What you Should know about a Home Owners Insurance Policy

There are important things to know when you are buying your homeowners 

insurance like making sure you have replacement value coverage and not 

actual value coverage.  Check out this week’s blog to learn more.

Top Five Things to Know About Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

1. Always purchase “replacement value coverage” and not “actual value” coverage.

2. Always ask you agent about policy “Exclusions” or read the exclusions sections of 

     the policy.

3.  Flood damage is not covered on a standard homeowner’s policy.

4.  There is a cap on the value of certain belongings in most standard policies.

5. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover earthquake damage.

If you’re like most people, when you purchase a home you find an agent or you go online and you buy “homeowners insurance” on the property.  This purchase is usually one of the biggest purchases of people’s live and yet very few people read the homeowners policy or even really know what they’re buying.   Other than the replacement costs or value costs that they put on the “dec page,” most people know nothing about the policy and assume it will cover any and all damage that happens to their home.  This is, unfortunately, not the case.   Homeowners policies can be complex but there are certain things that you need to understand and look for when purchasing homeowners insurance. 

I will try to simplify this so that you know what to look for on your policy. In the photograph above there is what is referred to in the business as a “dec page” which is short for declaration of coverage’s. This is the simplified version telling you how much they will pay for any individual covered loss. However what they do not put on the declarations page are the numerous exceptions and exclusions to payments that they (the insurance company) will make that are contained in the booklet that you will receive in the mail at some point in the future. Some of you may, if you’re an organizer, save this in a file and if you’re not really an organizer, you may toss into the trash. As a note, it is really important to keep those policies for all insurance, whether it is for a car, a home, or renter’s policy.  It is important for you to keep a file of everything that comes in the mail regarding the policy.  Even if you do not review this information at the time you receive the booklets, it is important to keep in the event you need to make a claim.  Below I will list the standard coverages that are contained in most homeowner’s policies and a basic overview. I will also discuss common exclusions. Please note, I will be writing a subsequent blog in a week or two that deals only with exclusions in Homeowners policies and how to protect your family and property.  Finally,  I will talk about coverages that you should opt into and know about that may fit your specific needs that cover things such as operating a business from home or having valuable property such as musical equipment, family jewelry or antiques that will not generally be covered under a standard policy.  These items may have significant value that you will need to add to most policies.  I will begin with those standard coverages that are listed on your “declarations page

Dwelling coverage

To put it simply this is the coverage that covers the physical structure of your home including the walls and roof.  This is the portion of the policy that covers the cost of rebuilding and/or repairing your home in the event that damage occurred from a covered event.   The amount of this coverage is often determined by the carrier.  It is not the market value of your home as the land is not calculated into this amount of coverage.  If your home is older and it would be more costly to restore it with the original features, be sure to discuss this with your agent.  

Personal property coverage

This is coverage that covers the personal items inside your home such as furniture, clothes, appliances, bedding, books and any personal items you have. You usually have several options when it comes to covering personal property and you always need to verify that you cover this property at replacement value and not fair market value. A lot of policies will sell the standard version of actual cash value and this is not what you want. That means that the refrigerator that you purchased in your home that you originally paid $2000.00 for, may now only be worth $400.00.  However, you will still have to buy a replacement refrigerator in the event that your house burns down.  This could be a very costly mistake if the only option you have is actual value for all the belongings inside your home such as furniture, appliances, and personal items such as clothing etc.  This is an important question to ask or box to check when you are buying insurance. Always make sure you have replacement value coverage.

Liability protection

This actually comes up more than you may imagine and can cost you a significant amount of money if you do not have enough coverage. Liability protection is coverage that will defend you by paying attorney’s fees and damages if someone sues you or files a claim against you after they are hurt on your property.  I highly recommend that you have at least $100,000.00 in coverage for Liability Protection.

Guest medical protection

This is usually an inexpensive coverage and it is well worth the cost. This coverage covers the cost of medical expenses for someone who’s injured on your property. Let’s say, for example, you have kids playing basketball in your front yard and one child goes up for a layup and falls and breaks his arm. For various reasons a claim could be made against you as the child was injured on your property. Many times, having this guest medical protection can satisfy your guest’s medical bills without further litigation 

or claims. 

Exclusions

This is likely the most important section that you should review when you receive your homeowner’s policy.  This is why is it best to go to an agent to buy insurance and review all the exclusions with them.   Every policy has different exclusions, but many have standard exclusions.  You do not want to find out about the exclusions at the time you need to make a claim. For example, flood insurance is generally not covered in a standard homeowners policy if the flood originates from somewhere off of your property.  If you live in a flood prone region, you will need to purchase flood insurance separately.  In addition, people are often surprised to learn most policies do not cover things like earthquakes, mudslides, mold, landslides, wear and tear, bug infestations, wind or hurricane damage or construction needed to bring your home up to current code. It is imperative that you review the exclusions in the policy you are purchasing. If you live in a place where your home may be prone to a landslide or a hurricane or an earthquake or a flood or any other damaging incident that is specifically excluded in the policy, you would be wise to look into other coverage or inquire if the carrier you are buying from provides that type of insurance for a different expense. 

Additional Coverages or Riders

There are a number of “extra” coverages you can add to most homeowners policies to fit your needs. The following are a few of the most common.

  1. Extra Contents Coverage It is important to know that most of the coverage

s are a flat percentage of the amount of insurance on the home itself. For example: contents coverage is 50% of the insurance on the home itself. If you insure your home for $100,000, the contents coverage will be $50,000. For a minimal extra charge, you can increase the coverage on your contents without increasing the amount of insurance on the home itself.  If you have valuable contents, you will need to raise this coverage.  In addition, if you have particular valuable items, you need to cover them separately because there is usually a flat rate limit for items like jewelry, antiques, furs, musical equipment, art, etc.

2. Replacement Cost Most large insurance companies offer “Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage” for an additional premium. If this is not available you should go with a company that offers this coverage.  This coverage should be available for your roof as well with no deduction for depreciation.

3. Personal Property Extensions of coverage Another example regards special limits on certain types of personal property. For example, most policies limit their coverage for the theft of furs or jewelry to $500. The limit for firearms or computers is often $1000. Many other items are also limited to $500 or $1000 since the homeowners program is designed to fit the coverage needs of the average policy holder. It is your responsibility to review the limitations placed on certain types of property and increase the coverage of one area or another by adding a “Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement” to the basic policy.  This is when you want to talk to an agent.

4. Additional Liability You can also purchase additional liability coverage and medical payments coverage for a nominal premium and I highly recommend this coverage.

5. Flood Insurance The most important exclusion is flood, as many people have learned to their detriment. If live in a flood prone area, any property/casualty insurance agent can help you get it. If you live in a flood-prone community, don’t risk going without flood insurance.

6. Earthquake Insurance No standard insurance policy, including the homeowner’s policy, covers catastrophic damage from an earthquake. For an additional charge, insurance companies offer an earthquake endorsement with your homeowner’s policy that will protect you in case your home suffers earthquake damage. In some areas, this coverage is typically inexpensive and should be considered. However, it can be more costly in earthquake prone areas like San Francisco but likely worth the cost to protect your investment.

If you were a loved one has any question about insurance or has been injured in any type of accident please call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com today. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

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

HOW DID OUR GOVERNOR GET SO MUCH POWER

POWER OF NEVADA GOVERNOR

  1. The Nevada Governor is granted broad power by NRS 414.070;
  2. He can order the evacuation of any stricken areas in the state;
  3. He can exercise “all powers necessary” to promote safety and protection;
  4. He can allow medical professionals licensed in other states but not NV to practice;
  5. He can sell, lend, lease, or give materials or perform services for the purpose of emergency management.

You may find yourself, like many of us, asking how did the governor become so powerful. It seems like we have a dictator instead of a democratically elected official. This thought has crossed my mind as well. Maybe a two week quarantine at the governor’s order with a subsequent vote by the legislature seems like a little more democratic process. However, that is not the law or the process  in the state of Nevada, as you have probably observed over these past two months.  There is, in fact, law on the books in Nevada which, yes was voted on by the legislature a long time ago, allowing the governor to declare a state of emergency. 

There are two pieces of the law that gave governor Sisolak this authority. The first is a very old supreme court case from 1905 entitled Jacobson vs Massachusetts 197 US 11 (1905). That case was brought to the Supreme Court during the nationwide smallpox outbreak in the early 20th century. In addition, Nevada legislature enacted NRS 414.070 well over 30 years ago.   

