Car Accident Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada
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No gimmick, special low 25% discount contingency fee on car accidents with favorable police reports.Find Out More
settlement in a car / car collision on behalf of a single client.
in a single case on behalf of a woman severly brain damaged in a collision.
for a serious neck injury where the insurance company was trying to settle for under 100K.
This can be a challenging time. It is important to find a lawyer you feel comfortable with and can trust. Find out more about various aspects to a motor vehicile injury case including maximize your claim, insurance types and impacts, the law, social media and more.
To maximize your recovery keep these 5 things in mind:
If you are not at fault and think you are hurt and have the choice of having the police investigate the collision or not, it is always better to have the police investigate. Some people who hit your car are dishonest and will deny fault if they have plenty of time to think things over, even if they tell you there is no need to call the police because they say they admit fault.
Most people carry cell phones that can record video. At the very least, if you are in a motor vehicle collision and the other party says, "don't call the police, I admit I am at fault," get them to say that while you record their statement on your phone. Again, it is the better practice to have the police come, but if its 115 degrees in the shade and Metro is going to take an hour to arrive and it doesn't look like anybody needs an ambulance and you decide not to wait for the police, make the driver who admits fault do so on a recorded statement on your phone.
Ambulance charges are often about $1,000. The ambulance companies typically don't give a discount to either you or your health insurance company. If your health insurance company pays your ambulance bill they will have to be paid back out of the settlement. If you don't have health insurance, the ambulance company will have to be paid back out of your settlement. Obviously if you have broken bones or big cuts you may need an ambulance. But if you could have gotten to the hospital just as well by having someone drive you, or driving yourself, the ambulance bill won't really add value to your case.
Occasionally, clients don't mention they are seeking treatment for pain from a car collision because they are afraid their insurance won't cover a car accident or the doctor won't provide treatment if there could be litigation involved. Health insurance companies generally have to cover you for car accidents, except that some health insurance policies exclude injuries in the course of your work. It is true some doctors don't want anything to do with treating someone who make may a claim and file a lawsuit. However, if you fail to mention the incident or collision which caused the injury or pain, your case will be terribly weakened.
If you have been involved in a car accident it is important to talk to an experienced attorney as as soon as possible. Here's how they can help you:
Reed & Mansfield Case Example: One of our firm's lawyers helped settle a case involving a serious neck injury for $275,000. Before this client got a lawyer, the insurance company tried to convince him to settle for well under a $100,000. The attorney was also able to negotiate down this client's medical bills and health insurance reimbursement by tens of thousands of dollars.
Fault determinations are made either in negotiations or by a judge or jury or arbitrator. If one party has violated a statute relevant to the collision, for example, failure to yield, speeding, etc., a conviction for violating the statute—for example, paying the failure to yield ticket—can be used as evidence in any civil case. If the person who got a citation succeeds in having the citation dismissed, the citation will not be automatic evidence of negligence, but the other side can still argue the issue.
We often get questions about specific fact situations. Suppose a car traveling 75 mph on a rural highway rear ends a car traveling 35 mph in the fast lane of the highway. How is fault determined? Ultimately it comes down to what a judge, jury or arbitrator would think a reasonably prudent person would do. Taking into account:
A fact finder could assign a lot of blame to the slower moving car or none at all. Once all the facts of this collision are known, it might be that most lawyers and insurance adjustors would roughly agree on how fault should be assigned. But even if this were the case no one could know for sure how any particular judge or jury or arbitrator would decide the case.
Usually the passenger of a motor vehicle is not at fault for any collision. Therefore, the passenger can collect for injuries regardless of which driver was at fault provided there is insurance.
View more information on various types of Insurance policies & their impact in motor vehicle injury cases.
This award is usually based on the actual bill, provided that the medical services were reasonable and necessary and caused by the action sued upon. The fact that the plaintiff (person suing for injury) may have medical insurance is usually irrelevant both as to the fact that the bills have been paid and as to the fact that the insurance company was able to pay the bills at a discount. This legal result is the "collateral source rule" and is based on the idea that the wrong-doer should not be allowed to benefit by the fact that the Plaintiff is paying for insurance to either pay or negotiate his bills. This award will cover past medical bills and a provision for future medical bills if future medical care is more likely than not to be necessary because of the collision. An award for medical expense is not taxable income.
