Category Archives: General Interest, Tips

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

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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

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marijuana in henderson

What Does the Legalization of Marijuana mean for the City of Henderson and the State of Nevada and its Drivers?

In Nevada, driving under the influence of marijuana can earn drivers $600-$1,000 fine and jail time for the first offense.  At midnight on July 1, 2017, the sale of recreational marijuana began in Nevada.  Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal just like driving under the influence of alcohol. You can carry it around or drive with it in your car, but driving when using is against the law. Passengers are not permitted to ingest marijuana in a vehicle under Nevada law. Smoking or consuming marijuana in public is also not permitted and you can receive a $600 fine.

The City of Henderson does not allow recreational marijuana sales at licensed dispensaries within city limits. Users of recreational marijuana in Nevada and the City of Henderson must be at least 21 years of age.  In addition, public consumption is against the law in Nevada.  If you’re going to use recreational marijuana, the Law Offices of Laura Hunt urges you not get behind the wheel of a car.  It is the same as drinking and driving.  You must use a designated driver, cab or ridesharing service if you use marijuana in the City of Henderson as well as anywhere in the state of Nevada. State and local police including Henderson Police will continue to enforce all impaired driving laws. The Law Offices of Laura Hunt urges you to respect our communities if you choose to use recreational marijuana.  Do not operate a motor vehicle while using marijuana or engage in in any activities that could endanger lives.  It is also extremely important to keep all forms of marijuana secured safely so that is not accessible to children or pets.

In November, 2016, 55 percent of Nevada voters approved of a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.   The following was the text of the ballot question presented to Nevada voters:

STATE QUESTION NO. 2

Amendment to the Nevada Revised Statutes

Shall the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to allow a person, 21 years old or older, to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume a certain amount of marijuana or concentrated marijuana, as well as manufacture, possess, use, transport, purchase, distribute, or sell marijuana paraphernalia; impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana; require the regulation and licensing of marijuana cultivators, testing facilities, distributors, suppliers, and retailers; and provide for certain criminal penalties?

Yes  No 

 

Based open a vote of the people, dispensaries in Nevada will begin opening their doors State leaders speculate that the newly legalized drug will bring a tourism boom to Las Vegas.   Nevada will become the fifth state to allow the recreational purchase of marijuana.

On July 1, 2017, 40 dispensaries will be able to start selling the marijuana to those 21 and older.  It has been estimated that sales could bring in as much as $150 million in tax revenue in two years to the state of Nevada.   That is a 25% increase in tax revenue for the state. Nevada beat California to the punch. California will not begin recreational marijuana sales until January 2018.  Experts have projected that Nevada will likely have the nation’s largest market for the sale of marijuana.

Marijuana, both medical and recreational, will be taxed 15 percent at cultivation, and only recreational marijuana will be sold with a 10 percent sales tax.  Medical marijuana currently is taxed 2 percent at cultivation, 2 percent at production and 2 percent at sale. The law allows a person to carry up to an ounce of marijuana and ⅛ ounce of concentrate.  That is the amount you can legally purchase. This applies to local and visitors to Nevada.

Advertising legalized marijuana may prove to be shocking for many citizens.  However, advertisements are banned from any medium 30 percent of the audience is believed to under the age of 21, according to the Associated Press.

It is also yet to be determined how many of the 45 million yearly tourists to Nevada will even use  marijuana since it will also only be legal to smoke in private residencies. Another obstacle with the new law allowing the recreational marijuana in Nevada is that when the recreational marijuana statue was approved by voters, it gave alcohol wholesalers the exclusive right to the distribution licenses for the first 18 months after the law goes into effect. However, there was little interest by Alcohol wholesalers. Therefore, the tax commissioners approved a temporary regulation that allows the department to make exceptions for non-wholesalers to distribute licenses.

“Letters were mailed to eligible license holders in the state, but Chris Thompson, the executive director for the Las Vegas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said with few responses, In May, the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada filed a complaint saying the booze wholesalers should have exclusive rights to the licenses and that a May 31 license deadline for the wholesalers should not be enforced, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At the end of May, a judge ruled in the alcohol wholesaler’s favor. But state officials have said they intend to appeal this ruling.”