The statute states that the governor has the power to “perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.”  This is an extraordinarily broad grant of power. Basically, what the governor wants to do he can do if he believes it’s necessary to keep everyone healthy. He has been delegated the power by our state legislature and so that’s his basis in law for being able to shut down our state.

The next question to ask is whether this grant of power by the state legislature is constitutional. It seems unusual for the legislature to be able to dedicate more power than they have. It is a basic rule that state governments, state legislatures, including the state of Nevada, have what’s often called the “police power.”  This is the power that they have to protect the public health, safety and morals, whatever that means to different communities. As for the coronavirus, clearly this would be utilizing the issue of protecting public health. 

The only limitations on the states police powers are the individual rights of its citizens, guaranteed in either the federal or state constitution. The question here would be one to the right to freedom of choice, basically the right to privacy of sort to make your own choices — the right of due process aka the right of freedom of choice. The applicable place in the United States Constitution would be the 14th amendment, the due process clause. 

Therefore, the legal question is “Does the governor’s order violate individual liberties and freedoms that are protected by the 14th amendment.?” This is where the case of Jacobson vs Massachusetts comes in. The legislature in Massachusetts, at the time of the smallpox outbreak, enacted a law that said some towns could require people to be vaccinated and some towns did that at the time. This started the lawsuit that made its way to the supreme court titled Jacobson vs. Massachusetts. In that case, the court upheld the law. The court reasoned that “because smallpox presented such a danger to the public health but it was within the state’s police power to require vaccinations.” The court held that a vaccination can be required and that was a more invasive procedure than closing your business,  especially if you have a religious objection to being vaccinated.   That being the case, the case of Jacobson vs Massachusetts certainly does suggest that there is constitutional authority to require businesses to close.

If the court were to hear the Jacobson case today, in this context, they would likely apply a higher level of scrutiny to the law. They would be more suspicious and maybe want to hear better evidence as to the reason it was necessary to close businesses down. Even if they did apply a heightened scrutiny and want to know more, it does seem likely, based on the law that the court would find there was a compelling reason why the states shut down businesses to stop the spread of the virus. I believe they  would likely uphold the Governors order.

The opponents may argue that there is a better way to protect the public health without being as invasive as closing all businesses. The court may consider this argument. However, the CDC has advised that businesses needed to close and that the best way to accomplish stopping the spread of the virus was to order a lockdown. It does appear likely that the Supreme Court would not hear the case and if they did hear the case, would likely rule that public health outweighed individual rights of due process as they did in 1905. 

With the state of politics at such dire odds in this nation at this time, and so many states with Democratic houses and Republican governors or vice versa, I would not be surprised to see some of these legislative or governor orders challenged to the state supreme courts and possibly ultimately to the United States Supreme court again after 115 years has gone by. If that does occur I will certainly update this blog.

 The state authority for the Governor’s order is NRS 414.070 and states as follows:  

NRS 414.070  Additional powers of Governor during existence of state of emergency or declaration of disaster.  The provisions of this section are operative only during the existence of a state of emergency or declaration of disaster. The existence of such an emergency or disaster may be proclaimed by the Governor or by resolution of the Legislature if the Governor in his or her proclamation, or the Legislature in its resolution, finds that an attack upon the United States has occurred or is anticipated in the immediate future, or that a natural, technological or man-made emergency or disaster of major proportions has actually occurred within this State, and that the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this State require an invocation of the provisions of this section. Any such emergency or disaster, whether proclaimed by the Governor or by the Legislature, terminates upon the proclamation of the termination thereof by the Governor, or the passage by the Legislature of a resolution terminating the emergency or disaster. During the period when a state of emergency or declaration of disaster exists or continues, the Governor may exercise the following additional powers:

1.  To enforce all laws and regulations relating to emergency management and to assume direct operational control of any or all forces, including, without limitation, volunteers and auxiliary staff for emergency management in the State.

2.  To sell, lend, lease, give, transfer or deliver materials or perform services for the purpose of emergency management on such terms and conditions as the Governor prescribes and without regard to the limitations of any existing law, and to account to the State Treasurer for any money received for such property.

3.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 414.155 and 414.340, to procure, by purchase, condemnation, seizure or other means, construct, lease, transport, store, maintain, renovate or distribute materials and facilities for emergency management without regard to the limitations of any existing law. The Governor shall make compensation for the property so seized, taken or condemned on the following basis:

(a) If property is taken for temporary use, the Governor, within 90 days after the taking, shall fix the amount of compensation to be paid therefor. If the property is returned to the owner in a damaged condition, or is not returned to the owner, the Governor shall fix within 90 days the amount of compensation to be paid for the damage or failure to return the property. If the Governor deems it advisable for the State to take title to property taken under this section, the Governor shall forthwith cause the owner of the property to be notified thereof in writing by registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, or by the best means available, and forthwith cause to be filed a copy of the notice with the Secretary of State.

(b) Within the 90-day period prescribed in paragraph (a), the Governor shall make an offer in writing to the person or persons entitled to receive it of the amount of money proposed to be paid as full compensation. If the offer is accepted, the money must be paid out of such fund, funds or other sources as are available and no further action in law or in equity may ever be maintained in connection therewith. If the offer of payment is refused, the person or persons entitled thereto have the same rights as plaintiffs in actions of eminent domain insofar as the fixing of damages and compensation is concerned, NRS 37.06037.07037.080 and 37.090, so far as applicable, apply, and proceedings must be had in conformity therewith so far as possible. The action must be commenced within 1 year after the receipt of the offer of settlement from the Governor.

4.  To provide for and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area or areas within the State and to take such steps as are necessary for the receipt and care of those persons.

5.  Subject to the provisions of the State Constitution, to remove from office any public officer having administrative responsibilities under this chapter for willful failure to obey an order or regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter. The removal must be upon charges after service upon the officer of a copy of the charges and after giving him or her an opportunity to be heard in his or her defense. Pending the preparation and disposition of charges, the Governor may suspend the officer for a period not exceeding 30 days. A vacancy resulting from removal or suspension pursuant to this section must be filled as provided by law.

6.  To authorize providers of emergency medical services and providers of mental health services who are not licensed, certified or registered, as applicable, in this State but hold a license, certificate, registration or similar credential in good standing in another state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to practice their profession within their scope of practice as if they were licensed, certified or registered, as applicable, in this State for the amount of time necessary to assist in responding to the emergency or disaster.

7.  To perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.

At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

The Difference between a Worker’s Compensation Claim And a Personal Injury Claim in Nevada

Top Five Things to Know About Workers Compensation versus Personal Injury

1. For a personal injury claim, fault is required on the part of a defendant.

2. For a Worker’s Compensation claim, there is no need to prove fault.

3. In a personal injury lawsuit you are entitled to damages for pain and suffering.

4. In  a Worker’s Compensation claim you are not entitled to benefits for pain 

    And suffering.

5. You cannot sue your employer for damages when you are injured on the job. 

     You must pursue a Worker’s Compensation claim.

http://dir.nv.gov/WCS/Home/

We often get questions regarding the difference between personal injury claims and Worker’s Compensation claims. They are similar and there is overlap between the two claims. Both types of claims obviously involve a personal injury. The most significant difference between a personal injury claim and a claim that involves injury on the job, also known as a Worker’s Compensation claim,  is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a Worker’s Compensation claim is based on being injured on the job. 

Personal Injury Claims Require Fault

A claim for personal injury is a claim in negligence which requires fault.  To recover damages in a car accident, a slip and fall, a dog bite, a medical malpractice claim or any type of claim that  involves personal injury, you  must show that there was a fault on the part of the adverse party. This means that we must prove, on behalf of our client, that someone did something wrong to cause injury to our client. We must also prove that our client was not over 50% at fault to recover damages. Conversely,  in a Worker’s Compensation claim you must simply prove that your injury happened on the job. This is a significant point in the law. To understand personal injury law you must understand that personal injury law is based upon the negligence of the acting tortfeasor which causes injury to a plaintiff or claimant. Accidents where simply no one is at fault do not qualify for a personal injury claim.  A Worker’s Compensation law is completely different from personal injury tort law.  

Worker’s Compensation Claims are No Fault Claims

Worker’s Compensation cases involve employees that are injured while working for their employer and are entitled to Worker’s Compensation benefits. Worker’s Compensation claims have nothing to do with who is at fault for causing an injury. In addition, Worker’s Compensation claims are based on an administrative process and are not generally handled in the district courts. They are completely separate and have their own body of regulations. For a Worker’s Compensation claim, an employee does not need to prove that the employer or any coworkers did anything wrong to cause their injury. In fact, even if it is the employee’s own fault that they were injured while they were working, they are still entitled to receive Worker’s Compensation benefits for their medical bills and part of their lost wages. 

