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HOW MUCH CAN MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER CHARGE ME?

TOP THREE THINGS TO KNOW WHEN HIRING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY

  • Are the fees capped in my state like they are in NV and CA
  • Call several attorneys to compare rates before hiring
  • Cheaper is usually not better. Do your research, know the law.

In 2004, Nevada, pursuant to Ballot question No. 3, implemented a statutory limitation on attorney’s fees in medical malpractice as a result of the tort reform bill that was passed into law by a vote upon of the people. NRS 7.095 prescribes the statutory allowable fees that attorneys can charge in medical malpractice cases. Therefore, the state legislature has determined what a reasonable fee is for a medical malpractice case.  Courts in California have consistently and uniformly held that even with a valid, agreed upon, non-disputed waiver in place, the statutory provision regarding attorney’s fees is not waivable or “voidable.”  An extensive review of the California decisions on this issue reveals the courts have consistently held that a comprehensive and extensive writing waiving the statutory fee limitation is still insufficient to void the statute.  In fact, they have consistently ruled that the statute is not “voidable.”

NEVADA LAW REGARDING ATTORNEYS FEES FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

In Nevada, the State Legislature added NRS 7.095 to the Nevada Revised Statutes in 2004 pursuant to the passage of Ballot Question No. 3 passed on November 4, 2004, which states as follows:

NRS 7.095  Limitations on contingent fees for representation of persons in certain actions against providers of health care.

  1.   An attorney shall not contract for or collect a fee contingent on the amount of recovery for representing a person seeking damages in connection with an action for injury or death against a provider of health care based upon professional negligence in excess of:

               (a) Forty percent of the first $50,000 recovered;

            (b) Thirty-three and one-third percent of the next $50,000 recovered;

            (c) Twenty-five percent of the next $500,000 recovered; and

                (d) Fifteen percent of the amount of recovery that exceeds $600,000.

            2.  The limitations set forth in subsection 1 apply to all forms of recovery, including, without limitation, settlement, arbitration and judgment.

3.  For the purposes of this section, “recovered” means the net sum recovered by the plaintiff after deducting any disbursements or costs incurred in connection with the prosecution or settlement of the claim. Costs of medical care incurred by the plaintiff and general and administrative expenses incurred by the office of the attorney are not deductible disbursements or costs.

              4.  As used in this section:

            (a) “Professional negligence” means a negligent act or omission to act by a provider of health care in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death. The term does not include services that are outside the scope of services for which the provider of health care is licensed or services for which any restriction has been imposed by the applicable regulatory board or health care facility.

(b) “Provider of health care” means a physician licensed under chapter 630 or 633 of NRS, dentist, registered nurse, dispensing optician, optometrist, registered physical therapist, podiatric physician, licensed psychologist, chiropractor, doctor of Oriental medicine, medical laboratory director or technician, licensed dietitian or a licensed hospital and its employees.

(Added to NRS by 2004 initiative petition, Ballot Question No. 3; A 2011, 1510)

Although the Nevada Court has not specifically addressed the attorney fee provision, they have addressed the constitutionality of the statute and repeatedly followed precedent from the mirrored statute from California that has been in force since 1975.

CALIFORNIA LAW ON LIMITING ATTORNEYS FEES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION

Although the medical malpractice reform act was not passed in Nevada until 2004, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of California (herein referred to as MICRA,) was enacted in California in 1975 by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 1975. The act was intended to lower medical malpractice liability insurance premiums and was enacted on an emergency basis to keep healthcare providers as a whole financially solvent. It was intended to lower the cost of healthcare services and make them more available.  Since MICRA was enacted nearly 40 years ago, it has been challenged on numerous occasions in the California Courts. It has repeatedly been held constitutional by the California Courts and almost all of the original MICRA legislation is still in force and effect and part of California law.

The Nevada statute is nearly identical to the California Statute.  In California, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 instead of $350,000 in Nevada.   However, the California statute limiting attorney’s fees is almost identical to Nevada’s statue. Extensive litigation has gone on in California regarding the attorney’s fees provision under the MICRA statutory scheme.   In California, plaintiffs’ attorneys can receive 40% of the first $50,000 recovered, 33 1/3% of the next $50,000 recovered, 25% of the next $500,000 recovered, and 15% of any amount recovered in excess of $600,000 under Business and Professions Code section 6146.

A RAND report issued estimates that as a result of MICRA, defendants’ liabilities were reduced by 30%.  However, between 1985 and 1988 malpractice premiums actually rose 47% in California. After 1988 insurance premiums in California experienced a decrease which was a result of proposition 103. It was voted into law in 1988 at section 1861.01 of the California insurance code and explicitly required a rollback of insurance premiums by 20%.

www.consumerwatchdog.org/documents/1008.pdf   ) ( March 7, 2003)

New challenges were raised to MICRA by the plaintiffs’ bar after proposition 103 was enacted claiming that MICRA was outdated legislation and that the problem of increased premiums was resolved by proposition 103. The courts repeatedly declined to rollback or limit MICRA’S provisions after the enactment of proposition 103.  (Cal Ins. Code Sec. 1861.01)

Nevada Origination of the Statute

Seeing the alleged success of this legislation in reducing insurance premiums for medical writers in California, other states started to follow suit. Nevada placed Question No. 3 on the ballot in 2004 and on November 4, 2004, it was ratified by a 60% majority of Nevada voters.  Question No. 3 set a maximum schedule for attorney’s fees and capped non-economic damages at $350,000. The question, known as the KODIN initiative for keep our doctors in Nevada, was promoted by pointing to an alleged trend of Nevada doctors fleeing the state for states with lower malpractice premiums like California. To counter this legislation the Nevada plaintiffs’ bar put Questions No. 4 and 5 on the same ballot.  Both were defeated in the election and the statutory scheme was voted into law by the Nevada public and became law in the state in 2004.

NEVADA CASE LAW

In Tam vs. The Eight Judicial District Court, 131 Nev., Advance Opinion No. 66346, (2015) the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of NRS 41A.035 (2004).  In the Tam case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus on behalf of Dr. Tam challenging the district court’s ruling the state statute was unconstitutional in medical malpractice actions. In the opinion which is decided on a writ, the Nevada Supreme Court resolved three primary issues related to the statute:

  • Whether the statue violates a Plaintiff’s right to a trial by jury;
  • Whether the cap applies separately to each cause of action;
  • Whether the statute applies to medical malpractice actions.

