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.

INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT? KEEP YOUR FOCUS AND TAKE PICTURES!

 

 

  • Document the damage to the cars by taking photos
  • Document how the accident occurred by taking photos of their location post-accident
  • Document the presence of witnesses by taking photographs of them and getting their names and info
  • Document your injuries by taking photos
  • Document the conditions by taking photos of the scene of the accident.
  • Document the identity of the over driver by taking pictures of them and their vehicle, license, ins. card

 

Laura Hunt Attorney

Of course you hope it never happens, but if you are involved in a car accident–do you know what to do? The immediate aftermath of an accident can be confusing, and our memories are notoriously faulty!
That’s why it’s so important that you keep your focus and protect yourself and your best interests during this chaotic time. Photographing the scene comprehensively in the moments after a wreck is a vital way to do just that.

Photos document damage and injuries in an irrefutable way–they can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful insurance claim so make sure to take your time (and lots of images).

Knowing what to capture is important. Here are a few tips for you to follow!

Property damage: This is your best chance to capture internal and external damage to all vehicles, objects and buildings as well as damage to the roadways or signs. Once everyone leaves the scene, you won’t be able to prove how much (or little) damage was actually done. Take multiple pictures from many angles! When you think you’ve taken enough, take a few more. Make sure you also capture pictures of any skid marks or debris.

Injuries: Take these photos as soon as it is safe to do so, preferably right after the crash. It’s important to remember that some injuries, like bruises, will not be immediately apparent. Make sure you document them as the days go by.

Traffic signs: This is often overlooked and very important! It can be essential to determining how an accident happened. Is a road sign partially obscured by shrubbery or is it in disrepair or falling down? It might be fixed later, so it’s vital that you chronicle the conditions as they were at the time of the accident.

People at the scene: Make sure you get pictures of all witnesses, police officers, other drivers and passengers and their contact information. You won’t be thinking clearly at the time of the accident, so it’s important that you capture their information with your camera or phone. You or your attorney may need to contact them at a later time.

Beyond that, also get pictures of the make, model and license plate number of all other vehicles. Make sure you get images of the driver’s license, insurance and registration information of the other parties as well. Ask them for their business card and take an image of that too if possible.

Surroundings: Pictures of the damage are key, but context is equally important. Take photos of any businesses in the area. They may have video surveillance cameras that captured the accident and you or your attorney may want to review it.

Don’t forget to activate the time/date stamp on your camera! If you’re using your smartphone these are automatically stored in each photo’s metadata.

Accidents are stressful, and it’s hard to know exactly what you should or shouldn’t do. Use these simple photography guidelines to make sure you have covered all bases before you leave the scene of a crash.

By contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims. Having worked for the insurance company as an attorney for nine years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your coverages to maximize the money you receive.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the even 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 family-owned boutique 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.

HOW TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE

 

  • Know what coverages you need to protect your family and property
  • Understand the types of coverages available.
  • When buying insurance, do not simply follow the prompts on the website
  • If you can, purchase your insurance from a reputable agent that will sit down with you and take the time to understand your insurance needs.
  • Compare the costs for the amounts of the difference in coverages you can purchase.
  • The most common coverages are Liability, Collision, Rental, Towing, Med-pay and UM/UIM

 

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends and family members as an attorney handling insurance claims is “what kind of insurance do I need?”  In fact, one of the most frequent things we hear from client’s when they come in the offices is, “I have full coverage.” Unfortunately, the term “full coverage” does not mean you have the right coverage or enough coverage.  Having reviewed hundreds of insurance policies over the years, it has become clear to me that most people mistakenly think they are covered for things they are not actually covered for under their policy.

If it is possible, you should go to a reputable and knowledgeable insurance agent who will sit down with you and go over what type of coverage you need to protect yourself and your family when buying insurance.  Insurance Agents are skilled at reviewing coverages and the cost differences to provide you with the peace of mind that you actually have the “right coverage.” If you are able to use an insurance agent, I would highly recommend that you purchase your insurance from an agent.  Understanding the various insurance coverages available can be difficult, and often times a large increase in coverage comes with very little rate increase. There are additional resources on-line to help you understand the different coverages available. https://www.dmv.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage.php  . Auto insurance. Org also has some good information at https://www.autoinsurance.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage/

It is extremely important to understand what insurance coverages are available when buying auto insurance and what the different coverages mean in the event that you are injured or your property is damaged or you have injured someone else.   Most auto insurance policies are relatively simple to understand if you know the terminology they use. The following are the types of coverages that you will be asked if you buy, whether you are buying online or buying form an agent. Your decisions and the options you chose can be critical to your well-being in the event that you or someone you love on your policy is injured in an accident.

