Category Archives: Car Accidents

HOSPITALS REFUSING TO BILL INSURANCE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

You may have recently seen in the news articles regarding hospitals profiting from victims of car accidents. It has been a long-standing silent practice.  Some hospitals around the country, including here in Nevada, have refused to bill the patient’s aka the victim’s health insurance when they have been involved in a car accident. They do this because they want to receive a higher rate through the persons auto insurance or settlement to the detriment of the injured person. They do this by refusing to bill the victim’s health insurance and then billing the patient directly.  They have even put liens on their personal property and/or their settlement. This is against Nevada Law. In fact, Nevada statutes are quite clear on this issue.   Nevada law clearly states that when a person receives hospital care, the hospital cannot collect on any amount that the hospital is owed from any party involved until the hospital bill has been submitted to the injured person’s health insurance. That law is codified in Nevada revised statute 449.757 and is stated below in its entirety:

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

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

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

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

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

This practice is often used against some of the most vulnerable patients. The statute does not differentiate between private health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.  However, because the reimbursement rates are lower for hospitals through state and government programs of insurance, (which hospitals have contracted for based on the volume of patients they received as the trade-off) these are often times the patients that hospitals refuse to bill their insurance. Some Hospitals engage in this practice intentionally to receive higher payments than what they are legally contracted to receive from Medicare or Medicaid. At the Law Offices of TheOneLawyer.com, we immediately notify hospitals to bill our client’s health insurance and provide their health insurance information as soon as possible so that this does not occur to the detriment of our clients. At the Law Offices of the TheOneLawyer.com, we protect our clients from the very beginning of the case through to the end to make sure that they get the full compensation that they are entitled to receive.

There is also a separate statute that is very clear and outlines that insurance companies must accept the contracted rate from the insurance company that they are contracted with under the persons healthcare policy. In instances where insurance companies have refused to bill the health insurance policy from the start, we have been successful in making them only accept what they would’ve been paid under the contract and taking a reduction from there. In a separate blog we will talk about subrogation. That is where a health insurance company can get paid back from proceeds from your automobile insurance settlement. However, they are only entitled to recover the amount that was paid and not the full amount of the bill. Hospitals will try to recover their full billing, which as most people know, is grossly inflated rather than the contracted rates they have with insurance companies. If you’ve been in a car accident, call our office immediately to make sure that you get the full compensation that you deserve and are entitled to and do not get taken advantage of by a hospital.

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

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

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

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

      2.  This section does not apply to:

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

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

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

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

       (Added to NRS by 2011, 1524)

THE HOSPTIALS ARE BOUND BY THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT

      NRS 449.759  Manner of collection.  A hospital, or any person acting on its behalf who seeks to collect a debt from a responsible party for any amount owed to the hospital for hospital care must collect the debt in a professional, fair and lawful manner. When collecting such a debt, the hospital or other person acting on its behalf must act in accordance with sections 803 to 812, inclusive, of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692a to 1692j, inclusive, even if the hospital or person acting on its behalf is not otherwise subject to the provisions of that Act.

       (Added to NRS by 2007, 1498)

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. 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 do not 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.

Current Nevada Car Seat Requirements

As of 2021, Nevada car seat law requires that the driver secure any child in a car seat when the child is under 60 pounds and under the age of six years old. In Nevada, children must have a car seat that is appropriate for their size. In addition, the car seat must be properly secured to the vehicle and installed properly. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your car seat is properly installed, any fire station in Las Vegas or Henderson will help you make sure the car seat is properly installed if you stop by. Once a child reaches the age of six years old or weighs 60 pounds, this rule no longer applies. The Silver State imposes penalties of a fine or community service for the first-time violation of non-use of a car seat against the driver. If you receive such a citation, you also have the option to undergo training and inspection of the car seat being installed to waive or reduce the amount of the penalty.

The use of car seats has saved countless children over the recent decades. The rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per million children younger than 13 is less than a quarter of it what it was in 1975. In fact, the rate at which children are killed as passengers in motor vehicle accident has decreased 60% since 1975.  Additionally, the rate at which children are killed as pedestrians and bicyclists is less than 1/10 of the 1975 rates. Our children are much safer now than when their parents were children. The use of seatbelts, car seats, airbags, bicycle helmets, and driver awareness has greatly protected our children over the past several decades. It is important to continue to bring these numbers down and to use all possible safety systems to protect our children from serious and even fatal injuries and accidents. Although it is governed by law, it is our most sacred duty to protect the children in our community. The use of proper restraints can save our children. In 2018, 193 children that were unrestrained or improperly restrained were killed in car accidents. Therefore, it is important that child safety restraints are properly installed and used at all times when children are riding as passengers. There should never be a moment where we are “just going to the store”, or “just running down the street”, where they are not used.     https://www.iihs.org/topics/child-safety  

