Category Archives: All Articles

KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

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

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

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

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

(NRS 484B.280)

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

bridge or tunnel when they are available

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

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

1) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT

2)  BETTER MEDICAL CARE

3) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT FOR YOUR VEHICLE

4) EXPERIENCE FIGHTING INSURANCE COMPANIES 

5) REDUCED STRESS OF NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE

    INSURANCE COMPANY

EXPERIENCE

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

NO OUT OF POCKET COSTS

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

WE HANDLE YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM

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

WE ALLOW YOU TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY

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

ATTORNEYS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO HELP YOU

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

ATTORNEYS ARE OBJECTIVE

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

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

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

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

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

YOU WILL RECEIVE MORE MONEY WITH AN ATTORNEY

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

AN ATTORNEY CAN HANDLE YOUR CASE TO ITS NECESSARY CONCLUSION

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

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

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

KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM BICYCLE ACCIDENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TURN SIGNALING

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

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

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

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

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

electric bicycle.

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

NUMBER OF PERSONS CARRIED ON A BIKE

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

      carried on bicycle or electric bicycle.

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

permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

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

which it is designed and equipped.

RULES OF THE ROAD

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

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

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

(b) When preparing to turn left; or

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

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

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

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

USE OF REFLECTORS

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

the wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

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

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

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

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

SCHOOL ZONE REGULATIONS AND RULES FOR VEHICLES

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

MOST IMPORTANT RULES IN A SCHOOL ZONE:

  • Stop immediately for the crossing guard;

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

roadway that is non-divided traveling the opposite direction;

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

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

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

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

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

OBEY THE CROSSING GUARD

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

1.  The driver of a vehicle:

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

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

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

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

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

NEVER PASS A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS WHILE THE SIGNS ARE OUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUS DRIVERS ARE ALLOWED TO REPORT VIOLATORS

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) The information included in the report;

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

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

MAXIMUM SPEED OF A SCHOOL BUS

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

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

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

SCHOOL ZONE SPEED RULES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) When there are no children present;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCHOOL ZONE SIGNS ARE UNIFORM IN ALL SCHOOL ZONES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Subrogation?

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

Subrogation of Collision Coverage in Nevada

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

Subrogation of Medical Payments Coverage in Nevada

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

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

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

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

Health Insurance Companies Rights of Subrogation

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

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

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

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

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

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

who pays medical bills after an accident

Who is going to pay my medical bills when I’m in a car accident?

  • Always give the hospital your Health insurance card
  • Do not give your car insurance information to the Hospital
  • Protect yourself by having your own Underinsured Motorist coverage
  • Keep all medical bills and insurance Explanations of Benefits sent to you in a file
  • You will need to return the Subrogation forms to your health insurance company
  • An attorney can navigate the sea of paperwork required when multiple insurance Policies exist

Laura Hunt AttorneyBeing in a serious automobile accident is one of the most traumatic things that will happen to most people in their lives. Panic, nervousness and fear set in and often people are confused, angry and uncertain as to what to do at the time. The prevailing thoughts from our clients are that when someone is in an accident that is not their fault, “everything will be taken care of and they will pay all my bills.”   Unfortunately, in the society we live in, and especially in the state of Nevada, this is absolutely not the case. Most of my clients are shocked to hear that drivers are only required by law to carry $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident on their vehicles. This means that each person who is injured in an accident  can only collect $15,000 for their injuries against the insurance company of the other driver. Of course, the other driver is still personally liable for any bills that you may have, but often people do not have those funds or they declare bankruptcy before it is ever paid or it can take years to get a legal judgment.

For this reason, it is extraordinarily important to be wise about your medical bills when you are involved in an accident.  If you find yourself at the hospital following an accident, always give your health insurance information, if you are one of the fortunate Americans to have such coverage, to the hospital. The hospital is required by state law to bill your health insurance before they bill anywhere else.  Nevada Law states as follows on this issue:

NRS 449.757  Limitations on efforts of hospitals to collect; date for accrual of interest; rate of interest; limitations on additional fees.