So a careful reading of the text of the statute, the alcohol distributors get to set up regulated distribution methods.  This is unique to Nevada. Nevada has had medical marijuana dispensaries operating since 2015.  The law allows that any leftover medical marijuana those dispensaries are in possession of on July 1 can be sold as recreational.  However, once they run out, there is not a plan until the alcohol wholesalers figure out if they will distribute marijuana and obtain licenses.

During the next month, alcohol wholesalers and state legislators will be working to determine how much of a cut will go to the alcohol industry.   Another obstacle is that liquor licenses are federal and the U.S. government still considers marijuana an illegal substance.  Therefore, marijuana cannot be smoked inside the casinos and bars in Nevada including the city of Henderson.   Experts are saying that could boost sales of marijuana edibles. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nevada-goes-green-recreational-marijuana-alcohol-industry-wants-piece-pot-n778261

However, packaging issues led the Nevada legislature to make emergency changes to marijuana edibles law.  On June 26, 2017, Emergency regulations passed to change edible marijuana products expected to go on sale July 1, 2017.  Many marijuana products will now require packaging changes or will be discontinued. Theses last-minute regulations may require Nevada marijuana dispensaries to remove certain edible products.

On June 26, 2017, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a Department of Taxation statement of emergency that will allow the department to more strictly regulates marijuana edible products starting July 1, 2017.  “The Governor wants to see the state realize the revenues from its sales, and most importantly, wants a regulatory structure that is restricted, responsible and respected,” said Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for the governor’s office.

The new regulations, approved by the Nevada Tax Commission on Monday, prohibit marijuana dispensaries from selling the following for recreational use in Nevada:

  • Any products that contain any more than 10 milligrams of THC per dose or more than 100 milligrams of THC per package.
  • Any products that appear to be lollipops, ice cream or are modeled after a brand of products marketed to children.
  • Any products that look like real or fictional characters or cartoons.
  • Any products that apply THC to candy or snack foods other than dried fruit, nuts or granola.
  • Any cookie or brownie products that are not in a sealed, opaque bag.
  • Any products that have images of cartoon characters, action figures, toys, balloons or mascots on the labeling.

For existing packaging that contains the prohibited image, a sticker may be used to cover the images or label, or permanent marker may be used as long as the image is completely obscured, according to a Department of Taxation email sent out to dispensaries on Wednesday. Products being stored outside of consumer view do not need to have the images covered until they are placed on display or immediately prior to sale.

“From day one, we want to make sure that potency, packaging and labeling are strict from the start,” said Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Taxation.  The last-minute regulations also require packaging to have “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT” in bold type, as well as the words “Keep out of reach of children” and a list of all ingredients.

Edibles, which come in the form of everything from gummy snacks to chocolate bars, often have potent doses of THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Consumers usually have significantly delayed reactions.

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/college/2017/06/28/nevada-makes-emergency-changes-marijuana-edibles-law/437360001/

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we urge people to act responsibly and not drink or use marijuana before driving.  If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident with someone who has used alcohol or marijuana, please call our office today at 702-450-4868 and we can explain your legal rights and remedies under the law.

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WHAT’S A TORT??? AND IS IT COVERED BY A BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICY: COVERAGES UNDER PART A and PART B OF A CGL POLICY

Most business’ have insurance to protect against potential claims against them. Typical business coverage includes property and casualty, commercial general liability insurance (“CGL”), workers’ compensation, professional liability (“E&O”) and commercial automobile insurance. More specialized insurance available includes employment practices liability insurance (“EPLI”) and insurance against patent and trademark infringement. These policies are intended to apply to either basic, known business risks (such as loss of a commercial building or liability from a car accident) or are tailored to specific risks (such as EPLI). But what about business tort claims?  Most business’s have liability insurance. So what is covered?  Most are covered under the CGL portion.

Most Commercial General Liability policies have two types of coverage: Part A and Part B.

Part A provides insurance against two types of injuries: “bodily injury” and “property damage,” but only if arising from an “accident” or “occurrence.” CGL policies protect against claims arising from accidental or fortuitous events called “occurrences.”  The term “bodily injury,” as defined in an insurance policy, includes physical injury to the body.  Coverage does not always apply to non-physical emotional or mental harm caused by an employee of the insured.  A CGL policy covers physical damage caused to the property of third parties by the insured as well.