The Supreme Court held that the district court erred in finding the statute was unconstitutional on the basis that it violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to trial by jury.  The court further held that the district court erred when it found that the statutory cap applied per plaintiff and per defendant. Finally, the Supreme Court also concluded that the District Court erred when it found the statute applied only to professional negligence and not medical malpractice.

The underlying facts of the case involved the death of Charles Thomas Cornell, Jr.  an action brought by his wife Sherry Cornell, the real party in interest. Mr. Charles had multiple medical conditions and he passed away after being released from the hospital and alleged he was not prescribed medications and further care to treat his diabetes.  Suit was filed against numerous defendants after Mr. Cornell‘s death.  Relevant to the opinion was the writ of mandamus filed regarding the ruling on Defendant’s omnibus motion in limine.  The motion filed by Dr. Tam requested that non-economic damages be limited to $350,000 pursuant to the statute NRS 41 8.035. The District Court denied the motion finding the statute was unconstitutional and violated Plaintiff’s constitutional right to a trial by jury.  The District Court, also held that the statutory cap did not apply to the case as a whole and that a separate cap applies for  each plaintiff  and for each of the defendants. In addition, the District Court found the cap did not apply to medical malpractice claims. Based on that motion in limine, relief under a writ of mandamus was sought and granted.

Among other things, the Supreme Court held that for a statute to violate the right to jury trial, it must make the right practically unavailable. They relied upon Barrett vs Baird 111 Nev. 1496, 1502, 908 P 2d 689, 694 (1995) The Supreme Court acknowledged that jurisdictions disagree on whether statutory damages caps violate the right to a trial by jury.   They stated that they have previously found that a statutory limit on damages does not infringe on the plaintiff’s constitutional right.

In Arnesano vs State Department of Transportation 113 Nev. 815, 819, 942 P 2d 139, 142, (1997), the court relied upon the case of Martinez vs Maruszczak, 123 Nev. 433, 168 P. 3d 720 (2007) and held that “it is not the role of a jury to determine the legal consequences of its factual findings… That is a matter for the legislature. “ Id at 819-820, 942 P. 2d at 152 quoting Boyd vs Bulala 877 F. 2d 1191, 1196 (4th Cir. 1989). The Nevada Supreme Court looked to California for guidance.   This issue has been decided in California in addressing the constitutionality of the statutory cap on non-economic damages in cases involving healthcare provider’s professional negligence. In Citing Yates vs Pollock, 239 Cal Rpt. 383, 385 (Ct. App 1987) the court concluded “that such an argument is merely an indirect attack upon the legislatures power to place a cap on damages. The Yates court noted  that while the statute could possibly result in a lower judgment of the jury’s award, “the  legislature retains broad control over the measure of damages a defendant is obligated to pay and that a plaintiff is entitled to receive… and it may expand or limit recoverable damages so long as it’s action is rationally related to legitimate state interest.“  Yates at 385–386

The Nevada Supreme Court  in Tam went on to state that “consistent with our prior holding in Arensano and persuasive case law from California, “we conclude that NRS 41A.035 does not interfere with the jury in their factual findings because it takes affect only after the jury has made its assessment of damages and that  it does not implicate a plaintiff’s right to trial by jury.”

The court went on to hold that the statute also did not violate equal protection rights and also relied on California holdings on this issue.  The court further held that “we do not look beyond the language of the statute if it is clear on its face“ citing  Beazer Homes Nevada Inc. vs Eighth Judicial District Court 120 Nev. 575, 579, 97 P. 3d 1132, 1135, (2004.) In this instance, the Tam decision did not address the attorney fee portion of the statute, NRS 7.095, although  the provision is very clear on its face.

Also discussed by the Supreme Court in the Tam decision is the legislative history which they acknowledged discusses a comparison between the Nevada statute and California’s analogous statute noting “that NRS 41A.035 is similarly per incident not per claimant, and not per doctor.” The court also held that “the official explanation to ballot question No. 3 stated that the previous statute provided that a person seeking damages in a medical malpractice action is limited to recovering $350,000 in non-economic damages from each defendant and  the proposal, if passed,  would limit the recovery of non-economic damages to $350,000 per action”  (Citing Nevada ballot questions 2004, question No. 3, explanation at 14 available at HTTPS://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/VoteNV/BallotQuestions/2004.pdf2004.  )

The court in Tam went on to state “the intent behind the statute is further evidenced by the legislature is discussion of recent amendments to NRS 41A.035, indicating that the purpose of the 2004 amendments was to clarify that the cap for non-economic damages is intended to apply per action. “ (See Hearing on SB 292 before the Senate Judiciary Comm, 78th Leg. (Nev., March 26, 2015). It is clear from this decision that the Nevada Supreme Court found this legislation to be constitutional. It is also clear that they looked to California for guidance in mirroring their statute and will likely look to California for guidance in its further application.

As attorneys, the people sitting next to us are the clients we are here to protect.   Their rights are paramount.  It is our duty as lawyers to advise them and to counsel them to allow them to knowingly make decisions that affect the outcome of their cases.  Lawyers are charged with the ethical duty of advising their clients of the law in many situations.   Whether it’s a plea agreement in a criminal matter, whether it’s a bankruptcy, whether it’s this case where the statute at issue was voted on by the people and enacted into law, it is the responsibility of counsel to explain to clients that the law allows them to make decisions for the outcome of their case.

Although the supreme court in the state of Nevada has not ruled on this specific attorney fee issue under the reform statute, the ruling in the Tam case is clear that they find the statutory provisions to be constitutional. The Nevada Supreme Court has  looked to our sister state of California in reviewing the constitutionality of the Nevada act’s provisions, which mirrors the California legislation. It is important for attorneys to be clear and accurate in advising clients of their rights.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, we take the time to meet with every client and take pride in explaining the law and their options in detail.  I operate a small, boutique law firm specializing in giving personal representation to each client.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of poor medical care, call our office immediately.  We can 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 Payne-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 Payne 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.

