Category Archives: Car Accidents

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 lawyer 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 us 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 law 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 experience, knowledge, personal service and compassionate representation, call our office today

Knowledge of the Law — INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NEVER ON YOUR SIDE! ATTORNEY LAURA PAYNE HUNT knows this firsthand because she 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.

HER focus is protecting your rights so that YOUR focus can be on getting well.

 

Compassionate –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 an attorney 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 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 lawyer.  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.

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.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

If you or a loved one is trying to decide whether to hire an attorney to handle your injury claim, this blog contains some important information for you to consider.  Hiring a professional for any job will yield a better result than doing it yourself for the first time.  The benefit of having an experienced, professional, knowledgeable advocate on your side fighting for your rights cannot be understated.  When you hire an attorney to handle your personal injury claim, you receive the following immediate benefits:

1) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT

2)  BETTER MEDICAL CARE

3) A HIGHER SETTLEMENT FOR YOUR VEHICLE

4) EXPERIENCE FIGHTING INSURANCE COMPANIES 

5) REDUCED STRESS OF NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE

    INSURANCE COMPANY

EXPERIENCE

            When hiring an attorney, experience is critical.  I have over twenty years of experience in dealing with insurance companies.  I have the knowledge of the law, and personal experience in dealing with the methods used by insurance companies in handling claims.  I worked for a major insurer for nine years and trained insurance adjusters in dealing with attorneys.  This experience is critical in representing injured victims against these large corporations.

NO OUT OF POCKET COSTS

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we pay for all of the costs of your case including obtaining records, court costs and expert fees.  We make sure the other side pays the costs and the attorney’s fees.  No payments will come out of your pocket.   Personal injury matters often involve claims of disputed liability. A person is injured and an insurance company or corporation wants to claim that it is their fault. It is imperative to obtain the appropriate experts while evidence is still available. Without an attorney, you will not be able to have an expert inspect the premises or the scene of an accident in time to preserve your claims. Attorneys have resources to pay for these costs on behalf of their clients that can also often be substantial.  I have worked with many experts over the years and can retain the proper expert for your case while evidence is still available. Often times, the retention of experts early in the case can lead to a timely settlement and avoid a trial that would take place without such experts being retained.

WE HANDLE YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM

I was shocked the first time I learned that many personal injury attorneys do not assist clients with their property damage claim. I have always handled this part of a claim for clients and made sure that their cars were warranted after repairs and that they received the highest amount  possible for a total loss of their vehicle in those cases. Often times we go back-and-forth many times with the insurance company on a total loss to make sure that our client receives a fair market value of their vehicle. Many law firms will tell you that you need to handle the property damage yourself because they are not taking a percentage of that matter. I have always handled this at no cost to my clients as part of their personal injury claim.

WE ALLOW YOU TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY

Dealing with insurance companies takes a great deal of time and causes you a lot of frustration.  The insurance company is not on your side.  They will try to trick you and this is a stress you do not need to deal with when you are injured.  You do not have time to collect your medical records, police records, review documents and talk to the insurance adjuster over and over again.  Let my years of experience as an insurance defense lawyer work for you.

ATTORNEYS HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO HELP YOU

Insurance companies will use every possible argument to not pay your claim.  A strong understanding of the law and access to medical, biomechanical, police and premises experts are often necessary to prove your case.  Often there are also insurance coverage issues that require an experienced understanding of insurance law.  As an insurance defense attorney for over 10 years, I have the experience to handle any coverage issue that could arise in your case.

ATTORNEYS ARE OBJECTIVE

As an injured victim, you can be frustrated and furious with the insurance process which often moves slowly and requires a ridiculous amount of duplicitous paperwork.  An attorney can handle all of those details and remain calm and focused in order to guide you seamlessly through the process.

AN ATTORNEY WILL  ADVISE YOU THE BEST WAY TO RESOLVE YOUR CASE

With many years of experience handling these matters, I know that an adjuster will not always offer a fair settlement in a timely manner.  In fact, often times, a lawsuit is necessary to obtain a fair settlement of your claim.  At my office, we prepare every case to be ready to go to trial or arbitration or  mediation and will advise you of the best option for your case.

