All about car insurance

What Auto Insurance Should I Have

One of the most frequently asked questions I get  from friends and family members as an insurance attorney handling peoples injury and property claims is “what kind of insurance do I have?

The most common statement a client makes when they come in the offices usually is, “I have full coverage.”

However after reviewing thousands of insurance policies, it has become clear that most people don’t know what “Full coverage” is. In past years, many people used insurance agents who were helpful in explaining what types of coverages people needed.  Agents would have assisted them in purchasing their insurance. If you are able to use an insurance agent that you know and trust, I would highly recommend that.  Understanding insurance coverages can be complex, and often times a large increase in coverage comes with a very small rate increase.

What Insurance Coverages are Available?

For that reason, it is extremely important to understand what insurance coverages for your automobile are available 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. I think insurance companies intentionally use vague and ambiguous language so that people don’t know what they’re really buying. The following are the type of coverages that you will be asked if you buy insurance online or by an agent when you go to purchase insurance. Your responses and your purchases can be critical to your well-being in the event that you or someone you love is injured in an accident.

Liability Coverage

The first coverage that you purchase, which is required by law, is called liability coverage (often called bodily injury coverage).   What that means is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay for property damage and bodily injury for the adverse driver and passengers ( a.k.a. third-parties) in the event you cause an automobile accident. In Nevada, state minimum is 15/30/10. Most people do not know what that means either.

15/30/10 ?

When there are three numbers, the first number is the amount your insurance company will pay per person for bodily injury and the second number is the amount your insurance company will pay per accident for bodily injury. 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 $15,000 from your insurance company. If there were two people in the vehicle they could obtain $15,000 each. However if they were three or more people in that vehicle, the $30,000 would be split between those people if they were injured.

It is not rocket science to know that in today’s exorbitant world of medical billing, $15,000 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 sign as a result of the accident.

Does minimum liability insurance protect me?

If you purchase a minimum insurance policy you could wind up being personally exposed. Meaning, if there’s not enough insurance coverage, 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 $12-$15 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.

Collision / Comprehensive

The second type of coverage which most people consider to be “full coverage” is collision coverage. Collision coverage means that payments will be made to fix your vehicle in the event that your car is damaged in an accident. If you purchase collision coverage, that coverage will cover damage to your automobile.

Deductible?

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. When you go to Target, 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. Unfortunately, with buying insurance, they don’t make it that simple.   You have to ask these questions either of the agent or when you’re buying online you need to change the deductibles and change your coverages and see how it affects your premium.

Medpay / PIP

A little known coverage that many agents don’t even mention or offer is called 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 expensive 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 from the other driver. Your medical providers, (hospitals, ambulances, quick cares, etc.) will not wait until the claim is final 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. Another important issue to know about medical payments is that it is not an at fault coverage, meaning if you use your medical payments coverage on your policy,  it is not counted as a claim against you for your rates.

UM/UIM

Another extremely important coverage that people often drop to save money is called UM/UIM. 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 $15,000 hits you and you are seriously injured, you can recover against your own policy after the $15,000.00 is paid from the other driver.

In the state of Nevada, it is estimated that 13% 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.

Rental car & roadside assistance

Also, there is the coverage for rental car benefits and towing. 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.  It is similar with rental coverage. If you, like me, 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 and when purchasing rental insurance, check to see the cost of having a better vehicle in the event that you need a rental car. Often it is less than five dollars.

I hope this information was helpful and if you ever have questions when purchasing auto insurance, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Laura Hunt. The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving insurance and auto accidents. Please feel free to call if you have questions when purchasing your auto insurance at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868

firework injuries lawyer

Personal Injury Damages for Firework Related Injuries

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.

However, often firework 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 a firework injury attorney should be contacted immediately.  If injury occurs, it is important to immediately take the following steps:

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

Reported fireworks-related injuries have included  loss of eyesight, burns,  lacerations. punctures wounds and even death.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge all 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 firework 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.

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 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 is their 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 firework.  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 mistaking think that only the illegal fireworks cause injury.  This is a mistake.  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 staff 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 After a Firework Injury?

Injuries from fireworks can be serious and the medical bills to treat such injuries can be substantial.  Homeowners’ insurance protection is 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 your 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 attorneys 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  should only be used by adults and should be kept away from children. Safe and Sane fireworks can cause serious injury or death to adults and children and can cause fires.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge you and your family exercise extreme caution when using Safe and Sane fireworks.

Illegal Fireworks In the City of Henderson and Clark County

Fireworks that shoot  through the air, explode, or rotate on the ground are illegal throughout Clark County, including the City of Henderson. They have been declared to be unsafe because the fireworks user does not have control over where they land, which can potentially cause a fire. Illegal fireworks are usually sold outside Clark County and including on  the Indian Reservation. Those fireworks 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. If you bring illegal fireworks brought into Clark County or the City of Henderson,  they can be confiscated, and a person possessing or using them can be ticketed. 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. The 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 July 4 at 11:59 p.m.. on July 4.

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

marijuana in henderson

What Does the Legalization of Marijuana mean for the City of Henderson and the State of Nevada and its Drivers?

In Nevada, driving under the influence of marijuana can earn drivers $600-$1,000 fine and jail time for the first offense.  At midnight on July 1, 2017, the sale of recreational marijuana began in Nevada.  Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal just like driving under the influence of alcohol. You can carry it around or drive with it in your car, but driving when using is against the law. Passengers are not permitted to ingest marijuana in a vehicle under Nevada law. Smoking or consuming marijuana in public is also not permitted and you can receive a $600 fine.