Pain and Suffering Damages

The most significant and striking difference in Worker’s Compensation claims and personal injury claims are the damages that you are entitled to receive. In a Worker’s Compensation claim when you are injured on the job you are not entitled to damages for pain and suffering. These damages usually constitute a large part of a personal injury claim. In a personal injury claim, you are entitled under Nevada law to receive damages for the pain and suffering associated with your injury. For a personal injury claim you’re entitled to all of the damages that you have suffered including lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, any permanent injury, pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life, lost earning capacity and any other damages that you incurred as a result of your injury

However in a Worker’s Compensation claim for injury received on the job, you can only receive partial weekly compensation for lost wages, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and damages for vocational rehabilitation which is training for a new occupation if that is necessary.  You cannot receive benefits for pain and suffering in a Worker’s Compensation claim. The theory behind this is that Worker’s Compensation is basically a negotiated benefit between the employer and the labor. Prior to instituting Worker’s Compensation laws in the early part of the last century, the only remedy a worker could obtain against their employer was to sue them for negligence. If the employer was not negligent employees could not bring a claim against them to recover their damages. Often times it was very difficult for employees to fight a large employer. Employers had way more resources and the ability to fight the employee through the legal system even if it was the employers fault.

The Worker’s Compensation system was devised to protect workers and compensate them for injuries they may have sustained while they were on the job. Because it is not a fault based system, the damages that they can recover are significantly less than damages they can recover for a personal injury claim when someone is at fault and negligent for causing their injury

You Cannot Sue Your Employer or Coworkers for Injuries on the Job

The trade off for making employers legally liable for any injuries sustained by employees while on the job was that employers could no longer be sued for injuries that employees sustained. Although the trade off may overall benefit most employees, it does come at a price.  It does allow employers to be negligent in causing injuries and not have to pay the same damages as if they were not an employer. However, if the employers conduct rises to the level of an intentional act as defined in the law and causes an injury to employee, the employee can file suit against the employer for said act. Courts, not wanting to disrupt the Worker’s Compensation scheme, have been very reluctant to find employer’s committed an intentional act to cause an employee’s injury and it is a difficult hurdle to overcome.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/Bkground/BP97-06.pdf

The Jones Act

An unusual exception to Worker’s Comp., which does not affect Nevadans really, is that crew members of any type of boats from a cruise ships to a two person commercial fishing boat are not entitled to Worker’s Compensation benefits. Under a little known act called the Jones Act, these specific employees are permitted to sue their employers for damages including pain and suffering. So if you are ever on Jeopardy and your are asked this question or you find yourself relocating and becoming a member of a crew of a vessel and get hurt,  you should contact an attorney immediately regarding your injuries  There is also another federal act called the Federal Employers Liability Act which allows interstate railroad workers to sue their employers for damages they receive on the job. Only the interstate railroad workers or workers who work for a rail  road that operates in more than one state qualify. Therefore, railroad workers that work for a railway that only operates in one state do not fall under this federal act.

What Happens When Personal Injury and Worker’s Comp

 Overlap

Personal injury and Worker’s Compensation law often overlap when you are driving in the course and scope of your employment and you are in a car accident. In those cases Worker’s Compensation law is activated as well as personal injury law. However the laws in Nevada are very adverse to injured workers and much more favorable to employers when it becomes to pay back of benefits for injured employees. If you are in an accident where someone else besides your employer is at fault but you were in the course and scope of your employment such as a car accident, then you have to pay back your employer for any benefits including, medical bills and lost wages, that the employer paid on your behalf from any amount of money you collect from the at fault party. This usually results in somewhat of a wash of one of the personal injury claim. 

Clients are often under the misconception that if they have Worker’s Compensation coverage and personal injury coverage they will receive a double recovery. That is not the law in the state of  Nevada. If you are injured on the job through the fault of a third-party you are entitled to Worker’s Compensation benefits and you have the right to sue the at fault party. However, Worker’s Compensation is entitled to be paid back the benefits they paid including your medical bills and lost wages and any payment for a disability rating that you received from any money that is paid from the at fault party. If there is excess payment from the adverse party over what Worker’s Compensation has paid you would be entitled to that excess. However, Worker’s Compensation always has a lien on your recovery for any benefits they paid. See  NRS616C.215.  

If you were a loved one has been injured in any type of accident please call the offices of The One Lawyer today. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SHORT TERM RENTALS IN CLARK COUNTY

1) Short term rentals of less than 30 days for  private residences are prohibited in unincorporated Clark County.

2) Short term rentals of less than 30 days for  private residences are permitted in the city of Henderson.

3)  Short term rentals of less than 30 days for  private residences are prohibited in the City of North Las Vegas. 

4) Short term rentals of private residences are permitted in the City of Las Vegas.

5) All the cities that allow short term rentals require permits and annual fees to list a private residence as a short term rental. 

There are a lot of different ordinances for cities, municipalities and counties regarding the use of a private residence for a  short term rental. If you wish to become a lesser of a residential property for short term use more commonly referred to as an  “Airbnb” (trade name)  host, it is important that you know and understand the regulations that govern the location where your property sits. In Clark County, each city has its own regulations regarding short-term rentals. Most require specific licensing in order to use your property as a short term rental. In Clark County there are many different municipalities and I will talk about Las Vegas, the city of Henderson, and the city of North Las Vegas in this blog. There are also regulations in Laughlin and Mesquite which both allow very limited short term rentals.  With Las Vegas and the surrounding cities in Clark County being large tourist destinations, the ordinances regarding short term rentals are not favorable to property owners. In fact,  an overall reading of the ordinances clearly shows that they are discouraged by the cities. This is likely due to the fact that they do not want to them to  compete with the primary industry of tourism in this county. 

However, I believe that there is plenty of business to support the hotels and private property owners will support candidates in the future who feel the same. Unfortunately, at this time,  this appears to be a minority view.  When short term rentals are allowed there is generally significant amount of paperwork and costs associated with getting the permits to place your property on the market.  A review of  overall properties listed for short term use appears to reveal that there  are more listed properties than  permitted properties in the area. It appears that enforcement has been lax on the part of the cities and county. However,  they are free to enforce their regulations at any time and the city of Las Vegas has hired an outside company to check properties listed on the internet and determine if they are properly permitted within the city. If you are found to have listed your property and not have obtained the proper permitting you could be subject to fines by  the county or municipality in which your property is located. Below is an overview of the various regulations and requirements to list your private residence as a short term rental in the different municipalities in the area.

Short Term Rentals in Clark County

Clark County Code prohibits Short Term Rentals for less than 30 days. This is a strict rule.  Clark County Code § 30.44.010 (b)(7)(C) prohibits short-term rentals of residential properties in the unincorporated area of  Clark County. This prohibition is applicable to any lease of residential property for less than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days.  In addition, Clark County Code § 6.12.982 requires a short-term or “transient lodging” as it is referred to for over thirty days to  be separately licensed.  The code requires  an annual license fee of $300.00 and Clark County Code § 6.12.982 requires a short-term lodging tax, which must be paid for any short-term lodging operation.

In reviewing the Clark County website, city officials state that they are concerned that short term rentals disrupt the quality of life in residential neighborhoods because short term renters do not have any stake in the neighborhood. The county believes that short term rentals disrupt the “peaceful environment of residential neighborhoods“. They further state that short term rentals are illegal in unincorporated Clark County because they have not been regulated by the Clark County building and fire prevention department to ensure that the residential properties are in compliance with all codes Their website goes on to list a number of reasons why they do not approve of short term rentals in Clark County.

