Category Archives: Car Accidents

WHAT EXACTLY IS A SOFT TISSUE INJURY

Four most common types of soft tissue injuries
1) Sprains
2) Contusions
3) Strains
4) Whiplash

One of the most common types of injuries sustained in an auto accident is referred to as a soft tissue injury. A soft tissue injury is considered an injury to a muscle or tendon. The term “ soft“ refers to areas of the body that typically become injured after undergoing some trauma such as an auto accident or other types of personal injury accidents. When a victim is involved in a serious car accident, there is generally some type of soft tissue injury as a result. When you are involved in a car accident, your body is subjected to an extreme amount of trauma. Because of the rapid change in direction that your body undergoes and the force that is absorb by the muscles and tendons, the result is a reaction known as muscle splinting. Many people involved in automobile accidents sustain a soft tissue injury as a result of the accident. One of the most common types of injury is often referred to as whiplash. However, other injuries occur in auto accidents such as sprains, contusions, and strains. Below is the definition of each of these type of injuries.

     Whiplash— The most common occurrence of whiplash is from a forceful rear end   automobile impact. When you are involved in a collision where the vehicle is struck from the rear with great force, your neck and head move forward and back in a violent motion. The most common symptoms that we are hear from clients involved in rear and motor vehicle accidents include stiffness, neck pain, back pain, and in many instances loss of memory and concentration. Sometimes the symptoms are felt immediately following the collision. However, it is important to note that you may not feel pain at the scene of the accident and your symptoms can occur several days or a week after the accident. These type of soft tissue injuries cause pain, soreness, stiffness and swelling and sometimes even bruising. Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles involved in a serious car crashe experience pain from the violent forces involved and being thrown around the vehicle in the collision.


Sprains — a sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn and these are a common injury as a result of automobile collisions. Ligaments are a strong band of connective tissue and they connect one bone to another. Our ligaments stabilize and support the joints in our body. Often the violent forces of an automobile collision cause these to be sprained or torn.

Contusions –The word bruise is the common term for what doctors usually referred to as a contusion. Contusion injuries are often caused by a force, a direct trauma, a blow, or some type of blunt impact causing the underlying muscle fibers to be crushed. A contusion is the result of fibers and connective tissues that are under the skin to break without breaking the skin. However, this type of trauma usually causes discoloration and blood pooling in the affected area which can be seen visually as a light or dark colored bruise often even red and purple in color.

Strains — people often use the term strain and sprain interchangeably but they are different injuries. Strains are injuries to the muscles and tendons of the body. As referenced, tendons are made of fiber chords of tissue and they attach our bones to our muscles. Although strains are similar to sprains, a strain occurs when your tendons are stretched or you tear a tendon or a muscle. Strains can cause cramping, muscle weakness, pain, swelling and spasms sometimes. Although a lot of these terms are used to interchangeably these injuries are different and generally result from trauma, often trauma from car accidents.  

What should you do if you sustain soft tissue injury?

The most important thing to do when you sustain a soft injury is to seek medical attention and follow the doctor‘s advice. Often doctors will recommend several methods for pain management often referred to as the RICE method or the no HARM protocol.

RICE – this is an acronym generally used to describe a treatment protocol for soft tissue injuries.  It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Often medical providers may suggest that you take a break from your activities to rest in order to let your injury heal. Unfortunately, this is not possible for many people in the busy lives that we lead. Doctors may also recommend that ice be placed on and off the affected area in 20 minute intervals, but avoiding direct contact of ice with the skin. Many commercial ice packs can be purchased or you can put ice in a plastic bag and wrap a towel around it to avoid direct contact of the ice with your skin.

HARM- A second method of treatment for soft tissue injuries often recommended by doctors to be used within the first 48 to 72 hours of sustaining injury.  The method is also recommended to help speed recovery. The HARM method stands for heat, alcohol, re-injury, and a massage. Doctors may recommend that a patient who sustains a soft tissue injury apply heat to the injured area within 48 to 72 hours after the injury. Applying heat to the area can cause blood to flow and the swelling to decrease. Doctors may also recommend avoiding alcohol following injury because alcohol can inhibit the ability to feel and if the injury is becoming more aggravated it could increase the swelling and cause the injury to get worse.  Following an accident, like rest, doctors will advise to avoid any activities that could re-aggravate the injury and cause further damage. Finally, massaging an injured area can promote blood flow and swelling and potentially cause more damage if done too early following the injury

