Category Archives: General Interest, Tips

HOW TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE

 

  • Know what coverages you need to protect your family and property
  • Understand the types of coverages available.
  • When buying insurance, do not simply follow the prompts on the website
  • If you can, purchase your insurance from a reputable agent that will sit down with you and take the time to understand your insurance needs.
  • Compare the costs for the amounts of the difference in coverages you can purchase.
  • The most common coverages are Liability, Collision, Rental, Towing, Med-pay and UM/UIM

 

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends and family members as an attorney handling insurance claims is “what kind of insurance do I need?”  In fact, one of the most frequent things we hear from client’s when they come in the offices is, “I have full coverage.” Unfortunately, the term “full coverage” does not mean you have the right coverage or enough coverage.  Having reviewed hundreds of insurance policies over the years, it has become clear to me that most people mistakenly think they are covered for things they are not actually covered for under their policy.

If it is possible, you should go to a reputable and knowledgeable insurance agent who will sit down with you and go over what type of coverage you need to protect yourself and your family when buying insurance.  Insurance Agents are skilled at reviewing coverages and the cost differences to provide you with the peace of mind that you actually have the “right coverage.” If you are able to use an insurance agent, I would highly recommend that you purchase your insurance from an agent.  Understanding the various insurance coverages available can be difficult, and often times a large increase in coverage comes with very little rate increase. There are additional resources on-line to help you understand the different coverages available. https://www.dmv.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage.php  . Auto insurance. Org also has some good information at https://www.autoinsurance.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage/

It is extremely important to understand what insurance coverages are available when buying auto insurance and what the different coverages mean in the event that you are injured or your property is damaged or you have injured someone else.   Most auto insurance policies are relatively simple to understand if you know the terminology they use. The following are the types of coverages that you will be asked if you buy, whether you are buying online or buying form an agent. Your decisions and the options you chose can be critical to your well-being in the event that you or someone you love on your policy is injured in an accident.

  1. Liability Coverage (often called bodily injury coverage) is what is required by law.   What that means is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay for property damage and bodily injury for the other driver and passengers ( a.k.a. third-parties) in the event you cause an automobile accident. In Nevada, state minimum is 15/30/10 and will be changing to 25/50/20 as of July 1, 2018.  http://doi.nv.gov/Consumers/Automobile_Insurance/Higher_Minimum_Vehicle_Liability_Requirements/Most people do not know what those numbers mean and it is important that you understand the terminology.  When there are three numbers, the first number is the amount your insurance company will pay per person for bodily injury; meaning, they will pay $25,000 per person per accident under the new law. The second number is the amount your insurance company will pay per accident for bodily injury; meaning they will pay $50,000 combined for all persons injured per accident under the new law.  For example if you get into an automobile collision and it is your fault and there’s one person in the other vehicle they can only obtain $25,000 from your insurance company. However, if their damages exceed the $25,000.00, they can collect that overage directly from you.  If they are seriously injured, that could be substantial. If there were two people in the vehicle they could obtain $25,000 each. However, if they were three or more people in that vehicle, the $50,000 would be split between those people if they were injured depending on their degree of injury. In today’s exorbitant world of medical billing, $25,000 does not go very far. The third number is the total amount your insurance company will pay for property damage to the other vehicle or property such as a damaged road signs as a result of the accident. If you purchase a minimum insurance policy you could wind up being personally exposed. Meaning, if there’s not enough insurance coverage to compensate the other drivers’ loss, the other driver could sue you and obtain a judgment against your personal assets to recover their damages. For this reason, it is extremely important to insure yourself and your family as high as you can afford to in order to protect your personal assets. Meaning if you own your home, and you have savings accounts, you want to make sure that you have enough insurance. I often recommended umbrella policy to people which is usually a cost of approximately $20-$30 per month and will protect your assets.  An Umbrella policy provides a higher layer of coverage for your auto, home, boat, etc. on top of your limits, usually in the amount of a million dollars.
  2. Collision Coverage is the second type of coverage and the coverage which most people consider to be “full coverage”. Collision coverage means that repairs to your vehicle will be made in the event that your car is damaged in an accident. If you purchase collision coverage, that coverage will cover damage to your automobile. It is extremely important to know what your deductible is. Often times, changing your deductible from $1000.00 down to $500.00 is as little as $8.00 to $10.00 on your overall premium. It is important that you check what you’re paying for and what you could get for just a little bit more or sometimes little change at all.   Ask the agent to tell the cost differences for different deductibles or coverages. When you go to the store, you can see all the items on the shelf and you can see what all the items cost and their value so you can choose accordingly. If you want to pay fifty cents more for stronger paper towels you can easily make that choice. Unfortunately, with buying insurance, they don’t make it that simple. You have to ask these questions either of the agents or when you’re buying online you need to change the deductibles and change your coverages and see how it affects your premium.
  3. Medical Payments coverage and this can be extraordinarily important for you if you are in an accident.  Medical Payments Coverage is usually a fixed amount anywhere from $1000.00, or $2,000.00, or $5,000.00 on up. It means that your insurance company will pay your medical bills regardless of whether you have health insurance if you are in an automobile accident and you’re injured. Medical payments coverage can be very important because often times you may have large co-pays, especially for ambulance bills, from an accident. Health insurance often will not cover things like physical therapy as much as you need or you may have large deductible on your health insurance policy. Medical payments coverage is generally an inexpensive coverage which will protect you from out of pocket medical expenses if you are in an accident. It’s important to know that even if it is not your fault, it can take months or years to recover money from the other driver. Your medical providers, (hospitals, ambulances, quick cares, etc.) will not wait until the claim is settled to send you to collections. When purchasing insurance always look at what medical payments coverage is available and the cost. If it fits your budget, you should purchase medical payments to protect yourself
  4. UM/UIM is another extremely important coverage that people often drop to save money. This means uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured is self-explanatory, it means that if someone without insurance hits you, you have coverage for your medical bills and injuries. Underinsured coverage means that if someone with a small policy, like the state minimum of $25,000 hits you and you are seriously injured, you can recover against your own policy after the $25,000.00 is paid from the other driver. In the state of Nevada, it is estimated that 15% of all drivers on the road do not have car insurance.  It is extremely important to protect yourself and your assets from reckless and illegal drivers. In the state of Nevada, when you purchase insurance, the insurance company is required to offer you UM/UIM benefits and if you reject the same they must have you sign a waiver. Think carefully before you reject these benefits because if you are in a serious accident these benefits could protect you and your loved ones from undue financial burden.
  5. Towing coverage can be invaluable to you if you are involved in an accident. These are somewhat self-explanatory; however, there are a few tricks. When looking at your towing coverage, always check the amount of miles that they will tow your vehicle. Sometimes they have separate towing packages where they’ll only tow your vehicle 5 -10 miles and then you are at the mercy of the tow truck company for the rest of the bill. It’s often pennies to change the policy to a better towing policy where they will tow you up to 100 miles.  You never know when you are going to get into an accident. AND ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAR TOWED TO YOUR HOME.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE AT THE MERCY OF THE SALVAGE YARD TO HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR VEHICLE.  
  6. Rental Car Coverage — If you drive a large vehicle to take your family places and haul groceries, and you are need of a rental car from an auto accident, most policies will offer you the $20 a day, very basic economy car.  This may not fit your needs, and if it does not, it can be very costly to you to rent a larger vehicle. When purchasing rental insurance you usually have the option of $20-$30 a day or $50 a day in rental coverage. Again, this is generally a very inexpensive change on the policy.  When purchasing rental insurance, check to see if the cost of having a better vehicle in the event that you need a rental car makes sense for your family. Often, it is less than five dollars on the policy.