1.  When a person receives hospital care, the hospital must not proceed with any efforts to collect on any amount owed to the hospital for the hospital care from the responsible party, other than for any copayment or deductible, if the responsible party has health insurance or may be eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or any other public program which may pay all or part of the bill, until the hospital has submitted a bill to the health insurance company or public program and the health insurance company or public program has made a determination concerning payment of the claim.

2.  Collection efforts may begin and interest may begin to accrue on any amount owed to the hospital for hospital care which remains unpaid by the responsible party not sooner than 30 days after the responsible party is sent a bill by mail stating the amount that he or she is responsible to pay which has been established after receiving a determination concerning payment of the claim by any insurer or public program and after applying any discounts. Interest must accrue at a rate which does not exceed the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada as ascertained by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions on January 1 or July 1, as the case may be, immediately preceding the date on which the payment becomes due, plus 2 percent. The rate must be adjusted accordingly on each January 1 and July 1 thereafter until the payment is satisfied.

3.  Except for the interest authorized pursuant to subsection 2 and any court costs and attorney’s fees awarded by a court, no other fees may be charged concerning the amount that remains unpaid, including, without limitation, collection fees, other attorney’s fees or any other fees or costs.

(Added to NRS by 2007, 1497; A 2011, 1525)

NRS 449.758  Limitations on efforts of hospital to collect when hospital has contractual agreement with third party that provides health coverage for care provided; exception.

1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, if a hospital provides hospital care to a person who has a policy of health insurance issued by a third party that provides health coverage for care provided at that hospital and the hospital has a contractual agreement with the third party, the hospital shall proceed with any efforts to collect on any amount owed to the hospital for the hospital care in accordance with the provisions of NRS 449.757 and shall not collect or attempt to collect that amount from:

(a) Any proceeds or potential proceeds of a civil action brought by or on behalf of the patient, including, without limitation, any amount awarded for medical expenses; or

(b) An insurer other than a health insurer, including, without limitation, an insurer that provides coverage under a policy of casualty or property insurance.

2.  This section does not apply to:

(a) Amounts owed to the hospital under the policy of health insurance that are not collectible; or

(b) Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or any other public program which may pay all or part of the bill.

3.  This section does not limit any rights of a patient to contest an attempt to collect an amount owed to a hospital, including, without limitation, contesting a lien obtained by a hospital.

4.  As used in this section, “third party” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 439B.260.

(Added to NRS by 2011, 1524)

You must also understand that you will not know the policy limits of the other driver and your hospital bill can easily exceed the $15,000.  Please do not think that the other driver is off the hook if you have health insurance.  That is far from the truth. The collateral source doctrine in Nevada as held by the Nevada Supreme Court states as follows :

We now adopt a per se rule barring the admission of a collateral source of payment for an injury into evidence for any purpose.  Collateral source evidence inevitably prejudices the jury because it greatly increases the likelihood that a jury will reduce a plaintiff’s award of damages because it knows the plaintiff is already receiving compensation

Proctor v. Castelletti, 112 Nev 88, 911 P.2d 853, 854 (1996).

This means that regardless of who pays your medical bills, the adverse driver is also liable for them and they are not entitled to the reduced rate that your insurance company may have negotiated to resolve those bills. This means, as we are all familiar with, that when your hospital bill comes in and it is $25,000 and your health insurance company pays their negotiated rate of $3,000, the adverse driver is still liable for $25,000 bill. However, if he only has a $15,000 policy, you can at least collect the $15,000 to help compensate for everything that you have been through.  This is also one of the reasons it is extremely important to make sure that you are covered through your own policy.

who pays medical bills after an accident

I  will have separate blogs on  underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. When you see your declarations page it will list your different coverages including collision, comprehensive, bodily injury,  UM/UIM, towing, rental, medical payments coverage (etc.)  (all covered in other blogs).

