Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Vehicle Damage Rating in a Police Report
Unfortunately, car accidents happen each and every day, whether it is on the road or in a parking lot, parking garage, or even a driveway. When a car accident does happen, people generally call the police…Read more
Unfortunately, car accidents happen each and every day, whether it is on the road or in a parking lot, parking garage, or even a driveway. When a car accident does happen, people generally call the police to come out and file a police report. Police reports are documents that are used during the insurance claim process after a car accident has happened. These police reports include basic information about the car accident including the location, the date and time, who was involved, and any other information that is important.
Vehicle Damage Rating
When a police officer is filing a police report, they will assess the damage done to the vehicles in the accident and include it in the police report. The police officer will assign a vehicle damage rating based on their findings, although not every police report will include this information. There are three different values that go into determining the vehicle damage rating.
- Direction of force: Represents the direction in which the vehicle was struck. Typically, this is a number that can be found on a clock. A vehicle that is struck directly from behind should receive a 6, a vehicle that is struck from the side should receive a 3, and the vehicle that is directly struck from the front should receive a 12.
- Damage description: Typically a series of letters that describe the location of the damage to the vehicle or the type of collision. For example, a vehicle that suffers a head-on collision will receive the letter F, and a vehicle that suffers a rear-end collision will receive the letter R.
- Severity of damage: This represents how much damage a vehicle has endured. Typically, the number scale is between one and six. The more damage a vehicle has endured, the higher the number will be.
Four Car Damage Categories
When the insurance company is looking into the accident, an inspector will evaluate the damage done to both vehicles. Typically, the inspector will classify the vehicle damage into one of four categories. The four different categories are:
- N: The at-fault party’s insurance company wants to see the vehicle labeled in the N category. This consists of minor vehicle damage, such as a broken tail light. Typically, the car does not have any substantial damage, like a ruined body or frame. The owner of the vehicle should still be able to drive the vehicle safely. However, if there are minor damages like a broken tail light, the owner should get it fixed before driving on public roads.
- S: In category S, the vehicle has sustained major damage, although it can be repaired. The vehicle could have a ruined body or frame, but can be salvaged by a professional. The owner of the vehicle is not allowed to drive the vehicle until a licensed mechanic has repaired the vehicle.
- B: In category B, the vehicle cannot be driven again due to the amount of damage. Now, the vehicle is only good for selling the parts. If your vehicle has been categorized in category B, your insurance company will not allow you to remove the parts, and a salvage yard will get rid of the pieces.
- A: In category A, the vehicle has been completely ruined because of the wreck and no one can remove or sell any parts of the vehicle.
How Does a Police Report Affect Your Claim?
The insurance company will conduct investigations when notified of the car accident and will want to see the police report. The claims adjuster does not have to accept any information within the police report. They can come out to inspect your vehicle themselves and determine the category themselves. The claims adjuster may think that the vehicle is more damaged than the police officer, or vice versa. Overall, the police report is a good place to start with receiving compensation for your vehicle.
If you go to court due to a car accident, a police report can be very critical with strong evidence of the car accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it is important that you protect your rights to compensation. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have had years of experience dealing with motor vehicle accident cases. If you are dealing with a motor vehicle accident case, reach out to us for help and a strong defense to ensure compensation.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Accidents Caused By Bad Roads
The majority of motor vehicle accidents are the result of poor decision making on one or both drivers’ sides, such as failing to yield/right of way, speeding and reckless or distracted driving. In some circumstances,…Read more
The majority of motor vehicle accidents are the result of poor decision making on one or both drivers’ sides, such as failing to yield/right of way, speeding and reckless or distracted driving. In some circumstances, accidents are caused at no fault of the drivers or pedestrians, but rather poor road conditions and obstacles caused by bad quality roads. This may lead to accidents resulting in injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Rather than placing the blame and liability on those in charge of road upkeep and local government, insurance companies tend to try to place blame on the driver.
Bad Quality Roads and Poor Road Conditions
According to The American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), Nevada’s roads were given a C rating on their infrastructure report, last updated in 2018. The report states that 90% of the state is considered rural, as well as that 80% of the land area is owned by the federal government. In Nevada, there are nearly 100,000 lane miles NDOT, with an overall average road condition of “fair” grade. The report addresses the ongoing initiatives and effort to improve Nevada’s infrastructure. In fact, the authorization of Fuel Revenue Indexing in Clark County, scheduled to continue for the next 5 years and goes through 2026, has allowed Nevada to address overdue needs for poor quality roads and bridges projects.
Accidents Caused by Bad Quality Roads
Poor quality roads and unpleasant conditions may lead to more than just a bumpy car ride. Potholes, uneven surfaces, cracks in concrete, exposed rebar and other unsafe road conditions may result in extra dangerous roads or driving conditions, and may ultimately result in additional accidents. Dangerous road conditions may result in flat or bursted tires, causing a vehicle to veer or swerve unexpectedly into another lane, or even worse, colliding with other vehicles on the road or highway. It may not seem all that dangerous, but uneven roads could result in a driver, or multiple drivers, losing control of their vehicle and leading to a motor vehicle accident in which any drivers, pedestrians or passengers involved could suffer from life-altering injuries.