If you are shopping for automobile insurance and have question please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  There are also many online resources that can help you estimate the costs of insurance and what is average. https://www.carinsurance.com/types-of-car-insurance  Remember your driving history will impact your rates. It is important to understand the coverages you are buying and the coverages you need.  https://wallethub.com/edu/med-pay/9255/   At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and coverages.  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.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

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

I WAS HIT FROM BEHIND IN MY CAR BY ANOTHER DRIVER, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

  • Take photos of your vehicle in the location of the impact before moving your car only if it is safe to do so.
  • Take photos of the other vehicle at the scene of the accident.
  • Call the police and wait for the police
  • Seek Medical attention if you have pain

Laura Hunt Attorney

Figures posted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show that of the approximately 6 million car accidents that happen in the United States each year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions.  According tothe Washington Post, About 1,700 people die in rear-end collisions and another 500,000 are hurt yearly. That means the odds are that if you or a loved one is involved in an auto collision that it will likely be a rear-end type auto collision.  Sometimes, rear-end collisions involve a minor impact where no one is hurt. Sometimes, they involve a substantial impact with serious injuries. Regardless of the type of collision you are in, there are certain steps that you will always want to take to preserve and document evidence and information at the scene of the accident that will be lost if it is not preserved.  Sometimes, the stress of being involved in the accident can affect your recollection of the events. Try to stay calm and take the following steps to protect yourself:

First, if it is safe to do so, take photos of the vehicles immediately following the collision before they are moved.  This is important in case the adverse driver has a different recollection of the event at a later date and to document how the collision occurred. Even if you have to pull off the road, take pictures of cars, the other driver, the road conditions, and the location of the accident.  Take a lot of photos. This will be the only proof you have regarding the accident.

Second, always call the police to the scene of the accident.  Establishing an official record protects everyone. Determining what happened and noting important factors such as weather and property damage are important. The police know exactly what questions to ask and what details should be captured. Compiling all witness statements, photos and contributing factors into an official police report ensures that an accurate record of the incident will be available later to your insurance company or attorney.