Briefly, Collision coverage is coverage to fix your own vehicle, usually subject to a deductible.  Comprehensive Coverage covers damage done to your vehicle from events other than accidents like theft, vandalism, fire, impacts with deer, etc.  Comprehensive  is not collision coverage but they are generally sold together.  Bodily injury coverage is coverage to pay other drivers that you may injure.  UM/UIM is coverage that covers you if the other driver is not insured or underinsured. You should always carry UM/UIM  coverage.

I never understand why agents would recommend to clients that they cover themselves less than they cover other drivers on the road.  In fact, in Nevada, insurance companies must offer you this coverage and if you reject uninsured /underinsured coverage you must sign a waiver that the insurance company must produce at a later time in the event of a claim that you knowingly rejected this coverage.

I highly recommend that you carry underinsured and uninsured coverage to protect yourself. Unfortunately, the Nevada state legislature does not protect our drivers.  Nevada is one of the lowest bodily injury coverage states in the country.  Only Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana have lower limit requirements.  South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, California and Arizona also have $15,000.00 state minimum requirements.

By contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your vehicle. At my office, we are happy to handle the health insurance company’s subrogation claim for you.  Having worked for the insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of medical claims.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your coverages to maximize the money you receive.

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

 

 

taking photos after a car accident

The Need to Take Photos After an Auto Accident

Laura Hunt AttorneyThe moments after a car accident can be confusing and stressful for most people.  It is a traumatic event which most people are not expecting and most have not experienced before.  As with any trauma, there are numerous concerns that immediately flood your mind. Of course, always foremost, is the well-being of all persons involved in the collision. Immediately following any accident, if you are physically able, you should always check on the health and condition of your passengers and passengers in the other vehicles.   Call for medical help immediately if emergency care is needed.

Everybody is OK. Now What?

Once you have confirmed that persons are stable or have called for emergency help for anyone who is not stable, it is critically important that you document the scene of the accident as quickly as possible. In a digital world people no longer expect to hear the testimony of witnesses to determine how the event happened.  It is almost expected that there will be photos and even video.  Although it seems at the scene of the accident that there can only be one explanation for how the impact occurred, many years of experience shows us that witnesses will have different accounts of the same event. For that reason, it is critically important that evidence from the scene be preserved so that at a later time, it can be easily determined who is at fault and how the collision occurred.

Therefore, taking photographs of the vehicles in their location in which they came to rest after the impact is crucial. In the age of the smart phone, it is a convenience we often take for granted and do not use to its most effective potential.   If the accident occurs at night, it is important to make sure you are using a flash when taking photos.  When taking photos, be sure to obtain photographs with license plates and identifying information on vehicles. If possible, it is often helpful to have photographs of the other driver or witnesses at the scene of the accident for later identification.  Take photographs from a wide angle so that you can see the entirety of the vehicles involved in the collision. Now that film is not an issue in the modern age, there cannot be too many photographs taken.

What else should I take pictures of?

In addition to photographs of where the vehicles came to rest,  take photographs of any debris left from the vehicles on the road way or on the side of the roadway before it is moved for safety reasons. In addition, take photographs of the roadway, any signs near the scene of the accident and if the accident occurred at an intersection take photographs of the entire configuration of the intersection.  Also photograph any witnesses and other drivers, just in case.

Often times, the scene will change from the time of the accident until the time a claim against the other driver is made. For example, additional roadway signs can be added or construction can be started or concluded.  Also, the condition of the roadway can change.   For example, there could be sand rock or debris on the road at a later time or at the time of the accident.  For that reason, it is critical to document the scene of the accident as it was on the date of the accident.

Pictures of vehicle damage.

In addition to documenting the accident scene, it is critical to document the damage to the vehicles. This evidence can be of significant importance to your personal injury attorney if there is a liability dispute.  It is also persuasive evidence to show the extent of damage to a vehicle as well as the persons occupying the vehicle. For those reasons, you will want to take photographs of all vehicles damaged in the accident at the scene.  Keep in mind this will likely be your only opportunity to take photographs of the other driver’s vehicle.  Thus, it is crucially important to capture this evidence at the scene.