The specific code states as follows: 

C. “Transient commercial use of residential development for remuneration is prohibited in all residential zoning districts, or in any miscellaneous zoning district of this Title, except as otherwise expressly permitted. 

i. The provisions of this Section do not supersede private covenants, deed restrictions, declarations of restrictions and equitable servitudes which impose conditions more restrictive than those imposed by this Section, or which impose restrictions not covered or addressed by this Section. 

ii. The right to maintain a legal nonconforming transient commercial use of residential development for remuneration (profit) shall terminate within 3 years from August 19, 1998, after the use became legally nonconforming, subject to the following provisions:

a. Such a use shall not be classified as a legal nonconforming use, and shall thereafter conform to the regulations specified in this Section, if the use is maintained, or has been maintained, in violation of, or contrary to, private covenants, deed restrictions, declarations of restrictions, equitable servitudes, or the express terms of a deed of trust, loan or other purchase agreement or security instrument applicable to the residential developed property upon which the use is maintained.

 b. If any such legal nonconforming use ceases for any reason for a period of 30 days or more, any subsequent use shall no longer be classified as a legal nonconforming use and shall thereafter conform to the regulations specified in this Section. 

c. Nonconforming uses and structures established pursuant to this Section are subject to the regulations concerning nonconforming uses and structures set forth in Chapter 30.76 (Nonconformities) of this Title for the period specified in subsection (7) (c) (ii) above. 

https://www.clarkcountynv.gov/comprehensive-planning/zoning/Documents/3044.pdf

City of Henderson Short Term Rentals

The city of Henderson adopted ordinances in July 2019 for the operation of short-term vacation rentals which they shorten as “STVR.” They stated that any property owner who intended to use or operate a private residence as a short term vacation rental within the city of Henderson must register that property with the city every year and comply with the city of Henderson‘s short term rental regulations. Such regulations include a registration fee of $820 a year to be paid every year that the property is in  use as a short term rental property.  The city went on to adopt regulations and ordinances starting at 3591 referred to as the short term vacation rental development code regulations. These regulations include enforcement regulations. Said regulations can be found at:

https://www.cityofhenderson.com/docs/default-source/community-development-docs/development-code-revisions/ordinance_no_3591_july_16_2019—short-term-vacation-rentals.pdf?sfvrsn=2

City of Las Vegas, NV Short Term Rentals

The city of Las Vegas does allow short-term rentals with a great deal of regulation. Like the city of Henderson you will need to obtain a short term rental license in order to use your property as a short term rental in the city of Las Vegas. As of December 5, 2018 the city of Las Vegas limited short term rentals to owner occupied properties and hosts who are already licensed or had a pending application at the time. In addition, the city of Las Vegas requires short term rental owners to follow a number of operational requirements regarding insurance, zoning, taxes, and safety. They are required to maintain proof of liability insurance at a minimum amount of $500,000. There are  also restrictions that there must be 660 feet between short term rentals for all single-family homes. There are also regulations that commercial events like banquets, weddings and parties cannot be held in short term rentals in the city of Las Vegas.  The taxes fees and regulations, again, make it cumbersome for property owners to use their properties as a short term rentals in the city of Las Vegas.

City  of North Las Vegas, NV Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals are prohibited in the city of North Las Vegas. 



If you have a question about leasing your private residence as a short term rental, feel free to contact TheOneLawyer.com.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance and Requirements for Insurance in Nevada

FIVE FACTS ABOUT CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS IN NEVADA

1) There is no grace period for insurance lapse in Nevada.

2) A one day lapse in insurance coverage can result in a minimum $250 reinstatement fee if your registration is revoked.

3) Fines for not having insurance can be greater depending on how long the lapse is and if you had any previous lapses in insurance coverage.

4) You are allowed to present your insurance card to an officer by your cell phone

5) Insurance companies in Nevada are required to validate the status of Nevada insurance  policies to the department of motor vehicles.

In Nevada there is no grace period when it comes to a lapse in your car insurance coverage. That means that if your coverage even lapses for one day, there could be a suspension of your registration. That also means that there could be a minimum fine of $250 to reinstate your registration. Nevada has longer fines and fees for driving without insurance depending upon how long the lapse was and if there were any previous lapses in insurance coverage.   It is extremely important not to let your insurance lapse.  However, the fines could be minimal in comparison to having an accident without car insurance. Damages for personal injuries and vehicle damages to another person that you may be involved in an accident with could drive you into bankruptcy.  Whether you have insurance or not you are still liable for any damages that you caused during the operation of your motor vehicle. If it all possible, it is critical not to let your insurance policy lapse on your vehicle.  And if that happens, you should consider public transportation until you can have the policy re-issued.  

There are several areas to keep in mind regarding insurance requirements in Nevada.   First, insurance companies are required to report to the department of motor vehicles.  Secondly, it is mandatory to have insurance in Nevada and if you have a lapse you could be required to provide additional information to the department of motor vehicles.

Insurance Company Reporting

Insurance companies that are licensed to do business in the state of Nevada are required to work with the Department of Motor Vehicles  and validate the status of Nevada insurance policies upon request by the Department. The Department of Motor Vehicles  has a program called LIVE that periodically asks insurance companies if certain vehicles have current Nevada liability insurance coverage. You are only required to carry liability insurance in Nevada which will pay for claims of other drivers against you. However, at TheOneLawyer.com  we highly recommend that you have coverage on your own vehicle including UIM, towing, medical payments coverage and rental. Many drivers in Nevada are not insured and you could be at great risk. 

As a brief review, towing coverage covers the cost of towing your vehicle from the scene of an accident. Always have your vehicle towed to your home, NOT to the tow yard. I have written blogs on this issue before.  It is very difficult to get your belongings out your vehicle from a tow yard. Your insurance company will pay to have it towed to the body shop. UIM/UM  coverage stands for under-insured and uninsured motorist coverage that covers any injuries you have if someone else hits you when it’s not your fault and they don’t have insurance or they don’t have enough insurance. Rental car coverage is pretty self-explanatory but it’s critical for people who need transportation immediately. Your own insurance company will put you in a rental car the next day. The adverse insurance company may take a week or even 30 days to put you in a rental car while they are “investigating the accident.”  Finally medical payments coverage is very important and it is coverage that pays your medical bills or co-pays so that you don’t wind up in collections while you are trying to negotiate with the adverse driver. I have several blogs that detail all of these coverages.  Please take a look or feel free to call us at TheOneLawyer.com if you have any questions.

What is an SR 22

In Nevada, if you are found to have been financially irresponsible in the past by not having insurance for more than 91 days then you may be required by the department of motor vehicles to have SR 22 insurance form on file. This is a certificate of responsibility that would be required by your insurance company to file with the Department of motor vehicles. Of course, this will significantly increase your rates as insurance companies will first, know you have been  irresponsible in the past and second, be required to provide additional paperwork with your policy. The company is required to notify the Department of motor vehicles immediately if you fail to pay for or terminate your insurance coverage.   Penalties for failure to maintain the SR 22 requirement will include a suspension of your driver’s license and registration of any vehicles registered to you. This is an extremely harsh penalty and therefore, it is extremely important to maintain your insurance policy in Nevada.

Nevada Insurance Requirements

Nevada requires, like most states, that you carry liability insurance to protect other drivers that you may be involved in an accident with on the roadway when it is your fault. State minimum coverage is different in different states. In Nevada you are required to carry $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 for bodily injury for all persons in the other vehicle. This is usually referred to as a 25/50 policy, meaning that you carry coverage of $25,000 per person for people in the adverse vehicle or $50,000 for all persons in any other vehicles involved in an accident when it is your fault. Drivers in Nevada are also required to carry $20,000 in property damage coverage for damage to the vehicle that you hit in the accident. With the cost of vehicles these days, $20,000 may well be insufficient to cover the damage to another vehicle, especially if there’s more than one vehicle involved in the accident. At the offices of TheOneLawyer.com, we urge our clients to carry coverage higher than the minimum state limits required in order to protect you and your family.

Carrying Proof Of Insurance

In Nevada, you are required to always have proof of your automobile insurance with you at all times while you’re driving. Under the statute, this can be presented electronically and technically the officer is not supposed to look at anything else on your phone. However, if they “unintentionally” look at something on your phone that could be another problem. We strongly urge you to carry a paper copy of your Nevada proof of automobile liability insurance coverage in your glove box along with your registration. Always remember to put the updated card in your glove box when it comes in the mail from your insurance company or print one if you are paperless with your insurance company. We urge clients not to go paperless with their insurance companies because sometimes things are “out of sight out of mind.” It is easy to forget these types of matters. It is easier to remember when that card shows up in the mail.

If you or your loved ones have any questions about insurance or penalties or coverages, please feel free to call the offices of The One Lawyer or email us 24/7;  we are always available to answer any questions you may have regarding insurance. At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

FIVE FACTS ABOUT PET OWNERSHIP IN NEVADA

 If you live in Henderson, North Las Vegas, or the City of Las Vegas, you are required to have a license for your pet.  If you live in Clark County and are not part of the cities, you are not required to have a license.

2)  You are required to vaccinate your pet against rabies by the age of four months and every three years thereafter.