Third, seek medical attention quickly.  It is important for you to know that often times pain and injuries inflicted from a rear-end collision may not felt at the time of the collision.  Pain and discomfort may take 24 hours to set in following your accident. That’s why you want to seek medical treatment immediately after being hit in a rear-end impact.   The sooner you seek medical help, the easier it will be to prover your pain and injuries are a result of the rear-end auto collision and not your everyday activities as the insurance company will want to argue.   If you have pain or stiffness, go to a quick care or your family chiropractor. If you do not know where to go for medical help, call the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC today.

Fourth, if there are any witnesses, be sure to obtain their name, address and phone number.  You may need to contact them at a later time to be a witness and give a statement.

It is important to take the right steps following a rear-end collision and contact an attorney.   If you or a loved one is involved in a rear end auto accident while you’re out of town feel free to call the Law offices of Laura Hunt, PC… We are available 24/7 via phone and text message at 702-600-0032 to answer questions that you have at the time of your accident. We have been helping people injured in car accidents for the last decade and recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

Rear-auto  accidents are  a very common occurrence. At  some point, the odds are that most drivers  will be involved in such a collision. Especially given the level of distractions drivers have such as cell phones, text messaging, iPods and general stress.   Unfortunately, many drivers will have had the difficult experience of dealing with a serious rear-end collision. That is when an attorney can help by dealing with all the unpleasant aspects of an accident, like getting your car fixed and paying your doctors.   While there are some exceptions and unusual circumstances based on differences in state law, as a general rule, the driver of the rear-ending car is at fault for rear-end collisions.  Therefore, the driver of the rear-ending car will be liable for the damage caused in the accident, which will be paid by his insurance company.

If you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision, contact our offices today.  By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims.  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. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

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

GET READY FOR SPRING BREAK, DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER ME ON A RENTAL CAR?

  • Before leaving for your trip, call your insurance agent and ask if you are covered on a rental
    car.
  • Before leaving for your trip, call your credit card company to see what coverage they offer on
    rental cars, and use that care to rent the car.
  • Before leaving, verify that you have collision coverage. If not, purchase collision coverage on the rental car.
  • Before leaving for your trip, check the rates for insurance through the company online and check rates when booking.

Laura Hunt AttorneySpring break is approaching and many people and families will be hitting the road for vacations. Often time’s people are flying to their destinations and renting a car or driving a rental vehicle to their destination to avoid excess miles on their private vehicles. Before you decide to hit the open road and spring for a rental car, you should know what kind of coverage you already have on a rental car through your own policy and credit cards. You’ll need this information before you can determine whether or not you need to buy the rental car insurance offered through the rental car company. It is not a decision you want to make at the rental car counter. It’s a complicated decision. You may already be covered through your existing car insurance or your credit card. “Your personal auto car coverage usually does cover rental car coverage,” says Merle Scheiber of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

However, only the personal coverages that you pay for would apply to the rental vehicle. This means that if you do not carry collision on you vehicle which is coverage for damage to your vehicle, you would not have coverage for damage to the rental car if you did not purchase the rental car company’s collision coverage. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you have collision coverage on your own policy, which pays for damages to your vehicle from accidents involving other cars or objects. “For people who already have collision coverage on the rental car, getting the rental car insurance policy is a waste of money,” says Neil Abrams, an auto rental consultant of Abrams Consulting Group based in Purchase, N.Y. But if you do not have collision coverage on your own vehicle, you’ll want to purchase that coverage at the rental car counter or use a credit card that provides this coverage.

A number of major credit card companies offer rental auto insurance to cardholders, such as Visa and American Express. However, not all Visa or American Express cards carry the same benefits, and therefore, it is very important that you call your credit card company and find out what your card offers. It is important to listen closely. It is not sufficient that you find out that you “have coverage by using your credit card.” You need to find out what coverages you have which are generally collision (damage to the vehicle you are driving) and liability (damage to other vehicles and injuries to other persons) You need both and your credit card company may only provide liability. In addition, certain cards only offer such coverages to elite members or certain card holders, so check with your credit card company first.

So What exactly are the benefits of buying insurance from the rental company? It protects you from out-of-pocket expenses caused by loss or damage to the vehicle, including theft. Rental car insurance can cost approximately $20-$25 per day, depending on what option you select. The collision damage waiver, aka the “optional vehicle protection or loss damage waiver”, can cost as much as $19 per day and changes liability for collision damage from the person renting the car (you) to the car rental company. It is important to note that even if you carry collision on your personal auto policy, you will be liable for you deductible when you turn the car in regardless of fault for the damage to the rental car at that time. Your insurance carrier may reimburse that money to you at a later time if it is not your fault and the other driver was insured.