TOP 10 MISTAKES INJURED VICTIMS MAKE WHEN SEEKING MEDICAL CARE AFTER AN ACCIDENT

  • Victims Wait too long to obtain medical care
  • Missing medical appointments
  • Guessing about facts of the accident when asked by their doctor
  • Not being honest or accurate about their health history
  • Down playing injuries or trying to be tough
  • Not telling the doctor about all of their symptoms
  • Not cooperating with their doctor
  • Not keeping written documentation
  • Stopping treatment too soon
  • Telling the insurance company about their injuries prematurely

Our office has been representing injury victims since 2004.  Since that time, Laura Payne Hunt has helped hundreds of clients obtain money for the injuries they sustained.   Based on this experience, I have witnessed how accident victims can unintentionally ruin their own case because of the things they say and do during doctor visits or their failure to attend such visits. I am providing this short condensed list to help victims seeking care for their injuries.  Most people have never had to make a claim and are unprepared for the medical history and care that must be diligent and accurate to serve your best interests.  The number one matter is HONESTY HONEST HONESTY.  You must provide every provider with an accurate history to the best of your ability.  An honest oversight can result in a challenge to your credibility at a later time.  Therefore, even if you forget something at one appointment, it will never be too late to advise your doctor to add your omission to the records at a later time. Remember that everything

you say and your actions at your doctor’s office (or other medical providers) is likely to be documented in your medical records. Therefore, you should understand that your medical records are going to wind up in the hands of the insurance company or lawyer defending your personal injury claim. For that reason, you should be aware of the mistakes that can adversely affect your legal claim and the following is a list of the most common:

 

1). Seek medical attention right away for your injuries.

 

It is extremely important that your injury is documented as close to the time of accident as possible. If you are involved in an accident and you are feeling pain or other symptoms after the accident, it is extremely important that you go to the hospital or quick care or your family doctor to be checked out immediately. With prompt care you will get better medical attention and your injuries will be better documented.  I have often heard clients say “well I want to just wait and see if it goes away.”  In the normal setting this might not be a bad plan. However, if it does not go away and you do not seek treatment the  insurance company will argue that some other intervening cause is the reason that you were having pain or that your pain must have not been that significant if you waited to get medical attention. It is the oldest argument in the book from the defense and one that they make time and time again. So if you are involved in an accident and is not your fault, meaning someone else is responsible for injuries and pain, it is important to document that injury immediately to prove that it is causally related to the accident that you were involved in with that third-party.

 

2) Do not miss medical appointments for the injuries you sustained an accident

 

Another issue that the insurance company will look for immediately in your records is whether you missed appointments on any regular basis. They will argue that skipping a doctor’s appointment meant that you were not feeling pain that day. We all know that life intervenes and that there are hundreds of reasons that you could not attend an appointment, including, work family commitments etc. However, the insurance company will not see it this way. If you have to reschedule appointment be diligent in rescheduling around your personal commitments. At our law office we are very conscious of our clients’ needs and we will find medical providers that will work with your schedule and provide after hours appointments or even the weekend appointments to accommodate your daily life.

 

3) Give an accurate accident history to the doctor of only facts that you know.

 

An accident is a trying, frustrating, scary event that happens in seconds. It is very difficult to know or understand all of the exact movements that happened to your body or even sometimes how the impact occurred in complex, multivehicle crashes. Tell the doctor what you know factually to the best of your recollection but do not guess about things you do not know. For example, I’ve often had clients tell doctors an unreasonable rate of speed of the accident occurred at such as 80 miles an hour. Realistically, I think most people understand it if you were hit at 80 miles an hour in the vehicle, it would be unlikely that you would have survived. But people just know that it was hard and it was violent and it happened very quickly.  So when asked to describe the accident simply state the facts that you recall and are firm in your memory. For example: “I was rear ended by another vehicle.” Or “The accident was hard.” Or “I don’t know what happened to my body inside the car.”  Again, these medical records will wind up in the defense hands and they will scrutinize everything you told the doctor.  They will do their best to challenge your credibility or recall of the events. Therefore, it is important that the information that you tell your doctor for the basis of your care is accurate. If that information is incorrect, they will argue that your care was not related to the accident because it is based on false allegations

 

4) Be honest about your medical history with your doctor

 

Doctors and hospitals will take a complete medical history when they are providing care. It is important that you are accurate in describing any past injuries or accidents or illnesses or surgeries that you have had in the past. The reason for this is that we can always explain all of your medical history and how it is or is not related to an accident. However, we cannot explain missing information and that will make you appear as though you were lying to your doctor. With many years of experience, I completely understand that people forget things or don’t recall things that happened to them when they’re in a stressful situation. If you forget information at the time you’re asked, it is never too late to tell your doctor “I forgot to tell you I broke my wrist 10 years ago” or “oh, I forgot to tell you I had knee surgery two years ago.”  It is important that those things are documented in the record. Clients often state “well I didn’t think it was relevant.”  It may not be relevant to the accident injuries that you sustain but it is important to know that is relevant to your credibility. And your whole case will always rest upon your credibility. The insurance company will immediately start to tear down your credibility from the first time that you make the claim. They are not on your side and they will use anything they can to diminish the value of your claim.

 

5) Do not talk to your doctor about the financial part of your claim.

 

It is not appropriate or necessary for your medical care to tell your doctor that you hope to get a certain amount of money from your claim or that you need money as a result of your injuries from the accident. That is a discussion to have with your attorney, not your doctor. Doctor’s records are part of the case and they are not privileged in a legal action. They are not available to the public and you have a right of privacy, but if you file a legal claim all of those privacy rights are waived because those records are needed to support your claim. Any financial questions you have about your claim should be directed to your attorney and discussed with your attorney and not with your medical providers

 

6) Not telling the doctor about all of their symptoms.

Tell your doctor about all of your pain and any life disruptions it causes.

One of the biggest mistakes that we’ve had over the years with clients is that they want to appear tough or they do not want to appear as a whiner or complainer. Sometimes people just resolve themselves to having pain and  don’t want to discuss the details of how that pain impacts their life to their doctor. It is important that your doctor understands what you are going through so that he can give you the proper treatment. If you choose to “tough it out”, that will impact your claim and diminish the value.  This is because what you are truly going through and the pain you are having will not be documented.   As a result, the insurance company will find you are not entitled to compensation for your symptoms that are not documented. What you tell your doctor is crucial to determining the value of your claim. That is because a personal injury action is tied to the amount of personal injury that a person sustained. You can see this by imagining yourself on a jury. If someone comes to the courthouse and testifies that five days later they were pain-free and back to the regular activity, it would be likely that you would not compensate them in a large manner. If someone comes to the courthouse four years later they are still limping and they are still unable to conduct their necessary daily activities, that case has a much different value.

 

7) You must cooperate with your doctors during the claim.