The City of Henderson does not allow recreational marijuana sales at licensed dispensaries within city limits. Users of recreational marijuana in Nevada and the City of Henderson must be at least 21 years of age.  In addition, public consumption is against the law in Nevada.  If you’re going to use recreational marijuana, the Law Offices of Laura Hunt urges you not get behind the wheel of a car.  It is the same as drinking and driving.  You must use a designated driver, cab or ridesharing service if you use marijuana in the City of Henderson as well as anywhere in the state of Nevada. State and local police including Henderson Police will continue to enforce all impaired driving laws. The Law Offices of Laura Hunt urges you to respect our communities if you choose to use recreational marijuana.  Do not operate a motor vehicle while using marijuana or engage in in any activities that could endanger lives.  It is also extremely important to keep all forms of marijuana secured safely so that is not accessible to children or pets.

In November, 2016, 55 percent of Nevada voters approved of a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.   The following was the text of the ballot question presented to Nevada voters:

STATE QUESTION NO. 2

Amendment to the Nevada Revised Statutes

Shall the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to allow a person, 21 years old or older, to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume a certain amount of marijuana or concentrated marijuana, as well as manufacture, possess, use, transport, purchase, distribute, or sell marijuana paraphernalia; impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana; require the regulation and licensing of marijuana cultivators, testing facilities, distributors, suppliers, and retailers; and provide for certain criminal penalties?

Yes  No 

 

Based open a vote of the people, dispensaries in Nevada will begin opening their doors State leaders speculate that the newly legalized drug will bring a tourism boom to Las Vegas.   Nevada will become the fifth state to allow the recreational purchase of marijuana.

On July 1, 2017, 40 dispensaries will be able to start selling the marijuana to those 21 and older.  It has been estimated that sales could bring in as much as $150 million in tax revenue in two years to the state of Nevada.   That is a 25% increase in tax revenue for the state. Nevada beat California to the punch. California will not begin recreational marijuana sales until January 2018.  Experts have projected that Nevada will likely have the nation’s largest market for the sale of marijuana.

Marijuana, both medical and recreational, will be taxed 15 percent at cultivation, and only recreational marijuana will be sold with a 10 percent sales tax.  Medical marijuana currently is taxed 2 percent at cultivation, 2 percent at production and 2 percent at sale. The law allows a person to carry up to an ounce of marijuana and ⅛ ounce of concentrate.  That is the amount you can legally purchase. This applies to local and visitors to Nevada.

Advertising legalized marijuana may prove to be shocking for many citizens.  However, advertisements are banned from any medium 30 percent of the audience is believed to under the age of 21, according to the Associated Press.

It is also yet to be determined how many of the 45 million yearly tourists to Nevada will even use  marijuana since it will also only be legal to smoke in private residencies. Another obstacle with the new law allowing the recreational marijuana in Nevada is that when the recreational marijuana statue was approved by voters, it gave alcohol wholesalers the exclusive right to the distribution licenses for the first 18 months after the law goes into effect. However, there was little interest by Alcohol wholesalers. Therefore, the tax commissioners approved a temporary regulation that allows the department to make exceptions for non-wholesalers to distribute licenses.

“Letters were mailed to eligible license holders in the state, but Chris Thompson, the executive director for the Las Vegas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said with few responses, In May, the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada filed a complaint saying the booze wholesalers should have exclusive rights to the licenses and that a May 31 license deadline for the wholesalers should not be enforced, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At the end of May, a judge ruled in the alcohol wholesaler’s favor. But state officials have said they intend to appeal this ruling.”

So a careful reading of the text of the statute, the alcohol distributors get to set up regulated distribution methods.  This is unique to Nevada. Nevada has had medical marijuana dispensaries operating since 2015.  The law allows that any leftover medical marijuana those dispensaries are in possession of on July 1 can be sold as recreational.  However, once they run out, there is not a plan until the alcohol wholesalers figure out if they will distribute marijuana and obtain licenses.

During the next month, alcohol wholesalers and state legislators will be working to determine how much of a cut will go to the alcohol industry.   Another obstacle is that liquor licenses are federal and the U.S. government still considers marijuana an illegal substance.  Therefore, marijuana cannot be smoked inside the casinos and bars in Nevada including the city of Henderson.   Experts are saying that could boost sales of marijuana edibles. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nevada-goes-green-recreational-marijuana-alcohol-industry-wants-piece-pot-n778261

However, packaging issues led the Nevada legislature to make emergency changes to marijuana edibles law.  On June 26, 2017, Emergency regulations passed to change edible marijuana products expected to go on sale July 1, 2017.  Many marijuana products will now require packaging changes or will be discontinued. Theses last-minute regulations may require Nevada marijuana dispensaries to remove certain edible products.

On June 26, 2017, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a Department of Taxation statement of emergency that will allow the department to more strictly regulates marijuana edible products starting July 1, 2017.  “The Governor wants to see the state realize the revenues from its sales, and most importantly, wants a regulatory structure that is restricted, responsible and respected,” said Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for the governor’s office.

The new regulations, approved by the Nevada Tax Commission on Monday, prohibit marijuana dispensaries from selling the following for recreational use in Nevada:

  • Any products that contain any more than 10 milligrams of THC per dose or more than 100 milligrams of THC per package.
  • Any products that appear to be lollipops, ice cream or are modeled after a brand of products marketed to children.
  • Any products that look like real or fictional characters or cartoons.
  • Any products that apply THC to candy or snack foods other than dried fruit, nuts or granola.
  • Any cookie or brownie products that are not in a sealed, opaque bag.
  • Any products that have images of cartoon characters, action figures, toys, balloons or mascots on the labeling.

For existing packaging that contains the prohibited image, a sticker may be used to cover the images or label, or permanent marker may be used as long as the image is completely obscured, according to a Department of Taxation email sent out to dispensaries on Wednesday. Products being stored outside of consumer view do not need to have the images covered until they are placed on display or immediately prior to sale.

“From day one, we want to make sure that potency, packaging and labeling are strict from the start,” said Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Taxation.  The last-minute regulations also require packaging to have “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT” in bold type, as well as the words “Keep out of reach of children” and a list of all ingredients.

Edibles, which come in the form of everything from gummy snacks to chocolate bars, often have potent doses of THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Consumers usually have significantly delayed reactions.