Liability insurance generally costs between $7 and $14 a day and is for damage you cause to another person or property while driving the car. However, your auto insurance on your own car should already include liability insurance and will generally cover you on a “non-owned vehicle.” Before leaving on any trip where you will be renting a car, call your agent or the 800 number on you card and ask what type of coverage you have for a “non-owned vehicle” and they should be happy to assist you. Their customer service agent should be able to explain what coverage you have on a rental car. If they are not pleasant and helpful, you should look for an insurance company that is pleasant and helpful to their own insured’s.

Although the rental companies are required to provide statutory minimum liability coverage on the vehicles they rent by state law, you do not want to be in a situation where you are reliant on a rental car company who’s’ interests will come first to protect you. In a serious accident, that’s not going to do much to protect you and your personal assets. Statutory minimum liability coverage provides some protection to renters involved in an accident while driving a rental vehicle but they have don’t have the same duty to you as your insurance company. “It’s not insurance, in the technical sense, that rental companies offer,” Abrams says. Rental companies are not licensed insurance agents in every state. Instead, they offer a protection package. “It doesn’t help where clear negligence is involved,” Abrams warns. “If you leave your car with the engine running and the key in the ignition, and the car disappears, the rental company may have a problem with that.”

Abrams adds that some people are protected through their homeowner’s policy. Home owners can extend the liability when the policyholder is not in their home, i.e., while renting a car. However, the provisions vary from one policy to another, so be sure to check ahead of time. This would only cover a stolen vehicle or goods in the vehicle, not damages to the vehicle or injuries.

Jan Zobel, a tax preparer in Oakland, Calif., rents a car when she travels to Hawaii several times a year. Zobel receives coverage using her American Express card, which charges her $17.95 per rental. “I’m not a big AmEx card user, but you can bet that I pay for every rental now with that card,” she says.

If you chose to buy insurance through the rental car company, be sure to read the fine print. Even go online before you leave and review their coverages. Many people do not read the rental agreement when renting a car. That’s why you should make these decisions before you get the rental car counter. Every car rental agreement is different, and you should be aware of that when renting a car. Do your research. Most agreements are similar but like anything, when you sign your name to something, you should know what you are signing. You can be contractually obligated. Another issue, for example, the agreement might only cover one driver, so that would prevent you from taking turns on the road with someone. Don’t be afraid to call the rental car company and ask questions before you take the insurance policy.

Most important, make sure you have some form of insurance on the rental car at the time you pick it up. You do not want is to get into an accident and find out you are underinsured—or worse, uninsured. Many rental companies will allow uninsured customers to rent a car. For example, if you reserve from Hertz at the airport, the reservationist will not ask you for your insurance policy, nor do you have to show proof of insurance, experts say. If you are not insured, you must understand exposure and liability, what coverage you may have through credit card or homeowners, and look at the protection packages offered from the rental company. I would highly urge you to do this before you leave for your trip so that you do not waste money on coverages you already have but also have the coverages you need.

If you are involved in an accident while in a rental car, contact our offices today. By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims. 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 auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available to maximize the money you receive.

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

U turn legal in nevada

When is a U-Turn Legal in Nevada and in Henderson?

Laura Hunt AttorneyHenderson and Nevada drivers in general are often unsure if it is legal to make a U-turn or not. I will attempt to clarify this issue in our community. According to the Nevada driver’s handbook:
U-turns are generally allowed if they can be completed safely. In business areas, you must be at an intersection or on a divided highway where an appropriate opening exists. U-turns are not allowed where prohibited by a traffic sign or signal, or if there is less than 500 feet visibility in both directions.” (NRS 484B.403) Specifically, NRS 483B.403 states as follows:

TITLE 43 PUBLIC SAFETY; VEHICLES; WATERCRAFT
Chapter 484B Rules of the Road

NRS 484B.403 When U-turns are authorized and prohibited; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone.

1. A U-turn may be made on any road where the turn can be made with safety, except as prohibited by this section and by the provisions of NRS 484B.227 and 484B.407.
2. If an official traffic-control device indicates that a U-turn is prohibited, the driver shall obey the directions of the device.
3. The driver of a vehicle shall not make a U-turn in a business district, except at an intersection or on a divided highway where an appropriate opening or crossing place exists.
4. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, local authorities and the Department of Transportation may prohibit U-turns at any location within their respective jurisdictions.
5. A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130.

In addition, NRS 484B.227 governs U-turns on the highway and states as follows:

NRS 484B.227 Driving on divided highway: Prohibited turns; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone.

1. Every vehicle driven upon a divided highway must be driven only upon the right-hand roadway and must not be driven over, across or within any dividing space, barrier or section or make any left turn, semicircular turn or U-turn, except through an opening in the barrier or dividing section or space or at a crossover or intersection established by a public authority.
2. A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130.

Also, NRS 484B.407 governs vehicles turning on curve or crest of grade prohibits U-turns in these circumstances. It states that a “vehicle shall not be turned so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any curve, or upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade, where such vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of any other vehicle approaching from either direction within 500 feet.”

