Category Archives: Car Accident Injuries

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.

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.

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 personal injury attorney 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 a personal injury attorney, experience is critical.  I have over twenty years of experience in dealing with insurance companies.  I have the knowledge of the law, as you can see on this page, 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. Contant Law, P.C. describing their personal injury law firm says that 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.  Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer to 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.

holiday accidents

Holiday Accidents and Driving

Holidays in Las Vegas are some of the best times around. Holiday parties, festivals, and other activities are in full swing around the Las Vegas valley. There are so many opportunities to enjoy the atmosphere of the season. It’s a time to reconnect with family and friends, indulge in some fabulous food and drinks, or follow some holiday traditions. Whether you are going to Ethel M’s to see the Cactus Gardens, the Motor Speedway to see the Glittering Lights display, or taking in some ice skating on the Strip, you can hopefully count on having a lot of fun, but you should do so responsibly. Nothing ruins the season like a car accident.

A study done by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, spanning 1975 to 2002, found that the deadliest days for accidents are the 4th of July, December 23rd through 25th, and New Year’s Day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2010, the economic cost of accidents reached $242 billion. This number represents actual costs, like medical bills, lost work, and other tangible things. If you add in the intangible items like lost quality-of-life, the number jumps to $836 billion. That is a significant amount of economic damage to consider when we weigh our responsibility to society.

What causes holiday car accidents?

Drunk Driving

Several things can cause accidents around the holidays. The most obvious one is alcohol-related. According to the CDC, 1,025 people died in alcohol-related accidents between the years of 2002 and 2012. 1 out of every 3 deaths in traffic accidents involves a drunk driver in the US. 7.5 percent of all accidents in the month of December are caused by alcohol-impairment. In our state, a whopping 35 percent of accidents in 2016 were caused by drunk drivers, many of them with a blood alcohol level (BAC) well above the 0.08 level allowed by law. If you find yourself in this situation, you should contact a dui lawyer for legal services.

While the numbers seem to be lower in the last several years, there are still plenty of people who get behind the wheel while drunk. Approximately 1.8 percent of people self-reported driving drunk in the previous 30 days. Perhaps millions more over the course of the year will drive while impaired. The NHTSA said that in 2010, alcohol-related accidents cost over $44 billion. Just in the last week or so, DUI crashes have left a woman in the hospital and a UNLV student injured and property damaged. It’s not worth it, both in cost of life and economic damage, to be a part of these statistics.

Drowsy Driving

Another factor that might cause accidents is drowsy driving. In 2015, the NHTSA reports that 90,000 accidents were the result of drowsy driving. This number has gone up drastically in just a few years, as only 66,000 were reported in 2011. When you are out late, enjoying a holiday party or coming home from looking at the lights, even if you haven’t been drinking, you are still at risk of causing an accident. The National Sleep Foundation reported that as many as 37 percent of adult drivers have reported falling asleep while driving. If you aren’t awake to steer, you can’t control what your car does or does not hit.

We’ve talked about drowsy driving before. There are many notable accidents caused by drowsy driving in our town, including a Greyhound bus in 2001. If you are driving and drowsy, for whatever reason, make a phone call to a friend, get an uber or taxi, or pull over and sleep. All you are losing is time, and time and that’s better than the alternative.

Distracted Driving

Another possible cause of accidents during this holiday season is distracted driving. It’s tempting to take a picture of those Christmas lights with your phone or text your significant other with an ETA, but statistics show that cell phone use, and other forms of distracted driving, can be problematic. It’s currently against the law in Las Vegas to drive with a device in your hands, so put it down. If you want to take a picture, send a text, or even talk on the phone, pull over. You won’t be missing anything by doing so, and it might save you from tragedy.

Marijuana impaired driving

A new risk for Las Vegas during this holiday season is the possibility of marijuana-impairment. The research on the effects of driving under the influence of marijuana is still in the early stages, but the CDC does warn that the risks are real. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana in Nevada. While there are not currently any roadside tests for marijuana, there are several in development.

While you can control yourself and how you drive, that is not the case for other drivers on the road. Even when we aren’t thinking about it, there are always risks associated with driving. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we urge people to act responsibly while driving. If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident during this holiday season, please call our office today at 702-450-4868 and we can explain your legal rights and remedies under the law.

Photo “Car keys and a bottle of beer” by Amanda Mills acquired from Public Health Image Library, under public domain license.

Auto Accidents and Spinal Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are life changing and can lead to emotional trauma. Because these injuries are expensive, it is important to retain the services of an attorney as soon as possible. Continue reading

Dealing with Whiplash After an Accident? Help is Here

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The whiplash that you experienced as a result of a car accident can continue affecting your life for years. Personal injury and auto accident attorneys can help you get the funds needed to recover.

Get Legal Help After Developing Whiplash

Whiplash is a type of muscle strain that commonly occurs because of the way your head and neck moves after someone strikes your vehicle. Most accident survivors diagnosed with whiplash developed the condition because of the way the neck snapped violently or abruptly back and forth. An attorney can help you get compensation from the responsible driver and/or his or her attorney to pay for you medical bills.

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

Many people assume that they will notice the signs of whiplash at the scene of the accident, but it can take an entire day or more after the auto accident before you experience any symptoms. The most common symptom is neck pain that worsens when you move your neck or head. Some may also suffer from a stiff neck or find themselves dealing with frequent headaches. Other symptoms of whiplash can include pain in the shoulder or lower back, memory loss, loss of short-term memory, problems concentrating and difficulty sleeping.