Coverage Part A only includes actions involving “accidents” or “occurrences,” business torts based on a negligence theory are potentially coverable.  However, business torts arising from intentional acts are typically not covered.   In these situation coverage may exist for negligent misrepresentation, negligently performed faulty workmanship, employment actions sounding in negligence (negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision) and other negligence causes of action (failure to warn, unsafe premises and negligent procedure).

Different from Coverage Part A, Coverage Part B does not depend on the existence of an “accident” or “occurrence,” so it may cover damages arising from intentional conduct not otherwise excluded. While the insuring clause of Coverage Part A is expressed in general terms, Coverage Part B covers only specific listed acts committed by the insured.  Some examples of such enumerated acts may include false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wrongful eviction, defamation, invasion of the right to privacy and copyright and trademark infringement.

It is also possible that there may be Coverage under Part B for liability arising from the insured’s “advertising activity.”  “Advertising activity” has been found in cases of TV, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising.   But not all marketing activities constitute “advertising.” There must be a causal connection between the advertising activity and the injury.  The sale of an infringing product by itself is not sufficient to satisfy the causal connection requirement. The infringement must be committed in the advertisement on its face, and not just in the sale of a product, in order to be covered.

Every business owner should review their insurance coverage’s a broker and attorney to determine whether it has sufficient coverage not only for the typical risks that the company may face, but also for the unexpected, claims for business torts that sometimes happen.

WHAT DO THESE COVERAGES MEAN FOR DEFENDANTS?

Many attorneys and clients think of every tort claim as personal injury action.  But for purposes of insurance coverage, many tort actions arising from an automobile collision, a slip-and-fall, a product liability claim or a defective construction suit are matters of bodily injury and fall under Coverage A of the standard commercial general liability (CGL) policy purchased by most businesses.   Most of the litigation concerns Coverage for bodily injury.   Coverage under Part B usually pertains to personal and advertising injury liability and is often overlooked when seeking coverage under a business policy.

Although obtaining insurance under Coverage B requires more diligence by a policyholder or counsel for defendants seeking coverage, it can provide important protection, including a defense against a plaintiff’s claim.  If one claim in a complaint is possibly covered, the CGL insurer must defend the entire case.  It was this aspect of insurance law that enabled Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss to obtain an entire defense of what was largely a business/contract dispute (26 of the claims in the complaint); something ordinarily not covered under a standard form CGL policy. But a 27th claim for defamation implicated the personal injury provisions of the policy, and Buss received a complete defense to the suit (which eventually settled) that involved more than $1 million in counsel fees. The insurer sought reimbursement for the defense costs that did not involve the defamation claim. In Buss v. Superior Court, 939 P.2d 766 (Cal. 1997), the California Supreme Court stated that insurers had this right, provided they could adequately differentiate what was spent defending the respective claims, a position dividing the jurisdictions and rejected by the Supreme Courts of Illinois and Pennsylvania.1 Even if Nevada should eventually follow the Buss approach,2 a policyholder can benefit in this type of situation by at least obtaining an insurer-provided defense and delay its ultimate payment of some portion of counsel fees.

In practicality, it would be difficult to correctly separate attorneys fees spent on a covered claim versus one that is not covered.  Under the California approach, the insurer defending the claim is forced to pay for the entire defense. Thus, a defendant faced with a lawsuit that looks like a commercial dispute without bodily injury or tangible, physical property damage and therefore what looks like no CGL policy show look for an allegation such as trespassing, defamation or misleading advertising claims that could trigger Coverage B.  The policy states that the CGL insurer will pay “those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay” as damages, because of “personal and advertising injury” to which the following applies:

 

  1. False arrest, detention or imprisonment;
  2. Malicious prosecution;
  3. The wrongful eviction from, wrongful entry into, or invasion of the right of private occupancy of a room, dwelling or premises that a person occupies, committed by or on behalf of its owner, landlord or lessor;
  4. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of materials that slanders or libels a person or organization or services;
  5. Oral or written publication, in any manner, of material copyright, trade dress or slogan in your advertisement. as a “notice that is broadcast or published to the general public or your goods, products or services for the purpose of attracting customers or supporters.”