Generally, a driver can make a U-Turn if there is no sign prohibiting a U-Turn. Nevada traffic signs can control whether a U-turn is permitted by law or not. A driver in Henderson, Nevada or Las Vegas, Nevada who makes a U-turn at an intersection where a posted “No U-Turn” sign exists has executed an illegal U-turn, and a traffic ticket could be issued. According to Nevada Highway Patrolman Jason Buratczuk (as quoted in the local newspaper):

“A U-turn can be done anywhere it is safe to do so,” Buratczuk said. “The only time it says in the law you can’t make a U-turn is when there is a sign posted advising no U-turn. Driving on or across medians and such is illegal as well, but I don’t want to open that can of worms. So at the intersection in question, if there is no sign specifically stating no U-turn, then a U-turn is permissible.”

Something else important to point out is a statutory exception to the U-turn rules. That is, you cannot make a U-turn in a school zone when children are present. Specifically, NRS 484B.363 states as follows:

NRS 484B.363  School zone or school crossing zone: Speed limit; designation; signs; U-turn and overtaking another vehicle prohibited; determination of hours in which speed limit is in effect; additional penalty if driver is proximate cause of collision with pedestrian or person riding bicycle.
1.  A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour in an area designated as a school zone except:
(a) On a day on which school is not in session;
(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;
(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or
(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.
2.  A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 25 miles per hour in an area designated as a school crossing zone except:
(a) On a day on which school is not in session;
(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;
(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or
(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.
3.  The driver of a vehicle shall not make a U-turn in an area designated as a school zone or school crossing zone except:
(a) When there are no children present;
(b) On a day on which school is not in session;
(c) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;
(d) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or
(e) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone or school crossing zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.
4.  The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another vehicle traveling in the same direction in an area designated as a school zone or school crossing zone except:
(a) On a day on which the school is not in session;
(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation;
(c) If the zone is designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the hours when the pupils of the school are in class and the yellow lights of the speed limit beacon are not flashing in the manner which indicates that the speed limit is in effect; or
(d) If the zone is not designated by an operational speed limit beacon, during the times when the sign designating the school zone or school crossing zone indicates that the speed limit is not in effect.
5.  The governing body of a local government or the Department of Transportation shall designate school zones and school crossing zones. An area must not be designated as a school zone if imposing a speed limit of 15 miles per hour would be unsafe because of higher speed limits in adjoining areas.
6.  Each such governing body and the Department of Transportation shall provide signs to mark the beginning and end of each school zone and school crossing zone which it respectively designates. Each sign marking the beginning of such a zone must include a designation of the hours when the speed limit is in effect or that the speed limit is in effect when children are present.
7.  With respect to each school zone and school crossing zone in a school district, the superintendent of the school district or his or her designee, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation and the governing body of the local government that designated the school zone or school crossing zone and after consulting with the principal of the school and the agency that is responsible for enforcing the speed limit in the zone, shall determine the times when the speed limit is in effect.
8.  If, while violating any provision of subsections 1 to 4, inclusive, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle, the driver is subject to the additional penalty set forth in subsection 4 of NRS 484B.653.
9.  As used in this section, “speed limit beacon” means a device which is used in conjunction with a sign and equipped with two or more yellow lights that flash alternately to indicate when the speed limit in a school zone or school crossing zone is in effect.
(Added to NRS by 1985, 640; A 1993, 2586; 1999,

In summary, Henderson drivers and Nevada drivers in general can make a U-Turn anywhere it is safe and there is no sign prohibiting a U-Turn. Remember the exceptions that there are no U-Turns in a school zone when children are present and no U-Turns on the Highway.

If you are involved in a car accident as a result of someone executing an illegal U-Turn, contact our offices today. By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims. Having worked for the insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my personal injury law firm, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available to maximize the money you receive.

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

who pays medical bills after an accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  This section does not apply to:

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

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

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

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

(Added to NRS by 2011, 1524)

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

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

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

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

who pays medical bills after an accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

who pays medical bills after an accident

Who Pays My Doctor if I am Involved in an Auto Accident?

Laura Hunt AttorneyWhen you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident, it is critical that you or your loved one obtain medical attention as soon as possible.  If you have health insurance you should obtain medical care at a hospital if you are injured. If you do not have medical insurance and your injuries are not life-threatening, it is often best to be seen at a quick care to evaluate the level of your injuries and determine if you need to be transported to a hospital.  If you have health insurance, always give your emergency providers your health insurance information. This is critical advice.

Will the At-Fault Driver Pay For My Medical Bills?