3) You are required to spay or neuter your pet unless you have a license to breed the animal.

4) You are required to pick up your dog’s waste.

5) It is illegal to feed or provide food for pigeons.

Every local jurisdiction has what are called municipal codes or city ordinances. These are bodies of law that are written by the individual cities and towns and counties concerning matters of local importance. Although many of the city ordinances are similar in different cities or to the county, there are instances where there are differences. City ordinances are usually easy to read and short, unlike the state statutes and often difficult to understand. Although this ordinance is different for the county than it is the cities, many ordinances are very similar. For example each municipality requires you to pick up waste after your pet and all have some version of a barking statute. To easily locate city ordinances for any city in the country for any topic, follow this link https://library.municode.com/    Ordinances for Clark County and the cities contained therein can be found at the following links: 

For the city of Henderson, the codes can be found at : 

https://library.municode.com/nv/henderson/codes/code_of_ordinances

For the city of Las Vegas, the codes can be found at : 

https://library.municode.com/nv/las_vegas/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT7AN

For the city of North Las Vegas, the codes can be found at : 

https://library.municode.com/nv/north_las_vegas/codes/code_of_ordinances

For the Clark County, the codes can be found at : 

https://library.municode.com/nv/clark_county/codes/code_of_ordinances

GENERAL RULES FOR PET OWNERSHIP

Pet Licenses

For example, if you live in the city of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas or Henderson, you are required to have a license for your pet through the city. That is a  license that you would obtain at the local city office and renew every year. They are generally not very expensive. However, a note of caution, I found out that you needed a license when a not so kind neighbor called in our small dog as being loose when she got out of the yard. Animal control came immediately and picked up our little white dog and took her away in their truck. When I went to retrieve her I was fined $75 by the city of Henderson for not having a pet license. Who knew??? I guess as an attorney I should have investigated that fact. That is really the most important reason to have the pet license to avoid fines.  It’s generally a couple of dollars a year to renew and around $10-$30 to obtain a license.  For example, the city of Las Vegas charges $25 for an unaltered pet and $10 for a pet that is spayed or neutered. There are usually special discounts for service dogs and seniors or military personnel.  When you register your pet, you will generally need to bring in proof of current rabies vaccinations.  You can obtain that from your veterinarian. 





PET WASTE 

It is required for all pet owners in the City of Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, the City of North Las Vegas and in Clark County to pick up their pets waste.  The county ordinance states as follows: 

10.36.020 – Solid Waste Excretion.  

 It is unlawful for the owner or person having custody of any animal to permit, either willfully or through failure to exercise due care or control of such animal, any animal to excrete any solid waste upon any sidewalk of any public street or public park, or to excrete any solid waste upon any real property under the control of or in the possession of any other person, or upon the floor of any common area in any apartment house, tenement house, hotel or other multiple dwelling, or upon any entranceway, stairway or wall immediately abutting on a public sidewalk, or upon the floor of any theater, shop, store, office building or other building used in common by the public, or upon the floor, elevator or stairway of any depot or station or public waiting room, or upon any floor, elevator, stairway, entranceway, office, lobby, foyer or patio used in common by the public; provided further, that no violation of this section shall occur if the owner of the offending animal promptly and voluntarily removes the animal waste.

The City of Las Vegas Ordinance states as follows: 

It is unlawful for any person owning or having custody or care of any animal to allow the animal to excrete any solid waste upon any public property, upon any real property owned by or leased by another person or upon any common area of an apartment or similar complex; provided, however, that no violation of this Section shall occur if the owner or other person having custody or care of the animal promptly and voluntarily removes the waste.

(Ord. No. 6180, § 7, 3-7-12; Ord. 3618 § 154, 1991)

BARKING

It is required  for all pet owners in the city of Las Vegas, the city of Henderson, 

the city of North Las Vegas and in Clark County to keep their pets barking to a minimum. 

The county ordinance states as follows: 

10.36.010 – Noise annoyance.

No person shall own, keep, harbor or possess any animal which, by loud or frequent habitual barking, 

yelping, braying, crowing or other noise, causes annoyance to the neighborhood or to 

any person in the vicinity.

(Ord. 1023 § 10 (part), 1987)  (Ord. No. 3877, § 11, 6-15-2010)

LEASH LAWS

It is required for all pet owners in the City of Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, the City of North Las Vegas and in Clark County to keep their dog on a leash.  The county ordinance states as follows: 

10.36.040 – Restraint and sanitation.

 (a) No person owning or having possession of any animal other than a cat, shall cause, permit or allow the animal to stray, run or in any manner be at large.

(b) Every person who is the owner of any unsterilized dog or cat as permitted by Chapter 10.08, and keeps the same upon his premises under his control, shall keep the animal restrained by a fence, cage, coop, chain, leash or other adequate means so that the unsterilized dog or cat shall not leave or escape from the premises upon which it shall be kept.

CHICKENS

An interesting and random fact, which is the fun part of blogging, is that it is required for all chicken owners in the City of Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, the City of North Las Vegas and in Clark County to keep their chickens contained.  The county ordinance states as follows: 

10.36.030 – Poultry and birds. — It is unlawful for any person to keep, or cause to be kept, on premises over which any such person may have control within the county:

 (a)Any poultry or birds that are not, at all times, confined within a suitable outbuilding, coop, or enclosed runway; however, a keeper of racing or homing pigeons may permit the same to be exercised in free flight for not more than one hour daily; provided, that all other times such pigeons are confined appropriately;

 (b)Poultry kept within any dwelling house, basement, subbasement, or cellar.

(Ord. 1023 § 10 (part), 1987)

PIGEONS

Another interesting and random fact is that it is illegal to feed the pigeons in the City of Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, the City of North Las Vegas and in Clark County,  The county ordinance states as follows: 

10.36.035 – Pigeon control.

 (a) The roosting or lingering of wild pigeons poses a health and property hazard in addition to offending the aesthetic senses by pigeon contamination. Such roosting or lingering of wild pigeons is declared to be a public nuisance.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to encourage the lingering, roosting and/or congregating of wild pigeons by providing food—including but not limited to, grain seeds, greens, bread crumbs and miscellaneous food scraps—intended for wild pigeon ingestion on public or residential property.

(Ord. No. 4539, § 1, 11-7-2017)

If you have any questions regarding pet ownership, contact TheOneLawyer.com.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

Did You Know Nevada Had Quarantine Law Pre-Pandemic

FIVE FACTS ABOUT NEVADA QUARANTINE LAW

1) Doctors in Nevada have been required to report communicable disease of a patient pre-pandemic.

2) Authorities have had authority to enter a private residence to order a person suspected of having a communicable disease to submit to a test.

3 Authorities have had authority to issue an order requiring isolation of a person suspected of having a communicable disease.

4) Healthcare providers who do not report infectious disease to authorities are subject to criminal and civil penalties.

5) Health authorities cannot make you get treatment against your will.

It might be surprising to know that Nevada has had infectious disease statutes on the books for many years. NRS 441A.010 through NRS 441A.930 govern what powers authorities have to control infectious disease in our state. A reading of the statutes is somewhat shocking as they literally remove any and all civil rights that you have as an American. It is important to note that the statues have been on the books since at least 1989 and have been regularly modified and updated. The year 1989 was the year that the Ebola virus broke out. Ebola was a devastating disease, although not that wide spread in the United States.  Prior to the infectious disease statutes, Nevada had statutes on the books governing public health and safety which also covered disease prevention dating back to the early 1900s.

A review of the current statutory scheme of NRS 441A relating to infectious disease is actually somewhat shocking to a legal professional. NRS 441A.920 actually prescribes criminal penalty and administrative fines for the failure of a healthcare facility to negligently or intentionally comply with any of these regulations.  If fact, it subjects healthcare professionals to misdemeanor penalties as well as fines of $1000 for each violation. It also directs the district attorney of each county to prosecute these violations. The statute makes civil mistake a criminal act in the state of Nevada under NRS 441A.930. The basis of most criminal law is mental intent. These statutes impose criminal penalty without the intention of committing a criminal act. 

