Category Archives: Children Accidents

My child was a passenger in someone else’s car in an accident what do I do?

  • Take your child for medical attention immediately to determine injuries
  • Obtain a copy of the police report
  • Obtain a copy of the drivers insurance in with your child was a passenger
  • Watch your child closely for any changes or signs of continuing injury and obtain the appropriate medical care.

Laura Hunt AttorneyIf your child is involved in an auto accident while traveling with friends or family, your child is considered a fault free passenger and is covered by the at fault driver‘s policy. Your child is also covered by underinsured motorist coverage if available in the passenger car that he or she was in.   Uninsured coverage and Underinsured coverage (referred to as UM/UIM) is coverage that covers you if the other driver is not insured or is underinsured. You should always carry UM/UIM coverage.

If your child is severely injured, your child would also be covered under your auto insurance coverage on your UM/UIM policy. Therefore, there could be three or more auto insurance policies that could cover your child as a fault free passenger if he or she is injured in an automobile accident.

When you take your child for medical attention, if available, provide your child’s health insurance information to the provider. If your child does not have medical insurance, contact a personal injury attorney immediately to assist you with medical care for your child without being sent to collections for unpaid medical bills. When your child has concluded medical care, The Law Offices of Laura Hunt can negotiate a fair settlement for your child and handle the minor’s compromise of the claim.  Nevada has a mandatory procedure to follow when settling a minor’s claim.  This law can be found at N.R.S. 41.200 and states as follows:

NRS 41.200  Compromise by parent or guardian of claim by minor against third person; requirements of court petition; establishment of blocked financial investment for proceeds of compromise; no fees to be charged in proceedings.

1.  If an unemancipated minor has a disputed claim for money against a third person, either parent, or if the parents of the minor are living separate and apart, then the custodial parent, or if no custody award has been made, the parent with whom the minor is living, or if a general guardian or guardian of the estate of the minor has been appointed, then that guardian, has the right to compromise the claim. Such a compromise is not effective until it is approved by the district court of the county where the minor resides, or if the minor is not a resident of the State of Nevada, then by the district court of the county where the claim was incurred, upon a verified petition in writing, regularly filed with the court.

2.  The petition must set forth:

(a) The name, age and residence of the minor;

(b) The facts which bring the minor within the purview of this section, including:

(1) The circumstances which make it a disputed claim for money;

(2) The name of the third person against whom the claim is made; and

(3) If the claim is the result of an accident or motor vehicle crash, the date, place and facts of the accident or motor vehicle crash;

(c) The names and residence of the parents or the legal guardian of the minor;

(d) The name and residence of the person or persons having physical custody or control of the minor;

(e) The name and residence of the petitioner and the relationship of the petitioner to the minor;

(f) The total amount of the proceeds of the proposed compromise and the apportionment of those proceeds, including the amount to be used for:

(1) Attorney’s fees and whether the attorney’s fees are fixed or contingent fees, and if the attorney’s fees are contingent fees the percentage of the proceeds to be paid as attorney’s fees;

(2) Medical expenses; and

(3) Other expenses,

Ê and whether these fees and expenses are to be deducted before or after the calculation of any contingency fee;

(g) Whether the petitioner believes the acceptance of this compromise is in the best interest of the minor; and

(h) That the petitioner has been advised and understands that acceptance of the compromise will bar the minor from seeking further relief from the third person offering the compromise.

3.  If the claim involves a personal injury suffered by the minor, the petitioner must submit all relevant medical and health care records to the court at the compromise hearing. The records must include documentation of:

(a) The injury, prognosis, treatment and progress of recovery of the minor; and

(b) The amount of medical expenses incurred to date, the nature and amount of medical expenses which have been paid and by whom, any amount owing for medical expenses and an estimate of the amount of medical expenses which may be incurred in the future.

4.  If the court approves the compromise of the claim of the minor, the court must direct the money to be paid to the father, mother or guardian of the minor, with or without the filing of any bond, or it must require a general guardian or guardian ad litem to be appointed and the money to be paid to the guardian or guardian ad litem, with or without a bond, as the court, in its discretion, deems to be in the best interests of the minor.

5.  Upon receiving the proceeds of the compromise, the parent or guardian to whom the proceeds of the compromise are ordered to be paid, shall establish a blocked financial investment for the benefit of the minor with the proceeds of the compromise. Money may be obtained from the blocked financial investment only pursuant to subsection 6. Within 30 days after receiving the proceeds of the compromise, the parent or guardian shall file with the court proof that the blocked financial investment has been established. If the balance of the investment is more than $10,000, the parent, guardian or person in charge of managing the investment shall annually file with the court a verified report detailing the activities of the investment during the previous 12 months. If the balance of the investment is $10,000 or less, the court may order the parent, guardian or person in charge of managing the investment to file such periodic verified reports as the court deems appropriate. The court may hold a hearing on a verified report only if it deems a hearing necessary to receive an explanation of the activities of the investment.