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/college/2017/06/28/nevada-makes-emergency-changes-marijuana-edibles-law/437360001/

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we urge people to act responsibly and not drink or use marijuana before driving.  If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident with someone who has used alcohol or marijuana, please call our office today at 702-450-4868 and we can explain your legal rights and remedies under the law.

ahca are past injuries pre existing conditions?

HOW DOES THE PROPOSED AHCA AFFECT ME IF I HAVE PAST INJURIES FROM AN ACCIDENT?

Note: The AHCA or Trump care was passed by the House on May 4th, 2017 which modifies the ACA (Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care)

Are past injuries counted as pre-existing conditions under the AHCA?

The political battle continues as Republicans attempt another fight to push their proposed healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), through Congress and then to the President’s  desk.   Millions of Americans who have  pre-existing conditions will be affected. This item of the healthcare bill was a major protection under Obama care and continues to be debated among healthcare lobbyists and politicians.  Personally, I do not understand the debate.  Healthcare coverage that does not cover all of your health needs is really not healthcare at all.  Sadly, not all politicians agree.  But if you, or a loved one, has been in a prior accident and have a pre-existing back, neck, or head injury or any other injury from an accident, this article contains import information for you.  If you disagree with anything in the proposed bill, I urge to voice your concerns to our state legislators.  They can be reached as follows:

Senator Dean Heller
Offices: Las Vegas / Reno / Washington D.C. (addresses)
Phone: 702-388-6605 / 775-686-5770 / 202-224-6244
Fax: 702-388-6501 / 775-686-5729 / 202-228-6753
Email: Online Contact Form

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Offices: Las Vegas / Reno / Washington D.C. (addresses)
Phone: 702-388-5020 / 775-686-5750 / 202-224-3542
Fax: 702-388-5030 / 775-686-5757 / 202-224-7327
Email: Online Contact Form

Congresswoman Dina Titus – 1st District of Nevada

Offices: Las Vegas / Washington D.C. (addresses)
Phone: 702-220-9823 / 202-225-5965
Email: Online Contact Form

Congressman Mark Amodei – 2nd District of Nevada
Offices: Elko /  Reno / Washington D.C. (addresses)
Phone: 775-777-7705 / 775-686-5760 / 202-225-6155
Fax: 775-753-9984 / 775-686-5711 / 202-225-5679
Email: Online Contact Form

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen – 3rd District of Nevada
OfficesWashington D.C.
Phone: 202-225-3252
Fax: 202-225-2185
Email: Online Contact Form

Congressman Ruben Kihuen  – 4th District of Nevada
Offices: North Las Vegas / Washington D.C. (addresses)
Phone: 202-225-9894
Fax: 202-225-9783
Email: Online Contact Form

https://www.aclunv.org/en/contact-your-elected-officials

Most civilized countries provide Healthcare for their people.  In fact, the US is one of the few that does not.  It seems obvious that study of the systems in other nations could be precedent for structuring our own system to provide healthcare to all Americans regardless of income.  Most of our allies and even our enemies provide healthcare for their citizens.  Many democratic nations have determined and implemented a system to provide Healthcare to all of their citizens.

Below is a table that lists all nations who provide healthcare to all their citizens regardless of the condition being treated:

Country Start Date of Universal Health Care System Type
Click links for more source material on each country’s health care system.
Norway 1912 Single Payer
New Zealand 1938 Two Tier
Japan 1938 Single Payer
Germany 1941 Insurance Mandate
Belgium 1945 Insurance Mandate
United Kingdom 1948 Single Payer
Kuwait 1950 Single Payer
Sweden 1955 Single Payer
Bahrain 1957 Single Payer
Brunei 1958 Single Payer
Canada 1966 Single Payer
Netherlands 1966 Two-Tier
Austria 1967 Insurance Mandate
United Arab Emirates 1971 Single Payer
Finland 1972 Single Payer
Slovenia 1972 Single Payer
Denmark 1973 Two-Tier
Luxembourg 1973 Insurance Mandate
France 1974 Two-Tier
Australia 1975 Two Tier
Ireland 1977 Two-Tier
Italy 1978 Single Payer
Portugal 1979 Single Payer
Cyprus 1980 Single Payer
Greece 1983 Insurance Mandate
Spain 1986 Single Payer
South Korea 1988 Insurance Mandate
Iceland 1990 Single Payer
Hong Kong 1993 Two-Tier
Singapore 1993 Two-Tier
Switzerland 1994 Insurance Mandate
Israel 1995 Two-Tier
United States Currently yes Insurance Mandated

https://truecostblog.com/2009/08/09/countries-with-universal-healthcare-by-date/

THE QUESTIONS MOST PEOPLE ARE ASKING UNDER THIS BILL ARE:

  • Will Trump care cover pre-existing conditions?
  • If you have a pre-existing condition, how will your health plan change under the proposed bill?

In short, the AHCA does not eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions. Like the Affordable Care Act, Trump care will require all health insurers to cover people who apply regardless of their medical history.  But there are some key differences in coverage  under Trump care vs. the current law.

Is there a requirement to maintain health insurance or pay a penalty tax?

Answer:  NO. The proposed bill eliminates the tax penalties that the Obama Care (ACA) imposes on nonexempt individuals for not having health insurance, as well as employers with 50 or more full-time workers who do not offer health insurance to their employees.

Do insurance companies have to offer coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions?

Answer: Yes, but it’s complicated!!!  There is a penalty for not having continuous coverage. Under both the ACA and the GOP bill, insurers are not allowed to deny coverage to any person due to health status. Under the proposed GOP bill, they can charge up to a 30% higher premium for one year, regardless of health status, to those potential  insureds who did not have continuous coverage, which is defined in the bill as a lapse of coverage of 63 days or more over the previous 12 months.  What???? That means that if you have a past injury, you’ll pay a lot more.

Will young adults under the age of 26 still be able to remain on their parents’ plans?