Although these are some at home tips to deal with the pain following an automobile crash accident, if pain persists after the first 24 hours, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq.  urge you to consult with a medical professional who can help diagnose and implement a treatment plan to speed your recovery. In addition, in the State of Nevada, you cannot make a claim for personal injuries if you did not obtain any medical care. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek medical attention to substantiate and prove the injuries that you sustained as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

Recovery time

Soft tissues can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to heal depending on your general health, prior injury status, severity of the injury, and age.  In very severe soft tissue cases, a splint or even surgery can be recommended which can take an substantially longer time to heal. Often time’s anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed to help but these are not suitable for all people.  Sometimes, injuries initially seem to present as soft tissue injuries and as time goes on and they do not heal. In those cases, additional medical intervention is needed to determine the extent of the injury including diagnostic studies like MRI or CAT scan. At the time of the collision, the pain that you are feeling may be soft tissue or may be more extensive injuries. That is why it is extremely important to consult with a medical professional following any personal injuries sustained in an auto accident.

If you have a question regarding soft tissue injuries and/or any questions regarding any personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured.  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 Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our 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 Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC 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 Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson 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 HAPPENS IF I HAVE AND ACCIDENT WHILE I AM ON VACATION?

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

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

DON’T LET A CAR ACCIDENT RUIN YOUR VACATION

Vacations are best for getting away from everything stressful. You can enjoy the sun and the beach or get away the snowy slopes and fireside hot chocolate, or anything that your family enjoys.  Often on vacation, you may try new adventures like jet skiing, snorkeling, snowboarding, or any other type of vacation fun. Unfortunately, we don’t often consider that accidents can happen anywhere, even on vacation.  Armed with information and a few necessities like your family health insurance cards, your auto insurance card (whether you are driving your own car or renting a car) along with shorts and sun block, can reduce stress in the event of an accident. It’s also a good idea to have the name of an experienced and trusted local attorney in your contacts.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, we are Henderson Accident Attorneys with over 20 years of experience, 10 of those representing insurance companies.

It’s not something we want to think about when packing for a vacation.  It’s likely last thing we want to think about. However, a couple clicks of your phone and you will not have to think about it again unless it happens. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities while traveling any time, including on vacation.  One call to Henderson Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt can put into motion all of the steps needed to preserve your rights and claims without losing sleep on your vacation.

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

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

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

TYPES OF CASES HANDLED BY HUNT LAW OFFICES

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

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

ISSUES OF VACATION ACCIDENTS

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

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

WHAT ABOUT GETTING THE CAR FIXED?

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

  • Your insurance may advise you to fix your car locally. An insurance company will not want to pay to have your damaged car towed to your home town. If the car is drivable, take the vehicle home for repairs.
  • The body shop may not perform quality work, so double check the work before leaving the shop. If the body shop knows you are not local, they may not give your vehicle the treatment you would receive at your local repair shop.  This is why you may want to wait for repairs until you get home. Don’t let a dent ruin a vacation.
  • You will be responsible for picking up from the shop when repairs are done. It is not likely that the insurance company will deliver your repaired vehicle back to your home town.
  • Obtain a police report. Find out from the officer where the records office is and request it as soon as you get home.  It usually takes 10-14 days for them to have the report ready anyway.
  • If repairs are necessary, find a facility with a nationwide warranty plan. If you have to have your car repaired before you can drive it home, look for a body shop that has nationwide warranty coverage. By using a body that has nationwide locations, you can avoid a problem when you get home.
  • If anyone calls you to take a recorded statement besides your own insurance company, do not provide a recorded statement to them.  Sometimes the at fault company will try to call you right away and ask slanted questions and get you to give information that you have not received yet.  They will take advantage of your stressed state.

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

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

If you or a loved one have been injured any type of accident while on vacation, an accident that was caused by the negligence of someone else, you should contact an experienced attorney about your case in addition to your insurance or rental car company.

Free Initial Legal Consultation – and We Aren’t Paid unless you collect

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

DO I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT AFTER MY ACCIDENT?

There are a number of steps that can take place during the course of a car accident negotiation and litigation process.  However, there are a few points to bear in mind:

  1. The plaintiff is not legally required to have an attorney in order to file a lawsuit.
  2. Most auto accident claims resolve without suit being filed.
  3. Many accident claims where a lawsuit is filed result in a settlement after the lawsuit is filed.