 

Another issue we have with clients is that they don’t want to go to doctors’ appointments. Doctors work together and different doctors treat different parts of the body and different injuries. Your family doctor may refer you to a pain management doctor or to an orthopedic doctor when your pain is not getting better. The chiropractor may refer you back to your family doctor when he feels that you are not improving as he would like. Complex claims involve complex medical treatment. It is important that you follow the advice of your doctor in following up with additional providers if they are recommended.

 

8)  Keep your records that you are sent.

 

If you receive any type of billing or medical records it is very important that you keep those in the file. Any receipts you receive from doctors from your appointments, any discharge information from the hospital, etc. should be kept. All paperwork that relates to your injuries you should keep in the file. This can make it much easier to track down all of your medical bills and records when they are needed. Often times a hospital visit will result in 3 to 5 bills.  For example, radiology and emergency care will be billed separately. It is important you keep a file with all of those bills so that all of the records can be obtained to support your personal injury claim

 

 

 

9) Do not stop treatment until you are discharged by your doctor.

 

Your doctor will decide when you have reached what is called “maximum medical improvement.”  That means they will provide treatment and care and referral treatment and care until they feel that your medical needs have been met and that you are stable.  If you stop treatment on your own without consulting your doctor, the insurance company will immediately argue that you were better or that you failed to mitigate your damages because you did not complete your treatment as required by the doctor.  In addition, if you are still having pain they will discount the pain because you did not finish your treatment. Therefore, it is very important to communicate well with your treating doctor and agree that you are ready to conclude your medical care for the accident

 

10) Never talk to the other insurance company with a lawyer

 

It has become a common practice recently for insurance companies to call an injured victim within days, sometimes hours of an accident. We have even had cases where insurance adjusters have met injured victims at the hospital to try to elicit statements from them. Do not talk to anyone following an accident who is not a doctor, family member, or a lawyer that you retained. Clients are often disoriented, upset and stressed after the accident. Insurance companies will attempt to leverage this stress in their favor. They will call you and ask you about your injuries on a recorded line and clients often will say oh they are feeling better or they don’t know. But it turns out they actually have fractured ribs and they were trying to tough it out. Nothing can hurt you in any legal setting more than your own words. It is important that you choose carefully who you speak to regarding any injuries you sustained. The insurance companies can be extremely unscrupulous and leading in obtaining statements from victims

 

If you or a loved one is injured call our office immediately.  We can 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 Payne 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 Payne 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.

 

TOP 10 INSURANCES COVERAGES TO REVIEW FOR 2019

Take a moment to review and understand your policies, including your:

  • Auto Liability coverage
  • Auto Property damage coverage
  • Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Rental Car Coverage
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • Insurance for Off-road Vehicles and Boats
  • Health Insurance

Happy New Year to all of our client’s, colleagues and vendors! We look forward to a prosperous year working together. The New Year brings an opportunity to change old habits and review our finances.  It is always good to take a moment to reflect and prepare for the upcoming year.

Hence, now is a good time to take a look at the insurance policies that you have in place as well as any needs or changes that you may have coming up in the coming year.  These may include new babies, new drivers, new homes, home improvement, new cars, physical challenges etc. Insurance covers almost every aspect of our lives and it is important to know what coverages you have before it is too late to change them in a time of need. Below is a list of what I consider to be the top 10 most important issues to look at when reviewing the most common types of insurance coverages:

1) Auto Insurance Liability Coverage: This is the coverage that protects you in the event that you are involved in an at fault accident and get sued by another driver. Often times people look for the least expensive coverage and accidents occur and they get sued.  At that time they find out they don’t have enough coverage to protect their assets. It is important to know that if your insurance is not sufficient to compensate someone who is injured by you in an accident, they can seek recovery against your personal assets including your home and bank accounts. It is important to renew your insurance coverage and make sure that your limits protect your assets. For example if you own a home and you have $100,000 in equity in your home, you really should have insurance liability coverage in the amount of 100/300 (meaning $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.)

2) Property Damage Coverage: The state minimum for property damage in Nevada is $20,000. This means that if you have a state minimum policy and you crash into a Lamborghini by glancing at your cell phone and running a light, you will be personally liable for the property damage in excess of $20,000 done to that vehicle. It is extremely important that your property damage limits reflect the city that you live in and are sufficient to cover some of the more expensive vehicles on the road in the event that you are an accident involving one of those types of vehicles.  In fact, almost every new vehicle on the road has a value of over $20,000.00.

3). Underinsured Motorist Coverage: (UM/UIM) This is automobile coverage on your policy that you pay for that covers you for personal injuries and medical bills in the event that the other driver either has a very small policy and cannot cover your bills or has no insurance at all. If you are in an accident that is not your fault, it is not automatic that you will recover damages. You can only recover what the other driver has for insurance or assets.  If the other driver has no insurance and no assets, you could be stuck for your own medical bills through no fault of your own. It is important to contact your agent or go online to look at your policy and make sure that you have underinsured motorist coverage to cover you in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver. On any average given day in Nevada, statistics show that 10% to 15% of all drivers on the road are not insured. Don’t let yourself be victimized twice by getting into an accident and getting into an accident with an uninsured driver.

4) Medical Payments Coverage: This is coverage that you pay a very minimal amount for on your policy that provides immediate funds for medical bills that come in following a car accident. People often assume that the other drivers insurance policy will start paying your bills right away. Unfortunately, it does not work this way. They will not pay you until you have fully recovered and can make a total claim for your injuries. However, you may have ambulance and  hospital bills coming in in the meantime. This is where medical payments coverage can help cover you and prevent those bills from going to collections by paying those bills immediately. This is an often overlooked coverage that can provide great comfort and relief in the event that you are involved in an accident

5) Rental Car Coverage: Again, it is very important that you have rental car coverage on your own policy. If you are in an accident and have rental coverage your company will put you in a rental vehicle immediately. The other side will have to investigate and often wait for the police report or to talk to their own insured who is often not cooperative. If you do not have rental insurance coverage on your own policy you may have to wait a week to two weeks to be put into a rental car by the other driver or come out of pocket yourself and hope to be reimbursed. Having your own rental car coverage can protect you and your family and allow you to conduct your life as needed including going to work and driving kids to school following an accident.  Also, there are different types of rental coverage offered as to types of vehicles allowed and time allowed, so determine which coverage works best for you and your family.