Unsafe road conditions and damaged roads may lead to serious injuries or fatalities, such as:
- Brain injuries or head trauma
- Neck or back injuries
- Broken bones or spinal injuries
- Internal injuries and bleeding
Not only will serious injuries caused by bad roads result in an unexpected trip to the hospital or emergency room, but it often can result in surgery, medical treatment and an extended hospital stay, all reeking havoc on your financial stability.
Other less life-altering accidents may result in more minor injuries, such as:
- Neck or back pain
- Headaches or a concussion
- Tingling and loss of feeling in the extremities
- Whiplash and spinal injuries resulting in lack of some mobility
Claims and Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by Bad Roads
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident resulting from poor quality or dangerous road conditions, you may consider contacting the police after your accident. The officer responding to your call may complete an incident report regarding the factors in the accident and those involved. It is wise to bring the poor road conditions to their attention, if it was indeed something factoring in the accident, as they will want to take note of the problem and include it in their incident report. Also, take a video or photo of the poor conditions. These little details that may seem minor at the time of the accident may also help you later as you file a claim or desire to receive compensation.
Following a motor vehicle accident, any injured drivers or passengers may file a legal claim against those liable and responsible for condition causing, or factoring into, the car accident. There may be additional requirements for a claim against the government, as they may require more details or proof to claim damages. Timeframes for claims may differ depending on the severity of the injury or damage caused by an accident from poor road conditions.
Car accidents can be scary. We don’t want you to feel like you have to go through these trying times alone. Partnering with a personal injury professional will allow you to better understand what is needed for your claim and they can help you walk through the process, so you can meet the requirements and timeline for submitting documentation for potential compensation. If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, especially where bad road conditions and unsafe roads are a factor, we’re here for you.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Your Car is Totaled, But You Still Owe Money
When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, you may be injured and are dealing with property damage. To worsen the impact of your accident, a new or leased car may result in additional expenses and…Read more
When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, you may be injured and are dealing with property damage. To worsen the impact of your accident, a new or leased car may result in additional expenses and paying the remaining balance on your car loan, even if it is totaled during the accident.
What is a Totaled Car?
The term “totaled” regarding motor vehicle accidents may differ in states depending on the specific damage threshold. In Nevada, a totaled vehicle is defined by damage exceeding 65% of the car’s fair market value.1 In a motor vehicle accident resulting in a totaled car, the cost of the repair is 65% or more of the actual value of your car. If the number is less than 65% of the actual value of your vehicle, before the accident, you’ll be offered a vehicle repair. If the number is equal to or greater than 65% of the actual value of your vehicle, your car will be declared “a total loss” or totaled. The value of your car is calculated by looking at the value of your car right before the accident, not what was paid, the car loan amount or cost of a replacement. Don’t stress thinking this calculation is your responsibility, this will be determined by your insurance company. A roll-over accident might incur this type of damages.
What Will My Insurance Company Do?
In the instance of a total loss, your insurance company will offer you a settlement check, but whether the amount is fair or not is a different issue at hand. A personal injury lawyer can be your go-to partner in moments that are uncertain or confusing when dealing with your insurance company.
With Nevada’s minimum required insurance coverage for drivers, your coverage may only cover the damage that you cause to others’ vehicles or people. If you are liable and at fault in a motor vehicle accident, the required insurance coverage doesn’t include payment for you and your injuries. If you have a more robust insurance coverage plan, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance company should pay for any damages up to your policy limit, but you may have a deductible you must pay and meet prior to receiving the compensation you deserve from your insurance company.
What if it is a Leased Car or Purchased with Financing?
Unfortunately, if your leased car or car purchased with a car loan and financing plan, you are still responsible for paying off the remaining balance you owe on the vehicle.
When Should I File A Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one were involved in a motor vehicle accident in which the other driver was clearly at fault, you may receive a phone call or correspondence from the driver’s insurance company. Here, they may ask to hear your side of the story and what was the cause of the accident, how you are feeling and other information relevant to the accident. It is important to know that you are under no obligation to provide a detailed or official statement. Insurance companies take into account what is best for them and the premiums paid by a client involved in a car accident, so they can be tricky and look for excuses to compensate you early, paying less than what you may be able to receive for your claim. Fast resolutions can be enticing, but not if it’s far less than you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage – they can be dangerous.
Is What the Insurance Company is Offering a Fair Settlement?
It’s important to determine if your insurance company is giving you a fair and reasonable amount of compensation for your totaled vehicle. Online search tools are a way to roughly estimate the value of your vehicle prior to the accident, including vehicle modifications and upgrades, but it is always safer to have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer on your side during these uncertain and life-altering times. An online calculation tool may be a good place to start and helpful in solely working with your insurance company, but a skilled lawyer will be your key partner in facing any lawsuit or the courts.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, we’re here for you. Not only are they worrisome and daunting to face alone, but when property damages and totaled vehicles play a role in the scenario, it can be a sticky situation to try to navigate alone. We always recommend finding a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies every day, as they can be very helpful in determining if the compensation they are offering is worthwhile for you. You should never feel like you have to go through it alone. Turn to our team of experienced lawyers and we will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.