   In Nevada, injured victims are constitutionally entitled to a right to a jury trial in a civil action.  However, most auto accident claims settle without going all the way to trial. In fact, it is so stated in Article one as follows:

Article 1, Nevada Constitution –

The right of trial by Jury shall be secured to all and remain inviolate forever; but a Jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law; and in civil cases, if three fourths of the Jurors agree upon a verdict it shall stand and have the same force and effect as a verdict

A CLAIM VERSUS A LAWSUIT

There is often confusion on the difference between a car accident lawsuit and an insurance claim.  This may be because a “settlement” can occur in both situations. In fact, even when suit is filed most claims settle after litigation begins.  In general, an auto accident insurance claim arises when you notify the insurance company of a claim in an attempt to collect damages due and owing under provisions of an applicable insurance policy.  In the beginning, negotiations will ensue between the insurance company representative, aka the claims adjuster, and you or with your attorney, if you are represented by counsel.

If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit may be filed.  A lawsuit is formal legal action that is filed in the civil court of the appropriate jurisdiction.  Suit is filed when a settlement cannot be reached and the Plaintiff, aka injured victim, is seeking to recover monetary damages from the defendant, aka the at fault driver.  If negotiations fail and your attorney is forced to file a lawsuit, the following are the steps she will follow in your case:

Step 1: File a Complaint

A lawsuit is commenced when the plaintiff files a document called the complaint (sometimes called a “petition” in certain states) with the court. A complaint is a document stating what happened, the claimed damages, and the legal basis for bringing the lawsuit. After the plaintiff files the complaint, the lawsuit has officially begun.  Nevada is a notice pleading state, meaning that the complaint gives notice of the lawsuit with minimal facts.

Step 2: Serve the Complaint on the Defendant

The U.S. legal system holds a requirement that  legal notice is provided to someone who is the subject of a legal proceeding. Informing the defendant of the lawsuit means “serving” them with a copy of the complaint, and usually a “summons.” There are special rules governing who may serve the complaint, when it must be served, and how. These rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in Nevada the plaintiff has 120 days to serve the defendant. This deadline can usually be extended when the defendant is difficult to track down, but a motion before the court is required.

Step 3: The Defendant Files an Answer

In an answer, the defendant responds to the plaintiff’s complaint and admits or denies the factual allegations listed in the complaint. The answer is also where the defendant will set forth any legal defenses to the claims of the Plaintiff.

Step 4: Discovery

Discovery is the process through which the parties exchange information that’s relevant or likely to lead to the uncovering of relevant evidence. The purpose of discovery is to allow for an opportunity for each side to see all the facts.  In Nevada, as in most states, the discovery process includes interrogatories (written questions), requests for production of documents, and depositions (oral statements made under oath).

Step 5: Trial

After the parties have completed discovery, each side will have all the information and will then prepare to present its case in court. The trial will consist of each side making opening statements, the plaintiff presenting its evidence in the form of oral testimony and presentation of  documentary evidence. The defendant will cross-examine plaintiff’s witnesses. The defendant will also present its defense by cross-examining plaintiff’s witnesses. In conclusion , both parties will give closing statements.

After closing statements are completed, the jury (or judge, if it’s a bench trial), will deliberate and reach a verdict finding in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant, by a “preponderance of the evidence,” and entering a judgment accordingly (if the judgment is in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant will be ordered to pay damages in a certain dollar amount).

If you or a loved one has been in an accident, the Henderson Auto Accident and Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of  Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. 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 the Henderson Auto Accident and Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of  Laura Payne Hunt, PC today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to receive. 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. Henderson Auto Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening her boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people.  During her time working for an insurance company, Henderson Auto Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

         At the Henderson Auto Accident and Injury Law Offices of  Laura Payne Hunt, PC 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 Henderson Auto Accident and Injury 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 Henderson Auto Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. 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.

If I have a pre-existing Condition Can I make a claim for Injuries in an accident?