People often think that when they are involved in an auto accident, the at fault driver will be able to pay for all of their medical bills. Although it is a fact that they are legally responsible for those bills, they often do not have the funds to pay those bills. In the state of Nevada, unfortunately, the legislature only requires drivers to maintain a $15,000 per person automobile accident liability policy. Therefore, many drivers in the state of Nevada are driving on the road ways with only $15,000 of insurance to cover any injuries that they inflict on other drivers. In the world of skyrocketing medical costs that we live in, it is obvious that $15,000 will not cover extensive medical damages. When you are involved in an automobile collision, you will not have the information as to whether or not the other driver has any insurance at all, and if they do, how much coverage, for a significant amount of time following the auto accident.  In fact, since the Nevada legislature again sided with insurance companies several years ago and determined that insurance companies do not have to tell you how much insurance the other driver has following an accident.  It often requires a lawsuit against the other driver to even find out how much insurance they have to cover your injuries.

Therefore, it is important to protect yourself and your finances when you are involved in a collision.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we have been helping injured drivers and passengers in Henderson and Las Vegas get compensated for the injuries they sustained and the medical bills incurred in automobile accidents for over 10 years. We understand the importance of our clients obtaining the best medical care possible and having their medical bills paid.

What if Health Insurance Denies Auto Accident Related Bills?

Often times, your health insurance may initially deny medical bills related to an automobile accident. However, once the appropriate subrogation forms are submitted to your insurance company, they are required to pay those bills. They are allowed to be reimbursed from the other driver’s insurance policy. However, they cannot deny paying these bills. That doesn’t mean that they won’t improperly deny payment.   With our years of experience, we will get your bills paid.  In these complex insurance matters where there is health insurance coverage, insurance from the other driver, and other coverages available, it is important to have a personal injury attorney to negotiate these bills in order to maximize your recovery and make sure they are paid by the correct policy.

As long as we maintain a third-party payer system in this country where insurance companies control our healthcare system, the negotiated rates of the insurance companies cannot be matched.  For example if you are seen in the hospital and your bill is $15,000, a negotiated rate from your health insurance company or Medicare or Medicaid is likely well under $5000.  The other driver does not get the benefit of this offset when arguing this case in a court of law. Therefore, the other driver is liable for the extent of the medical bills as they are incurred on their face and not as they are negotiated by insurance company.

I know this appears to be a complicated explanation for who should pay your medical bills. But the short answer is always your health insurance if you have coverage available for your emergency care. If you do not have health insurance, and your injuries are not life-threatening, seek treatment at a quick care medical facility immediately for an evaluation and referral to the appropriate doctors. It is an unfortunate reality that the driver that hit you may very well not have enough insurance or money to cover a large medical bill and if you do not have health insurance or underinsured motorist coverage you could be stuck for that bill, even though the accident is not your fault.

By contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately, you can receive the care that you need and be assured that you will receive the maximum compensation available for the injuries you sustained and have your medical bills paid.  We are happy to review your policy with you to make sure that you have coverages that best suit your needs.  Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of insurance policies.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your coverages quickly and efficiently so that you know exactly what coverages you have or need in the event of an accident.

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

taking photos after a car accident

The Need to Take Photos After an Auto Accident

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

Everybody is OK. Now What?

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

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

What else should I take pictures of?

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

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

Pictures of vehicle damage.

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

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

Do police take photos of an accident scene?

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

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

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

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.

Why I Do What I Do

Laura Hunt:   “I often find clients come into my office and we sit down for a consultation to discuss their case, they are stressed.  They frequently tell me that no one else has explained or listened to them as clearly as I have. I take great pride and find great satisfaction in to listening and caring about the clients that come to my office.  Something clients often say to me is “I don’t want to bother you.”   My reply is always you are not bothering me; I work for you and if you have a question, never hesitate to call or text me.  I am always available for my clients.”

When I graduated from law school in Oklahoma in 1992 I knew I wanted to help people. I thought about becoming a public defender but after two years in the criminal system I decided that criminal law was not for me.  Being a criminal defense attorney was exciting and I gained the valuable experience of arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding federal sentencing guidelines.  I also became knowledgeable in criminal law.  However, I determined that I did not want a career as a criminal defense attorney, but I wanted to help people.  I also knew that as a rookie lawyer, I needed to hone my skills and become a seasoned litigator before I could benefit people who have been wronged by large corporations and insurance companies.  So I went to work for a large insurance company and worked there for over nine years. During my time working for the insurance company, I was able to gain the experience, knowledge and capacity to not only try cases but understand how the insurance companies look at, review and determine value of cases.  I trained insurance adjusters in the law and how to deal with attorneys.  As a result of that extensive experience, I was able to enter private practice as an attorney representing injured clients and their families with an insight into the business that few other attorneys have.

After graduating from high school in Las Vegas with distinction for academics, track and cheerleading, I enrolled at UNLV as journalism major.   I worked at the school newspaper as well as school radio station. I always enjoyed meeting new people to interview for the paper and on the radio and hearing their story.    Having a personal connection with people as an attorney and counselor at law was important to me.  It was what drew me to the law, that personal connection to people and the ability to help them.  I graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Arts degree when I was 20 years old. I immediately enrolled in law school and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University.  I loved my time in the south and enjoyed Oklahoma immensely.  But Las Vegas is my town; it’s where I grew up.  It is where my family and friends live, as well. I am as passionate about our community as I am my clients.  I am supportive of kid’s sports leagues and volunteer with my sons frequently in community outreach charities.