1 N.R.S. § 487.790(1)(b) – NRS 487.790 ”Total loss vehicle” defined. (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-487.html)
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Auto Accidents on Private Property
Any car accident may leave a driver or passenger anxious and unsure of how to handle injuries or property damage, but if an auto accident occurs on one’s private property, it may be even more…Read more
Any car accident may leave a driver or passenger anxious and unsure of how to handle injuries or property damage, but if an auto accident occurs on one’s private property, it may be even more difficult to determine damages and who is liable in the claim. This may pose an additional stress factor as claims regarding accidents that happen on roads and highways have a more straightforward process.
Whether you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident, there are many considerations to be taken, especially when it occurs on private property. Finding a trusted lawyer and understanding how liability works will lead to more success in recovering losses.
There are several ways auto accidents occur on private property, including:
- Careless Driving – If you drive without taking necessary precautions, such as checking your mirrors or surroundings before switching lanes, swerving or changing lanes without properly using turn indicators in your vehicle, you may play a role in accidents due to your careless actions while operating your vehicle.
- Distracted Driving – A common factor in many auto accidents is being distracted. Whether you are texting, reading emails, eating, or messing with your radio/GPS system, when you take your attention from the road, you may easily find yourself involved in a collision.
- Driving Under the Influence/Impaired Driving – Although this is a very avoidable instance, many drivers still operate their car under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, resulting in life threatening accidents and injuring to all involved.
- Tailgating and Lack of Signage – Whether you’re running late and following the driver in front of you right on their tail, or assuming signage is appropriately labeled in a parking lot, accidents happen. Stop signs or right-of-way signage may not be properly identified in a lot and tailgating on top of that may lead to unexpected rear-end or t-bone collisions.
- Uneven and Unsafe Surfaces – Asphalt and lot conditions are not always maintained and kept safe. Potholes, ditches and other obstructions may result in auto accidents on private properties.
No matter when or where you’re driving, you should always practice safe and alert driving skills, ensuring you are aware of your surroundings and other drivers on property to avoid auto accidents.
When Should You Call the Police?
If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident on a public property or road, you should call the police or first responders first, to ensure everyone is safe and injuries are minor. An accident report is always needed and the report will be vital in treatment for your injuries and your claim if another driver is at fault and liable. Realistically, the police report for your auto accident may be the deciding factor or proof needed for you to be fully compensated for your injuries sustained in the auto accident or being stuck paying your own extensive medical bills.
When you or a loved one is in a wreck on private property, police do not have the jurisdiction to complete a police report, as the location is not a public roadway or transportation route. In this situation, you could get an incident report for the auto accident, but oftentimes these reports are fulfilled by security guards, gate guards or other employees working on-property. An incident report is a simple, less extensive version of a police report. It is always better to get something in writing following the accident than nothing, as it may help you in proving the fault of the accident and injuries.
Who is Responsible for Auto Accidents on Private Property?
This is a major differentiating factor between accidents on public property versus private property. If involved in an auto accident on a public road or property, the owner of said public property (the state) typically isn’t liable at all, even if highway and road conditions played a role in or caused the accident. On the other hand, if an accident occurs on private property, the property owner may be held partially responsible or included as a party involved. If blind spots, narrow parking spaces or corners play a factor in your private property accident, some liability may fall to the owner of the parking lot, business complex or garage management.
This is very often why property owners tend to get involved in disputes between the parties involved in the accident. Property owners may feel obligated to help or more willing to assist if they know and understand that they may be partially responsible and liable for the accident and they may have access to security footage or other details playing a factor in your claim.
What Should You Do After an Accident on Private Property?
This can often be difficult to navigate and decipher, as there is a wide variety of conflicting advice for what to do following an auto accident on private property. First, contact police or the property owner to determine from whom you may get your incident report from. If injuries are sustained from such an accident, it is always wise to seek medical attention. The first thing you should do is contact the police to see if they can at least give you an incident report, and if they can’t, try to get one from the property owner or someone who works at the property.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident in Nevada, as a driver or passenger, on a private property, it is always wise to find a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies every day. Their experience may help alleviate the stress of your situation as they do their part in fighting for the compensation you deserve. We never want you to feel like you have to go through it alone. Turn to our team of experienced lawyers and we will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Police Reports and Car Accidents
Do police reports matter in car accidents? Whether your car accident is minor or results in serious injuries, it is always wise to request a police report. Police reports are essential evidence for your auto…Read more
Do police reports matter in car accidents? Whether your car accident is minor or results in serious injuries, it is always wise to request a police report. Police reports are essential evidence for your auto accident case. What is a police report? Following a car accident, a police report is a documentation written and compiled by the officer who arrives at the scene of your car accident. Here, law enforcement reports on all relevant details or any factors regarding your car accident. These reports might look a bit different depending where you were, like Denver or Las Vegas.