Yes. The bill does not affect this provision of the ACA.

Is there still going to be an expansion of Medicaid?

Answer: NO. It will be phased out.  The legislation ends the enhanced match rate for Medicaid expansion for new enrollees starting in 2020. Those insureds already in the program could stay as long as they remain continuously insured under the Medicaid program. States that have not already expanded Medicaid would not be allowed to do so, starting immediately.

States could also require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work, participate in job training programs or do community service.  Before Obama Care (ACA), Medicaid was available to groups including qualified low-income families, pregnant women, children and the disabled.

Obama care expanded eligibility to all individuals under age 65 who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level (about $16,643 a year for an individual), but only in states that opted for the expansion. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have opted in to the expansion, which includes enhanced federal funding, so far. More than 11 million newly eligible adults had enrolled in Medicaid through March 2016, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Under the Republican health care plan, no new enrollment can occur under this Medicaid expansion after Dec. 31, 2019. States that have yet to opt in to the expansion by that date also will not be able to do so afterward.

Although the bill doesn’t eliminate the Medicaid expansion coverage for those who are enrolled prior to 2020,  if they have a break in coverage for more than one month after Dec. 31, 2019, they won’t be able to re-enroll (unless a state wanted to cover the cost itself).  This is a harsh rule given that if someone is injured and can’t work for a month, they could lose their benefits.  At Hunt Law Offices, we can help injured people from losing their benefits.

The Republican plan includes another significant change to Medicaid. It would cap the amount of federal funding that states can receive per Medicaid enrollee, with varying amounts for each category of enrollee, such as children, and the blind and disabled. Currently, the federal government guarantees matching funds to states for qualifying Medicaid expenses, regardless of cost.  This is an extraordinary change that could adversely affect many families of handicap children and adults by cutting desperately needed benefits.

Are insurers forced to cover certain conditions?

Yes. The bill keeps the essential health benefits requirement under the ACA. Insurance companies would still have to cover 10 health services, including maternity coverage, prescription drugs and mental health care. However, state Medicaid plans are not subject to this requirement after Dec. 31, 2019.

How does the bill affect abortion?

The bill puts a one-year freeze on funding to states for payments to a “prohibited entity,” defined as one that, among other criteria, provides abortions other than those due to rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.  This directly impacts groups like Planned Parenthood.  It should be noted that additional funding for education, food, daycare, etc. is not mentioned anywhere for births of these children.  Planned Parenthood under Medicaid, currently receives government funding.   Also under the GOP plan, tax credits can’t be used to purchase insurance that covers abortion beyond those three exceptions.

Are there subsidies aka Tax Credits to help people buy insurance?

Answer: YES. There are two types of financial assistance under the ACA: premium tax credits (which would change under the new GOP plan) and cost-sharing to lower out-of-pocket costs (which would be eliminated under the GOP plan).

Under the GOP plan, Premium tax credits would be available to individuals who buy their own coverage on the individual, or nongroup, coverage. But instead of a sliding scale based on income, as under current ACA, the Republican plan’s tax credits are based on age, with older Americans getting more. However, the plan allows insurers to charge older Americans up to five times more than younger people, so this is really not a benefit as the GOP claims.

There are income limits under the GOP bill.  People earning under $75,000, or $150,000 for a married couple, in modified adjusted gross income, get the same, fixed amounts for their age groups — starting at $2,000 a year for those under age 30, increasing in $500 increments per decade in age, up to $4,000 a year for those 60 and older. The tax credits are capped at $14,000 per family, using the five oldest family members to calculate the amount. This new structure would begin in 2020, with modifications in 2018 and 2019 to give more to younger people and less to older people.   Confused yet?  Just wait!!!

For those earning above those income thresholds, the tax credit is reduced by 10% of the amount earned above the threshold. For instance, an individual age 60 or older earning $100,000 a year would get a tax credit of $1,500 ($4,000 minus 10% of $25,000). The ACA tax credits also take into account the local cost of insurance, varying the amount of the credit in order to put a cap on the amount an individual or family would have to spend for their premiums. The Republican plan doesn’t do that. (See this explanation from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation for more on how the ACA tax credits are currently calculated.)

The cost-sharing subsidies available now under the ACA  will be eliminated in 2020 under the GOP plan.  Small-business tax credits would come to an end in 2020.

What does the bill do about  health savings accounts?

The GOP bill  increases the contribution limits for tax-exempt HSAs, from $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for families to $6,550 and $13,100, respectively.  The GOP plan allows individuals to use HSA money for over-the-counter drugs, something the ACA had limited to only over-the-counter drugs for which individuals had obtained a prescription.

Who Does This Affect?

Both the current law and the Republican proposal primarily impacts the individual market, where 7% of the U.S. population buys its own health insurance. The GOP plan allows a wider span in pricing based on age by allowing Insurers can charge older individuals up to five times as much as younger people, and states can change that ratio. Under Obama Care (the ACA), the ratio was 3:1.

Older Americans do get higher tax credits than younger Americans under the Republican plan, but whether that amounts to more or less generous tax credits than under the ACA depends on other individual circumstances, including income and local insurance pricing. Those with low incomes could do worse under the GOP plan, while those who earned too much to qualify for tax credits under the ACA (an individual making more than $48,240) would get tax credits.

I  urge you to review the Kaiser Family Foundation’s interactive map to see how tax credits may change, depending on your individual circumstances. “Generally, people who are older, lower-income, or live in high-premium areas (like Alaska and Arizona) receive larger tax credits under the ACA than they would under the American Health Care Act replacement,” KFF says. “Conversely, some people who are younger, higher-income, or live in low-premium areas (like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington) may receive larger assistance under the replacement plan.”

Which ACA taxes go away under the GOP plan?