Also in the digital age, it is always a good idea to back up any critical photos that you take of an accident. I would highly recommend that when you have the opportunity following the accident, that you download and archive the photos of the scene to a safe and secure location such as a zip drive. That way these photos will be available to you in the future should you need them in pursuing your claim.

Do police take photos of an accident scene?

Although the police do sometimes take photographs of an accident scene, they are often difficult to obtain and are sometimes lost. If you’re able to capture your own evidence it will be much easier to present your claim to the other driver’s insurance company. However, if you are severely injured and you are unable to capture this information the police may take photos in a serious accident.

In the event that the responding emergency agency takes the photos, they will archive those photos and they can be obtained at a later time. There is generally a cost involved in obtaining those photos and some delay.  With extensive experience in the handling of auto accident claims, I can obtain any evidence that was collected by a responding agency including police, fire and ambulance responders.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents or 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.

tips for towed car

My car has been towed. What do I do?

Laura Hunt AttorneyHas Your Car Been Towed?  Here’s what to do.

  • Relax. You’ll find it! The worst thing you can do is stress out.
  • If you’ve been towed from a parking lot or garage, look for signs indicating the towing company name and number.
  • if you’ve been involved in an accident do not have your car towed to the tow yard if possible. Have it towed to your home.
  • If possible, arrange to have the car towed to your home or a friends home instead of a tow yard to prevent theft of personal property.
  • Call your attorney, just in case. Your instinct might be to call your insurance company, but check with your attorney FIRST!

There are several instances in which your car could be towed. Commonly, if your car is not drivable from the scene of an auto accident, the police or responding highway patrol officer will have your car towed from the scene. Critical advice that I give all clients is to have the car towed to your home or a friend’s home. If you are ever in an accident, please store this advice in your mind should you need it someday. Have the car towed to your home or the home of a friend. When the car is towed to a tow yard multiple problems arise.

Problems with Tow Yards

First, unfortunately I will not name names but I have personal experience from helping many clients over the years who have had personal property stolen from their vehicle at tow yards. This is a very difficult issue to prove and from my experience in working with clients over the past 20 years it is a common practice. In addition to the potential theft of your personal property out of your vehicle, many tow yard to require a ridiculous amount of identification to even look at or get to the vehicle and they charge exorbitant rates by the day to hold your vehicle there.  In fact, often times the tow bill has gotten so large that on an older vehicle, the tow fees are greater than the value of the vehicle and the tow yard sells the vehicle at auction.

In order to avoid these risks and pitfalls of trying to get your vehicle out of the tow yard, advise the tow company at the scene of the accident tow the vehicle to your house or a friend’s house. Even if you live in an apartment your insurance company will pay to have it towed to a collision center from your home.

Towing Coverage on Insurance

That brings me to the next issue of towing, and that is towing coverage on your insurance policy.  Towing coverage, often listed as TL on your policy, generally pays the cost of towing of your car to a repair shop when it is unable to be driven.  It also covers a specified amount of labor that is necessary in towing the vehicle. Often times on insurance policies, if you do not have collision coverage, they do not offer towing coverage. It is important to check with your agent or review your online purchase and specifically look for towing coverage and see if you have towing coverage separate from collision coverage. However, I highly recommend that everyone carry collision coverage on their vehicle.

Supplemental policies can also be purchased at a very low rate. For example AAA offers a roadside assistance policy for $85-$100 a year approximately which will cover towing costs in the event that your vehicle breaks down or is involved in an accident.  If you do not carry collision coverage, this is a valuable option.  These policies can be invaluable in the event of emergency. When purchasing a roadside assistant policy it is important to review the policy. Often the basic policy only allows for 10 miles or less in towing and then you are subject to the rate of the towing company that is sent. Generally for another $10-$15 in upgrading the roadside assistance policy they will cover you from 50 to 100 miles. This is an important element of your policy to check when you are purchasing it. It can save you hundreds of dollars in the event of a breakdown when you’re not close to a repair facility.  It is not something you want to learn the hard way. Usually when they offer different policies it is important to review the differences in the policies. Often, for only a few, dollars you can receive a great deal more coverage.