In addition, the statutes also allow grave interference into personal privacy and human rights.   NRS 441A.169 gives broad powers to the health authority and allows them to issue cease-and-desist orders to healthcare providers or medical facilities. The statute states that “during the course or as a result of an investigation concerning the case or suspected case of infectious disease… A health authority may… Take any other action to reduce or illuminate the harm to the health, safety or welfare of the public.”  With this broad stroke of the pen, this statutory section allows for healthcare authorities to take any action they believe necessary against persons suspected of having infectious disease without due process, without the right to be heard, without any privileges afforded by our constitution for your own rights. In the mass of this pandemic which, has sadly affected approximately 2500 of our residents out of the 3,000,000 plus  in the state, to trample the individual rights of every citizen in our state and even eliminate their livelihood. I don’t have intention to be political in this blog as many people have different opinions about the quarantine and the states’ rights. However, in a nation that prides itself on a system of democracy and due process, the Nevada scheme eliminated all of those rights when it comes to any communicable disease, regardless of  whether it is a flu or Ebola. The statute makes no distinction. The statutes would allow authorities to take the same action regardless of the nature of the infection infectious or illness that is at issue. The link below will take you to the exact statutes. I have presented several below that are that quantify the overall statutory scheme: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-441A.html#NRS441ASec010

NRS 441A.150  Reporting occurrences of communicable diseases to health authority; reporting drug overdoses to Chief Medical Officer. [Effective January 1, 2020.]

1.   A provider of health care who knows of, or provides services to, a person who has or is suspected of having a communicable disease shall report that fact to the health authority in the manner prescribed by the regulations of the Board. If no provider of health care is providing services, each person having knowledge that another person has a communicable disease shall report that fact to the health authority in the manner prescribed by the regulations of the Board.

2.   A provider of health care who knows of, or provides services to, a person who has suffered or is suspected of having suffered a drug overdose shall report that fact and the information required by the Board pursuant to NRS 441A.120 to the Chief Medical Officer or his or her designee in the manner prescribed by the regulations of the Board. The Chief Medical Officer or his or her designee shall upload that information to the database of the program established pursuant to NRS 453.162 if the program allows for the upload of such information.

3.  A medical facility in which more than one provider of health care may know of, or provide services to, a person who has or is suspected of having a communicable disease or who has suffered or is suspected of having suffered a drug overdose shall establish administrative procedures to ensure that the health authority or Chief Medical Officer or his or her designee, as applicable, is notified.

4.  A laboratory director shall, in the manner prescribed by the Board, notify the health authority of the identification by his or her medical laboratory of the presence of any communicable disease in the jurisdiction of that health authority. The health authority shall not presume a diagnosis of a communicable disease on the basis of the notification received from the laboratory director.

5.  If more than one medical laboratory is involved in testing a specimen, the laboratory that is responsible for reporting the results of the testing directly to the provider of health care for the patient shall also be responsible for reporting to the health authority.

NRS 441A.160  Investigation: Powers of health authority to conduct investigation of communicable disease; order to require person to submit to examination; order of isolation, quarantine or treatment.

1.  A health authority who knows, suspects or is informed of the existence within the jurisdiction of the health authority of any communicable disease shall immediately investigate the matter and all circumstances connected with it, and shall take such measures for the prevention, suppression and control of the disease as are required by the regulations of the Board or a local board of health.

      2.  A health authority may:

      (a) Enter private property at reasonable hours to investigate any case or suspected case of a communicable disease.

(b) Order any person whom the health authority reasonably suspects has a communicable disease in an infectious state to submit to any medical examination or test which the health authority believes is necessary to verify the presence of the disease. The order must be in writing and specify the name of the person to be examined and the time and place of the examination and testing, and may include such terms and conditions as the health authority believes are necessary to protect the public health.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5 and NRS 441A.210, issue an order requiring the isolation, quarantine or treatment of any person or group of persons if the health authority believes that such action is necessary to protect the public health. The order must be in writing and specify the person or group of persons to be isolated or quarantined, the time during which the order is effective, the place of isolation or quarantine and other terms and conditions which the health authority believes are necessary to protect the public health, except that no isolation or quarantine may take place if the health authority determines that such action may endanger the life of a person who is isolated or quarantined.

3.  Each order issued pursuant to this section must be served upon each person named in the order by delivering a copy to him or her.

4.  If a health authority issues an order to isolate or quarantine a person with a communicable or infectious disease in a medical facility, the health authority must isolate or quarantine the person in the manner set forth in NRS 441A.510 to 441A.720, inclusive.

5.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 441A.310 and 441A.380, a health authority may not issue an order requiring the involuntary treatment of a person without a court order requiring the person to submit to treatment.

So to answer the broad question of what powers does the state have when it comes to infectious disease, the answer is all. They can come to your house and remove you from your residence. They can force you to take medical testing against your will to determine if you are carrying the disease and they can force you into isolation or quarantine at their own will. If this sounds extreme,  it is. It is the wording of the statute. It is a difficult issue to reconcile. Weighing public safety against individual rights is a fundamental aspect of the law. However, this is an area where it appears that the power falls completely to the state. You do not have the right to seek an independent test under the statute. You do not have the right to determine whether you should be isolated under the statute. You do not have the right to refuse entry into your home under the statute.

At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices. TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

ATTORNEYS FEES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

TOP FIVE THINGS TO KNOW WHEN HIRING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY

  1. The Fees Capped Nevada by Statute 
  2. Hire an Experienced Attorney
  3. You only have one year, with some exceptions) to Bring your claim
  4. You need Your own Expert Before you File your Lawsuit
  5. You Will Need All of Your Medical Records

In 2004, Nevada, pursuant to Ballot question No. 3, implemented a statutory limitation on attorney’s fees in medical malpractice as a result of the tort reform bill that was passed into law by a vote upon of the people. NRS 7.095 prescribes the statutory allowable fees that attorneys can charge in medical malpractice cases. Therefore, the state legislature has determined what a reasonable fee is for a medical malpractice case.  Courts in California have consistently and uniformly held that even with a valid, agreed upon, non-disputed waiver in place, the statutory provision regarding attorney’s fees is not waivable or “voidable.” An extensive review of the California decisions on this issue reveals the courts have consistently held that a comprehensive and extensive writing waiving the statutory fee limitation is still insufficient to void the statute.  In fact, they have consistently ruled that the statute is not “voidable.”   

NEVADA LAW REGARDING ATTORNEYS FEES FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

In Nevada, the State Legislature added NRS 7.095 to the Nevada Revised Statutes in 2004 pursuant to the passage of Ballot Question No. 3 passed on November 4, 2004, which states as follows: 

NRS 7.095  Limitations on contingent fees for representation of persons in certain actions against providers of health care.

1.   An attorney shall not contract for or collect a fee contingent on the amount of recovery for representing a person seeking damages in connection with an action for injury or death against a provider of health care based upon professional negligence in excess of:

       (a) Forty percent of the first $50,000 recovered;

      (b) Thirty-three and one-third percent of the next $50,000 recovered;

      (c) Twenty-five percent of the next $500,000 recovered; and

       (d) Fifteen percent of the amount of recovery that exceeds $600,000.

      2.  The limitations set forth in subsection 1 apply to all forms of recovery, including, without limitation, settlement, arbitration and judgment.

3.  For the purposes of this section, “recovered” means the net sum recovered by the plaintiff after deducting any disbursements or costs incurred in connection with the prosecution or settlement of the claim. Costs of medical care incurred by the plaintiff and general and administrative expenses incurred by the office of the attorney are not deductible disbursements or costs.

       4.  As used in this section:

      (a) “Professional negligence” means a negligent act or omission to act by a provider of health care in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death. The term does not include services that are outside the scope of services for which the provider of health care is licensed or services for which any restriction has been imposed by the applicable regulatory board or health care facility.

(b) “Provider of health care” means a physician licensed under chapter 630 or 633 of NRS, dentist, registered nurse, dispensing optician, optometrist, registered physical therapist, podiatric physician, licensed psychologist, chiropractor, doctor of Oriental medicine, medical laboratory director or technician, licensed dietitian or a licensed hospital and its employees.

      (Added to NRS by 2004 initiative petition, Ballot Question No. 3; A 2011, 1510)

Although the Nevada Court has not specifically addressed the attorney fee provision, they have addressed the constitutionality of the statute and repeatedly followed precedent from the mirrored statute from California that has been in force since 1975.  

CALIFORNIA LAW ON LIMITING ATTORNEYS FEES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION

Although the medical malpractice reform act was not passed in Nevada until 2004, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of California (herein referred to as MICRA,) was enacted in California in 1975 by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 1975. The act was intended to lower medical malpractice liability insurance premiums and was enacted on an emergency basis to keep healthcare providers as a whole financially solvent. It was intended to lower the cost of healthcare services and make them more available.  Since MICRA was enacted nearly 40 years ago, it has been challenged on numerous occasions in the California Courts. It has repeatedly been held constitutional by the California Courts and almost all of the original MICRA legislation is still in force and effect and part of California law. 