The Importance of Seeking Compensation

The leading reason why you should look for an auto accident lawyer in Henderson with experience in whiplash cases is because treating the condition is so difficult. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to treating whiplash cases, and you may find that you need to take a combination of medications to reduce your pain. This can prevent you from playing with your children, going to work or doing any other activities that you enjoy. Car accident attorneys can help you get the money that you need in the months after that accident.

Recovering from an Accident

Recovering from a car accident that left you with whiplash is easier when you have the money necessary to make your mortgage payments and pay off your medical bills. Work with an attorney who can help you settle your case with an insurer or assist you in court to get the money you need.

Are You Facing Steep Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

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There is a wide range of injuries that you might sustain in an auto accident. Working with a good attorney helps you get the money you need to pay off those bills.

Take Care of Medical Bills After an Auto Accident

An auto accident can happen in a fraction of a second or a blink of an eye. Although you may notice signs and symptoms of injuries in the next few seconds and minutes, other injuries may take a few hours or longer to develop. It’s important that you know the type of injures you might sustain and what an attorney can and will do for you.

Types of Car Accident Injuries

The most common type of car accident injury is whiplash. This usually occurs when someone strikes you from behind and your head moves forward and back quickly. Whiplash can cause an intense pain that shoots through your neck and down your back, but many people suffering from whiplash experience constant pain as well. Broken bones and concussions are also common in auto accidents, and some suffer a traumatic brain injury or fall into a coma after striking their heads on the steering wheel or air bag.

Accident Attorneys Can Help

A car accident attorney in Las Vegas can get to work on your case right away, even if you need to spend a few weeks or more in the hospital. The law firm will contact any witnesses or law enforcement agents who were on the scene to gather all the necessary evidence, but they will also take care of getting in touch with the insurer of the responsible driver too. Even if you cannot afford to pay a retainer, some Vegas law firms will take your case on a contingency basis and receive payment when you get your compensation.

Consult with an Injury Attorney Today

Nevada has a statute of limitations that require you file within two years of the accident. The sooner you find a good attorney to fight for your rights, the sooner you can get the cash that you need to pay for the injuries and medical bills you have.

Common Car Accident Injuries That Should Never Be Ignored

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The surge of adrenaline that takes place during an auto accident can mask pain and injuries for hours or even days. Anyone involved in a collision should be mindful of their body and keep an eye out for these common injuries.

Car Accident Injuries That Should Never Be Ignored

Immediately following a car accident, drivers and passengers will often experience a wide range of emotions as adrenaline and endorphins surge through their body. While these natural chemicals are vital to our health, they can also mask injuries and lead to people feeling as if they are perfectly fine following a collision. When it comes to your health after an auto accident, however, it always pays to err on the side of caution.

Back and Neck Pain

The human spine is protected by multiple layers of soft tissue, but the sheer amount of force exerted in an auto accident can damage the neck, back, and shoulders. Any amount of discomfort felt in these areas after an accident requires immediate medical attention and a call to a car accident attorney Las Vegas. Even if the pain is mild, minor damage to the spine could require years of therapy and rehabilitation if not treated immediately.

Brain and Head Injuries

Head injuries should never be taken lightly, especially if direct trauma has taken place. These problems can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that require comprehensive treatment. Unfortunately, brain injuries are often difficult to notice, but there are a few signs that drivers and passengers should be aware of. This includes any cuts or bruises around the face or head, confusion, dizziness, sudden fatigue, and any problems with one’s vision.

Psychological Trauma

The psychological and emotional trauma that takes place after an auto accident should never be underestimated. These events are incredibly draining on the human psyche, and it is important to seek out help as quickly as possible if you have begun to notice issues such as trouble sleeping, irritability, chronic stress, or any other emotional distress following a recent collision.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

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Although TBI injuries can be life threatening, they are often survivable. Learn about the symptoms and causes of TBI following an auto accident.

TBI: An Auto Accident Injury

Automobile accidents are a common occurrence across the roadways of America. Most vehicle accidents do not result in death, but the injuries sustained can be life altering. One of the most severe of these accident-related injuries is traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

What is TBI?

TBI occurs when the brain is subjected to extreme external force. TBI can occur with both closed and penetrating head injuries. In closed head injuries, the skull remains intact. Penetrating head injuries, on the other hand, involve penetration into the skull and exposure of the brain. Although the initial injury may not be severe in and of itself, the cascading effects of altered cerebral blood flow and pressure changes within the skull can contribute greatly to the outcome.

The effects of TBI will vary depending on the type of injury sustained. Mild TBI can lead to headache, vomiting, difficulty sleeping and loss of consciousness from a few seconds to a few minutes. Moderate or severe TBI injuries include loss of consciousness from several minutes to more than 24 hours, seizures, drainage of clear fluids from the nose or ears and an inability to wake from sleep.

The Story of Phineas Gage

One extreme TBI case is the story of Phineas Gage, a young American railroad worker who lived during the mid to late 1800s. He sustained a severe case of TBI when a 3-foot, 7-inch iron rod 1 ¼-inches in diameter was propelled through his head following an explosion of blasting powder. The rod passed behind his left eye and exited through the top of his head. Despite this horrific injury, Gage was able to recover to the point of becoming a stagecoach driver. He died twelve years later from complications resulting from his injury. He reportedly suffered from personality changes that prevented him from resuming his original job.

What Next?

Although most TBI accidents are not as extreme as the one above, they can still have a profound impact on the life of the victim. A competent car accident lawyer in Las Vegas may be able to help victims obtain compensation for medical expenses resulting from this condition.