ANSWER: Yes, You can make a claim for injuries if you have a pre-existing condition

It is a long standing legal proposition that a tort defendant “takes his victim as he finds him.”  This rule is referred to in the law as the “eggshell plaintiff” rule. This legal theory makes a defendant responsible for all damages resulting from his negligence The Defendant, aka the insurance company, will want to argue because of the plaintiff’s preexisting condition, the injuries he/she are more severe than they would have been in a non-frail person. However, this argument will not prevail

Under the law, A person who has a condition or disability at the time that he or she is involved in an  injury accident is entitled to recover damages for any aggravation of that preexisting condition or disability that results from the accident.  Thus, a person cannot recover damages for the injury they have, but rather for making that injury worse and for additional injuries they suffer.  

This is true even if the person’s condition or disability made him more susceptible to the possibility  to being injured than a person without injury would have been. Therefore, even if a healthy person probably would not have suffered any substantial injury in the accident, a person with prior injury may be more likely to sustain injury and the adverse driver is liable for those injuries.

The most important thing to remember is that having a pre-existing condition does not prevent you from recovering damages in an injury accident. A pre-existing condition may make you more susceptible to injury,  but that does not allow the insurance company to offer you less compensation. It is very important to be up-front with your lawyer about your past accident, injuries and medical conditions . Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. has many years’ experience working for and against the insurance companies.   With this experience and a skilled legal team, she can help get you the compensation that you are you entitled too, regardless of your condition before the accident. If you or anyone you know is injured in an accident, please call our office today at (702) 450-4868 to schedule your free consultation with Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. a  highly experienced Las Vegas and Henderson car accident attorney.

Where a preexisting condition or disability is made worse, the damages as to  for the exacerbation are limited to the additional injury caused by the accident.  In fact, the Nevada Pattern Jury Instructions specifically address this issue at Nev. J.I. 10.06 as follows:

PERSONAL INJURY; AGGRAVATION OF PREEXISTING CONDITION

A person who has a condition or disability at the time of an injury is not entitled to recover damages there for.  However, he is entitled to recover damages for any aggravation of such preexisting condition or disability proximately resulting from the injury.

This is true even if the person’s condition or disability made him more susceptible to the possibility of ill effects than a normally healthy person would have been, and even if a normally healthy person probably would not have suffered any substantial injury.

Where a preexisting condition or disability is so aggravated, the damages as to such condition or disability are limited to the additional injury caused by the aggravation.

NEV. J.I. 10.06

BAJI 14.65

Courts have addressed this issue repeatedly over the years.  In Lovely v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 7274 (Me. May 30, 1995) the plaintiff suffered from a preexisting injury which was exacerbated by a subsequent accident.  The defendant successfully argued to the trial court that, in order to recover, the plaintiff had the burden of demonstrating which portion of his injury resulted from each accident.  After reviewing the evidence, held that the medical testimony failed to provide a basis for apportioning the damages as between the two acidents.  Although the record contained substantial evidence of pain and suffering, as well as medical expenses attributable to plaintiff’s elbow injury, the trial court declined to award any damages based on this injury, finding that plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof. 

The Appellant Court reversed on the ground that the trial court had mistakenly placed the burden of proof as to apportionment on the plaintiff.  Rather than awarding no damages for the elbow injury, the Appellant  Court ruled that the trial court should have awarded plaintiff his total damages.  In so holding, the Court actually invoked not the eggshell-plaintiff rule, but also the single-injury rule, traditionally applied in cases involving multiple tortfeasors.   The court held that that the single-injury rule “places any hardship resulting from the difficulty of apportionment on the proven wrongdoer and not on the innocent plaintiff,” the Court extended the application of the rule to cases involving preexisting conditions. Thus, the Court held that where a preexisting condition is exacerbated or made worse by a negligent act, resulting in an aggregate injury which is incapable of apportionment, the tort feasor and not the victim must suffer the hardship of proving apportionment.

Insurance companies use any tactic possible to unreasonably deny or undervalue claims.  You need an attorney experienced in dealing with insurance companies. Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. has been a Henderson Accident attorney for over ten years.  Prior to working exclusively with injured people, Laura worked for a major insurance company in house for many years. She knows how to beat then to the punch so to speak.  She can help you fight for the compensation you deserve, including pursuing a filing a lawsuit against the person or persons who caused your injuries. Insurance companies understand that at the end of the day it will be a jury who will decide the value and not the insurance company.  However, it takes experience to convince a jury that your condition and pain and suffering has been caused by the defendant’s negligence, rather than the pre-existing condition. An experienced lawyer like Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. knows how to prover your injuries. If you have a prior injury or pre-existing condition and are injured in an accident, you will want to do the following:

  • Maintain Documentation: You should make sure you discuss any pre-existing conditions with your doctors.
  • Discuss differences with your Doctor –Ask them to be clear about explaining whether your current problems and symptoms are due to the accident or the prior condition.
  • Be Honest with your Doctor – You must also be honest and open about your prior condition when speaking to your Doctor.
  • Be Honest with your Attorney — Hiding information puts your lawyer at a disadvantage when negotiating with the insurance company.