6.  The beneficiary of a block financial investment may obtain control of or money from the investment:

(a) By an order of the court which held the compromise hearing; or

(b) By certification of the court which held the compromise hearing that the beneficiary has reached the age of 18 years, at which time control of the investment must be transferred to the beneficiary or the investment must be closed and the money distributed to the beneficiary.

7.  The clerk of the district court shall not charge any fee for filing a petition for leave to compromise or for placing the petition upon the calendar to be heard by the court.

8.  As used in this section, the term “blocked financial investment” means a savings account established in a depository institution in this state, a certificate of deposit, a United States savings bond, a fixed or variable annuity contract, or another reliable investment that is approved by the court.

It sets out the procedure that must be followed when settling a minor’s claim.  Under this statute, the parent or guardian of the child must file a minor’s compromise to allow the court to approve and review the settlement.   After the court approves the agreed upon settlement, the parent or guardian must place the funds in a “blocked financial investment for the benefit of the minor until the minor is 18 years old and can access the funds.

By contacting a lawyer immediately, your child can receive the necessary medical care without the worry of medical bill being sent to collections.  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 involving children.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review the coverages to maximize the money your child receives.

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.

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.

What to Do After a Minor Accident in Southern Nevada

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The response protocols for accidents in different parts of Southern Nevada can vary. This makes it important for commuters and travelers to be aware if they are involved in a minor accident.

Should You Call Authorities About Your Accident in Southern Nevada?

Because the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department does not routinely respond to minor accidents, motorists must be well versed in the appropriate steps for documenting an incident. If there are damages to a vehicle involved in a fender bender or other minor incident, there could be challenges with insurance coverage. Even the most careful driver could deal with raised rates and other consequences due to a lack of evidence or dishonest actions on the part of another driver. In some minor accident cases, authorities might still be needed at the scene.

Location of the Accident

An accident that occurs in the city limits of Las Vegas is typically subject to Metro’s guidelines. However, an incident on a highway is under the jurisdiction of Nevada Highway Patrol, meaning that authorities should be contacted even for a fender bender. It is also important to realize that incidents outside of Metro’s jurisdiction include North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Pahrump. Those who experience accidents in these areas must still contact authorities.

Situations that Warrant Calling Authorities Regardless of Location

LVMPD will still respond to minor accidents in certain situations. If there are injuries, officers should be contacted. If the other driver won’t cooperate in the exchange of information or doesn’t have insurance and registration documents, contact authorities to respond to the scene. If there are no injuries but one of the cars cannot be driven, officers may be needed to help.

Obtaining Legal Help

Metro’s website notes that insurance companies do not require an accident report to handle a claim. However, legal help may be important if an insurer is resistant to covering an incident. A Las Vegas auto accident attorney may be needed to ensure that the process moves along. An attorney may also be helpful with personal injury litigation if an individual suffered injuries that did not manifest at the time of an accident.

Preventing Child Injury In A Car Accident

While automotive safety technology has come a long way, car accidents are still a serious problem. Since automobile crashes are the leading cause of youth deaths, it is important to be aware of safety procedures when behind the wheel. Technology can help make roads safer, but is only one piece to the puzzle. There are certain things we can do as drivers to help not only keep ourselves safe, but also our child passengers.

Child passenger safety is a very serious problem. In 2011, over 600 children under the age of 12 were killed in traffic related accidents. Additionally, over 100,000 children are seriously injured in traffic related accidents each year. Since this is an issue that will continue to occur if steps are not taken, here are some tips for preventing child injury in car accidents.

young child in car

Parents are a huge risk factor

Unfortunately, parents are usually the biggest risk factor in fatal accidents involving children. About two-thirds of children killed in accidents were being driven by their intoxicated parents. Additionally, most children don’t wear their seat belts because their parents don’t wear theirs.

One of the best ways to prevent these types of accidents is to educate more people on how to keep children safe while riding in a vehicle. An idea that could be helpful in promoting safe driving with children is to offer free car seats to parents in need. Giving out car seats to those who might not be able to afford them is a great way to keep more children safe.

Child age limits for car seats

There are also some states that have increased the age requirements for when a child should no longer be required to sit in a car or booster seat. When states increase the age limit, studies show the number of children being restrained increases by three times. This in turn means less child deaths, as car seats significantly reduce the risk of fatal injuries. Always make sure you use the right car seat for your child’s weight and size. This alone can reduce the risk of injuring your child in a dangerous automobile accident.

As a licensed car accident attorney in Las Vegas, it is our goal to help reduce the number of preventable injuries and accidents happening in Southern Nevada. We are here to help victims of reckless or negligent driving, so if you feel you have a case, please contact us today at (702) 450-4868 for a consultation.

Photo by anitapeppers