Many of the ACA taxes would be eliminated.  The bill eliminates all fines on individuals for not having insurance and large employers for not offering insurance. Also, beginning in 2018, for high-income taxpayers, the bill eliminates the 3.8% tax on certain net investment income and the 0.9% additional Medicare tax on earnings above a threshold. That same year, the bill repeals the 2.3% tax on the sale price of certain medical devices and the 10% tax on indoor tanning services. It also eliminates the annual fees on entities, according to the IRS, “in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks,” as well as fees on “each covered entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or importing branded prescription drugs.”

It reduces the tax on distributions from health savings accounts (HSAs) not used for qualified medical expenses from 20% to 10% and the tax on such distributions from Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs) from 20% to 15%. It lowers the threshold for receiving a tax deduction for medical expenses from 10% to 7.5% of adjusted gross income. And from 2020 through 2024, the bill suspends the so-called “Cadillac tax,” a 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans offered by employers.

I urge readers to follow this proposed law and voice your opinions.  It is an integral part of Democracy to be heard.  Being an attorney,  I love protecting people’s rights on a daily basis, including those of my own family and friends.  Following our political process and voicing objections is key to keeping to all of our freedoms alive.

References:

https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Universal-Health-Coverage-and-Health-Outcomes-OECD-G7-Health-Ministerial-2016.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/heres-a-map-of-the-countries-that-provide-universal-health-care-americas-still-not-on-it/259153/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633404/

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/NV

http://www.bu.edu/law/files/2016/01/EllisPaper.pdf

 

WHAT’S A TORT??? AND IS IT COVERED BY A BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICY: COVERAGES UNDER PART A and PART B OF A CGL POLICY

Most business’ have insurance to protect against potential claims against them. Typical business coverage includes property and casualty, commercial general liability insurance (“CGL”), workers’ compensation, professional liability (“E&O”) and commercial automobile insurance. More specialized insurance available includes employment practices liability insurance (“EPLI”) and insurance against patent and trademark infringement. These policies are intended to apply to either basic, known business risks (such as loss of a commercial building or liability from a car accident) or are tailored to specific risks (such as EPLI). But what about business tort claims?  Most business’s have liability insurance. So what is covered?  Most are covered under the CGL portion.

Most Commercial General Liability policies have two types of coverage: Part A and Part B.

Part A provides insurance against two types of injuries: “bodily injury” and “property damage,” but only if arising from an “accident” or “occurrence.” CGL policies protect against claims arising from accidental or fortuitous events called “occurrences.”  The term “bodily injury,” as defined in an insurance policy, includes physical injury to the body.  Coverage does not always apply to non-physical emotional or mental harm caused by an employee of the insured.  A CGL policy covers physical damage caused to the property of third parties by the insured as well.

Coverage Part A only includes actions involving “accidents” or “occurrences,” business torts based on a negligence theory are potentially coverable.  However, business torts arising from intentional acts are typically not covered.   In these situation coverage may exist for negligent misrepresentation, negligently performed faulty workmanship, employment actions sounding in negligence (negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision) and other negligence causes of action (failure to warn, unsafe premises and negligent procedure).

Different from Coverage Part A, Coverage Part B does not depend on the existence of an “accident” or “occurrence,” so it may cover damages arising from intentional conduct not otherwise excluded. While the insuring clause of Coverage Part A is expressed in general terms, Coverage Part B covers only specific listed acts committed by the insured.  Some examples of such enumerated acts may include false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wrongful eviction, defamation, invasion of the right to privacy and copyright and trademark infringement.

It is also possible that there may be Coverage under Part B for liability arising from the insured’s “advertising activity.”  “Advertising activity” has been found in cases of TV, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising.   But not all marketing activities constitute “advertising.” There must be a causal connection between the advertising activity and the injury.  The sale of an infringing product by itself is not sufficient to satisfy the causal connection requirement. The infringement must be committed in the advertisement on its face, and not just in the sale of a product, in order to be covered.

Every business owner should review their insurance coverage’s a broker and attorney to determine whether it has sufficient coverage not only for the typical risks that the company may face, but also for the unexpected, claims for business torts that sometimes happen.

WHAT DO THESE COVERAGES MEAN FOR DEFENDANTS?

Many attorneys and clients think of every tort claim as personal injury action.  But for purposes of insurance coverage, many tort actions arising from an automobile collision, a slip-and-fall, a product liability claim or a defective construction suit are matters of bodily injury and fall under Coverage A of the standard commercial general liability (CGL) policy purchased by most businesses.   Most of the litigation concerns Coverage for bodily injury.   Coverage under Part B usually pertains to personal and advertising injury liability and is often overlooked when seeking coverage under a business policy.

Although obtaining insurance under Coverage B requires more diligence by a policyholder or counsel for defendants seeking coverage, it can provide important protection, including a defense against a plaintiff’s claim.  If one claim in a complaint is possibly covered, the CGL insurer must defend the entire case.  It was this aspect of insurance law that enabled Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss to obtain an entire defense of what was largely a business/contract dispute (26 of the claims in the complaint); something ordinarily not covered under a standard form CGL policy. But a 27th claim for defamation implicated the personal injury provisions of the policy, and Buss received a complete defense to the suit (which eventually settled) that involved more than $1 million in counsel fees. The insurer sought reimbursement for the defense costs that did not involve the defamation claim. In Buss v. Superior Court, 939 P.2d 766 (Cal. 1997), the California Supreme Court stated that insurers had this right, provided they could adequately differentiate what was spent defending the respective claims, a position dividing the jurisdictions and rejected by the Supreme Courts of Illinois and Pennsylvania.1 Even if Nevada should eventually follow the Buss approach,2 a policyholder can benefit in this type of situation by at least obtaining an insurer-provided defense and delay its ultimate payment of some portion of counsel fees.