Why Do Police Reports Matter?
If you or another passenger were injured in an auto accident, a police report is very helpful in outlining the details of the incident. For example, any injuries or property damage claims that need to be filed with the negligent driver’s insurance company will require a police report. This is a standard request before any compensation or settlement is disbursed by an insurance company. Police reports do not solely focus on injuries. In fact, if you have no physical signs of injury right away–you should always file a report with the police following an accident. Police reports are crucial when no injuries occur, as well, especially if the accident resulted in any vehicle or other property damage. At the very least, a police report is needed to submit to your own insurance company when filing a claim for your vehicle damage and tentative repairs needed.
In many cases, symptoms or injuries following a car accident take days, or even months, to appear. Rather than assuming you are completely fine after an accident, even if you do not need to involve an insurance company or file a claim, you should always call the police. Making a police report in these instances allows you to have the written report for your records and insurance claims, but may also assist if injuries or symptoms arise following the accident. It is difficult, or impossible, to know if you will experience pain and symptoms a month after an accident, especially if you do not feel them when the accident occurs.
It is very common for some injuries to show up days, or even weeks, after your car accident. Here are some delayed medical conditions you may experience:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Back pain or spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries or internal bleeding
It is unsettling knowing that injuries such as these may take time to make themselves known. By always reporting your accident to the police and making a police report, this strengthens your case if any of the previously listed or other medical conditions happen to you. Allow yourself to have the additional evidence or testimony from a trusted source, just in case.
What Do Police Reports Typically Contain?
Officers understand the importance of their reports and are thoroughly trained in the important factors to include in their reporting. In their training of car accident assessment, they gain extensive experience in types of collisions that occur, injuries that may result, and the factors that may have played a role in the car accident. This detailed report that they provide will include any detailed information needed to file your insurance claim or serve as evidence in your case, especially if injuries were a result.
The police report may record the contact information of both drivers, their insurance companies, and any witnesses of the accident. This portion of the report is vital, as this information is required in filing any claims to insurance companies. Including information regarding the witnesses allows them to be used as resources if there are any questions or disputes surrounding what happened during the accident. Officers may not report on your witnesses in thorough detail, so it is always wise to get contact information from your witnesses, prior to them leaving the accident scene.
Some factors that may be notated or communicated in your accident’s police report, other than contact information, include:
- Basic accident details: Time, date, and location of your accident
- Drawings or diagrams of the accident: Point of impact, cars involved, etc.
- Photos: Injuries, damage to vehicles, location of the accident, etc.
- Statements from both drivers: What happened from both points of view
- A narrative of the accident: Events causing, or leading up to, the collision
- Injuries: Any injuries or pain you, your passengers, or anyone from the other vehicle(s) are experiencing
- Damages: Any damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle(s), and other property involved in the accident
- Environmental conditions: Weather report, road conditions, other environmental factors that may have played a part in the car accident
- Conclusion: Any concluding remarks based on the details of the accident, also, it may report who is the at-fault driver
Whether you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, it is essential to file a police report and partner with a team of personal injury professionals you can trust. Auto accident cases may be scary and complex, and you shouldn’t go through it alone. There’s a lot on the line. Turn to our team of experienced lawyers and we will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.
Filed under: Auto Accident
I was hit by an uninsured driver: What now?
The scenario of being hit by an uninsured driver is not that uncommon. It's estimated that roughly 13% of drivers nationwide are driving without insurance. In Nevada it’s about 10%, so you have a one…Read more
The scenario of being hit by an uninsured driver is not that uncommon. It’s estimated that roughly 13% of drivers nationwide are driving without insurance. In Nevada it’s about 10%, so you have a one in ten chance that the driver who causes an accident may not be insured. It’s estimated that 15% of drivers in California don’t have any insurance. Many more drivers carry only the state minimum insurance limits which means that the person who causes the accident may not have sufficient insurance to cover all the medical and other expenses that you suffer due to the accident.
When you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, your need for an attorney to handle your claim increases dramatically. Lawyers who specialize in car accidents know the liability laws surrounding these types of accident claims, and they have experience in negotiating with insurance companies which can increase your chances of getting the compensation you need. We recommend you don’t attempt to settle a car accident claim with an uninsured driver without legal representation.
What are the minimum insurance requirements?
Throughout the United States, with the exception of Virginia and New Hampshire, it is actually illegal to obtain a driver’s license without showing evidence of insurance to at least the state minimums of coverage. In Nevada, the DMV is very active in going after those who allow their insurance to lapse for whatever reason, but there are still nearly 10% of drivers on Nevada roads driving without insurance. Nevada’s state minimums were increased in 2018 to their current level of 25/50/20. This cryptic notation translates to $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person per accident, $50,000 total bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 property damage per accident.
With that level of coverage, having two to three people in your car that gets hit by another driver with injuries that sends all to the emergency room, will use up the state minimum coverages and then some. If you are hit by a driver with no insurance, then it gets more complicated.