It includes notices published on the internet “or on similar electronic means of communication,” but as regards websites, “only that part of a website” that purpose of attracting customers or supporters” is considered an

advertisement.  Unfortunately, the following are examples of the long list of exclusions stating that Coverage B “does not apply to:”

  1. Knowing Violation of the Rights of Another
  2. Material Published With Knowledge of Falsity
  3. Material Published Prior to the Policy Period
  4. Criminal Acts
  5. Contractual Liability
  6. Breach of Contract
  7. Quality Or Performance of Goods–Failure to Conform to Statements
  8. Wrong Description of Prices
  9. Infringement of Copyright, Patent, Trademark or Trade Secret
  10. Insured’s in Media and Internet Type Business
  11. Electronic Chartrooms or Bulletin Boards
  12. Unauthorized Use of Another’s Name Or Product
  13. Pollution
  14. Pollution-Related [Matters]
  15. War
  16. Distribution of Material in Violation of Statutes

These provisions are exclusions that remove otherwise applicable coverages, therefore, the exclusions are construed narrowly and strictly against the insurer.  The insurer will bear the burden of persuasion to show the particular exclusion applies.  When exclusion is unclear and cannot be clarified by the facts, it is resolved against the author/ drafter of the policy, which is generally the insurer.   Many of the listed exclusions have been found by courts to be sufficiently clear most of the time and thus make for a situation in which personal and advertising injury coverage has relatively limited scope and use for policyholders when compared to the more prevalent bodily injury coverage.

A fairly accurate summary is that Coverage B applies where a policyholder is accused of negligently or recklessly disparaging a claimant or defaming a plaintiff (defamation that it not within an exclusion) or misleading advertising (such as causing consumer confusion, or hurting a competitor) that does not involve copyright or patent infringement. The Nevada Supreme Court law on Coverage B is limited. I only know one insurance coverage case regarding “advertising injury,” and that is dicta.    A hand full of District of Nevada federal court opinions mention the term.   The substantive local precedent that exists has tended to support insurer efforts to limit coverage and is adverse to Plaintiffs.   Mention of personal injury in case law is much more extensive, but in these decisions, the court is almost always referring to bodily injury rather than the insurance policy concept of personal injury coverage. When instituting litigation, under a business policy, counsel should always review all the defendant’s liability insurance policies and consider coverage under the obscure concepts of personal injury to ascertain if there is a loss that will be covered for their client.

 

 

Resources:   https://www.amazon.com/General-Liability-Insurance-Coverage-Issues/dp/1506140203

 

https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/no-harm-no-coverage-personal-and-advertising-  injury-liability-coverage-in-the-cgl-(part-1)

 

http://www.iii.org/article/commercial-general-liability-insurance

 

http://scholars.law.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1188&context=facpub

 

http://www.roughnotes.com/rnmagazine/search/commercial_lines/02_08p34.htm

 

http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1424&context=yjreg

 

 

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Las Vegas Driving Debate: Taxis vs. Uber

On those nights when adult beverages are frequently being consumed and nobody feels comfortable getting behind the wheel of a car, taxis have long been used to safely ship passengers to where they need to go. In Las Vegas, taxis have reigned supreme for years because of their ties to the casinos, but a new ride sharing application could be coming for the cabbie’s crown. Find out more information about Uber and why it has Las Vegas residents and the taxi industry buzzing.

taxi cab las vegas

What is ride sharing?

In the era of smart phones and high tech devices, ride sharing has replaced paid transportation services in a number of cities across the country. Ride sharing allows a customer to secure a one-time ride to anywhere they need to go on short notice, simply by pulling up an application on their smart phones. Complete with cleaner cars, lower fares and the ability to change the music during your ride, more people are ditching the days of waving down cabs for hailing a ride with their iPhones. But the city of Las Vegas recently gave the axe to Uber, disabling the app and forcing people to take taxis.