LAWEYERS ARE EXPERIENCED IN UNDERSTANDING HOW OTHER MATTERS CAN IMPACT YOUR CASE

Often times, other matters in your life may seem unrelated but can actually impact your injury claim.  Events like a pending bankruptcy can be substantially impacted by a personal injury action.  For example if you have filed a bankruptcy within the last few years and are currently paying on the bankruptcy plan the bankruptcy court must be notified of any substantial settlement that you receive.  In fact failure to notify the bankruptcy court can be considered a fraud upon the court and you could  be required to pay back all of your debts or turn over your settlement funds to the court. Lawyers can also advise you on how to handle matters like social media during a pending personal injury matter. Insurance companies can be ruthless in their efforts to investigate and discredit claimants.   Likewise prior criminal matters can sometimes impact your case and can be handled by an attorney to minimize or avoid impact on your personal injury case.  The same holds true for prior injury claims. Insurance companies will always want to blame any injury you have on a prior claim or a work claim. Attorneys know how to handle these matters. I have worked with many people over the years who have sustained multiple injuries and we have successfully recovered for each of their injuries

YOU WILL RECEIVE MORE MONEY WITH AN ATTORNEY

It is a known fact that the clients who have attorneys receive higher settlements than Claimants who do not.  And it is not always only about how much money is paid by the insurance company, it is often about how that money is distributed. An attorney will maximize all conflicting policies including health insurance subrogation lien’s, Medicare and medical payments coverage to make sure that the expenses are as low as possible and that the client receives the maximum settlement of the funds.  An attorney can also make sure the client receives medical care desperately needed in the event that health insurance is not available or too difficult for the client to obtain the treatment needed.

AN ATTORNEY CAN HANDLE YOUR CASE TO ITS NECESSARY CONCLUSION

Finally insurance companies always know if a claimant does not have an attorney they do not have the ability to take the matter to the final stage, which is a jury trial, if a settlement cannot be agreed-upon. Unfortunately insurance companies will take advantage of people because of this fact and never offer a reasonable settlement that a jury would award in their case because they know the claimant does not have the ability to go to a jury trial without an attorney. You should protect your rights from the beginning. I have tried dozens of cases and also see it as a trial judge on a part-time basis. I have the experience in the court room that you need to receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to receive

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

HOW DO I GET MY CAR FIXED AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

  • If you do not use your own car insurance to fix your car, you will have to wait for repairs even when its not your fault.
  • Your insurance company will get their money back from the other insurance company for the repairs to your car if the accident is not your fault.
  • Call your own insurance company after an accident.
  • The Hunt Law Offices handles your property damage claim, many personal injury law firms make you handle it yourself.

If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident, dealing with the injuries and the time off work is difficult enough. https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/car-accident-faq.php Handling the wrecked car is an additional headache you don’t need.  The NSTSB estimates that as many a 24 million vehicles are damaged in accidents a year. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812013

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we handle the property damage for you so you can focus on getting well.  When you are involved in an accident, it is bad enough to deal with the trauma and pain of the injuries associated with a motor vehicle accident. There is also the issue of having your car repaired. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC we take this issue off your plate. We handle this on your behalf. It is important to note that many personal injury law firms do not handle this part of your claim. They simply advise you to call the adjuster.

This can be a very frustrating process for injured victims who are not familiar with how insurance companies work and what responsibilities are required of them by contract.  When people are involved in motor vehicle accidents, most people do not understand that the at fault driver has no obligation to immediately jump to assist you as far as your vehicle repairs are concerned. Remember, the adverse insurance company is working for the adverse driver. They are in no hurry to get your vehicle repaired. Many people are afraid to call their own insurance company because they believe the rates will go up. This is not the case. http://www.rmiia.org/auto/steering_through_your_auto_policy/Filing_an_Auto_Claim.asp

You should always call your own insurance company and you should always have your vehicle repaired through your own insurance company. The reason this is important is because they have a fiduciary and contractual responsibility to you to get your vehicle repaired properly. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC, we work with independent body shops that are not tied to the insurance companies that offer lifetime guarantees on the vehicle repairs. Many people also think that they must use an insurance company body shop to obtain such a guarantee.  That is not true.