  1. Liability Coverage (often called bodily injury coverage) is what is required by law.   What that means is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay for property damage and bodily injury for the other driver and passengers ( a.k.a. third-parties) in the event you cause an automobile accident. In Nevada, state minimum is 15/30/10 and will be changing to 25/50/20 as of July 1, 2018.  http://doi.nv.gov/Consumers/Automobile_Insurance/Higher_Minimum_Vehicle_Liability_Requirements/Most people do not know what those numbers mean and it is important that you understand the terminology.  When there are three numbers, the first number is the amount your insurance company will pay per person for bodily injury; meaning, they will pay $25,000 per person per accident under the new law. The second number is the amount your insurance company will pay per accident for bodily injury; meaning they will pay $50,000 combined for all persons injured per accident under the new law.  For example if you get into an automobile collision and it is your fault and there’s one person in the other vehicle they can only obtain $25,000 from your insurance company. However, if their damages exceed the $25,000.00, they can collect that overage directly from you.  If they are seriously injured, that could be substantial. If there were two people in the vehicle they could obtain $25,000 each. However, if they were three or more people in that vehicle, the $50,000 would be split between those people if they were injured depending on their degree of injury. In today’s exorbitant world of medical billing, $25,000 does not go very far. The third number is the total amount your insurance company will pay for property damage to the other vehicle or property such as a damaged road signs as a result of the accident. If you purchase a minimum insurance policy you could wind up being personally exposed. Meaning, if there’s not enough insurance coverage to compensate the other drivers’ loss, the other driver could sue you and obtain a judgment against your personal assets to recover their damages. For this reason, it is extremely important to insure yourself and your family as high as you can afford to in order to protect your personal assets. Meaning if you own your home, and you have savings accounts, you want to make sure that you have enough insurance. I often recommended umbrella policy to people which is usually a cost of approximately $20-$30 per month and will protect your assets.  An Umbrella policy provides a higher layer of coverage for your auto, home, boat, etc. on top of your limits, usually in the amount of a million dollars.
  2. Collision Coverage is the second type of coverage and the coverage which most people consider to be “full coverage”. Collision coverage means that repairs to your vehicle will be made in the event that your car is damaged in an accident. If you purchase collision coverage, that coverage will cover damage to your automobile. It is extremely important to know what your deductible is. Often times, changing your deductible from $1000.00 down to $500.00 is as little as $8.00 to $10.00 on your overall premium. It is important that you check what you’re paying for and what you could get for just a little bit more or sometimes little change at all.   Ask the agent to tell the cost differences for different deductibles or coverages. When you go to the store, you can see all the items on the shelf and you can see what all the items cost and their value so you can choose accordingly. If you want to pay fifty cents more for stronger paper towels you can easily make that choice. Unfortunately, with buying insurance, they don’t make it that simple. You have to ask these questions either of the agents or when you’re buying online you need to change the deductibles and change your coverages and see how it affects your premium.
  3. Medical Payments coverage and this can be extraordinarily important for you if you are in an accident.  Medical Payments Coverage is usually a fixed amount anywhere from $1000.00, or $2,000.00, or $5,000.00 on up. It means that your insurance company will pay your medical bills regardless of whether you have health insurance if you are in an automobile accident and you’re injured. Medical payments coverage can be very important because often times you may have large co-pays, especially for ambulance bills, from an accident. Health insurance often will not cover things like physical therapy as much as you need or you may have large deductible on your health insurance policy. Medical payments coverage is generally an inexpensive coverage which will protect you from out of pocket medical expenses if you are in an accident. It’s important to know that even if it is not your fault, it can take months or years to recover money from the other driver. Your medical providers, (hospitals, ambulances, quick cares, etc.) will not wait until the claim is settled to send you to collections. When purchasing insurance always look at what medical payments coverage is available and the cost. If it fits your budget, you should purchase medical payments to protect yourself
  4. UM/UIM is another extremely important coverage that people often drop to save money. This means uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured is self-explanatory, it means that if someone without insurance hits you, you have coverage for your medical bills and injuries. Underinsured coverage means that if someone with a small policy, like the state minimum of $25,000 hits you and you are seriously injured, you can recover against your own policy after the $25,000.00 is paid from the other driver. In the state of Nevada, it is estimated that 15% of all drivers on the road do not have car insurance.  It is extremely important to protect yourself and your assets from reckless and illegal drivers. In the state of Nevada, when you purchase insurance, the insurance company is required to offer you UM/UIM benefits and if you reject the same they must have you sign a waiver. Think carefully before you reject these benefits because if you are in a serious accident these benefits could protect you and your loved ones from undue financial burden.
  5. Towing coverage can be invaluable to you if you are involved in an accident. These are somewhat self-explanatory; however, there are a few tricks. When looking at your towing coverage, always check the amount of miles that they will tow your vehicle. Sometimes they have separate towing packages where they’ll only tow your vehicle 5 -10 miles and then you are at the mercy of the tow truck company for the rest of the bill. It’s often pennies to change the policy to a better towing policy where they will tow you up to 100 miles.  You never know when you are going to get into an accident. AND ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAR TOWED TO YOUR HOME.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE AT THE MERCY OF THE SALVAGE YARD TO HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR VEHICLE.  
  6. Rental Car Coverage — If you drive a large vehicle to take your family places and haul groceries, and you are need of a rental car from an auto accident, most policies will offer you the $20 a day, very basic economy car.  This may not fit your needs, and if it does not, it can be very costly to you to rent a larger vehicle. When purchasing rental insurance you usually have the option of $20-$30 a day or $50 a day in rental coverage. Again, this is generally a very inexpensive change on the policy.  When purchasing rental insurance, check to see if the cost of having a better vehicle in the event that you need a rental car makes sense for your family. Often, it is less than five dollars on the policy.