In practice mainly cases on settled on the assumption that medical bills will be paid at a discount.
This is very subjective. This award can include both past and future pain and suffering. The type of medical care and billings enter into this. For example, a $20,000 hospital bill for care that involves broken ribs and stitches is much more impressive than a $20,000 hospital bill for a bunch of diagnostic tests that came out negative for injury. An award for pain and suffering is not taxable income.
This can be simple and also complex to calculate depending on whether someone is a wage earner and misses a specific number of days or is on sick-leave and still able to collect for misssed work vs. soomeone who may have already been off of work due to other non-related issues or is self-employed. In all cases the insurance company paying the damages will try to prevent payment to claimants who illegally don't pay taxes. The insurance company will demand copies of filed tax returns or an authorization to obtain filed tax returns. If the plaintiff hasn't been paying taxes the plaintiff has to admit the felony of income tax evasion or abandon the wage loss claim. An award for lost wages or income is taxable income.
The injured person may in some cases be able to claim that they have been disabled from further work or from future work for a certain period of time. An award for future lost wages or income is taxable income.
In some cases family members can make a claim for injury to one of their relatives. If a wage earner has been killed the spouse or children may sue for loss of support. In the case of serious injury a spouse may sue for "loss of consortium" which can cover both loss of sexual relations and compensation for other disruption to the marriage. A spouse or parent may sue for lost income from necessarily missing work to care for the injured person. An award for loss of consortium is not taxable income.
Please Note: In all of these cases, if there is a substantial claim for future damages (lost income, pain and suffering, medical care) it may be necessary for your attorney to hire an economist to testify to the present value of these future claims.
When you are required to immediately notify the police, I don't know if the legislature had in mind a 911 call, but I would recommend it just to make a record to protect yourself. Or, perhaps, better, you can call 311 which is a non-emergency line that is usually answered promptly. It doesn't matter if the only property damage is your own car, or if the property damage is slight.
Over the years we have had many clients who have been involved in a fender bender and then both drivers agree to exchange information and not wait for the police to investigate. In these days of cell phones we believe you are technically violating the law if you don't at least call 911 or 311, explain the situation, and ask if you should wait for an investigating officer. While the police may agree that in a no-injury or minor injury situation it is not necessary to send an officer to investigate, if you are in the right, you may compromise your legal situation by missing the chance to have an independent person investigate the accident and assign fault. The other driver who verbally apologizes or admits fault may well deny being at fault later on. Usually if there is an accident on public roads, even without injury, the police will eventually come and investigate if requested. I would play it safe and phone in any traffic accident rather than end up like the professor I talked about above. (As discussed above with the example of the Las Vegas Metro Police, some police agencies won't go the scene to investigate "minor" collisions but other Nevada police agencies will.)
When the police investigate a collision, they usually give the drivers involved a print-out about 3 or 4 inches wide that identifies each driver and his or her insurance company. This is not the police report. Later the investigating officer will write up an actual report analyzing the collision. This report will be several normal size pages.
The different police jurisdictions in the Las Vegas area have different policies on giving out police report. For example, the City of Henderson Police and Nevada Highway Patrol take the view that police reports are public documents available to anyone. The City of Henderson may even send out a report by e-mail for free. Most police agencies charge a fee of several dollars for a copy. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department demands a notarized authorization from a client to get a report, or else the person named in the report must go in person to get a copy.
In a collision involving two or more vehicles, when the Police write up the collision report, one driver always has to be labeled "Driver 1." By convention, "Driver 1" is the driver the police investigator thinks was at fault, unless it is a no witness situation where each of two driver, for example, claims the green light.
A police report is not a conclusive determination of fault. However, the police are presumed to be a neutral third party and usually an unfavorable police report will cause the adverse insurance company to refuse to make any payment, forcing the case to trial.
Naturally, in a big enough case, it may be worthwhile to challenge police conclusions with expert and other witness testimony. However, without very serious injuries it is usually not worthwhile to finance that kind of effort. The passenger in either car is never at fault (unless the passenger was interfering with the driver) so the passenger can always claim against one or both drivers.