The Difference Between A Booster Seat and A Car Seat

We have all seen the full car seat where the child has a five-point harness and then the smaller booster seat where it is really just like a child almost sitting on a stack of books. Although it is not required, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles still recommends the use of a booster seat until a child is at least eight years old or 80 pounds.  A standard seatbelt fits properly once the child reached 80 pounds and they will be protected while in the vehicle with a seat belt at that time. Small children are not secured properly with the use of only a seatbelt due to their size.  Some smaller children may require a booster seat up until the age of 12. Protecting our children is our most important and sacred duty as adults and it is important that we provide them every opportunity to remain safe in the event of an automobile collision.

Taxi Cabs in Las Vegas

Surprisingly, a car seat is not required to ride in a taxi cabs in Las Vegas. Nevada revise statute 484B. (7)(a) says that Nevada’s seatbelt laws do not apply to top public transportation. Such public transportation includes taxis, Ubers, Lyfts and buses. Therefore, it is a better idea not to use public transportation unless necessary with a child, or to bring a booster seat for your child’s safety even though it is not required by the law.

When Can Children Legally Ride in the Front Seat

In Nevada there is no law on the books that prevents a child from being in the front seat of a vehicle at any particular age. However, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles suggests that children should ride in the backseat until they are 12 years of age. They refer to the use of car seats and booster seats which are more safely used in the backseat of the vehicle.  But, under Nevada law, the driver can determine when it is safe for a child to sit in the front seat. Car seat laws still apply in that a child that if the child is six years of age or below or under 60 pounds, he or she needs to be in a car seat whether in the front or in the back.

Penalties for Non-Use of Car Seats.

In Nevada fines can range from $100 to up to $1000 for the driver’s failure to secure a child into a car seat. The first offense for failure to use a car seat is a fine of $100-$500 or 10 to 50 hours of community service. If it is a second offense the penalty can be from $500 to $1000. For first offenders of failure to use a car seat, a driver has the chance to complete a class regarding child seat education and safety and have their car seat inspected. If they bring such documentation of completion of the class and car seat inspection to the court, they can have the fine reduced. However, if you should be negligent enough to have a third offense of getting pulled over by a police officer and failing to have your child or a child in your vehicle secured in a car seat who is six years of age and below or 60 pounds or less, you could have your driver’s license suspended from 30 to 180 days. Protecting our children is a serious matter that should be taken seriously by all drivers and all those charged with the care of children. It is always a very difficult case for us to see children that have been injured. Their best chance at preventing catastrophic and even fatal injuries is to be well protected in a car seat. At TheOnelawyer.com, we have handled many accidents involving children over the years. Children that have been secured in the proper child restraint seat have generally suffered little to no injury in accidents where other passengers have sustained more serious injuries. We urge you to protect your children and use proper booster and car seats for all children who ride in your vehicle.

Limited Exemptions

Nevada car seat laws do provide some exemptions to the requirement.  This generally applies to children in wheelchairs who have a different form of restraint in the vehicle for the wheel char.  A child may be exempted from the requirement if use of a car seat creates danger to child.  However, to fall under this exemption, the driver must carry a signed statement from a doctor stating the child is exempt at all times to present to the officer. 

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. 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 do not 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.

SEAT BELTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE WORN IN NEVADA

In the state of Nevada, the law requires that passengers in both the front seat and the rear seats of passenger vehicles wear a safety belt or, if under a certain age, be in a child restraint seat.  (NRS 484D .495). Any police Officer or emergency responder will tell you that seatbelts save lives and they have responded to scenes where, tragically, life has been lost for failing to wear a seatbelt. In the event of an automobile accident or a sudden breaking, the car can come to a sudden stop.  However, your body will keep moving in the vehicle until you are stopped by either something inside the vehicle or possibly even going through the windshield. Seatbelts prevent the movement of your body from out of the seat in the event of an auto accident. The following is the specific Nevada law that requires all occupants of motor vehicles to be in a seatbelt while they are riding in the vehicle.    NRS 484D.495 states as follows: 

   NRS 484D.495  Safety belts and shoulder harness assembly; requirements for driver, child and other passenger; penalties; exemptions. [Effective until the date the Federal Government rescinds the requirement for the installation of automatic restraints in new private passenger motor vehicles, if that action is based upon the enactment or continued operation of certain amendatory and transitory provisions contained in chapter 480, Statutes of Nevada 1987.]