6) Homeowners Insurance: It is always a good idea to review your homeowners policy on all properties that you own at the beginning of the year. Make sure that the values reflected in your declarations page adequately reflect your home’s value and any improvements you have made. For example if you have substantially remodeled your home and not reviewed your homeowners policy, your policy may not cover certain improvements that you made because they were not included when you purchased the policy.  Take a moment to review your declarations page and make sure it’s consistent with the value of your home at this time. Also, if you have purchased substantial jewelry or any other valuable electronics over and above the average allowance on the homeowners policy, you will want to add that to your policy. Do not wait until it is too late and you have suffered a loss to review these coverages.

7) Life Insurance: Make sure your life insurance policies are up-to-date and reflect the needs of your family. Sometimes people obtain these policies and additional children are born and policies in place are insufficient to take care of the family in the event of a tragedy. Be sure to take a moment to know what your coverages are and make sure they are sufficient to protect your family.

8) Renters Insurance:  Often times people do not even think of this coverage or they assume that their landlord will be liable for the loss of their personal possessions. This is not the case. If you are renting a home or an apartment and a fire or other disaster were to break out causing loss of the property, your personal items would not be covered. For this reason, it is important that you look into renters insurance to cover all of your personal belongings in a rental property in the event of a disaster.

9) Insurance for Off-road Vehicles and Boats: We have found in our practice that people often do not think of ensuring their boats or ATVs. Or they assume they are covered on a policy they already have. That is generally not the case. If you have purchased ATVs, four wheelers including Razors, Rhinos, Rangers, etc., these can be expensive off-road vehicles that need to be insured independently. This is the same for boats, jet skis and any other recreational vehicle you may own.

10) Health Insurance: This is a difficult subject and policies are all over the board on this. Most people don’t understand their policy or coverages. If you are fortunate to work for a corporation and have insurance through your company, you may want to contact HR if you have any events coming up such as major surgeries or childbirth to review your coverages. If you are purchasing health insurance, it is a vast sea of inequality and you will need to make sure that you review any potential policy closely. In our practice, we have unfortunately seen people taken advantage of time and again by “health insurance companies” who charge money for “Policy“ and the policy covers almost nothing. Do your research and make sure you understand what your coverages are getting before you purchase any type of health insurance policy independently.

If you or a loved one has a question about your insurance coverages, please don’t hesitate to call our office.  Also, 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 Payne 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 Payne 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.

 

 

DO YOU REALLY WAIVE YOUR CLAIM FOR INJURY EVERY TIME YOU SIGN ONE OF THOSE WAIVER FORMS FOR ACTIVITIES?????

COMMOM ACTIVITY WAIVERS

  • Bounce Houses
  • Skiing
  • Trampoline Parks
  • Go Carts

Ever notice that you don’t sign a “waiver” at Disneyland but you do at the local fun house.  You’re signing your kids  up for a bounce house birthday party and you are trying to read a contract while kids are running wildly with excitement.  Looking at the language it generally says you can’t sue the venue for any reason, regardless of what happens to you or your child. Even if your child is hurt and the venue and its employees were clearly at fault.  You don’t want to sign but you also don’t want to tell  your kids, then have to sit and watch everyone else bounce and bounce?  You ask yourself –Is this really legal?   This type of Liability waiver is becoming a prerequisites to participation for more and more activities at various venues. Sometimes
agreements like these are labeled a variety of ways like release, hold harmless agreement, waiver of rights, indemnification agreement, or covenant not to sue.
However they are labeled, they are all trying to get you to sign away your right to sue the
organizer of the event or the venue. Most of these waivers state “you agree not to sue” for any injuries sustained.

 

Three important rules for Liability Waivers to be enforceable in Nevada are:

  • The Waiver must be clear in its language and wording and unambiguous in its intent. It must be understandable by the average person;

 

  • The Waiver must be clear and prominently labeled as a waiver and must not contain fine print and must be specific as to the right being waived;

 

 

  • The Waiver must be signed by the person who it is being used against;

 

  • The Waiver is not enforceable against the rights of a minor child;

 

However, a business or venue  cannot dodge liability for the acts of its employees that are  grossly negligent. Gross negligence is a legal standard that describes reckless and/or careless behavior of the business entity.  For example, a go cart operation might commit gross negligence by failing to properly maintain their vehicles causing one to catch on fire and injure a patron.  A waiver also cannot shield a business owner  from liability for “willful misconduct.”  If an employee or representative of a business intentionally injures someone, the waiver alone won’t protect the business from liability for such injuries.

Because liability waivers can be valid in certain circumstances, customers and consumers should read them carefully.   Business owners must also draft clear and specific waivers as to the risks they are requiring customers to waive. In order to prevail in a claim where a liability waiver was signed, you should contact an attorney immediately.  You will need to establish that the organizer of the event or the owner of the venue committed “gross negligence” that caused your injury.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC we can review the facts to determine if there was recklessness or an act that was intentionally committed by the owner or organizer.   Often, this may require an expert witness or an accident reconstructionist be retained right away.  A review of the establishment’s safety and maintenance  records can often yield this information as well.

 

If you or a loved one is injured at any place of business after signing a waiver of liability of any kind, a trampoline park, a bounce house, go carts or any amusement activity or at any time, call our office immediately.  We can 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 Payne 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 Payne 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.

Halloween Safety Tips – Please keep our kids safe this Halloween

Here’s a frightening statistic: Children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

“Trick or Treat!”…are the words spouted with joy by thousands children every Halloween. It’s the holiday for costumes, candy, tricks and treats. But ghosts, vampires and monsters aren’t the only things to be wary of this Halloween. Accidents and unfortunate mishaps increase dramatically on this traditional evening of whimsical fun.  It is important to avoid potential risks and dangers.  The following are some safety measures to keep children from being injured while out trick-or-treating:

  • Always trick or treat with an adult. Don’t allow a child to go outside alone.
  • Accompany children to the door of every house they approach.
  • Stay outside. Do not enter a home or apartment without adult supervision.
  • Children should not approach any vehicle, occupied or not.
  • Remain visible. Wear bright clothing or use reflective strips on costumes. Carry a glow stick or flashlight.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations. Look both ways before crossing, walk on sidewalks, and obey traffic signals and stop signs. Always walk; never run across streets or lawns.
  • Trick or Treat at friendly homes. Children should be warned to never approach a house that is not well lit and does not have a porch light or outside light on.
  • Do not go onto a property that is marked “Keep Out”, “No Trespassing”, and “No Solicitors Allowed”.
  • Never eat any candy until an adult checks it. Dispose of anything that seems to have been tampered with, has been opened, or isn’t wrapped.
  • Children should immediately report to their parents and/or law enforcement if they see or experience anything suspicious. Instruct children to shout for help and make a scene if anyone tries to grab them or force them into involuntary situations.
  • A great alternative to trick or treating is for parents to attend community trick or treat events or organize at-home parties.