Legality of ride sharing in Las Vegas

A Nevada court recently ruled that Uber and other ride sharing services could no longer provide rides for Las Vegas visitors and citizens. The court determined that Uber should be held to the same strict guidelines that other transportation services face. With a low level of accountability for their drivers and concerns over what can happen if an accident occurs during a ride, the Las Vegas taxi unions have had serious concerns about ride sharing services in the city. After being told that Uber could no longer operate in Las Vegas, the service’s smart phone application was shut down and unable to be utilized for finding a ride.

But this is far from the end for ride sharing services like Uber. With a vow to continue fighting the local taxi unions, Uber has explained to customers that it will return to Southern Nevada when the legal waters are less murky. It remains to be seen whether or not Uber will make a triumphant return to Las Vegas streets, but with ride sharing services continuing to grow in popularity in cities around the nation, the demand is definitely there for alternatives to traditional taxi cabs.

For more information on the future of ride sharing or for a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Laura Hunt today at (702) 450-4868.

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License Plate Readers in the Las Vegas Valley

For years, law enforcement officials in the Las Vegas valley have used the help of license plate readers to track drivers’ whereabouts. The scanners, which made their debut at the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in January of 2006, have helped officers find stolen vehicles and locate missing people with ease.  But are License Plate Readers (LPR’s) still widely used? Last month, a local news station set out to see if these trackers are still as popular as they were in ’06.

Given their value and effectiveness in locating crime suspects, it may come as a shock that only one police department in the entire valley still relying on the use of LPR’s: Henderson. Other departments, including Nevada Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency, have successfully phased LPR’s out of their operations. This shift was partially due to the controversial nature of the scanners themselves.

various license plates

The Cons

Sure the scanners have been integral in locating violent offenders, missing persons and stolen property, but at what cost? Tod Story, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, thinks that LPR’s are a massive violation of drivers’ privacy, especially those who have no reason to be tracked or flagged in the first place. “The License Plate Readers assume everyone is guilty, which is just the opposite of due process.”

 

The Lone LPR Ranger

The Henderson Police Department, however, has yet to face serious issues stemming from said controversies. According to Capt. Marc Cassell, who reports no problems with the LPR’s, the Henderson Police Department currently uses nine LPR’s in three command areas, which read upwards of 50,000 license plates monthly. The data collected by scanners is kept in the Henderson system for five years, regardless of whether the individual has a criminal history or not.

Aside from finding missing persons or stolen property, license plate scanners could very well be valuable in tracking down hit-and-run suspects, among other road-related incidents that you may need to bring to the attention of a car accident attorney in Las Vegas.

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Road Trip Anthems: 10 Songs to Listen to While on the Road

The proper soundtrack has the power to take any road trip from ordinary to extraordinary. Songs that get you in the mood to cruise and offer a connection to the open road are ideal. Whatever your travel reason may be, there’s nothing like the perfect songs to enhance your journey.

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

Myth buster: This song isn’t actually about a fast car; it’s about a dead-end relationship, and a dead-end situation.  The lyrics inspire making a significant change in your life. “You gotta make a decision, leave tonight or live and die this way” are powerful lyrics that encourage an escape on the open road, and moving on to bigger and better things. Thanks for the extra push, Tracy!

 

“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John

If this scene in “Almost Famous” doesn’t make you want to jump on a tour bus and drive across the country, nothing will. When “Tiny Dancer” plays on their tour bus, the tension among the band subsides, and camaraderie returns. For the moment, they are reminded of what a miraculous affect music can have on people and they regain the passion for being performers. The going may get rough, but there’s always a silver lining. And how fun is Tiny Dancer to sing along with?! Don’t leave this one off of the playlist.

 

“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Every road trip playlist needs an upbeat, “his and hers” love song and “Home” is the perfect choice. This song will remind you “Home is wherever I’m with you.” Home, then, isn’t an actual place, but rather a state of mind. Who needs a settling point when you’ve got each other?

 

“Cats In The Cradle” by Ugly Kid Joe

Ugly Kid Joe provides the perfect sing-along tune with “Cats In The Cradle.” Though there’s a sad life lesson it the undertone, it’s still a feel good tune of which everyone seems to know at least a couple lines from.