      1.  It is unlawful to drive a passenger car manufactured after:

      (a) January 1, 1968, on a highway unless it is equipped with at least two lap-type safety belt assemblies for use in the front seating positions.

      (b) January 1, 1970, on a highway unless it is equipped with a lap-type safety belt assembly for each permanent seating position for passengers. This requirement does not apply to the rear seats of vehicles operated by a police department or sheriff’s office.

      (c) January 1, 1970, unless it is equipped with at least two shoulder-harness-type safety belt assemblies for use in the front seating positions.

      2.  Any person driving, and any passenger who:

      (a) Is 6 years of age or older; or

      (b) Weighs more than 60 pounds, regardless of age,

 who rides in the front or back seat of any vehicle described in subsection 1, having an unladen weight of less than 10,000 pounds, on any highway, road or street in this State shall wear a safety belt if one is available for the seating position of the person or passenger.

      3.  A citation must be issued to any driver or to any adult passenger who fails to wear a safety belt as required by subsection 2. If the passenger is a child who:

      (a) Is 6 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, regardless of weight; or

      (b) Is less than 6 years of age but who weighs more than 60 pounds,

 a citation must be issued to the driver for failing to require that child to wear the safety belt, but if both the driver and that child are not wearing safety belts, only one citation may be issued to the driver for both violations. A citation may be issued pursuant to this subsection only if the violation is discovered when the vehicle is halted or its driver arrested for another alleged violation or offense. Any person who violates the provisions of subsection 2 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $25 or by a sentence to perform a certain number of hours of community service.

      4.  A violation of subsection 2:

      (a) Is not a moving traffic violation under NRS 483.473.

      (b) May not be considered as negligence or as causation in any civil action or as negligent or reckless driving under NRS 484B.653.

      (c) May not be considered as misuse or abuse of a product or as causation in any action brought to recover damages for injury to a person or property resulting from the manufacture, distribution, sale or use of a product.

      5.  The Department shall exempt those types of motor vehicles or seating positions from the requirements of subsection 1 when compliance would be impractical.

      6.  The provisions of subsections 2 and 3 do not apply:

      (a) To a driver or passenger who possesses a written statement by a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse certifying that the driver or passenger is unable to wear a safety belt for medical or physical reasons;

      (b) If the vehicle is not required by federal law to be equipped with safety belts;

      (c) To an employee of the United States Postal Service while delivering mail in the rural areas of this State;

      (d) If the vehicle is stopping frequently, the speed of that vehicle does not exceed 15 miles per hour between stops and the driver or passenger is frequently leaving the vehicle or delivering property from the vehicle; or

      (e) Except as otherwise provided in NRS 484D.500, to a passenger riding in a means of public transportation, including a school bus or emergency vehicle.

      7.  It is unlawful for any person to distribute, have for sale, offer for sale or sell any safety belt or shoulder harness assembly for use in a motor vehicle unless it meets current minimum standards and specifications of the United States Department of Transportation.

      (Added to NRS by 1969, 1209; A 1985, 195322941987, 11062001 Special Session, 1512003, 27450620802019, 510) — (Substituted in revision for NRS 484.641)

Back Seat Passengers

The statute is clear that you must wear your seatbelt no matter where you are located in the vehicle. Everyone sitting in the vehicle who is not a minor child is required to wear a seatbelt at all times in the state of Nevada. The law does not specifically address front seat or backseat, it is simply stating that everyone who is six years or older or weighs more than 60 pounds is required to wear a seatbelt at all times when they are in a vehicle that is moving. In fact, the driver can get a ticket for a violation of the seatbelt law if any of the passengers are not seat belted properly.

Penalties

The penalty in Nevada for not wearing a seatbelt is not extreme and unfortunately, may not be that big of a deterrent for people to follow the law. There is a fine that will be imposed of $25 for failing to wear your seatbelt. However, no points are assessed against your license that would impact insurance rates and your DMV driving record. It is basically a nonmoving violation. Considering the extraordinary importance and ability of seatbelts to save lives and prevent serious bodily harm, it is sad that our state legislature chose to only make the failure to wear a seatbelt a minor infraction that does not impact your record or does not come with any significant fine. Therefore, although it is the law to wear the seatbelt many people still choose not to follow it. At the law offices of TheOneLawyer.com we urge all our readers to always wear a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle. We have sadly witnessed the consequences of failure to wear seatbelts resulting in extraordinary bodily harm and even death.