 

If you or a loved one is injured on Halloween or at any time, 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 Payne 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 Payne 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.

Top 10 Bizarre Laws that slash the fun on Halloween – But not in Henderson, Nevada Fortunately

Halloween is a holiday that has been celebrated by kids and adults for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, some jurisdictions in the United States have laws that limit specific aspects of the celebration. Fortunately in Nevada, no such crazy laws exist to prohibit trick-or-treating. In fact, there are many great ways to celebrate Halloween in Nevada including the following events:

2018 Las Vegas Halloween Events

  • 2018 FrightFest at the Fremont Experience. Fremont Street turns into a monster party during the Halloween season. …
  • Halloween Under The Dome. …
  • TREAT STREET at Downtown Summerlin. …
  • Haunted Harvest at Springs Preserve. …
  • Haunted Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas. …
  • Container Park Halloween weekend.

Please watch for our upcoming blog for safety tips to stay safe and have a great time this Halloween.

Even though Henderson does not have restrictive Halloween laws, may cities have crazy Halloween laws.  One city even has a ban on silly string! There are some places that even outlaw trick-or-treating on Sundays! There are some bizarre laws throughout the United States and even the world which allegedly try to “protect the public”. Unfortunately, they do put a damper on the holiday spirit. The following are some of the more humorous or interesting laws that can be found governing the holiday:

TOP TEN WEIRD HALLOWEEN LAWS

  • No masks for the grownups in Illinois. The small town of Belleville, Illinois has many regulations regarding trick-or-treating including a ban on masks for any person over the age of 12. They also have laws limiting trick-or-treating to children in the eighth grade and under. Sadly, that would’ve put a real damper on our teenage fun. Which, by the way, teenagers are still considered children under the law. They also have a law that trick-or-treating can only go on between 5:00 PM and 8:30 PM. In addition, they actually have a legal definition for trick-or-treating which states “Halloween solicitation shall mean seeking or obtaining gifts, food, candy or contributions of money, as is customarily and commonly known as trick or treat in the celebration of Halloween day.“ Interesting that the state legislature actually sat and wrote down laws and voted on them for Halloween.  Maybe they did not have educational issues, economic woes, environmental hazards, or criminal regulations to address that year.2) No masks for anyone in Walnut, California, either. In Walnut, California, the law states that “no one of any age is allowed to wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit on this from the sheriff – on Halloween or for the other 364 days a year.“ That is very sad; it appears that most costumes are outlawed in the city of Walnut, California. This law was apparently passed to reduce illegal incidents during Halloween. People are required to obtain a permit to wear a mask on Halloween.  So I guess if you’re really wanted to wear that mask, head to the police station for a permit! Seriously.  Talk about bureaucracy.

http://qcode.us/codes/walnut/view.php?topic=3-3_48-3_48_200&frames=on

3) No nuns allowed in Alabama. Yes that is real. They have an ordinance in Alabama that states it is illegal to dress up as a “minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy.” This law is effective on Halloween or any other day. Seems like an infringement on your first amendment rights, however, apparently the law has not been challenged at this time. It is actually a criminal statute which is punished with a fine of up to $500 and/or a stint in the county jail for up to a year.  It appears they have very little sense of Halloween spirit in Alabama.

https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-14-4.html

4) No clowns allowed. The town of Vendargues, France has banned people from wearing clown costumes on Halloween for the entire month of November for anyone who is over the age of 13. If people wish to dress up as clowns for “fairs or other public festivities, during the ban,” they are required to get a special permit from the authorities. I guess they are quite afraid of clowns in France.

https://www.france24.com/en/20141031-french-town-bans-clown-costumes-after-terror-wave-halloween-vendargues

5) No Halloween at all! Some countries have extreme rules regarding Halloween. In Jordan, all public celebrations are banned for Halloween as of 2014. In fact the United States Embassy actually advises any United States citizens living in Jordan to “expect police reaction, including arrests at any public Halloween themed event. “ The United States Embassy went on to advice US citizens traveling from their home to a Halloween party to cover their costumes while in public or even in the car.  They are serious about not allowing Halloween in Jordan.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/10/why-has-jordan-banned-halloween/382207/

 

6) No silly string!  In Hollywood.   That’s right! In the land that one would consider the most entertainment and festival focused city, the city of Hollywood, California says it is against the law to “possess, use, sell or distribute silly string“ in public from 12:01 AM on October 31 to noon on November 1.  Violating this law can cost you $1000. They are serious about silly string in Hollywood.

http://www.lapdonline.org/october_2004/news_view/20641

7) No Teen Trick or Treating. Some jurisdictions really dampen the fun for the older kids. In Newport News, Virginia trick-or-treating but anyone but those over the age of 12 is sadly prohibited. And even if you are the legal age to trick-or-treat you cannot do so after 8 PM. There is a fine of up to $250 and punishment of a class four misdemeanor for violating these ordinances.  Talk about party poopers.  This is one of the harshest statutes I came across.   Gone are the days of endless trick-or-treating for the teens after the little kids have gone to bed in Newport News, Virginia

8) No Go on Sunday! Perhaps one of the saddest statutes is in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where trick-or-treating is prohibited on Sundays. Sadly, if trick or treat night falls on a Sunday, Halloween is moved to October 30 for trick-or-treating between 6 and 8 PM. Many children will miss out on Sunday Halloween’s in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Hopefully it is a small town and kids can go to their friend’s house outside the city to trick-or-treat on the traditional day.

9)  Not too Late! On a happy Halloween note, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada recently  enacted a law allowing children to trick-or-treat up to the age of 16 and extending the curfew to 8 PM. However, violating the curfew could cost you about $200 in fines.

10) No Sunglasses!  In Dublin, Georgia, it is just illegal to go out in public wearing a mask, sunglasses or any other type of accessory that covers your face. Seriously? This law was put in place allegedly to reduce mischief on Halloween. I think it just reduces the fun. If you live in Dublin, Georgia, again hopefully you can go to your neighbors nearby and trick-or-treat in a less restrictive venue.

Fortunately in Nevada, no such crazy laws exist to prohibit trick-or-treating. Please watch for our upcoming blog for safety tips to stay safe and have a great time this Halloween.