 

“Tonight I Have To Leave It” by Shout Out Louds

At the end of your first listen, you will be shouting “Tonight I have to leave it”– “it” being your current surroundings. The song is about wanting something real in life, and that might be exactly what you are looking for while on the road. Include this in your playlist to remind you exactly why yourself set out in the first place.

 

“Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles

You can’t have a good road trip soundtrack without at least one Beatles hit. “Ticket To Ride” describes a girl who is unhappy with her life and relationship with the narrator, so she literally rides out of his life and starts anew. It is rumored that the “ticket” is a ticket from British Railways and “ride” symbolized the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

 

“Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads

A road trip doesn’t necessarily need a destination, just the desire to get up and go. In many cases, having a “Road to Nowhere” is exactly what you need. Allow the Talking Heads to accompany you on your journey…wherever it takes you.

 

“Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is the kind of singer that will make you sit back, relax and enjoy the musical journey. This song emphasizes feeling lost and struck by reality. “How does it feel, to be on your own, with no direction home?” Well, Bob, it feels pretty darn good.

 

“The Passenger” by Iggy Pop

Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else take the driver’s seat for a bit and simply relax in the passenger’s seat. This punk classic will shed some light on how to get the full experience out of your road trip. “I am the passenger and I ride and I ride.”

 

“You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates

The best part of a long car ride is the extended amount of time to jam out. Whether you’re alone or with a group of friends, this classic will have you singing at the top of your lungs—”You-hoo, you, you-hoo, hoo, you, hoo.” And how about John Oates’ mustache? Perfection.

 

Whether you know where you’re going, or you’re just going until you feel like stopping, these songs will serve as a proper soundtrack. Be sure to take safety precautions while out on the open road. Should you find yourself in an accident and in need of a lawyer’s assistance, give Accident Lawyer Henderson a call.

 

 

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The 17 Best American Muscle Cars and the Films that Made Them Famous

Americans have long had a love affair with the automobile. Here we take a look at the most iconic American muscle cars and the movies that made them icons.

1. 1949 Mercury

Film: Rebel Without a Cause, 1955

This movie’s classic car “chicken” scene shows James Deans’ character racing his 1949 Mercury towards a cliff, jumping out of the car just in time. His opponent did not fare as well.

scene from Rebel Without a Cause

2. 1958 Corvette

Film: Hot Rods to Hell, 1967

The orange and yellow Corvette in this movie was a little worse for wear when it made its film debut.

scene from Hot Rods to Hell

3. 1968 Ford Mustang

Film: Bullitt, 1968

Steve McQueen’s detective character goes airborne more than once in his Mustang while chasing through San Francisco’s legendary steep streets.

Ford Mustang from movie Bullitt

4. 1955 Chevy 150

Film: Two-Lane Blacktop, 1971

Beach Boy Dennis Wilson and James Taylor travel on Route 66, stopping to race locals along the way.

Two Lane Blacktop car scene

5. 1970 Dodge Challenger

Vanishing Point, 1971

A car chase that takes place across 4 states uses a Dodge Challenger to escape police, on of the few films to feature a Dodge muscle car.

Vanishing Point car

6. 1958 Chevy Impala

Film: American Graffiti, 1973

Terry “The Toad” Fields looks too cool for school in his Chevy. The films features numerous other classic cars.

scene from American Graffiti

7. Custom Corvette

Film: Cleopatra Jones, 1973

In this classic film, sexy Tamara Dobson drives a custom Corvette, which features a device to raise the roof to prevent her afro from getting messed up.

Cleopatra Jones car chase scene

8. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am

Film: Smokey and the Bandit, 1977

Five Trans Ams were used to make this Burt Reynolds classic.

smokey and the bandit jump

9. 1974 Mount Prospect Doge Monaco

Film: Blues Brothers, 1980

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi drive a beat-up old cop car to outrace cops in in their Bluesmobile.

Bluesmobile from the movie Blues Brothers

10. Ford Falcon XB GT

Film: The Road Warrior, 1981

In this post-apocalyptic sequel to Mad Max, Mel Gibson drives his hot rod in spite of the fall of civilization and gasoline being an extremely rare commodity.

road warrior ford falcon

11. 1958 Plymouth Fury

Film: Christine, 1983

This cherry red killer car exacts revenge on those who wrong her, and manages to repair itself to perfection after each deadly encounter.