Exemptions

There are several exemptions for people who drive for a living and make a lot of stops that do not have to wear a seatbelt based upon the requirements of their job. These exceptions include postal employees who are delivering the mail or delivery drivers that make frequent stops and do not exceed 15 miles an hour in between the stops such as newspaper delivery people etc. You can also obtain a note from a doctor, which I do not believe a doctor should issue lightly, that would exempt you from wearing a seatbelt if there were any medical reasons. Finally, people using public transportation are not required to use seatbelts and generally public transportation is not equipped with seatbelts.

Civil liability for injury

Although the statute noted above in section 4 states that non-use of a seatbelt cannot be considered as negligence or causation in any civil action, insurance companies will often try to argue that failure to wear your seatbelt caused your own injury. Do not put yourself in that situation or subject yourself to injury that did not need to happen. Always, always wear your seatbelt.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. 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.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A SOFT TISSUE INJURY

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

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

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


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

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

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

What should you do if you sustain soft tissue injury?

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

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

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

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

Recovery time

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

If you have a question regarding soft tissue injuries and/or any questions regarding any personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

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

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE AND ACCIDENT WHILE I AM ON VACATION?

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

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

DON’T LET A CAR ACCIDENT RUIN YOUR VACATION

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

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

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

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

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

TYPES OF CASES HANDLED BY HUNT LAW OFFICES

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

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

ISSUES OF VACATION ACCIDENTS

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

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

WHAT ABOUT GETTING THE CAR FIXED?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT AFTER MY ACCIDENT?

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

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

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

Article 1, Nevada Constitution –

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

A CLAIM VERSUS A LAWSUIT

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

Speaking of which, are looking for a work injury law firm in TX? If so, you might want to follow this link to an interesting resource.

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

Step 1: File a Complaint

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

Step 2: Serve the Complaint on the Defendant

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

Step 3: The Defendant Files an Answer

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

Step 4: Discovery

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

Step 5: Trial

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

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

If you or a loved one has been in an accident, the Henderson Auto Accident and Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of  Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence.  If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Henderson Auto Accident and Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of  Laura Payne Hunt, PC today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to receive. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Henderson Auto Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening her boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people.  During her time working for an insurance company, Henderson Auto Accident Attorney Laura Payne Hunt, Esq. reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERSONAL INJURY; AGGRAVATION OF PREEXISTING CONDITION

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

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

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

NEV. J.I. 10.06

BAJI 14.65

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fatal accident investigation. What really happens?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tape off the scene

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

Take Measurements of Skid Marks

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

 

Calculating drag factor

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

 

Interviewing all Witness

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

 

Testing for Impaired Drivers

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

 

Look for Mechanical Failures

 

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

 

Careful Site Inspection

 

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

 

Check for Possible Surveillance Video

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

 

Autopsy of Victims

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

 

Further review of Evidence

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

 

Criminal Charges

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Safety Features Matter


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

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

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

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

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A TOTAL LOSS VEHICLE

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

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

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

NRS 487.790  “Total loss vehicle” defined.

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

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

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

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

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

             (3) Towing the vehicle.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) A nonrepairable vehicle;

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

             (1) The hood;

            (2) The trunk lid;

             (3) A fender;

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

                   (I) Doors;

                   (II) A grill assembly;

                   (III) A bumper assembly;

                   (IV) A headlight assembly; or

                   (V) A taillight assembly; or

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

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

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

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

             (3) Towing the vehicle; or

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

             (1) Has no structural damage; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Experience – LAURA PAYNE HUNT’S EXPERIENCE and insight is the key difference in knowing how to settle, when to settle and for how much.  If you don’t know what to do next, call The Law Office of Laura Payne Hunt and let our personal injury attorney help you get the Medical Treatment and Legal Advice you need and deserve.

Accessibility – As a small practice with a consistent staff we are able to treat our clients like friends and family and be there to hear their concerns. My secretary, Peggy has been with me for many years and she is extraordinarily skilled and knowledgeable in the area of personal injury law. At the Costa Ivone, LLC offices of Laura Payne Hunt, we take great pride in providing a service that is fading in the world of big law firm‘s big advertising and nationwide organizations. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer with experience, knowledge, personal service and compassionate representation, call our office today.

Knowledge of the Law — INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NEVER ON YOUR SIDE! This personal injury lawyer knows this firsthand because he spent years working as defense counsel for one of the leading insurance companies in the nation. Laura knows what it takes to win.  She uses the insight, knowledge and expertise she acquired while helping THEM save millions to now help YOU recover the maximum personal injury compensation you deserve. Remember this, the only way of getting compensation is by working with the best personal injury attorneys.