 

The best way to protect your claim if you have pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries is to be candid and honest with your attorney and your doctors about these conditions at your first consultation. Your truthfulness about your medical condition will allow your doctors to understand your new injuries.  It is important to be open about your past medical history. This honesty will put you in the best position possible for a maximum recovery in your case. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will have access to past accident history whether or not you are candid. It can damage your case if they find it be other means.  That is why it is important to remember to all of your past injuries when discussing your case with your attorney and your doctor and let your attorney and doctors known about these issues. If you are not honest in disclosing these conditions in the beginning, you are setting yourself up for many different problems including harming your credibility, ruining your entire case, and even subjecting yourself to legal action.

 

If you have a question about a pre-existing condition, please don’t hesitate to call our office 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.

Fatal accident investigation. What really happens?

Sadly, statistics show that driving is dangerous in this country.

  • Almost 1.25 million people die in auto accidents each year
  • Tragically, auto accidents are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Over one half of the victims are young people ages 15-44.
  • There are an average of 3,287 deaths a day as a result of automobile accidents
  • Automobile accidents are the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Experts predict that auto accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

https://www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/

Most of us take driving for granted.  It is part of our everyday routine. We are in and out of the car many times a day, putting thousands of miles on our vehicles every year.   When a hazard occurs, you often only have a split second to react in a way that could save your life. . If you are changing the radio station, talking on a cell phone or not paying attention to the road, that opportunity is lost. In fact, in researching and writing this blog, I believe I will enroll my teenage son in the defensive driving course at the Las Vegas Motor speedway.  https://driversedge.org/the-program/  The better prepared drivers are to react, the better their chances at avoiding a fatal accident.

In working for a major insurance company as an attorney for many years, I had the unfortunate experience of reviewing many fatal accident claims files.  I think that the luxury and comfort of modern vehicles makes drivers forget that they are moving at a high rate of speed and not at a concert or sitting in a movie theater.  Drivers are becoming desensitized to the danger of the roadway.

When the police and/or highway patrol are dispatched to the scene of an accident, they conduct a thorough and often lengthy investigation of the scene.  The following are the steps of the investigation process:

Tape off the scene

The scene of a fatal traffic accident is taped off to preserve evidence. It is marked off like any other crime scene. Photographs are taken and all the evidence is carefully collected

Take Measurements of Skid Marks

Measuring the skid marks left on the road surface by the cars is a significant indicator of how the accident took place.  Police can often tell from the skid marks how fast the vehicles were traveling prior to impact.

 

Calculating drag factor

Once the skid marks are measured, police use various formulas to compute how fast the cars were traveling. It’s important to take into consideration the “drag factor” of the concrete or asphalt, whether it is raining or snowing and if the surface is sloped. Police use algebraic calculation to determine the coefficient friction on the roadway.  Drag factor is the deceleration coefficiant for an entire vehicle. The coefficient of Friction is the deceleration coefficient for a sliding tier. The Drag factor and coefficient of Friction are the same, if and only if, all four tiers of a motor vehicle are locked and sliding on a surface.

 

Interviewing all Witness

Then, all witnesses are interviewed. This could be occupants, drivers, bystanders etc. The primary officer interviews the suspect driver if they’re able to speak. While the interviews are being conducted, the other members of the team begin to collect the evidence. This includes creating a scale diagram, taking photos, alcohol bottles, and blood and urine samples if the crash is alcohol related

 

Testing for Impaired Drivers

The driver would be questioned and examined for signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and to see if they were otherwise medically impaired. A drug/tox screen would be ordered. The results of this usually take several days, at minimum.

 

Look for Mechanical Failures

 

The vehicle would be carefully examined to see if there were any mechanical failures, malfunctions, or relevant modifications.