In practicality, it would be difficult to correctly separate attorneys fees spent on a covered claim versus one that is not covered.  Under the California approach, the insurer defending the claim is forced to pay for the entire defense. Thus, a defendant faced with a lawsuit that looks like a commercial dispute without bodily injury or tangible, physical property damage and therefore what looks like no CGL policy show look for an allegation such as trespassing, defamation or misleading advertising claims that could trigger Coverage B.  The policy states that the CGL insurer will pay “those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay” as damages, because of “personal and advertising injury” to which the following applies:

 

  1. False arrest, detention or imprisonment;
  2. Malicious prosecution;
  3. The wrongful eviction from, wrongful entry into, or invasion of the right of private occupancy of a room, dwelling or premises that a person occupies, committed by or on behalf of its owner, landlord or lessor;
  4. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of materials that slanders or libels a person or organization or services;
  5. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of material copyright, trade dress or slogan in your advertisement. as a “notice that is broadcast or published to the general public or your goods, products or services for the purpose of attracting customers or supporters.”

It includes notices published on the internet “or on similar electronic means of communication,” but as regards websites, “only that part of a website” that purpose of attracting customers or supporters” is considered an

advertisement.  Unfortunately, the following are examples of the long list of exclusions stating that Coverage B “does not apply to:”

  1. Knowing Violation of the Rights of Another
  2. Material Published With Knowledge of Falsity
  3. Material Published Prior to the Policy Period
  4. Criminal Acts
  5. Contractual Liability
  6. Breach of Contract
  7. Quality Or Performance of Goods–Failure to Conform to Statements
  8. Wrong Description of Prices
  9. Infringement of Copyright, Patent, Trademark or Trade Secret
  10. Insured’s in Media and Internet Type Business
  11. Electronic Chartrooms or Bulletin Boards
  12. Unauthorized Use of Another’s Name Or Product
  13. Pollution
  14. Pollution-Related [Matters]
  15. War
  16. Distribution of Material in Violation of Statutes

These provisions are exclusions that remove otherwise applicable coverages, therefore, the exclusions are construed narrowly and strictly against the insurer.  The insurer will bear the burden of persuasion to show the particular exclusion applies.  When exclusion is unclear and cannot be clarified by the facts, it is resolved against the author/ drafter of the policy, which is generally the insurer.   Many of the listed exclusions have been found by courts to be sufficiently clear most of the time and thus make for a situation in which personal and advertising injury coverage has relatively limited scope and use for policyholders when compared to the more prevalent bodily injury coverage.

A fairly accurate summary is that Coverage B applies where a policyholder is accused of negligently or recklessly disparaging a claimant or defaming a plaintiff (defamation that it not within an exclusion) or misleading advertising (such as causing consumer confusion, or hurting a competitor) that does not involve copyright or patent infringement. The Nevada Supreme Court law on Coverage B is limited. I only know one insurance coverage case regarding “advertising injury,” and that is dicta.    A hand full of District of Nevada federal court opinions mention the term.   The substantive local precedent that exists has tended to support insurer efforts to limit coverage and is adverse to Plaintiffs.   Mention of personal injury in case law is much more extensive, but in these decisions, the court is almost always referring to bodily injury rather than the insurance policy concept of personal injury coverage. When instituting litigation, under a business policy, counsel should always review all the defendant’s liability insurance policies and consider coverage under the obscure concepts of personal injury to ascertain if there is a loss that will be covered for their client.

 

 

Resources:   https://www.amazon.com/General-Liability-Insurance-Coverage-Issues/dp/1506140203

 

https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/no-harm-no-coverage-personal-and-advertising-  injury-liability-coverage-in-the-cgl-(part-1)

 

http://www.iii.org/article/commercial-general-liability-insurance

 

http://scholars.law.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1188&context=facpub

 

http://www.roughnotes.com/rnmagazine/search/commercial_lines/02_08p34.htm

 

http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1424&context=yjreg

 

 

Accident on Vacation- What to Do

DON’T LET A CAR ACCIDENT WRECK YOUR VACATION

Vacations are best for getting away from everything stressful. You can enjoy the sun and the beach or get away the snowy slopes and fireside hot chocolate, or anything that your family enjoys. Often on vacation, you may try new adventures like jet skiing, snorkeling, snowboarding, or any other type of vacation fun. Unfortunately, we don’t often consider that accidents can happen anywhere, even on vacation.  Armed with information and a few necessities like your family health insurance cards, your auto insurance card (whether you are driving your own car or renting a car) along with shorts and sun block, can reduce stress in the event of an accident.

It’s not something we want to think about when packing for a vacation. It’s likely last thing we want to think about.  However, a couple clicks of your phone and you will not have to think about it again unless it happens. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities while traveling any time, including on vacation.

BEFORE YOU GO, TAKE THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WITH YOUR PHONE:

  1. Your Family health insurance cards
  2. Lists of any family allergies
  3. Your auto insurance card

Spring break is a great time to take a trip to more open, cooler, prettier places like the beach or the mountains, or a visit with family in old hometowns or living it up on the Las Vegas Strip. Road trips are exciting, and air travel can get us their much quicker, and renting a car can save time.

An accident is likely the last thing on your mind as you prepare for your trip, and not something you want to think about. However, a little bit of knowledge can make a stressful situation, easier and not end a great vacation.  I hope to answer the most important questions you will have if you find yourself in an accident while on vacation. Whether you are driving your own car or renting a vehicle for an out-of-town vacation, the following is a list items you will want to know to be prepared in the event of an accident:

  1. Make sure the police or on-site security is called to the scene immediately. This will likely be your only opportunity to gather critical information.
  2. Take pictures of everything including the people themselves involved, the weather, the cars, the road, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, license plates, witness’s and their vehicles, any traffic signals or signs in place, the location of the accident, any article like a ride that caused injury, the floor in a slip and fall, all signs in the area.
  3. If anyone is injured, get medical help at a hospital or quick care and if you have your own health insurance, use it. Provide the medical provider all of your information and make sure to obtain any records you can while you are there.
  4. Take photos immediately of any injuries sustained such as bruising and lacerations.

