the essential terms of the release needed to achieve that goal or material to the settlement agreement.“

Although this language seems favorable to accident victims, the court in May held that an enforceable settlement agreement existed despite the fact that he release had not been signed by the parties. The state of the deceased victim did not want to execute a release for fear that additional charge or liable parties could be found. This was the reason they could not come to terms on the final agreement. However, the court found that they had agreed upon enough of the terms that a  binding enforceable settlement did exist even without signature and therefore, the court enforced the settlement agreement against the estate. The law in this area is very confusing and it is very fact specific. For that reason, the best advice that I can be given is to not speak to the insurance company that is against you at any time following the accident. Contact attorney immediately to protect your rights and prevent the insurance company from manipulating you into a settlement agreement.

The result in this case was not favorable to the injured party.  In general, the answer to whether a settlement must be in writing is no.  For that reason, if you have been in an accident, do not verbally discuss your injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Always remember the other driver’s insurance company works for them, not you, and they only want to pay as little as possible.

If you have been in an accident and have question please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and coverages. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.