If you are shopping for automobile insurance and have question please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  There are also many online resources that can help you estimate the costs of insurance and what is average. https://www.carinsurance.com/types-of-car-insurance  Remember your driving history will impact your rates. It is important to understand the coverages you are buying and the coverages you need.  https://wallethub.com/edu/med-pay/9255/   At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and coverages.  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.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

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.

I WAS HIT FROM BEHIND IN MY CAR BY ANOTHER DRIVER, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

  • Take photos of your vehicle in the location of the impact before moving your car only if it is safe to do so.
  • Take photos of the other vehicle at the scene of the accident.
  • Call the police and wait for the police
  • Seek Medical attention if you have pain

Laura Hunt Attorney

Figures posted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show that of the approximately 6 million car accidents that happen in the United States each year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions.  According tothe Washington Post, About 1,700 people die in rear-end collisions and another 500,000 are hurt yearly. That means the odds are that if you or a loved one is involved in an auto collision that it will likely be a rear-end type auto collision.  Sometimes, rear-end collisions involve a minor impact where no one is hurt. Sometimes, they involve a substantial impact with serious injuries. Regardless of the type of collision you are in, there are certain steps that you will always want to take to preserve and document evidence and information at the scene of the accident that will be lost if it is not preserved.  Sometimes, the stress of being involved in the accident can affect your recollection of the events. Try to stay calm and take the following steps to protect yourself:

First, if it is safe to do so, take photos of the vehicles immediately following the collision before they are moved.  This is important in case the adverse driver has a different recollection of the event at a later date and to document how the collision occurred. Even if you have to pull off the road, take pictures of cars, the other driver, the road conditions, and the location of the accident.  Take a lot of photos. This will be the only proof you have regarding the accident.

Second, always call the police to the scene of the accident.  Establishing an official record protects everyone. Determining what happened and noting important factors such as weather and property damage are important. The police know exactly what questions to ask and what details should be captured. Compiling all witness statements, photos and contributing factors into an official police report ensures that an accurate record of the incident will be available later to your insurance company or attorney.

Third, seek medical attention quickly.  It is important for you to know that often times pain and injuries inflicted from a rear-end collision may not felt at the time of the collision.  Pain and discomfort may take 24 hours to set in following your accident. That’s why you want to seek medical treatment immediately after being hit in a rear-end impact.   The sooner you seek medical help, the easier it will be to prover your pain and injuries are a result of the rear-end auto collision and not your everyday activities as the insurance company will want to argue.   If you have pain or stiffness, go to a quick care or your family chiropractor. If you do not know where to go for medical help, call the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC today.

Fourth, if there are any witnesses, be sure to obtain their name, address and phone number.  You may need to contact them at a later time to be a witness and give a statement.