Again, the other insurance company is representing the other driver and is not on your side. They will even give you misleading information or even false information. At Hunt Law Offices,   we will fight the insurance companies for you from the first day to the last day of your claim. When making a property damage claim, your own insurance company has a statutory obligation to be fair to you. Laura Hunt will make sure that they are fair to you in getting your vehicle repaired. We will make sure your vehicle is repaired at an independent shop that works with all insurance companies and does not receive all of their money from one insurance company. We will also get your deductible back from the other driver quickly, usually before the repairs are completed.

Many people worry that when their insurance company pays any claim it goes on their record and they will be responsible and see a rate increase. Again, if it is not your fault, it will not affect your rates.  Your insurance company will do what is called “subrogate” the money that they paid on your behalf for vehicle repairs against the insurance company of the adverse driver. This means your insurance company will get their money back from the driver that hit you.  The insurance company of the driver that hit you will take their time and often drag their feet “investigating” the claim. They will not make a determination as to who is at fault timely. They are allowed up to 30 days to determine who is at fault. This is often ridiculous as generally it is quite obvious from the start.  This is a way many insurance companies save money and make interest on their money while they are simply not paying claims that they owe.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we will make sure that your car is not only repaired quickly but is repaired properly and that you receive your deductible back. We also work with body shops that provide you  a lifetime guarantee on the repairs of your vehicle. In addition, we will get you into a rental vehicle to make this process as easy as possible on you.

Some tips that we offer clients when receive their  vehicle back after it has been repaired:

  1. If the damage to your vehicle was anywhere near the trunk area, we advise clients  to take the vehicle to a car wash and spray the trunk down vigorously when they receive it back from the repair shop. It is important to make sure no water is leaking into the trunk. If you wait for it to rain in Las Vegas, it may be a long time and difficult to prove that the leak resulted from the repair and the accident.  
  2. If the auto accident involved any kind of damage to the door frames we advise clients to open and close all the doors many times as well as lock the doors from the inside and outside to make sure that everything is operating properly when the car is repaired.    
  3. If it was a front end collision and the vehicle is not operating properly, call the shop and our office immediately to report the problem.  Call within 5 days of picking up the car.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, our over 15 years of experience has taught us all of the tricks the insurance companies attempt to use to get out of paying legitimate claims. And having worked for a major insurance company for over nine years, I have the knowledge of how the insurance companies think and operate.  For the past 10 years, I have been helping and protecting the rights of people injured in an auto accidents and slip and fall accidents through no fault of their own. Let my many years of experience take this headache off your plate and let you focus on the important things in your life.

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident and your vehicle is damaged, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and that your vehicle is repaired.  If you have been in an accident and have questions about getting your vehicle repaired, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get their car repaired quickly.  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 Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.

CAN I SUE THE OTHER DRIVER IF THE ACCIDENT IS PART MY FAULT? COMPARATIVE FAULT IN NEVADA.

 

  • Is comparative negligence a bar to receiving damages?
  • What if I am 50% at fault in an accident?
  • Who determines which drivers are at fault and how much?
  • How is fault determined?

 

Nevada follows a comparative fault system of negligence. Comparative negligence is not always a bar to recovering damages.  However, if you are found to be 50% at fault or more in Nevada, you cannot recover any damages. In Nevada if the injured person’s negligence is more than all of the defendants negligence combined or a single defendant, the injured person cannot recover. However, if the injured person’s negligence is less than 50% of the cause of the injury, they can recover their damages on a prorated basis. I will proceed to explain this in detail. This is known as comparative negligence in Nevada this is codified at NRS 41.141, stated as follows:

NRS 41.141  When comparative negligence not bar to recovery; jury instructions; liability of multiple defendants.

1.  In any action to recover damages for death or injury to persons or for injury to property in which comparative negligence is asserted as a defense, the comparative negligence of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s decedent does not bar a recovery if that negligence was not greater than the negligence or gross negligence of the parties to the action against whom recovery is sought.

2.  In those cases, the judge shall instruct the jury that:

(a) The plaintiff may not recover if the plaintiff’s comparative negligence or that of the plaintiff’s decedent is greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of multiple defendants.

(b) If the jury determines the plaintiff is entitled to recover, it shall return:

(1) By general verdict the total amount of damages the plaintiff would be entitled to recover without regard to the plaintiff’s comparative negligence; and

(2) A special verdict indicating the percentage of negligence attributable to each party in the action.