If both drivers are at fault or if it simply cannot be determined who was at fault, a jury might decide to blame each driver for 50% of the fault. In that case, each injured driver would be awarded 50% of his or her damages. In a case with broken bones, where the pain and suffering award could be large compared to the medical bills, even an award of 50% of the damages could be valuable--keeping in mind the need to pay medical bills--out of the settlement. In a soft tissue injury case where the pain and suffering award is not usually large compared to the medical bills, an award of 50% of the damages might be insufficient to provide much compensation after repayment of medical liens. Also, if both drivers are at fault, if the jury finds one driver more than 50% at fault, even by a small amount, then that driver will get nothing.
"Moving violations" are violations of the law that contributed to the cause of the collision such as speeding, failure to yield the right of way, etc. "Non-moving violations" are things such as expired car registration, no proof of insurance, etc. As a general rule, in Nevada, non-moving violations don't effect who is at fault for the collision.
Police generally won't respond to a car collision on private property such as a parking lot unless there is major injury or a claim of intentional assault or drunk driving. If there is a taxi cab involved, the taxi cab authority may send out an investigator.
In the Spring of 2014, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department changed its practice of investigating all collisions on public road and now generally will only send an office to investigate if there is a claim of an injury or if one driver claims the other won't cooperate in showing ID and insurance information. It is generally in your interest, if you believe you are not at fault, to have the police investigate a collision you are in. The reason I say this is because most people aren't comfortable lying. If a driver knows he or she is at fault and 30 minutes after the collision an authority figure is asking them what happened, most people will tell the truth unless they are hiding something serious like drunk driving or driving a stolen car. But, if these same people, leave the collision scene, talk to their friends, and then two weeks later are asked about the collision I think they are more likely to lie.
Nevada Police generally assume that a vehicle which enters an intersection on a yellow light has the right of way in the intersection until it clears the intersection--even if it entered with insufficient time to clear the intersection before the light turns red. This is based on N.R.S.484B.250(1) which says the driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield to one already in the intersection and upon N.R.S.484B.253 which states that a driver turning left at an intersection, if the driver waited until it was safe to make his turn, now has the right of way with respect to other vehicles approaching the intersection. So, if the traffic light facing you turns green as you approach an intersection and you hit the gas and head into the intersection, you may be at fault if you collide with a car already in the intersection.
Note: you may have to pay the opposing party's attorneys fees and costs in the event of a loss. This is why it is important to have competent legal representation, and to always cooperate with your lawyer. We do not take cases on contingency fees unless we believe the case is worth money to us and our client.
Before social media and texting, Plaintiffs did not create written records about their thoughts on a car accident or other event sued upon and upon their physical condition. Now, it is common for a person who goes on a vacation to post a picture on Facebook or other media showing them snowboarding down a mountain, climbing to the summit of peak etc. Generally, once suit is filed each side can discover written documents or evidence from the other side. So, routinely, if a Plaintiff claims, say serious back injury from a car collision, the defense, after suit is filed, will demand to see all posts by the Plaintiff on Facebook in anyway describing that person's activities since the accident, ditto for texts and tweets, etc. If the Plaintiff does not respond honestly, the defense may hire a hacker to hack into the person's account. (That is technically illegal, but some courts don't get upset with that behavior if it proves the Plaintiff lied when asked to produce, say, their Facebook posts.)
SO WHEN YOU HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM IMAGINE THAT EVERYTHING YOU SEND OUT TO THE CLOUD WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE DEFENSE AT YOUR TRIAL IF YOUR CASE GOES TO TRIAL. YES, MAYBE, YOUR BACK REALLY HURT WHEN YOU TOOK THAT SKI TRIP, BUT IF THE FACEBOOK POST SHOWS YOU SMILING ON SKIIS, THE DEFENSE WILL TRY AND SEE IF THEY CAN GET JURORS TO BELIEVE YOU ARE FAKING OR EXAGGERATING YOUR CLAIM.
NOTE: If your lawyer directs you to keep a diary and you do not share it with anyone but your lawyer, the diary will be protected attorney-client work product and won't have to be given to the defense if suit is filed. Social media posts are not restricted to client and lawyer.
Car drivers may be texting. If you are hurt in a car accident and we can't get you a good settlement offer fairly soon we can file suit and get the cell phone records or computer usage records from the phone. Sometimes this can produce embarrassing information that makes the insurance company eager to settle the claim. Likewise, if you cause an accident while texting and driving this could possibly lead to a criminal conviction.