TYPES OF CASES HANDLED BY HUNT LAW OFFICES

  • Swimming pool and spa drowning accidents and slip and fall accidents.
  • Injuries due to violence caused by negligent security or inadequate security.
  • Acts of crime by employees leading to injuries including sexual assaults and assault and battery.
  • Vehicle accidents involving transportation companies or rental cars.
  • Accidents on busses and/or public transportation accidents.
  • Accidents resulting from the use of personal watercraft, jet-skis, and water ski accidents.
  • Accidents involving amusement parks, theme park rides and attractions, equipment failure or maintenance accidents at theme parks.
  • Accidents involving hotel escalators and/or elevator accidents and slip and fall accidents.
  • Scuba diving and parasailing accidents resulting from faulty equipment.

Business owners, hotel owners, rental companies, and theme parks owners who cater to vacationers have a responsibility to keep their premises safe for visitors and their attractions working properly. They must provide a safe premises, and protection from dangers. Rides and rental equipment must function as intended. Unfortunately, some vacation destinations and resorts do not pay attention to the safety measures that they are required to implement for the protection of their guests.  Due to this type of negligence, an attorney is often needed to protect your rights.  Laura Hunt, Esq. is dedicated to helping tourists and vacationers injured in accidents, find justice, while visiting Las Vegas and California.  To tell us about your case or concern, please email lhuntlaw@cox.net or call 702-600-0032 24 hours a day and on weekends.

ISSUES OF VACATION ACCIDENTS

Wherever your flight, drive or voyage may take you, an attorney can you help if you’re injured on your journey. The following is important to keep in mind:

  • State Law in Different States– An attorney can Laura Hunt, Esq. can answer questions regarding laws that vary by state including traffic laws, statutes of limitations, helmet laws, floatation device laws, etc.
  • How Does Insurance work Out of State– What happens if you’re in an auto accident in a different state – or country for that matter? What state’s insurance laws do you follow? The answer is usually yes on your own policies with certain exceptions. An experienced attorney can answer these important questions.
  • Rental Cars — With a rental, you will likely need to deal with additional paperwork. As soon as you can, you should contact the rental company and inform them of what happened. Most rental cars are equipped with a sticker in the glove box that has emergency information on it. You will usually be covered on your own auto policy and you also need to contact your own insurance company as soon as possible

WHAT ABOUT GETTING THE CAR FIXED?

To help make things easier, here is are few issues you may be faced with dealing with:

  • Your insurance may advise you to fix your car locally. An insurance company will not want to pay to have your damaged car towed to your home town. If the car is drivable, take the vehicle home for repairs.
  • The body shop may not perform quality work, so double check the work before leaving the shop. If the body shop knows you are not local, they may not give your vehicle the treatment you would receive at your local repair shop. This is why you may want to wait for repairs until you get home. Don’t let a dent ruin a vacation.

 

  • You will be responsible for picking up from the shop when repairs are done. It is not likely that the insurance company will deliver your repaired vehicle back to your home town.

 

  • Obtain a police report. Find out from the officer where the records office is and request it as soon as you get home. It usually takes 10-14 days for them to have the report ready anyway.

 

  • If repairs are necessary, find a facility with a nationwide warranty plan. If you have to have your car repaired before you can drive it home, look for a body shop that has nationwide warranty coverage. By using a body that has nationwide locations, you can avoid a problem when you get home.

 

  • If anyone calls you to take a recorded statement besides your own insurance company, do not provide a recorded statement to them. Sometimes the at fault company will try to call you right away and ask slanted questions and get you to give information that you have not received yet. They will take advantage of your stressed state.

 

Being in an automobile accident is never headache free and being in one while away from home and on vacation is even worse. Hopefully with this information, you will be able to avoid some of the headache that people experience and continue enjoying your getaway.

An accident is frightening and more difficult when you are far from home. If injuries happen, it complicates your vacation and adds stress to the entire family. If you or one of your family members is seriously injured, an attorney can take care of paper work associated with medical bills as well as all the paperwork associated a repair the vehicle.

If you or a loved one have been injured any type of accident while on vacation, an accident that was caused by the negligence of someone else, you should contact an experienced attorney about your case in addition to your insurance or rental car company.  Operators of resorts and theme parks do not always put guest safety first.  Never assume they will act in your best interest if and accident occurs and e proactive.  Follow the steps above to protect you and your loved ones.

Free Initial Legal Consultation – and We Aren’t Paid unless there is a Recovery

Hunt Law Offices has handled hundreds of auto accident, slip and fall cases, catastrophic injury cases, personal injury cases, and have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. Laura Hunt’s consultation with potential vacation accident and resort accidents clients is free. If we take your case, we are only paid fees and costs of suit if we are successful in obtaining money for you. We advance the costs of your case, too, so there’s no cost to you of bringing your claim. To tell us about your case or concern, please email us at lhuntlaw@cox.net or call 702-600-0032 24 hours a day and on weekends.

 

 

The Weather Wrecked My Car

BAD WEATHER/ BAD DAY – WHAT IF A TREE FALLS ON MY CAR OR IN MY YARD OR BAD WEATHER CAUSES A CAR ACCIDENT

Bad weather can cause more than a bad hair day or a dirty car. Strong winds, heavy rains and blowing debris can cause trees to fall and roads to become unsafe causing accidents to happen. When conditions are less than ideal, accidents occur. The most common cause of vehicle related accidents due to weather is a loss of traction. When weather conditions become inclement and the roads become wet, muddy and sandy, vehicle traction is reduced and cars have a significantly increased chance of slipping and losing control. The best way to reduce your chance of losing traction on wet roads and in windy weather conditions is to drive slower and more smoothly. Try not to follow cars too closely and avoid jamming on the gas and brakes or making sudden and violent maneuvers with the steering wheel. The best way to think of this is if you had to cross a wet floor or a skating ring in your tennis shoes, you would tread in a slow and controlled manner and very carefully.  Use those principles when driving in windy and wet road conditions.