 

Careful Site Inspection

 

The site of the accident would be carefully diagrammed. Critical items would include the position when the vehicle started moving, the area of impact, the area of initial braking, and the point of rest. As a team, the police will walk through the entire scene to get a feel for it… how it happened… looking for evidence. In a fatal crash, the evidence can be skid marks, debris field… it could be the distance a bumper off a car flew after impact… anything inside that scene is a possible piece of evidence.

 

Check for Possible Surveillance Video

There would be a search for any surveillance video of the area at the time of the accident.

 

Autopsy of Victims

An autopsy would be performed on the victims to determine the precise causes of their deaths, and whether there were any intervening medical issues.

 

Further review of Evidence

When all the evidence has been gathered, there is often a multi-disciplinary meeting of accident and homicide investigators, prosecutors, and possibly psychological or medical experts to determine the culpability of the driver or others involved.

 

Criminal Charges

 

Once the evidence is collected, the team works for days, weeks and sometimes months to complete the investigation.  The evidence is generally put into a booklet form or report format and the principle officers and the traffic supervisor meet with the District Attorney to discuss charges. If the driver is found to have some antagonistic relationship with the victims or their families, the prosecutor will consider whether the case is a deliberate act, as opposed to an accident (this is rare). If the actions of the driver are deliberate, the appropriate charges aren’t something like unsafe backing or careless driving. They become murder.

If the driver reports he/she lost consciousness before or during the incident, a medical examination will be ordered to determine whether she might have suffered a seizure or some other medical problem. If she was aware of this problem and drove in spite of it, her culpability will increase.

The prosecutor is ultimately the final arbiter of what charges, if any, will be filed.

 

How to Become a safer Driver, Experts offer the following advice:

  • When you come to an intersection, don’t just look straight ahead, look all around. Don’t just look at the car in front of you; look at the car in front of it.
  • Don’t follow too closely. If the car in front brakes unexpectedly, you have more time to react if you have more space.
  • Pay more attention, be more courteous.
  • Use a “hands-free” device if you have to talk on the cell phone.
  • Be alert for other drivers who are acting recklessly.
  • Change your attitude — slow down, relax and take your time getting to your destination.
  • Be an extremely courteous driver
  • Be an extremely defensive driver
  • Be on the lookout for drivers who appear impaired

Safety Features Matter


When shopping for a vehicle in today’s market,  airbags really offer the best protection in the event of an accident. However, seatbelts are still extremely important and must be used with the other protections.   It is also important to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash test scores   https://www.nhtsa.gov/  before making a final selection for a car. In today’s market, you can shop for safety and style.  It is no longer an either or choice.

All of this information will eventually be released to the participating insurance companies, who may undertake their own investigation. If a loved one has been involved in a fatal accident, please don’t hesitate to call our office immediately.  We can make sure that injured victims receive the care they need and deserve and that families of victims with fatal injuries receive justice, 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.

What to Do if the Insurance Company Says My Car is a Total Loss.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A TOTAL LOSS VEHICLE

  1. You will not get to decide whether or not your car is a total loss
  2. A total loss is not always obvious
  3. Legally, if the cost to repair is more than 65% of the car’s value, it’s a total loss.
  4. The fair market value of the vehicle is negotiable; don’t let the insurance company tell you it’s not.
  5. The loan on the car is not the fair market value.

One of the biggest misconceptions that we see in our office is what the meaning of total loss is in the context of an auto accident. Often times, clients think that total loss means they will get a new car. Unfortunately that is not the case. In addition, clients will often think that they can determine whether or not their car is, in fact, a total loss. Unfortunately, that is also not the case.

In the state of Nevada, whether a car is a total loss is governed by Nevada Revised Statute 487.790. Specifically NRS 487.790 states as:

NRS 487.790  “Total loss vehicle” defined.

  1.   “Total loss vehicle” means a motor vehicle:

      (a) Of a type which is subject to registration; and

      (b) Which has been wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged to such an extent that the cost of repair is 65 percent or more of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) A nonrepairable vehicle;

      (b) A motor vehicle which is 10 model years old or older and which, to restore the vehicle to its condition before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged and regardless of cost, requires the replacement of only:

             (1) The hood;

            (2) The trunk lid;

             (3) A fender;

             (4) Two or fewer of the following parts or assemblies, which may be bolted or unbolted:

                   (I) Doors;

                   (II) A grill assembly;

                   (III) A bumper assembly;

                   (IV) A headlight assembly; or

                   (V) A taillight assembly; or

             (5) Any combination of subparagraph (1), (2), (3) or (4);

      (c) A motor vehicle, regardless of the age of the vehicle, for which the cost to repair the vehicle is less than 65 percent of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before the vehicle was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle; or

      (d) A motor vehicle that was stolen and subsequently recovered, if the motor vehicle:

             (1) Has no structural damage; and

             (2) Is missing only tires, wheels, audio or video equipment, or some combination thereof.