 

As your family heads out for a fun Halloween of trick or treating, The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt wishes you a safe and fun holiday.   Please keep your children safe by staying with them and watching for traffic.  If you must be out on the roadway, please drive with extreme caution and watch for children, parents and pets out on the streets taking part in traditional Halloween fun.  This is all our community here in Henderson, Nevada and we would like to see a safe and fun Holiday for everyone.

If you or a loved one is ever 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 Payne 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 Payne 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.

Top 5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Experience – LAURA PAYNE HUNT’S EXPERIENCE and insight is the key difference in knowing how to settle, when to settle and for how much.  If you don’t know what to do next, call The Law Office of Laura Payne Hunt and let us help you get the Medical Treatment and Legal Advice you need and deserve.

 

Accessibility – As a small practice with a consistent staff we are able to treat our clients like friends and family and be there to hear their concerns. My secretary, Peggy has been with me for many years and she is extraordinarily skilled and knowledgeable in the area of personal injury law. At the law offices of Laura Payne Hunt, we take great pride in providing a service that is fading in the world of big law firm‘s big advertising and nationwide organizations. If you are looking for experience, knowledge, personal service and compassionate representation, call our office today

Knowledge of the Law — INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NEVER ON YOUR SIDE! ATTORNEY LAURA PAYNE HUNT knows this firsthand because she spent years working as defense counsel for one of the leading insurance companies in the nation.    Laura knows what it takes to win.  She uses the insight, knowledge and expertise she acquired while helping THEM save millions to now help YOU recover the maximum personal injury compensation you deserve.

HER focus is protecting your rights so that YOUR focus can be on getting well.

 

Compassionate –insurance companies are cold and corporatized and it is important to have someone who listens to you and understands the pain, inconvenience and emotional distress that you are going through. I take great pride in being available to my clients to listen to what they need and to find specific medical providers that are best for their location, as well as the injuries they have sustained. It is important that you receive the proper care and it is equally important that your property damage is addressed. Many law firms do not assist you with your property damage. However we care about our clients and we see the case through from start to finish. Every case we take will be ready for trial if necessary. Fortunately for clients, only about two percent of cases go to trial but we handle every case as if it is one of those two percent and insurance companies know that.

 

Community Connections –As a lifelong resident of Nevada, professional connections I have built are of great benefit to the clients we represent.  Having grown up in the state of Nevada and the city of Henderson primarily, I have made many friends and have valuable professional connections that help my clients to get the proper medical care that they need as well as to have their vehicle repaired properly with the proper warranties. It takes a village sometimes to handle these matters.   Clients need medical care, vehicle repairs, and rental cars. Having practiced and worked in this city for my entire professional career and having worked for the insurance companies, I have maintain strong professional connections that are of great benefit to the clients we represent. I have been a long time sponsor of Paseo Verde Little League teams and I enjoy being active in our community.

 

 

 

ABOUT LAURA

I knew I wanted to be an attorney from the time I was seven years old. I grew up in Las Vegas and attended Tomiyasu Elementary School and Valley High School. I went to junior high school at Cannon Junior High School and was a product of 6 Grade Center being bused to a different part of town. Henderson is my home and it has been since I was five years old. I take a great deal of pride in what I do and being part of the community.

I went to UNLV undergrad and obtained a degree in Communications with an emphasis is print Journalism.  While attending UNLV I was a writer for the school paper for the entertainment section. I was also an active Disc Jockey at the school radio station KUNV,  playing my alternative favorite alternative beats. To pick up extra cash, I was also a Disc Jockey at the AM radio station where we played a variety of cultural music. Fortunately, my amateur guitar playing skills and love of Diet Coke helped keep me awake during those overnight AM radio jobs.

I went to Oklahoma City University for law school. I graduated from law school Cum Laude. While in law school, I was a member of the legal honor Society a Phi Kappa Phi as well as a participant in the moot court team.  Upon graduating from law school, I took the Nevada bar exam successfully followed by the California bar successfully. I am also admitted to practice law in the state of Texas.

I returned to Las Vegas to start my legal career and clerked for a respected District Court judge. I went on to work for a law firm that handled cases for the insurance companies for a couple of years before I became the managing attorney for a major insurance company’s in-house legal office.

During my time working as an attorney for the insurance company, I learned the ins and outs of this business first hand. I trained insurance adjusters on how to deal with attorneys and had daily interactions with claims adjusters and claims files.  I observed the nature and approach of insurance companies to accident claims and the victims involved.   This experience is invaluable in representing injured people.

I am very passionate about what I do and I take great pride in providing top legal representation for injured people. I never had a desire to be on every billboard in town and be an attorney that brings in 100 files a month.  To do that you need a lot of lawyers churning these files out to pay the massive overhead of advertising and large buildings.  Personal care and attention to clients’ needs can easily be lost in that type of environment.  I prefer to focus on the people who are my clients. I know each of my client’s case personally and I meet with every client personally. When you call my office, I will know your first name, I will know what your case is about. I will know what is going on. That is not the case with many law firms that have a high turnover rate because of low pay and often inexperienced attorneys.

The benefit of retaining a small law firm to handle your case is that you will receive personal service and you will have a relationship with your attorney. I kind of analogize this to the difference between going to a large medical center where you see someone different every time who hasn’t looked at your file and doesn’t know your name, to going to your family doctor who knows who you are remembers your conditions.  The person who is there for you to talk to about your needs. It is a choice that an injured person should make from the start of their search for a lawyer.  Whether a large firm or a small firm is the right choice for you will be very important for your mental well-being during your case.  Dealing with a large firm with constant turn over can be frustrating. THE LAW OFFICE OF LAURA PAYNE HUNT is a boutique law firm providing you with personal and compassionate representation with one goal in mind, the best care and recovery for each of our clients.

 

With over 18 years of experience helping injured people and working for the insurance companies I have a vast amount of knowledge and insight into exactly what insurance companies are looking at when reviewing your claim. Having been a member of this community for so many years, I know many good physicians and practices that provide top medical care for injured people. Connections in the community are vital in helping clients obtain the medical care they need for their specific injuries.

 

AS A SHORT TRIAL JUDGE and frequent Arbitrator, my skill is just as effective in the courtroom as it is in the conference room.  I will passionately and aggressively defend your rights and recovery whether your case settles or goes to trial.