Options for coverage in an uninsured driver accident
If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, state law allows the injured parties to directly sue the at fault driver. Prior to pursuing such a case, your lawyer will pursue whatever insurance coverages are available to cover the compensation of the injured parties.
If the at fault driver carried no insurance, but the vehicle was owned by someone else, either a private person or a company, coverages of the vehicle owner will be pursued first. A rental car company for example, may carry liability coverage on their rental cars. If there is no coverage that can be claimed against for the at fault driver, then it’s possible that your own insurance may contain coverages for an uninsured driver accident. If you carry UM/UIM coverage on your own vehicle policy, a first party claim against that coverage may be initiated.
Your own insurance company at that point may begin to negotiate to reduce the payout. Insurance companies may bring contributory negligence into the negotiations, alleging that a portion of the accident was caused by you. Your best defense against this argument is proper record keeping of the police report, photographs that were taken at the scene of the accident, medical records and other bills for medical treatments, and receipts for all expenses related to the accident. UM/UIM coverage is an option in Nevada, but we recommend that all drivers consider carrying this inexpensive coverage to provide compensation for just this type of situation.
Your insurance company may attempt to limit the amount of your claim based on a formula calculation or may attempt to exclude property damage from any claim for against UM/UIM coverage. Your lawyer will appropriately negotiate with your insurance company to obtain a settlement which reflects the true value of your claim.
Finally, in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, the at fault driver may be sued personally to provide compensation for a legitimate liability claim. It should be considered however, what caused the driver to be uninsured to begin with. While coverage may be allowed to lapse due to an oversight or some other complication, most uninsured motorists do not have insurance because they can’t afford it. In such cases a judgement against such a driver may result in insufficient funds to cover the cost of a claim, unless they possess an asset of value which may be attached to cover the claim. Your lawyer will assess all areas which promise to provide the compensation you are entitled to for the accident to cover all medical and other costs incurred due to the accident.
The Richard Harris Law Firm will obtain maximum benefits if you are injured by someone else
For 40 years the Richard Harris Law Firm has been providing legal representation to obtain just compensation for those injured in auto accidents. You can count on us to use all of our knowledge and experience to obtain the best settlement if you are injured in a car accident due to the other driver’s negligence. Call our office today for a free consultation at 702-444-4444.
Filed under: Accident Blog, Auto Accident
Auto Accident Series Supplemental: Rental Car Accidents
If you’re visiting Las Vegas or elsewhere for business or pleasure, you may decide to rent a car to get around during your stay. If you get in an accident in a rental car, you…Read more
If you’re visiting Las Vegas or elsewhere for business or pleasure, you may decide to rent a car to get around during your stay. If you get in an accident in a rental car, you may find that the rental vehicle adds a level of difficulty to the accident claim that you didn’t expect. Stress under such circumstances is understandable since getting into an accident with a rental car is more complex than if you were driving your own vehicle.
Rental companies offer supplemental insurance to help with accidents that may occur during the rental of a vehicle, however, many renters do not avail themselves of these additional services believing that their own insurance will provide adequate coverage in such cases. Whether that is true depends on what coverages are carried on the renter’s personal vehicle insurance policy.
The Additional Complexities of Rental Car Accidents
While the normal rules of liability apply to accidents that occur when renting a car, which means that the at-fault party’s liability coverage will pay for injuries resulting from the accident, your agreement with the rental agency makes you responsible for all damage to the rental vehicle during the period of the rental, even if you were not at fault.
The rental agency may require you to pay your policy deductible directly to them and you may be required to pay to repair the damage to the vehicle and later attempt to recoup the charges from your personal insurance carrier. Additionally, you may be required to pay Loss of Use fees to cover the rental company’s lost profit while the vehicle is being repaired. While your personal insurance may cover Loss of Use, if there’s a difference between your policy limits and the loss of use fee, you can be charged for the difference.
While the procedure for handling an accident in a rental car are roughly the same as when driving your own vehicle, additionally, you are required to report the accident, even a roll-over accident, to the rental company, and since you will be making claims against multiple insurance companies, we recommend that you hire an lawyer to assist with the complexities of the claim.
Common Insurance Coverages Available for Rental Car Accidents
There may be multiple sources of coverage available when getting into an accident while renting a car. A summary of common sources of insurance coverage are as follows:
- Your personal vehicle insurance. Personal vehicle insurance covers collision and liability for medical payments in an accident up to the limits of liability of the policy. Additionally, if you carry optional coverages such as MedPay you may make use of Medical Payments provisions of your personal vehicle insurance. Since MedPay is an optional coverage in many states you may or may not have this coverage. Additionally, if you carry the optional UM/UIM coverage on your personal vehicle insurance, if the other driver was at fault for the accident and had no insurance, or inadequate insurance to cover the expenses you incurred, UM/UIM may cover those losses. UM/UIM is an optional coverage in Nevada and your policy may not include this coverage.