The Nevada statute is nearly identical to the California Statute.  In California, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 instead of $350,000 in Nevada.   However, the California statute limiting attorney’s fees is almost identical to Nevada’s statue. Extensive litigation has gone on in California regarding the attorney’s fees provision under the MICRA statutory scheme.   In California, plaintiffs’ attorneys can receive 40% of the first $50,000 recovered, 33 1/3% of the next $50,000 recovered, 25% of the next $500,000 recovered, and 15% of any amount recovered in excess of $600,000 under Business and Professions Code section 6146.  

     A RAND report issued estimates that as a result of MICRA, defendants’ liabilities were reduced by 30%.  However, between 1985 and 1988 malpractice premiums actually rose 47% in California. After 1988 insurance premiums in California experienced a decrease which was a result of proposition 103. It was voted into law in 1988 at section 1861.01 of the California insurance code and explicitly required a rollback of insurance premiums by 20%.  

 (  www.consumerwatchdog.org/documents/1008.pdf   ) ( March 7, 2003)

    New challenges were raised to MICRA by the plaintiffs’ bar after proposition 103 was enacted claiming that MICRA was outdated legislation and that the problem of increased premiums was resolved by proposition 103. The courts repeatedly declined to rollback or limit MICRA’S provisions after the enactment of proposition 103.  (Cal Ins. Code Sec. 1861.01)

Nevada Origination of the Statute

Seeing the alleged success of this legislation in reducing insurance premiums for medical writers in California, other states started to follow suit. Nevada placed Question No. 3 on the ballot in 2004 and on November 4, 2004, it was ratified by a 60% majority of Nevada voters.  Question No. 3 set a maximum schedule for attorney’s fees and capped non-economic damages at $350,000. The question, known as the KODIN initiative for keep our doctors in Nevada, was promoted by pointing to an alleged trend of Nevada doctors fleeing the state for states with lower malpractice premiums like California. To counter this legislation the Nevada plaintiffs’ bar put Questions No. 4 and 5 on the same ballot.  Both were defeated in the election and the statutory scheme was voted into law by the Nevada public and became law in the state in 2004.

NEVADA CASE LAW

In Tam vs. The Eight Judicial District Court, 131 Nev., Advance Opinion No. 66346, (2015) the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of NRS 41A.035 (2004).  In the Tam case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus on behalf of Dr. Tam challenging the district court’s ruling the state statute was unconstitutional in medical malpractice actions. In the opinion which is decided on a writ, the Nevada Supreme Court resolved three primary issues related to the statute:

  1. Whether the statue violates a Plaintiff’s right to a trial by jury; 
  2. Whether the cap applies separately to each cause of action;  
  3. Whether the statute applies to medical malpractice actions. 

The Supreme Court held that the district court erred in finding the statute was unconstitutional on the basis that it violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to trial by jury.  The court further held that the district court erred when it found that the statutory cap applied per plaintiff and per defendant. Finally, the Supreme Court also concluded that the District Court erred when it found the statute applied only to professional negligence and not medical malpractice. 

The underlying facts of the case involved the death of Charles Thomas Cornell, Jr.  an action brought by his wife Sherry Cornell, the real party in interest. Mr. Charles had multiple medical conditions and he passed away after being released from the hospital and alleged he was not prescribed medications and further care to treat his diabetes.  Suit was filed against numerous defendants after Mr. Cornell‘s death. Relevant to the opinion was the writ of mandamus filed regarding the ruling on Defendant’s omnibus motion in limine. The motion filed by Dr. Tam requested that non-economic damages be limited to $350,000 pursuant to the statute NRS 41 8.035. The District Court denied the motion finding the statute was unconstitutional and violated Plaintiff’s constitutional right to a trial by jury.  The District Court, also held that the statutory cap did not apply to the case as a whole and that a separate cap applies for each plaintiff and for each of the defendants. In addition, the District Court found the cap did not apply to medical malpractice claims. Based on that motion in limine, relief under a writ of mandamus was sought and granted.

Among other things, the Supreme Court held that for a statute to violate the right to jury trial, it must make the right practically unavailable. They relied upon Barrett vs Baird 111 Nev. 1496, 1502, 908 P 2d 689, 694 (1995) The Supreme Court acknowledged that jurisdictions disagree on whether statutory damages caps violate the right to a trial by jury.   They stated that they have previously found that a statutory limit on damages does not infringe on the plaintiff’s constitutional right. 

In Arnesano vs State Department of Transportation 113 Nev. 815, 819, 942 P 2d 139, 142, (1997), the court relied upon the case of Martinez vs Maruszczak, 123 Nev. 433, 168 P. 3d 720 (2007) and held that “it is not the role of a jury to determine the legal consequences of its factual findings… That is a matter for the legislature. “ Id at 819-820, 942 P. 2d at 152 quoting Boyd vs Bulala 877 F. 2d 1191, 1196 (4th Cir. 1989). The Nevada Supreme Court looked to California for guidance.   This issue has been decided in California in addressing the constitutionality of the statutory cap on non-economic damages in cases involving healthcare provider’s professional negligence. In Citing Yates vs Pollock, 239 Cal Rpt. 383, 385 (Ct. App 1987) the court concluded “that such an argument is merely an indirect attack upon the legislatures power to place a cap on damages. The Yates court noted  that while the statute could possibly result in a lower judgment of the jury’s award, “the  legislature retains broad control over the measure of damages a defendant is obligated to pay and that a plaintiff is entitled to receive… and it may expand or limit recoverable damages so long as it’s action is rationally related to legitimate state interest.“  Yates at 385–386

The Nevada Supreme Court  in Tam went on to state that “consistent with our prior holding in Arensano and persuasive case law from California, “we conclude that NRS 41A.035 does not interfere with the jury in their factual findings because it takes affect only after the jury has made its assessment of damages and that  it does not implicate a plaintiff’s right to trial by jury.” 

The court went on to hold that the statute also did not violate equal protection rights and also relied on California holdings on this issue.  The court further held that “we do not look beyond the language of the statute if it is clear on its face“ citing Beazer Homes Nevada Inc. vs Eighth Judicial District Court 120 Nev. 575, 579, 97 P. 3d 1132, 1135, (2004.) In this instance, the Tam decision did not address the attorney fee portion of the statute, NRS 7.095, although  the provision is very clear on its face.

Also discussed by the Supreme Court in the Tam decision is the legislative history which they acknowledged discusses a comparison between the Nevada statute and California’s analogous statute noting “that NRS 41A.035 is similarly per incident not per claimant, and not per doctor.” The court also held that “the official explanation to ballot question No. 3 stated that the previous statute provided that a person seeking damages in a medical malpractice action is limited to recovering $350,000 in non-economic damages from each defendant and  the proposal, if passed, would limit the recovery of non-economic damages to $350,000 per action” (Citing Nevada ballot questions 2004, question No. 3, explanation at 14 available at HTTPS://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/VoteNV/BallotQuestions/2004.pdf2004.  )

The court in Tam went on to state “the intent behind the statute is further evidenced by the legislature is discussion of recent amendments to NRS 41A.035, indicating that the purpose of the 2004 amendments was to clarify that the cap for non-economic damages is intended to apply per action. “ (See Hearing on SB 292 before the Senate Judiciary Comm, 78th Leg. (Nev., March 26, 2015). It is clear from this decision that the Nevada Supreme Court found this legislation to be constitutional. It is also clear that they looked to California for guidance in mirroring their statute and will likely look to California for guidance in its further application.

As attorneys, the people sitting next to us are the clients we are here to protect.   Their rights are paramount. It is our duty as lawyers to advise them and to counsel them to allow them to knowingly make decisions that affect the outcome of their cases.  Lawyers are charged with the ethical duty of advising their clients of the law in many situations. Whether it’s a plea agreement in a criminal matter, whether it’s a bankruptcy, whether it’s this case where the statute at issue was voted on by the people and enacted into law, it is the responsibility of counsel to explain to clients that the law allows them to make decisions for the outcome of their case. 

Although the supreme court in the state of Nevada has not ruled on this specific attorney fee issue under the reform statute, the ruling in the Tam case is clear that they find the statutory provisions to be constitutional. The Nevada Supreme Court has  looked to our sister state of California in reviewing the constitutionality of the Nevada act’s provisions, which mirrors the California legislation. It is important for attorneys to be clear and accurate in advising clients of their rights.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, we take the time to meet with every client and take pride in explaining the law and their options in detail. I operate a small, boutique law firm specializing in giving personal representation to each client. 