The best option is always to try and stay home in bad weather. Unfortunately, today’s reality just does not allow for that.  Work, school activities and responsibilities take us out on the roads in bad weather.  When you cannot avoid taking the risk, there is some important information that you should know if you are involved in an accident due to the loss of traction because of wet, muddy, snowy or icy roads in Henderson Nevada or if you are involved in an accident or cause property damage as a result of bad weather due to falling trees or debris as a result of bad weather in Henderson Nevada.

Rain And Accidents

I’ll take these topics in two sections.

First what if I lose control of my car due to bad weather

If you find your car starting to skid or lose traction or what we call “hydroplane” on wet roads, don’t panic.  Hydroplaning is when a layer of water prevents direct contact between your tires and the road. Take your foot off the gas and look in front of the vehicle.  Look where you want to go and gently and carefully steer the vehicle in that direction.  Apply very light brake pressure only if it is needed. Once the vehicle is traveling in the direction that you intend to go, you can lightly apply the gas as you regain control. This is a difficult driving situation and your skill will improve with experience.  If it is possible, it is best to learn these skills by practicing in a parking lot that is empty and the conditions are controlled.  I would recommend having an experienced driver teach you how to recover from a skid.  The most important thing to remember in these situations is not to panic and look in front of the vehicle and continue to steer the vehicle where you want to go.

Drivers sometimes have a natural inclination to look at objects they don’t want to hit and steer towards them and end up hitting the objects instead of maintaining their path. If you are able to continue looking where you want to go when you’ve lost control of a moving vehicle, you will be better able to regain control.  It is possible to regain control of the vehicle. However, if an accident occurs as a result of bad weather conditions in Henderson Nevada, the most important thing in any accident that occurs for any reason is to make sure that everyone in your vehicle is OK.  You should immediately call 911 to reach police and emergency medical personnel after any accident. Regardless of whether or not anyone appears severely injured, emergency personnel should be summoned to the scene.  Head injuries or internal injuries often cannot be observed immediately, and medical personnel are trained to detect these life-threatening injuries.  It is important not to panic, but to be calm and controlled and assist others.  Speak clearly when contacting emergency personnel to give them your location and the information that they need.

People often ask who pays for my damages if I am the only one involved in the accident

If you are the only car involved in the accident, you should call your insurance company as soon as you have arrived at safety and the parties in your vehicle have been treated and are safe. Use your cell phone to take pictures of your vehicle, the roadway and the surrounding areas. You will have to make a claim for the damage to your vehicle on your collision insurance. Unfortunately, you will be responsible for your deductible even though bad weather conditions caused you to lose control of your car.  An experienced attorney can help you fully recover your vehicle damage, and often there is coverage available for your injuries.  With 8 years experience working for insurance companies, and the past 8 years spent helping victims of accidents recover their property damage and money for their injuries, I can help you if you have an accident as a result of bad weather conditions.

If a Tree Falls on My House or Car, Am I Covered?

Sometimes it takes just one good storm to topple what was once a sturdy tree in your yard or at a business. Once the storm is over, a lawyer can assist you to determine which insurance will help pay for the cost of removing the branches and repairing damage if the tree fell on your home or car.

Whether your homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for fallen trees typically depends on a number of factors, such as what caused the tree to fall and what kind of damage resulted. Which coverage will cover your car will depend on whose tree fell on your vehicle and why.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about trees and insurance.

If the tree was otherwise healthy and toppled due to wind, a typical homeowners insurance policy will likely pay to repair damage to your home or other structure on your property, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says.  Be aware of deductibles.

Q: If a tree falls on my own property, will my own homeowner’s policy pay the damages?

A: This question depends on the facts.  A homeowner’s insurance policy generally protects your home against stated causes of loss, defined as perils. “Covered perils” are generally inclusive of wind damage.  Therefore, the reason that the tree to fell is important. If the tree was in good condition at the time of the storm and fell due to wind, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy will likely cover the damages to your home or other structure on your property, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says.

If the tree was rotting before the accident, the homeowners insurance usually won’t cover the damage because they will claim it is a maintenance issue. If you have sustained a large loss and the insurance company claims it is a maintenance issue, you should call a lawyer before the tree is removed and take a large number of photos of the downed tree including roots.

Q: What if my tree fell on my neighbor’s car?

A: Generally, the owner of the fallen tree is not responsible for the damage unless he negligently maintained the tree.  If your tree falls on your neighbor’s vehicle, your neighbor’s vehicle auto insurance should pay the claim if your neighbor carries comprehensive coverage. If your neighbor’s tree falls on your car, your comprehensive coverage applies.

Q: What happens if the tree was on someone else’s property?

A: If you have damage because of someone else’s tree, the Insurance Information Institute (III) states your homeowners insurance will likely cover the damage to covered property.

 

Q: Am I responsible if my tree falls on my neighbor’s property?

A: You are only responsible if the tree was negligently maintained usually meaning rotting and not previously removed.  That would make you a contributing factor to the tree falling down and negligent.  Otherwise, your neighbor will have to file a claim through their own insurance.

Q: Does homeowners’ insurance cover removing tree after it has fallen?

  1. Usually, only if the tree damaged property. If the tree fell without causing damage to a structure on your property, insurance won’t likely cover the cost of removing the debris. Insurance Information Institute (III) says.
Rain And Accidents

Las Vegas Traffic Statistics

Las Vegas remains the most populous city in Clark County, Nevada and features numerous attractions that attract a large influx of visitors. The heavy usage of major roadways by locals and guests alike causes the majority of motor vehicle collisions in the state. Continue reading

What to Do When Involved In a Slip and Fall Accident

Knowing what to do after you’re involved in a slip and fall accident can help you successfully bring a case against the liable party. Continue reading

Common Causes of Car Crashes in Las Vegas

Car accidents are a concern no matter where you live or travel, but sometimes certain factors cause car crashes more than others in an area. Here are some of the most common causes of car crashes in Las Vegas. Continue reading