- Credit Card Coverage. Many credit cards provide insurance for rental cars when the vehicle is rented on that card. This coverage usually only applies to collision coverage, although you should check with the credit card company to see if additional coverages are available.
- Supplemental Insurance Provided by the Rental Car Company. Most supplemental coverages of this type require you to opt in at the time you rent the car which increases the cost of the rental. Many people regularly decline such coverages due to the increased costs. You have several options if you do decide to accept these coverages which include:
- Collision Damage Waiver – covers damage to the vehicle due to accident and theft of the vehicle
- Liability Coverage – If you are at fault as the renter of the vehicle, this insurance covers the collision and medical payments for injuries to the other party
- Personal Accident Coverage – Covers medical expenses of the renter of the vehicle and any passengers in the vehicle when the accident occurred.
- Personal Property Coverage – This covers your lost or damaged personal property in the rental vehicle at the time of the accident.
The Richard Harris Law Firm will make claims for all available coverages in a car accident
Whether driving your personal vehicle or a rental car, your main concern when getting into an accident should be your recovery. Our firm will handle to details of finding all coverages and making claims against the applicable insurance policies making sure that all sources of compensation are being considered to obtain the funding needed for your medical bills and other losses incurred in a car accident. If you’ve been in a rental car accident, call our firm today to discuss your potential case at 702-444-4444.
Filed under: Accident Blog, Auto Accident, Blog
Auto Accidents – What is No Fault Insurance?
State laws determine under what circumstances you can sue a negligent driver for damages. The traditional system prior to the 1970’s was a tort liability system under which a driver who suffers injuries from a…Read more
State laws determine under what circumstances you can sue a negligent driver for damages. The traditional system prior to the 1970’s was a tort liability system under which a driver who suffers injuries from a car accident was able to sue the “at fault” driver for damages such as medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. In the 1970’s a new system, called No Fault Liability, was adopted by roughly half the states, which was promised to simplify claims, reduce insurance costs, and get benefits to insureds sooner.
Under a No-Fault system your right to sue a negligent driver was severely limited and claims for medical costs and other damages was paid by your own insurance company regardless of who caused the accident, hence No Fault. Unfortunately, rates for No-Fault Insurance plans skyrocketed due to the increased costs of medical care, and fraudulent claims. In fact, Michigan, which has the most robust No Fault system in the country, also has the highest insurance rates in the country.
While roughly half the states opted for No-Fault plans during the 1970’s, due to increasing health costs, and rampant insurance fraud most of these states have moved back to a tort liability plan or a variation thereof. Today only 12 states, and Puerto Rico continue to use straight No Fault plans. Most of the western states are tort liability states, however, Utah and Kansas continue to maintain No Fault plans.
States using No Fault Liability:
- Kansas (borders Colorado)
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Utah (borders Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming)
Most No Fault Insurance plans feature three components, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Property Protection (PPI), and Residual Liability Insurance. Each component of the plan carries its own coverages and limits.
Colorado allowed it’s No Fault laws to expire in 2003, replaced by a tort liability system. By 2008, insurance premiums had reduced by 35 percent. Other states have dropped No Fault and have seen similar reductions in premiums. A few other No Fault states are considering dropping No Fault at this time.
What happens if I get into an accident in a No Fault state?
If you’re traveling and get into an accident in one of the No Fault states, typically your insurance from the state in which you reside will determine whether you have a right to sue, no matter where you’re driving as long as you were not At Fault. However, it adds a level of complexity to the auto accident claim. It is advisable under those circumstances to consult an attorney as soon after the accident as possible, to preserve your rights.
For drivers who cause accidents while driving in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Colorado, but who live in and insure their vehicles in No Fault states, can still be sued if they were the At Fault driver under the state’s tort liability laws in which the accident occurred. You should consult an attorney in such cases.
The Richard Harris Law Firm represents you for injury claims due to Auto Accidents
No Fault liability was a system that initially promised to speed insurance claims, simplify the claims process, and reduce insurance premiums. Those benefits were not fully realized, and many states have reverted to the traditional tort liability system such as those that exist in Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and California. Utah remains a No Fault state. Our firm has specialists in all five states, who are knowledgeable and experienced in getting the most money for you when you get in a car accident. If you’ve been in a car accident, call us today at 702-444-4444 or email us at [email protected]
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Injured Passengers in Nevada
Auto Accident Series (Supplemental 1) If you were injured while a passenger in a vehicle when an accident occurred, you probably have a valid claim to recover damages to cover your injuries. You should contact…Read more
Auto Accident Series (Supplemental 1)
If you were injured while a passenger in a vehicle when an accident occurred, you probably have a valid claim to recover damages to cover your injuries. You should contact the lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm to review details of your claim to determine your settlement options.
Passengers in vehicles involved in auto accidents, unless they were a direct cause of the accident, are considered “fault free” and in most cases are eligible to claim for damages to cover medical bills, prescriptions, lost wages due to time off from work to recover from their injuries, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. Other losses may also be covered. It is important to consult an attorney if you were injured due to an accident while you were a passenger.