Stephen King Christine

12. Bigfoot #2

Film: Cannonball Run II, 1984

This giant monster truck takes out a Porsche 928 like it’s a speed bump.

Bigfoot Monster Truck Cannon Ball Run

13. 1966 Thunderbird Convertible

Film: Thelma & Louise, 1991

This classic road trip car is the perfect companion to Thelma and Louise’s wild ride to the Grand Canyon.

Car from Thelma and Louise

14. 1968 Dodge Charger

Film: Blade, 1998

This bad ass vampire’s need for speed is satisfied by his black Dodge Charger.

Car from Blade

15. 1967 Dodge Charger

Film: The Dukes of Hazzard, 2005

The General Lee is decked out with a custom orange paint job, and catches enough air to make it seem like it can fly.

Dukes of Hazzard car jump

16. 1976 Chevy Camero

Film: Transformers Franchise, 2007-2011

Disguised as a Camero, the space robot Bumblebee eventually morphs into a newer, sleeker Camero in the subsequent films.

Bumblebee transforms from old camero to new

17. 1966 Ford GT40

Film: Fast Five, 2011

While the Fast and the Furious Franchise has always featured sexy cars at breakneck speeds, this beauty steals the show.

Car from Fast Five

 

It’s fun to watch these speed demons race on the closed sets of Hollywood, but remember that the stunts in these movies should never be attempted at home. To learn more about driver safety, or to find a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Laura Hunt at (702) 450-4868 today.

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Avoiding Accidents: The Weirdest Traffic Laws Around the World

The United States prides itself on campaigns, such as no texting while driving. Lessons of the road were learned the hard way long before the invention of cell phones. If it wasn’t for our early ancestors from all around the world testing the roads, we may have never discovered (and got a laugh from) these long-standing outrageous traffic laws.

 

(1) Denmark

Since horses were some of the earliest forms of transportation, it’s no surprise that Denmark deeply cares for the physical state of these furry transporters. According to law, if a horse-drawn carriage attempts pass you on the road and becomes anxious, it is your legal responsibility to pull over to let the horse pass.

brown horses

(2) Switzerland

In the US, getting your car stolen may lead to an investigation; oftentimes, the car is fortunately found. In Switzerland, if you make the mistake of leaving your keys in your car and then forgetting to lock the doors, you will not receive any sort of reparation for the crime.

car key and pink keychain

(3) The Philippines

In the Philippines, strict laws prevent the compact bumper-to-bumper scenarios seen daily in the U.S. Based on a given number placed on their license plates, Filipino drivers can only drive on certain days of the week!

(4) South Africa

Wildlife is important in South Africa–so important that all animals have the right of way on the roads.

baby zebra and family

(5) Germany

If you’re in Germany, the inconvenience of running out of gas comes with a hefty fine, since it’s illegal to drive your vehicle on empty.

Strict traffic laws, as absurd as they seem, are enacted for a reason: to keep the roads safe. If you’ve been in an accident and need an experienced car accident attorney, contact us for a free consultation today.

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3 Cool Cars We Wish They’d Bring Back

People get nostalgic for lots of different things: black and white movies, full service gas stations, and of course cars. Here are three classics we wish they’d bring back:

1. VW Van

Early 1960s VW van
Photo by Tim Walker
We miss this old hippie stand-by, and so should you. It doubles as a camper and can fit many people. The VW Van was a party on wheels, we just hope they bring that party back soon.

2. Porsche 356 Speedster

Porsche 356 Speedster, 1957
Photo by Stephen Hanafin
We’ve been wanting Porsche to put out a new version of this racing legend for years now. Here’s to hoping they bring back this exquisite sports car by 2020.

3. Chevrolet El Camino

1959 Chevy El Camino 01
Photo by Katherine Tompkins
One of the most iconic muscle cars of all time, the El Camino ruled the streets until the late 80’s. We would love for Chevy to release a new, ramped up version for 2014.

Get your vintage vehicle in a bit of a scrape? You need an accident lawyer. Visit Hunt Law Offices and get your classic joyride back into shape. And leave us a comment: what’s your favorite vintage car?

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