 

If you or a loved one is ever 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 Payne 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 Payne 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 you should know about Marijuana Laws in Nevada

In November 2016, marijuana for medical use and marijuana for recreational use were legalized in the state of Nevada. Users of  recreational must be 21 years of age and older. Adults are permitted to purchase 1 ounce of cannabis or up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate at one time. The regulations governing marijuana in Nevada are simple to follow. If you are a marijuana user or someone you love is for any reason, it is very important to know the rules and regulations governing marijuana in the state. It is also extremely important to understand that marijuana is not legal in every state and these rules, restrictions and allowances, are not the same everywhere. In fact although it is on the ballot for next term, marijuana is illegal for use in our sister state of Utah.   The following is a brief overview of the requirements and limitations of using and purchasing marijuana in the state of Nevada.

AGE REQUIREMENTS

You must be 21 and over for recreational use of Marijuana in the state of Nevada.  If you have a valid medical marijuana card, marijuana can be purchased legally in Nevada even if the card has been issued from another state. In some circumstances, minors can qualify for medical marijuana card as long as a parent or guardian signs a release for a minor and agrees to be the child’s primary caregiver.

Limitations on Buying Marijuana

Recreational users are permitted to buy up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower or up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate at any one time from dispensers that are permitted to sell recreational marijuana. A tax of 15% is added to every purchase.

For those Nevadans with a medical marijuana card who are 18 years and older, or have a qualified caregiver as referenced above, can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana within a two week period. Usable marijuana is inclusive of flour, edibles, concentrate and topicals. Anything containing cannabis qualifies as usable marijuana. The limit on these purchases is calculated based on the total weight of cannabinoids in a product. If you purchase an edible that has 100 mg, you can purchase the remaining amount in a different form of cannabis which would be about 2.4 ounces.  Just a note, although patients are allowed to shop at multiple dispensaries, the purchases are tracked by the state and you will not be able to purchase additional marijuana at a different dispensary.

Locations to purchase marijuana Nevada

In Nevada and Henderson marijuana dispensaries are open for business and many are licensed for medical patients and recreational users both. Check out the Nevada dispensary directory for a complete list of medical marijuana locations.  In the legislation that was passed, recreational dispensaries are determined by the number of residents in the county. Eighty were allocated to Clark County, twenty were located to Washoe County, four were allocated to Carson county and two additional were allocated to the remaining 14 counties. Most of the dispensaries are in populated areas such as Las Vegas, Reno, and Henderson, Nevada.

 

Store hours for dispensaries

 

Store hours are authorized by local governments and are in operation during and only during their establish time frame. Each dispensary must have store hours clearly posted at all times. Dispensary hours vary based upon the local regulations in place. Las Vegas allows medical dispensaries to be open from 6 AM to 10 PM. In Reno, dispensaries are permitted to stay open as late as midnight.

 

 

Where is use of marijuana legal in Nevada?

 

This is the more complex part of legislation and something that is very important for the consumer to understand. Although cannabis consumption is now legal for private use in Nevada, it is still illegal to smoke marijuana in public, on federal land, or in a motor vehicle. Although some hotels still allow tobacco to be smoked on property, most will not permit marijuana use because of the concern of conflicting with federal and gaming license laws. You may have read in the local paper that there has been talk of opening marijuana resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard in the future. It is my recommendation that you should always keep a low profile when consuming marijuana in Nevada. It is still a violation of federal law.  If a person is caught consuming marijuana in public in the state of Nevada, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1000 or both. A judge may also assign community service instead of the fine or jail time. It is important to remember that although marijuana is legal, it is not legal to be used in public in the state of Nevada.

 

 

 

Driving under the influence of marijuana

 

Just as it is illegal to drink and drive, it is illegal to drive under the influence of legal marijuana in the state of Nevada.  Violating the law could result in a fine, community service, or jail time.   An officer can conduct a field sobriety test or other testing if he believes you are driving under the influence of marijuana.

The legal determination for being under the influence of marijuana for driving a vehicle is “If the urine sample shows at least ten nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or 15 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite), or the blood test shows two nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or five nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite), the person will be considered high “per-se”, though this can often be contested in court.

 

 

Taking marijuana in your vehicle

 

If you are taking marijuana in a motor vehicle, it must be stored in a sealed container away from the reach of any driver or minor passenger in the car. If it is in an open container and within reach of the driver or a minor, a fine could be imposed. A severe citation of aggravating circumstances could also be imposed. It is also extremely important to note that it is illegal for a person to take marijuana to another state. Even if that state also has legal marijuana, there are laws maybe different from those in Nevada.

 

It is illegal to send marijuana through the US mail.

 

Marijuana as users must know and understand that marijuana is still illegal at a federal level. United States Postal Service or UPS cannot be used to send marijuana. All mail is subject to search and seizure and both of these agencies use dogs to sniff packages that contain marijuana. If the United States Postal Service or UPS believes a package to be suspicious, they are required to report it to the proper authorities. If there is marijuana in that package and you are found to have sent that package, you could be guilty of transporting marijuana across state lines or other federal crimes.  Never send marijuana in the mail.

 

Use of marijuana by a minor

 

As discussed previously you must be 21 or over to purchase recreational marijuana. A minor must have a valid medical marijuana card and a primary caregiver to purchase the marijuana for him.  If you are a minor attempting to purchase marijuana or marijuana related products, this is a crime which is punishable for a minimum one-year sentence for a first time offense

 

Cultivation of marijuana

 

As part of ballot question which passed in Nevada, growing marijuana at a home is banned if the home is within 25 miles of any dispensary. This regulation effectively blocks most of the population of Nevada from growing their own cannabis flowers.

 

It is important to understand that although the use of marijuana is legal in the state of Nevada, it is not legal to use marijuana and operate a motor vehicle.  Please be safe in the use and consumption of legal marijuana, if you or a loved one is involved in any type of accident with some using marijuana or alcohol, 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 Payne 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 Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

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

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

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

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

(NRS 484B.280)

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

bridge or tunnel when they are available

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

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

1) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT

2)  BETTER MEDICAL CARE

3) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT FOR YOUR VEHICLE

4) EXPERIENCE FIGHTING INSURANCE COMPANIES 

5) REDUCED STRESS OF NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE

    INSURANCE COMPANY

EXPERIENCE

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

NO OUT OF POCKET COSTS

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

WE HANDLE YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM

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

WE ALLOW YOU TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY

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

ATTORNEYS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO HELP YOU

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

ATTORNEYS ARE OBJECTIVE

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

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

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

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

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

YOU WILL RECEIVE MORE MONEY WITH AN ATTORNEY

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

AN ATTORNEY CAN HANDLE YOUR CASE TO ITS NECESSARY CONCLUSION

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

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

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