The Single Vehicle Crash
The driver of a vehicle is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of any passengers in the vehicle at the time of an accident. If the driver is liable for a single vehicle crash, you may have grounds to file a claim against the driver. If you are a member of the driver’s family and live in the same household, you are most likely already covered by the driver’s insurance policy and it is possible you may not be able to sue in that case, however your lawyer will be able to advise you of any other claim options which might cover your injuries.
If you are not an immediate family member living in the same household, and therefore not covered under a family policy, and the driver acted in a negligent manner which led to the crash, you may sue the driver for injuries you suffered due to the crash.
The Multi-Vehicle Vehicle Crash
In a collision that involved two or more vehicles, an injured passenger may be able to make claims against all drivers found liable in the accident. Insurance coverages in this case may be determined by the percentage of fault attributable to each driver in the accident. The insurance companies in such a claim may not be able to come to agreement as to the percentage of liability of each driver, which may delay your claim. Your lawyer will file appropriate lawsuits to protect your rights and obtain the appropriate benefits for you.
Types of coverages available for passengers
Liability Coverage – Liability coverage is the primary source of most auto insurance claim benefits. In Nevada, drivers are required to carry 25/50/20 at a minimum. This means that a maximum of $25,000 is covered per person per accident up to a maximum of $50,000 per accident.
Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay) – Medical Payments coverage is not required in Nevada, but is offered as an option; however, many drivers have this coverage, and you may have it on your own policy. Med Pay is sold in $1,000 increments and is quite inexpensive. It is also no-fault, meaning that regardless of the fault of the driver(s) involved in a vehicle crash, Medical Payments coverage may be used to pay to co-pays and other expenses that a medical insurance policy will not cover. For more information on Med Pay coverages see our previous article.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) – If the liable driver is uninsured, then your driver’s UM/UIM coverage, may be a source of funds to cover your medical expenses. UM/UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive and covers the same amount as your driver’s Liability Coverage. This coverage is obtained by a YES/NO question on your application for insurance and carries the same limit of liability as your liability coverage. From our example above, at state minimum liability coverage UM/UIM will provide $25,000 of coverage, if the liable driver did not have insurance, or did not carry insurance. For more information regarding UM/UIM see our previous article.
These are basic coverages, however, if there may be other sources of insurance benefits your lawyer will know how to pursue. They will see to it that claims are filed to obtain benefits from all available sources due to an injury accident while you are a passenger.
The Richard Harris Law Firm represents Passengers injured in Auto Accidents
Insurance coverages can be complex. When you’re a passenger who was injured in an auto accident, you should consult with an attorney regarding your case in order to obtain the highest amounts of insurance coverages available to cover your losses due to the injuries. The lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm are skilled and determined to obtain all the benefits to which you are entitled as a passenger. Call our office today to discuss your case and set up a free initial consultation at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog, Personal Injury
What should I do if I’m a victim of a Road Rage Accident?
One of the most disturbing trends in driving is the increase in incidents of road rage. Road rage can be frightening and can cause serious injuries, and even death, if a collision occurs. Statistics indicate…Read more
One of the most disturbing trends in driving is the increase in incidents of road rage. Road rage can be frightening and can cause serious injuries, and even death, if a collision occurs. Statistics indicate that road rage accidents are increasing nationwide. In addition to civil actions you can take after a road rage accident, the offending driver may be subject to criminal penalties as well.
Road rage takes many forms and can range from exchanging of hand signals, to excessive speeding, to tailgating, to passing and then braking drastically, to running other drivers off the road. All these actions are done to show the displeasure one driver has for another driver who has offended them in some real or imagined way. In extreme cases road rage incidents have resulted in physical altercations on the roadway. At highway speeds road rage accidents can be deadly.
Most cases of road rage do not cause an accident and are unreported. However, in some cases the actions of a raging driver cause an accident which results in serious injury or even death. If you have been injured in a road rage incident what legal remedies are available? You should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the issues specific to your case and what factors support your case.
What is needed to file a claim against a Raging driver?
Evidence of a road rage incident may take several forms. If you’ve been involved in a road rage injury accident, as with any other auto accident claim, the greater the evidence to support your claim the greater the likelihood of success in your case.
In addition to the police report of the accident, there may be other drivers who witnessed the incident, and their statements will assist is establishing the facts of the case. A medical report showing treatments at the time of the accident and since will support your claim against the other driver. Photo evidence of the scene will bolster your claim. Additionally, if the accident occurred on a road with traffic cameras, evidence of the other driver’s behavior may be able to be able to be established by video evidence.
Damages which may be available if involved in a Road Rage accident
In addition to compensatory damages, such as medical bills, time lost at work, damage to your vehicle, Pain and Suffering damages may attach to a road rage injury accident. Many victims of road rage are fearful of driving after such an incident, and even PTSD can result among other aftereffects of the incident.
Punitive damages may also be available due to the reckless behavior the offending driver showed in causing the accident. The behavior shown by a raging driver shows intent to hurt someone else, or at least reasonable disregard for others’ safety. Your attorney will know how to proceed in such cases.