3.  If a defendant in such an action settles with the plaintiff before the entry of judgment, the comparative negligence of that defendant and the amount of the settlement must not thereafter be admitted into evidence nor considered by the jury. The judge shall deduct the amount of the settlement from the net sum otherwise recoverable by the plaintiff pursuant to the general and special verdicts.

4.  Where recovery is allowed against more than one defendant in such an action, except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, each defendant is severally liable to the plaintiff only for that portion of the judgment which represents the percentage of negligence attributable to that defendant.

5.  This section does not affect the joint and several liability, if any, of the defendants in an action based upon:

(a) Strict liability;

(b) An intentional tort;

(c) The emission, disposal or spillage of a toxic or hazardous substance;

(d) The concerted acts of the defendants; or

(e) An injury to any person or property resulting from a product which is manufactured, distributed, sold or used in this State.

6.  As used in this section:

(a) “Concerted acts of the defendants” does not include negligent acts committed by providers of health care while working together to provide treatment to a patient.

(b) “Provider of health care” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 629.031.

(Added to NRS by 1973, 1722; A 1979, 1356; 1987, 1697; 1989, 72)

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-041.html#NRS041Sec141

In any lawsuit against a defendant for damages for death or injury to a person or injury to property, where two or more persons can be at fault,  doctrine of comparative negligence is invoked. Comparative negligence means the negligence of a plaintiff in his own injury. In Nevada, if a plaintiff’s  negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant, the plaintiff can still recover his damages. The court will reduce his damages by his percentage of negligence. A simpler way to understand this is by example.

Example:

Plaintiff and defendant are both driving eastbound on a roadway and defendant is substantially exceeding the speed limit.   Plaintiff then changes lanes in front defendant and the defendant then strikes the plaintiff’s vehicle. Both parties will likely have some fault for the accident. The plaintiff will have fault for an improper lane change and defendant will have fault for speeding. It is for a factfinder to determine the percentage of each parties fault. If it is found the defendant is 51% at fault for grossly exceeding the speed limit, and plaintive is then 49% at fault for improperly changing lanes, the plaintiff can recover 51% of his damages against the defendant However, if the jury were to find plaintiff to be 51% at fault for causing the accident, he would not recover because his own would be greater than the fault of the defendant.

Comparative fault of the respective parties is a factual decision to be determined by all of the evidence collected and preserved.  Nevada revised statute, NRS 41.141, as stated above, gives a jury guidance for determining the fault of the parties by stating that “the plaintiff may not recover if the plaintiffs comparative negligence or that of the plaintiffs decedent is greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of multiple defendants.“ Therefore,  it is always a determination of fact who is more at fault. The only way to make a factual determination is by collecting and preserving evidence and this process should begin as soon as possible. If you have been in an accident, seeking legal counsel early can make the difference as to whether or not you will be able to prove your case. The evidence must  be obtained and preserved to assist in proving what happened in the accident. Evidence like skid marks, Gouge marks in the pavement, data recorders, and police diagrams can often assist in establishing the fault of the parties. For this reason, it is critical to obtain legal counsel early and preserve relevant evidence. If you are involved in an accident, always take as many photos as you can at the scene. This is the easiest way to preserve evidence. Take photos of any marks on the pavement, the location of the vehicles following the accident and take photos of the damage to the cars. Remember that it is always a question of fact when both parties have some fault and it is impossible to make that determination without solid evidence.

https://www.nvbar.org/nvlawmag-archive-957232/NevLawyer_Feb_2010_Comparative_Neg_0.pdf

Many states have different laws regarding comparative fault of the parties. NRS 41.141 applies to all accidents which happen in any county in Nevada including Henderson and Las Vegas. If you have been involved in an auto accident in Henderson or in Las Vegas the comparative law stated above will govern.  The basic premise is that people should pay their share of damages for which they are responsible for and not more. It would be inherently unfair to make a defendant pay 100% of a plaintiff’s damages if the plaintiff was 30% at fault for causing the accident. For this reason, Nevada adopted a rule of law to be fair to plaintiffs and defendants who are involved in accidents or who are negligent causes of injuries to third parties.  