Those early experiences performing as a cheerleader, interviewing amazing people for the newspaper, and broadcasting live on the radio prepared me to be a public speaker and be comfortable in a court room.  I have never been shy or one to back down from controversy. I have admired many strong women over the years like Venus and Serena Williams for their grace, beauty and strength on the court and intelligent demeanor off the court. I have also admired women who’ve been pioneers in their fields like Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. So many amazing women have paved the way like, Coco Chanel who came from a humble background and used her amazing talents to build a legacy.

When I’m not working or attending the baseball games of my three sons, I  love yoga, skiing and riding ATV’s on the trails of the beautiful mountain ranges  all around our area.

I am licensed to practice law in all courts in the state of Nevada and the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals. I am also admitted to practice in Texas and California.  I am a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Clark County Bar Association, and the Southern Nevada Women’s Bar Association.

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

firework injuries lawyer

Personal Injury Damages for Firework Related Injuries

In calendar year 2015, the U.S., Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were 11,900 fireworks-related, injuries in the United States.  The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are the result of consumers not using them properly. Common mistakes include lighting the fireworks improperly, lighting the fireworks too close to other people, or lighting fireworks while holding them in one’s hand. Even when used properly, fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause severe injuries.

However, often firework can malfunction and cause injury.  Improperly manufactured fireworks can explode prematurely, before users have made it a safe distance away.  Also, a defective fuse may ignite the explosive powders in the firework in a way the manufacturer did not intend, causing the firework to explode in an unexpected way. Finally, fireworks designed to soar through the air, such as bottle rockets, can take unpredictable flight paths, injuring onlookers or hitting nearby vehicles and buildings.

Fireworks injuries can be catastrophic and a firework injury attorney should be contacted immediately.  If injury occurs, it is important to immediately take the following steps:

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

Reported fireworks-related injuries have included  loss of eyesight, burns,  lacerations. punctures wounds and even death.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge all our fellow Nevada residents to prevent injuries and have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

The following safety tips can reduce the risk of firework injuries:

  • Always follow the directions on the fireworks package very carefully;
  • Be sure not to set off fireworks near fire hazards such as tall grass, dry leaves, and other dry debris.
  • Do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergency purposes, and soak any used or misfired fireworks before discarding to prevent fires or accidental ignitions.
  • Never allow children use fireworks without adult supervision. Even simple fireworks like sparklers have been known to cause injury
  • Never alter or modify or experiment with homemade fireworks.

If you are injured by Fireworks, Know your Legal Rights

Whether a spectator at a fireworks show gone wrong or the user of a malfunctioning firework, victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the firework injury, a number of legal theories may apply. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured by fireworks.

If you are injured as a spectator, you may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable through negligence.  This may include the organizers the shows such as cities or hotels that may be liable for failing to properly supervise the activity. Although a city’s liability may be limited by state law, entities hiring fireworks companies still have a duty to protect attendee’s from injuries. Cities and hotels and other show organizers can be negligent in fulfilling their duty to supervise and open the door to liability is their negligence

When fireworks malfunction and cause injury, the injured person may be able to recover substantial damages from the manufacturer, the importer of foreign-made fireworks, or the local retail seller. All of these entities have a duty to sell products that function properly.  Under the theory of products liability, they may be liable for any injuries caused by a defective firework. http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/fireworks-injuries.html

Over the past decade, thousands of people in the United States have been injured by firework.  Aside from 2005, the number of people injured has risen steadily every year.

Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries: 2000–2015

 Year                Estimated Injuries                               Injuries per 100,000 People

2015                            11,900                                      3. 7

2014                            10,500                                      3.3

2013                            11,400                                      3.6

2012                            8,700                                       2.8

2011                            9,600                                       3.1

2010                            8,600                                       2.8

2009                            8,800                                       2.9

2008                            7,000                                       2.3

2007                            9,800                                       3.3

2006                            9,200                                       3.1

2005                            10,800                                     3.7

2004                            9,600                                       3.3

2003                            9,300                                       3.2

2002                            8,800                                       3.1

2001                            9,500                                       3.3

2000                            11,000                                      3.9

Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The estimate for 2003 excludes an estimated 150

emergency department-treated injuries following the nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI. Population estimates for 2010 to 2015 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01), U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Release Date: December 2015. Population estimates for 2000 to 2009 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NST-EST2009-01).Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.

People often mistaking think that only the illegal fireworks cause injury.  This is a mistake.  In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, small fireworks accounted for a substantial number of fireworks related injuries in 2017.

Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries

By Type of Fireworks Device

June 19–July 19, 2015

 

Fireworks Device Type           Estimated Injuries                   Percent (%)

 

Total                                                   8,000                                                   100

All Firecrackers                                1,200                                                   16

Small                                       500                                                       6

Illegal                                      200                                                       3

Unspecified                             500                                                       6

All Rockets                                        900                                                      11

Bottle Rockets                        800                                                      10

Other Rockets                                     100                                                      1

All Other Devices                              3,700                                                   47

Sparklers                                 1,900                                                   24

Fountains                                100                                                        1

Novelties                                 300                                                        4

Multiple Tube                                     400                                                        5

Reloadable Shells                   800                                                        9

Roman Candles                       300                                                        3

Homemade/Altered                           200                                                        3

Public Display                                   200                                                        3

Unspecified                                        1,700                                                     21

 

Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Based on 208 NEISS emergency department-reported

injuries between June 19, 2015 and July 19, 2015, and supplemented by 31 completed In-Depth Investigations (IDIs).

Fireworks types are obtained from the IDI, when available; otherwise, fireworks types are identified from information

in victims’ reports to emergency department staff that were contained in the NEISS narrative. Illegal firecrackers

include M-80s, M-1000s, Quarter Sticks, and other firecrackers that are banned under the Federal Hazardous

Substances Act (FHSA) (16 C.F.R. § 1500.17). Fireworks that may be illegal under state and local regulations are not

listed as illegal, unless they violate the FHSA. Subtotal estimates are presented below the estimates for firework type.

Estimates are rounded to the nearest 100 injuries. Estimates may not sum to subtotal or total due to rounding.

Percentages are calculated from the actual estimates, and they may not add to subtotals or the total due to rounding.

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Fireworks_Report_2015FINALCLEARED.pdf

Who Is Liable to Pay for Your Medical Bills After a Firework Injury?

Injuries from fireworks can be serious and the medical bills to treat such injuries can be substantial.  Homeowners’ insurance protection is liability coverage is often available, but is it extremely important to contact an attorney first to discuss the facts of your case and determine if coverage applies.  If your or a loved one is injured in a firework accident, do not give any statements until you speak with an attorney.  Criminal laws and contractual provisions apply in every instance. Liability coverage under a homeowner’s policy can cover the medical expenses, pain and suffering  and  property damages.   This means that if someone other than you or a family member sustains an injury in your home or on your property, your insurance policy may pay for their medical expenses. Health insurance will cover any injuries you or a family member may have sustained in a firework accident and should be used first.

Your homeowner’s insurance policy may also protect you in the event you are sued for an accident involving fireworks you are lighting which causes injury to a guest or passerby.  For a covered loss, your homeowner’s policy will  pay the cost of litigation including attorneys fees and a judgment, should the person suing you succeed in getting the lawsuit to court. The Insurance Information Institute (III) has found that the typical homeowner’s insurance policy has a liability limit of $100,000. I would advise you to check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage if you typically put on a large fireworks display.

However, if  your state or county has made firework shows illegal in your jurisdiction, and you put on a private show in spite of the law, your insurance company may not be responsible to pay for any damages that you may incur as a result of a firework caused fire or injury. It is important to review your policy for an “illegal acts” exclusion. Because the use of certain fireworks was illegal, you should not have been using them.  Unlike the coverage on your home, the law of negligence would apply to your guests and they would be covered by your policy for your gross negligence in setting off illegal fireworks.

City Of Henderson and Clark County Fireworks Laws

Legal Use of Fireworks in the City of Henderson and Clark County

Only fireworks labeled as “Safe and Sane” are legal for use on private property for one week of the year, from June 28 until 11:59 p.m. on July 4. Safe and Sane fireworks can only be used on private property and cannot be used on the street or sidewalk, or on public property such as parks, schools, or federal land.

Safe and Sane fireworks  should only be used by adults and should be kept away from children. Safe and Sane fireworks can cause serious injury or death to adults and children and can cause fires.  At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge you and your family exercise extreme caution when using Safe and Sane fireworks.

Illegal Fireworks In the City of Henderson and Clark County

Fireworks that shoot  through the air, explode, or rotate on the ground are illegal throughout Clark County, including the City of Henderson. They have been declared to be unsafe because the fireworks user does not have control over where they land, which can potentially cause a fire. Illegal fireworks are usually sold outside Clark County and including on  the Indian Reservation. Those fireworks purchased on the Indian Reservation are expected to be used on the Reservation at a special designated area and should not be transported off the property. If you bring illegal fireworks brought into Clark County or the City of Henderson,  they can be confiscated, and a person possessing or using them can be ticketed. The penalty is a $1,000 fine and/or a maximum of six months in jail.  Private use of fireworks of any kind is not allowed on public property, such as those owned by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Lake Mead Recreational Area, or City of Henderson parks, trail facilities, streets or sidewalks. The use of fireworks on public property can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail as well as the costs associated with resource damage, suppression costs, and injuries.  Safe and Sane fireworks are illegal at any time of year other than the week of  June 28 until July 4 at 11:59 p.m.. on July 4.

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