It is important to take the right steps following a rear-end collision and contact an attorney.   If you or a loved one is involved in a rear end auto accident while you’re out of town feel free to call the Law offices of Laura Hunt, PC… We are available 24/7 via phone and text message at 702-600-0032 to answer questions that you have at the time of your accident. We have been helping people injured in car accidents for the last decade and recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

Rear-auto  accidents are  a very common occurrence. At  some point, the odds are that most drivers  will be involved in such a collision. Especially given the level of distractions drivers have such as cell phones, text messaging, iPods and general stress.   Unfortunately, many drivers will have had the difficult experience of dealing with a serious rear-end collision. That is when an attorney can help by dealing with all the unpleasant aspects of an accident, like getting your car fixed and paying your doctors.   While there are some exceptions and unusual circumstances based on differences in state law, as a general rule, the driver of the rear-ending car is at fault for rear-end collisions.  Therefore, the driver of the rear-ending car will be liable for the damage caused in the accident, which will be paid by his insurance company.

If you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision, contact our offices today.  By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims.  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. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

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 IF I AM INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT WHEN I AM OUT OF TOWN?

 

  • If you are injured while out of town, always provide your health insurance information to the hospital and all medical providers
  • If you do not have health insurance, seek medical care appropriate for your level of injury.  If your injuries are not critical, seek medical attention at the closest quick care facility.
  • When you receive the paperwork from your health insurance company following the accident, consult the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC to for assistance filing out the forms.
  • Continue with your medical car when you return home.

 

Laura Hunt AttorneyVacation season is approaching and families will be hitting the road to visit distant relatives and friends.  If you are injured in a car accident when you are traveling, there are certain things you should know. Most people are of the opinion that when they are injured in an auto accident the insurance company for the at fault driver will immediately and timely pay all of their medical bills for whatever treatment they need. This is 100% false. It is extremely important that you protect yourself because there will be a substantial delay in any funds that you receive from the at fault driver following a car accident. If you are injured when you are out of town, if you are fortunate to have health insurance you should absolutely provide that information to the hospital, ambulance company and anywhere that you receive treatment while you are out of town.

There are several reasons for this. First, your health insurance will timely pay these bills and, if the at fault driver has insurance coverage they will be responsible to pay your health insurance company back. The second reason is that if the adverse party does not have insurance coverage or does not have enough insurance coverage, you will not be responsible to pay back your health insurance company for these bills. In addition, your health insurance company has substantial negotiated discounts with most of the providers that you will not receive if they are paid by the third-party or if you have to pay them out-of-pocket because they were not timely submitted to your health insurance company.

If you, unfortunately, do not have health insurance and you are injured while you’re out of town it is important to seek the appropriate medical care consistent with the injuries that you received. If your injuries are not life-threatening or critical, it may be in your best interest to go to a quick care facility close to the location of the accident. The reason for this is that the hospital bill could be substantial and could even be more than the available automobile insurance coverage available from the adverse driver. In past blogs I outlined that states have different minimum requirements for insurance coverage, but many states have only a $15,000 required amount of coverage per driver, some states have only a $10,000 required minimum per driver. Therefore it is important that you make good decisions when obtaining medical care so that these bills can be paid. In addition, you will not know at the time of the accident if the adverse driver even has coverage that is in force and effect at the time of the accident, and it is possible that you could be stuck with your medical bills if the other driver does not have coverage and you do not have UIM coverage.

It would be nice if the world was perfect and every person who was at fault for causing injury had enough money to cover the injury or enough insurance to cover the injury and timely paid bills that were incurred. Unfortunately, this is not the world that we live in and it is important that you protect you and your family following an accident.

If you have health insurance and you submitted your health insurance information to the providers that you saw while out of town, it is likely that you will receive paperwork in the mail called subrogation paperwork from your health insurance company. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC we have been helping injured drivers in car accidents who are residents of Henderson and Las Vegas for over 10 years. We are happy to go over these documents with you and fill them out as part of our representation. It is important that the subrogation forms are timely and accurately returned to your health insurance company to make sure that your bills get paid timely and that the appropriate discounts are made.

It is important to take the right steps following a collision out of town to get the medical care that you and your family need without adversely affecting your financial condition.  If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident while you’re out of town feel free to call the Law offices of Laura Hunt, PC.. We are available 24/7 via phone and text message at 702-600-0032 to answer questions that you have at the time of your accident. We have been helping people injured in car accidents for the last decade and recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

If you are involved in an accident while out of town, contact our offices today.  By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims.  Having worked for the 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. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the  coverages available to maximize the money you receive.

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.