      3.  For the purposes of this section, the model year of manufacture is calculated based on a year beginning on January 1 of the calendar year in which the damage occurs.

      (Added to NRS by 1995, 1573; A 2003, 1911; 2005, 1245; 2011, 1663)

What this means is that if the repair estimate to fix your car is more than 65% of the fair market value of the vehicle, it must be declared a total loss by state law. However, even with this definition that would seem clear on its face, there are a lot of variables. Such variables include determining what will be the actual cost to repair the  car as well as the actual value of the car. I will discuss each one of these issues.

First, it is necessary to determine whether the vehicle is, in fact, a total loss. With over 18 years’ experience in this business, I can generally look at a photograph and tell you if the vehicle is going to be a total loss. Feel free to call our office with any questions if you have been involved in accident involving a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss.  When estimating the damage, the insurance company will generally allow some leeway for hidden damage in determining whether to repair the vehicle or not. This means for example if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and the insurance company estimates the damage at $4,000, they will likely deem the car a total loss because if there is additional hidden damage found when repairs begin, it will rise to the level of total loss.       

Sometimes, if the client really wants the vehicle repaired, and it is close on the total loss versus fair market value, we can have their carrier repair the vehicle and the client will sign a waiver regarding future repair costs. This is not something we generally recommend but there are occasions that clients are very attached to their vehicles and do not want to send them to the salvage yard.   At the Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, we listen to our clients’ needs and requests and assist throughout the property damage loss assessment and payment. We also do not take any fee for handling this portion of the case when handling the personal injury matter. It is important when finding a personal injury attorney to discuss this matter up front. Many personal injury attorneys do not help their clients with the property damage at all. At The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, we make sure you are fairly compensated for your vehicle or that it is fully repaired, and we do not charge for this service when handling the personal injury claim.

The second part of a total loss claim is determining the fair market value of your car.  I generally explain this to clients as if you were going to sell your vehicle on the morning of the accident before the collision occurred, what would be the price that you would accept for the vehicle. The way we generally determine this number is to look at what we call in the business “comps“. This means comparable vehicles for sale. Most common vehicles can be searched easily on the Internet. Simply enter the year, make, and specific model of your vehicle and look for similar vehicles for sale. You will generally find a significant range in value often thousands of dollars depending on the vehicle.  We look for higher value comps that are as close to our client’s vehicle as possible to determine the fair market value. You want to compare things like options; for example whether it has leather or cloth seats, whether it is turbo or not turbo, whether it has navigation or not, as well as mileage.

Once you locate these comparable for sale vehicles, you want to print this information and make sure you include the name of the dealership or private seller on the documentation you print as a way to reach them to verify the comparable sale. You can compare these with the amount the insurance company is offering you for the total loss of your vehicle and it should be comparable to these numbers.

On a related note, when purchasing a new or newer vehicle, we urge our clients to obtain GAP insurance on their car loan. If the dealer offers this to you, you can research to compare rates with other carriers to make a comparison to what the dealer is offering you when you are buying the car.   You can do this on your phone at the dealership while in the process of purchasing the car. GAP insurance is insurance that protects you in the event that your car is an accident, is a total loss, and has even fair market value of less than the loan balance. Your insurance company or the other side will only pay the fair market value of the vehicle. Sometimes that is less than what is owed on the car. You could reach a situation where you still owe thousands of dollars on a vehicle you no longer have because the value was less than the loan. Unfortunately, this can and does happen. That is why we urge clients to have a GAP insurance to pay the gap in the fair market value and the amount of the loan balance. If you’ve already purchased a new vehicle and did not obtain gap insurance, it is something that you can add and we urge you to do that.

If you have a question about a total loss vehicle, or a loved one is injured call our office immediately.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advice 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 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.

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.

HOW DO I GET MY CAR FIXED AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Strict liability;

(b) An intentional tort;

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

(d) The concerted acts of the defendants; or

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

6.  As used in this section:

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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