Compassionate –according to a personal injury attorney some insurance companies are cold and corporatized and it is important to have someone who listens to you and understands the pain, inconvenience and emotional distress that you are going through. I take great pride in being available to my clients to listen to what they need and to find specific medical providers that are best for their location, as well as the injuries they have sustained. It is important that you receive the proper care and it is equally important that your property damage is addressed. Many law firms do not assist you with your property damage. However we care about our clients and we see the case through from start to finish. Every case we take will be ready for trial if necessary. Fortunately for clients, only about two percent of cases go to trial but we handle every case as if it is one of those two percent and insurance companies know that.

Community Connections –As a lifelong resident of Nevada, professional connections I have built are of great benefit to the clients we represent.  Having grown up in the state of Nevada and the city of Henderson primarily, I have made many friends and have valuable professional connections that help my clients to get the proper medical care that they need as well as to have their vehicle repaired properly with the proper warranties. It takes a village sometimes to handle these matters.   Clients need medical care, vehicle repairs, and rental cars. Having practiced and worked in this city for my entire professional career and having worked for the insurance companies, I have maintain strong professional connections that are of great benefit to the clients we represent. I have been a long time sponsor of Paseo Verde Little League teams and I enjoy being active in our community.

ABOUT LAURA

I knew I wanted to be a personal injury lawyer from the time I was seven years old. I grew up in Las Vegas and attended Tomiyasu Elementary School and Valley High School. I went to junior high school at Cannon Junior High School and was a product of 6 Grade Center being bused to a different part of town. Henderson is my home and it has been since I was five years old. I take a great deal of pride in what I do and being part of the community.

I went to UNLV undergrad and obtained a degree in Communications with an emphasis is print Journalism.  While attending UNLV I was a writer for the school paper for the entertainment section. I was also an active Disc Jockey at the school radio station KUNV,  playing my alternative favorite alternative beats. To pick up extra cash, I was also a Disc Jockey at the AM radio station where we played a variety of cultural music. Fortunately, my amateur guitar playing skills and love of Diet Coke helped keep me awake during those overnight AM radio jobs.

I went to Oklahoma City University for law school. I graduated from law school Cum Laude. While in law school, I was a member of the legal honor Society a Phi Kappa Phi as well as a participant in the moot court team.  Upon graduating from law school, I took the Nevada bar exam successfully followed by the California bar successfully. I am also admitted to practice law in the state of Texas.

I returned to Las Vegas to start my legal career and clerked for a respected District Court judge. I went on to work for a law firm that handled cases for the insurance companies for a couple of years before I became the managing attorney for a major insurance company’s in-house legal office.

During my time working as an attorney for the insurance company, I learned the ins and outs of this business first hand. I trained insurance adjusters on how to deal with attorneys and had daily interactions with claims adjusters and claims files.  I observed the nature and approach of insurance companies to accident claims and the victims involved.   This experience is invaluable in representing injured people.

I am very passionate about what I do and I take great pride in providing top legal representation for injured people. I never had a desire to be on every billboard in town and be an attorney that brings in 100 files a month.  To do that you need a lot of lawyers churning these files out to pay the massive overhead of advertising and large buildings.  Personal care and attention to clients’ needs can easily be lost in that type of environment.  I prefer to focus on the people who are my clients. I know each of my client’s case personally and I meet with every client personally. When you call my office, I will know your first name, I will know what your case is about. I will know what is going on. That is not the case with many law firms that have a high turnover rate because of low pay and often inexperienced attorneys.

The benefit of retaining a small law firm to handle your case is that you will receive personal service and you will have a relationship with your personal injury attorney. I kind of analogize this to the difference between going to a large medical center where you see someone different every time who hasn’t looked at your file and doesn’t know your name, to going to your family doctor who knows who you are remembers your conditions.  The person who is there for you to talk to about your needs. It is a choice that an injured person should make from the start of their search for a personal injury law firm.  Whether a large firm or a small firm is the right choice for you will be very important for your mental well-being during your case.  Dealing with a large firm with constant turn over can be frustrating. THE LAW OFFICE OF LAURA PAYNE HUNT is a boutique law firm providing you with personal and compassionate representation with one goal in mind, the best care and recovery for each of our clients.

With over 18 years of experience helping injured people and working for the insurance companies I have a vast amount of knowledge and insight into exactly what insurance companies are looking at when reviewing your claim. Having been a member of this community for so many years, I know many good physicians and practices that provide top medical care for injured people. Connections in the community are vital in helping clients obtain the medical care they need for their specific injuries.

AS A SHORT TRIAL JUDGE and frequent Arbitrator, my skill is just as effective in the courtroom as it is in the conference room.  I will passionately and aggressively defend your rights and recovery whether your case settles or goes to trial.

If you or a loved one is ever in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

423HURT injury attorneys 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.