Some states have different variants of comparative fault so if you are involved in an accident in another state, it is important for you to understand the law in that state. Some states follow a strict or pure comparative negligence statute where if a plaintiff is 90% at fault for his injuries, the defendant would pay his 10% share. Nevada does not follow the strict or pure comparative negligence standard.  If a plaintiff was 90% at fault for causing his injuries in the state of Nevada, he or she would take nothing by way of their complaint.

https://www.justia.com/injury/negligence-theory/comparative-contributory-negligence/

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

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

 

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

Laura Hunt Attorney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision, contact our offices today.  By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

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

WHAT IF I AM INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT WHEN I AM OUT OF TOWN?

 

  • If you are injured while out of town, always provide your health insurance information to the hospital and all medical providers
  • If you do not have health insurance, seek medical care appropriate for your level of injury.  If your injuries are not critical, seek medical attention at the closest quick care facility.
  • When you receive the paperwork from your health insurance company following the accident, consult the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC to for assistance filing out the forms.
  • Continue with your medical car when you return home.

 

Laura Hunt AttorneyVacation season is approaching and families will be hitting the road to visit distant relatives and friends.  If you are injured in a car accident when you are traveling, there are certain things you should know. Most people are of the opinion that when they are injured in an auto accident the insurance company for the at fault driver will immediately and timely pay all of their medical bills for whatever treatment they need. This is 100% false. It is extremely important that you protect yourself because there will be a substantial delay in any funds that you receive from the at fault driver following a car accident. If you are injured when you are out of town, if you are fortunate to have health insurance you should absolutely provide that information to the hospital, ambulance company and anywhere that you receive treatment while you are out of town.

There are several reasons for this. First, your health insurance will timely pay these bills and, if the at fault driver has insurance coverage they will be responsible to pay your health insurance company back. The second reason is that if the adverse party does not have insurance coverage or does not have enough insurance coverage, you will not be responsible to pay back your health insurance company for these bills. In addition, your health insurance company has substantial negotiated discounts with most of the providers that you will not receive if they are paid by the third-party or if you have to pay them out-of-pocket because they were not timely submitted to your health insurance company.

If you, unfortunately, do not have health insurance and you are injured while you’re out of town it is important to seek the appropriate medical care consistent with the injuries that you received. If your injuries are not life-threatening or critical, it may be in your best interest to go to a quick care facility close to the location of the accident. The reason for this is that the hospital bill could be substantial and could even be more than the available automobile insurance coverage available from the adverse driver. In past blogs I outlined that states have different minimum requirements for insurance coverage, but many states have only a $15,000 required amount of coverage per driver, some states have only a $10,000 required minimum per driver. Therefore it is important that you make good decisions when obtaining medical care so that these bills can be paid. In addition, you will not know at the time of the accident if the adverse driver even has coverage that is in force and effect at the time of the accident, and it is possible that you could be stuck with your medical bills if the other driver does not have coverage and you do not have UIM coverage.

It would be nice if the world was perfect and every person who was at fault for causing injury had enough money to cover the injury or enough insurance to cover the injury and timely paid bills that were incurred. Unfortunately, this is not the world that we live in and it is important that you protect you and your family following an accident.

If you have health insurance and you submitted your health insurance information to the providers that you saw while out of town, it is likely that you will receive paperwork in the mail called subrogation paperwork from your health insurance company. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, PC we have been helping injured drivers in car accidents who are residents of Henderson and Las Vegas for over 10 years. We are happy to go over these documents with you and fill them out as part of our representation. It is important that the subrogation forms are timely and accurately returned to your health insurance company to make sure that your bills get paid timely and that the appropriate discounts are made.

It is important to take the right steps following a collision out of town to get the medical care that you and your family need without adversely affecting your financial condition.  If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident while you’re out of town feel free to call the Law offices of Laura Hunt, PC.. We are available 24/7 via phone and text message at 702-600-0032 to answer questions that you have at the time of your accident. We have been helping people injured in car accidents for the last decade and recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

If you are involved in an accident while out of town, contact our offices today.  By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims.  Having worked for the insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the  coverages available to maximize the money you receive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are involved in an accident while in a rental car, contact our offices today. By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your damages. At my office, we are experienced to handle all types of automobile injury claims and property damage claims. Having worked for the insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims. With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available to maximize the money you receive.

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