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

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

Is My Car A Total Loss And What Does That Mean?

FIVE IMPORTANT FACTS WHEN YOUR CAR IS TOTAL LOSS

   1) Sometimes you can’t tell by looking if the car is a total loss

    2) You will not get to decide whether or not your car is a total loss

   3) Legally, if the cost to repair is more than 65% of the car’s value, it’s a total loss.

4) The fair market value of the vehicle is negotiable, don’t let the insurance company tell  you it’s not. So always have gap insurance on a new car loan for the first few years.

   5) The loan on the car is not the fair market value.

One of the biggest misconceptions that we see in our office is what the meaning of total loss is in the context of an auto accident. Often times,  clients think that total loss means they will get a new car. Unfortunately that is not the case. In addition, clients will often think that they can determine whether or not their car is, in fact, a total loss. Unfortunately,  that is also not the case. In the state of Nevada, whether a car is a total loss is governed by Nevada Revised Statute 487.790. Specifically NRS 487.790 states as:

NRS 487.790  “Total loss vehicle” defined.

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

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

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

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

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

             (3) Towing the vehicle.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) A nonrepairable vehicle;

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

             (1) The hood;

            (2) The trunk lid;

             (3) A fender;

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

                   (I) Doors;

                   (II) A grill assembly;

                   (III) A bumper assembly;

                   (IV) A headlight assembly; or

                   (V) A taillight assembly; or

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

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

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

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

             (3) Towing the vehicle; or

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

             (1) Has no structural damage; and

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

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

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

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

IS THE CAR A TOTAL LOSS

First,  it is necessary to determine whether the vehicle is, in fact,  a total loss. With over 15 years’ experience in this business, I can generally look at a photograph and tell you if the vehicle is going to be a total loss. Feel free to call our office with any questions if you have been involved in accident involving a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss.  When estimating the damage, the insurance company will generally allow some leeway for hidden damage in determining whether to repair the vehicle or not. For example if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and the insurance company estimates the damage at $4,000, they will likely deem the car a total loss because if there is additional hidden damage found when repairs begin, it will rise to the level of total loss.       

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

HOW MUCH IS MY CAR WORTH

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

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

WHAT IS GAP INSURANCE

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

CALL US AT THEONELAWYER.com

By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your vehicle. At my office, we are happy to handle the total loss of your vehicle at no cost along with your personal injury claim.  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 total loss claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your total loss to maximize the money you get for your vehicle.

At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices. TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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. 

THEY CANNOT RAISE YOUR CAR INSURANCE RATES IN NEVADA IF THE ACCIDENT IS NOT YOUR FAULT

FIVE FACTS ABOUT CAR INSURANCE RATES IN NEVADA

1) If you are in a car accident and it is not your fault, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for paying your damages.

2) If you make a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage because someone without insurance hits you, your insurance company cannot raise your rates.

3) Your  insurance company cannot cancel your policy if you make a claim that is not your fault.

4) Insurance companies refer to at fault accidents as a “chargeable” offense.

5) Your insurance company may try to attribute a “small percentage of fault” against you to raise your rates for a claim.  Be sure to verify that you were not found at fault on your claim with your adjuster and make them send you a letter to verify that you were not at fault.

The statutes on this issue are pretty clear in the state of Nevada but relatively unknown. An insurance company cannot refuse to issue your policy or renew your policy for an accident or claim that was not your fault. They also, in turn, cannot cancel your policy for an accident that was not your fault. Over the years many clients have advised us that their rates have gone up immediately following an accident. Many insurers have policies that are nationwide and this policy is illegal in Nevada. At the law office of TheOneLawyer.com, we make sure that our clients are treated fairly by their own insurance companies and that they are not charged with an accident that is clearly not their fault. In fact, I have seen insurance companies over the years that have sent the insured a letter advising them that they were 5% or 10% at fault for the collision when they had not even reviewed the police report, seen photographs or taken statements. This is why it is critical to have an attorney fight for you from the beginning anytime you are involved in a car accident. There are many aspects of car accident law that inexperienced attorneys are not aware of. This is one of them. At the car accident law offices of TheOneLawyer.com, we make sure our clients are treated properly by their own insurance company as well as receive the compensation they deserve. The statutes and Nevada are pretty clear on these issues and 

NRS 687B .35 states as follows:

NRS 687B.385  Refusal to issue, cancellation, nonrenewal or increase in premium due to claims for which insured was not at fault, claims for which insurer made no payment or recovered entirety of payment or inquiries relating to a claim prohibited.  An insurer shall not refuse to issue, cancel, refuse to renew or increase the premium for renewal of a policy of motor vehicle insurance covering private passenger cars or commercial vehicles as a result of any:

1.  Claims made under any policy of insurance with respect to which the insured was not at fault;

2.  Claims made under any policy of insurance for which the insurer has not made any payment or for which the insurer recovered the entirety of the insurer’s payment on the claim by means of salvage, subrogation or another mechanism; or

3.  Inquiries made regarding an actual or potential claim under any policy of insurance regarding:

     (a) The existence of insurance coverage for any matter; or

      (b) Any hypothetical or informational matter pertaining to insurance.

      (Added to NRS by 1987, 1063; A 1997, 30332017, 2354)

In addition to the Nevada revised Statutes,  there is also the Nevada Administrative Code. The administrative code outlines specific rules and regulations that insurance companies must follow that accompany the Nevada Revised Statutes. The Nevada Administrative Code contains specific regulations that govern administrative bodies in the state of Nevada such as the Department of Insurance. Nevada administrative code provision 687B.850 further outlines and details the rules regarding accidents that are not the fault of the policyholder. Insurance terms are referred to as chargeable or non-chargeable events and referred to in the statute below:

POLICIES OF MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE

NAC 687B.850  Chargeable accidents: Restrictions on authority of insurer; filing and use of definition. (NRS 679B.130687B.385)

1.  An insurer shall not cancel, refuse to renew or increase the premium charge for the liability coverage under a policy of motor vehicle insurance upon renewal of the policy of motor vehicle insurance because of an accident that is not a chargeable accident.

2.  Each insurer shall file with the Division its definition of a “chargeable accident” and shall use the filed definition. The insurer’s definition of a “chargeable accident” may include only those accidents for which the insured is 50 percent or more at fault.

3.  Each filing of a rate for a policy of motor vehicle insurance submitted to the Division must define a “chargeable accident” in terms of a monetary amount of damage.

4.  An insurer may not define a claim made under the comprehensive portion of a policy of motor vehicle insurance as a chargeable accident in order to increase the premium for the policy or to cancel the policy, but the insurer may use a series of such claims to discontinue comprehensive coverage or to offer a higher deductible for comprehensive coverage upon the renewal of the policy.

When I advise clients they need to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim on their own insurance, they are often hesitant to do so, fearing their carrier will either raise their rates, or cancel the policy altogether. However, Nevada, as outlined, has a statute exactly on point, precluding insurance companies from doing either. An uninsured motorist policy provides insurance coverage for the negligence of a driver that causes damages who either has no insurance, or cannot be located.  In such instances, the claimant’s own insurance company provides insurance up to the policy limits for this uninsured driver. An underinsured motorist policy provides coverage for a driver who has insufficient insurance coverage to pay for all of the damages he or she caused.  In such instances, the claimant’s own insurance policy provides additional coverage over and above the negligence driver’s liability policy, up to the policy limits.

The plain language of the statute and code preclude insurance companies in Nevada from raising rates for people who make a UM/UIM (no fault on the part of the insured) claim. The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the statute against the insurance companies challenge. See Reinkemeyer v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America,  16 P.3d 1069, 117 Nev. 4 (2001) (holding the statute that prohibits an insurer from canceling, refusing to renew, or increasing the premium for a policy of casualty or property insurance as a result of claims with respect to which the insured was not at fault is not facially unconstitutional under the state due process and takings clauses)

NRS 687B.385 applies to policies where insurers attempts to cancel or increase premiums because an insured has filed a claim for which the insured is not at fault. With nearly 15% of the drivers in the Nevada being uninsured, and most not having sufficient insurance, when you are in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney who has experience exploring all policies available for recovery.  TheOneLawyer.com has the experience, and provides free initial consultations. 

At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in Nevada insurance law and reviewing insurance policies.  If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices. TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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.