Towed from a Parking Lot?

Finally, there is the event that your vehicle is towed from a parking place or parking lot. Although it does not happen frequently it does happen. Always be careful when parking especially in downtown areas in looking for signs. If the sign is posted and you park in that area they do have the right to tow your vehicle. You could be subject to $300 to $500 towing charges and impound fees for parking in a towing area. However, if this occurs be sure to take pictures of the parking lot, the location of all signs, where your vehicle was parked, and make sure the signs were visible from location where you parked. If they tow your vehicle illegally you will need this documentation to fight the fine and recoup your losses. Please do not hesitate to contact the Law offices of Laura Hunt should you have any questions regarding a towing issue or your towing coverage on your policy. We are happy to review your policy with you to make sure that you have coverages the best suit your needs.  Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of insurance policies.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your coverage quickly and efficiently so that you know exactly what coverages you have or need in the event of an accident.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents or tragedies occur. We wish everyone a safe and happy season. 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.

Apology means guilt?

Is Saying I’m Sorry an Admission of Guilt?

Imagine this. You’re driving along on Eastern, trying to get to your favorite donut shop. The tunes are playing loudly on the radio and you’re not paying much attention to the road as you sing along. The light ahead of you turns red and the cars stop, but you miss it. You slam on the brakes, unexpectedly. Suddenly, your rear fender finds itself lodged in the front fender of the car behind you. Horrified, you call the police and your personal injury lawyer. Then, you get out of your car and apologize profusely. After all, your mom raised you to be polite and apologize for things. But did you just admit your guilt? And can it cause you legal difficulty if your case goes to court?

Outcomes of Apologies in Court Cases

There’s two possible outcomes when you apologize after an accident. In one case, a sincere apology can lessen a person’s anger, thus making it less likely that they will seek legal action. In the other case, it’s a question of “anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.” By apologizing, they may argue you indicate your liability in the matter and it gives the other party a compelling case against you.

Thirty-six states have recognized the detriment that an apology can cause to a potential defendant and have enacted “Apology Laws”. First applied to medical malpractice, the laws protect anyone who makes a statement of sympathy or benevolent gesture following an accident. As long as the person doesn’t actually admit guilt, such statements are not admissible as evidence. Unfortunately, Nevada is not one of those states, so legal protections for an apology are limited.

So, how do you apologize without admitting guilt?

First, think about if an apology really is important in the situation. It might be your gut reaction, even if you did nothing wrong, but is it necessary? In our example above, there was obviously a lapse in judgment by driving distractedly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should apologize for being in an accident.

Second, if you decide that an apology is worthwhile, don’t admit any fault or place any blame. It’s important to not give any indication that you are liable. You shouldn’t express any opinions or hunches about what caused the accident or how it could have been avoided.

Third, consider finding something different to say, instead of “I’m sorry.” Simply saying “I’m sorry” is relatively ambiguous and can be applied to many different situations, including accidents, funerals, and arguments. Find specific language for the sentiment you are trying to express. In our above example, you might say, “I understand how frustrating this situation is” instead of “I’m sorry I stopped so abruptly.”

Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, a Ph.D. in persuasive strategies, gave two suggestions on how to show you are sorry: one, acknowledge pain, death, loss, and inconvenience; two, don’t let acknowledgement get confused with responsibility. In short, there are many occasions when apologizing is meaningful, and can even be beneficial, but don’t let anyone mistake saying “I’m sorry” for saying “It’s my fault.”

In general, when you’ve been in an accident, the old adage probably still holds true: “It’s better to say nothing at all.” And if you have been in an accident, please call our office today at 702-450-4868 and we can explain your legal rights and remedies under the law.