The Richard Harris Law Firm sues Raging Drivers who injure others
In a civil society reasonable regard for others safety must be shown, especially on the roadways where accidents can occur quickly causing serious injury and even death to others. While driving, in a moment, lack of control can quickly spiral into devastating results for others. Our lawyers will aggressively pursue all avenues of compensation for our clients who have been injured due to the negligence and disregard for safety shown by out of control drivers. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by road rage, call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog
Auto Accident Series (Part 14) – Summary and Future additions
This post concludes the Auto Accident Series. We hope you’ve enjoyed the information presented in this series of articles. This subject matter is very complex, and we are limited by space to only be able…Read more
This post concludes the Auto Accident Series. We hope you’ve enjoyed the information presented in this series of articles. This subject matter is very complex, and we are limited by space to only be able to present thumbnail explanations of many of the subjects discussed in this series. The most important concept given throughout this series, is to follow your lawyer’s directions throughout the process. He has the experience in this field and has proven to be a successful lawyer in order to selected by the Richard Harris Law Firm as an attorney.
As a review of this series we have considered the following subjects since the beginning of this series.
- The Auto Accident – we discussed what happens at the accident scene and actions you can take to strengthen your case
- The Insurance Company’s Objectives – we reviewed how our objectives and those of the insurance company differ, and what to expect when dealing with them.
- When and How to Select the Right Lawyer – Not every case needs a lawyer, but if you are injured, you should have one…some thoughts on selecting the right lawyer
- The Initial Consultation – We covered things you should bring to an initial consultation and what to expect when you meet with our firm the first time.
- Communications with the Firm – Once you’ve become a client of the firm, communications between you and your case manager or lawyer are critical. We covered some unique ways the Richard Harris Law Firm has provided for clients to do so.
- The Legal Process of an Accident Claim – From start to finish, these are the steps from accident through resolution
- Social Media influence on Auto Accident Cases – You can lose a case due to social media…don’t let it happen to you.
- The Accident Demand – What’s included and how we present your claim to the insurance company
- Negotiating an accident claim – Your lawyer and the insurance company will present claim and counter claim until agreement is reached. If not, there are other options.
- How is settlement distributed – Assuming your come to an agreement, this is how the proceeds will be distributed
- Do I consider litigation? – If unable to come to a resolution there are several alternatives which all include filing a lawsuit
- Alternate Dispute Resolution – Mediation and Arbitration – Among the many litigation activities, Alternate Dispute Resolution methods are encouraged prior to trial
- Taking a Claim to Court – If all efforts fail, court is the final body who will make a decision and enforce it.
- Summary – This article
We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last several weeks, but hopefully this has given you the resources you need to better understand the process, and how an attorney can assist with your case.
Future Installments of this and other Series
As the auto accident legal process changes, or as the laws evolve to meet current conditions, we will keep you informed with additional Auto Accident Series (AAS) articles. Thanks for following along with us on this journey and we will present other Series-style articles for other complex legal subjects in the future.
The Richard Harris Law Firm represents those injured in Auto Accidents
If you’ve been injured in an Auto Accident, because of the other driver’s negligence, we want to discuss your case. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog, Legal Information
Auto Accident Series (Part 13) – Your Day in Court
In the last couple of entries in this series we have covered some basics of the litigation process, and information regarding Alternate Resolutions Methods which may be employed in an effort to come to a…Read more
In the last couple of entries in this series we have covered some basics of the litigation process, and information regarding Alternate Resolutions Methods which may be employed in an effort to come to a settlement. Assuming all those efforts have failed, your last arena in the resolution of your car accident dispute is civil court action.
Preparation for trial is an intense and tedious process, requiring many man-hours. where all records of your case and contacts with the defendant are copied indexed and bound in order to be retrieved quickly in court as needed. Exhibits will be prepared to show at your trial, such as the accident scene, your vehicle damage, your injuries, costs of treatment, and anything else which supports your case.
Your attorney will be discussing your case with other attorneys at our firm in order to develop a winning strategy for your case. Your attorney may even hold moot courts with other firm attorneys and practice runs of various presentations he will make in court to be prepared for any eventual question and outcome which may present itself in trial. It all comes down to this venue, and this court to decide the outcome of your claim with the insurance company.
You will need to appear each day your trial continues. As plaintiff, you will sit next to your attorney at the attorney table and should look the part. Dress well, as court is one of the few remaining formal activities in modern times, where everything including appearance count.
As opposed to Mediation and Arbitration where you are involved in the entire process, in court your attorney will take the lead, and you will only be required to speak at designated times as directed by your lawyer. Court is an adversarial atmosphere, where both sides put their all into the process to win for their particular side. The referee is the judge, making sure all participants conduct themselves with proper decorum and with respect to Rules of Civil Procedure.
The jury is who needs to be convinced. The jury has been selected with input from your attorney and the opposing attorney. They are the most important people in the room right now, and your lawyer’s opening statements will set the tone for your case, and hopefully win the jury over. The jury represents the “voice of the people” and their vote is what will grant your award or not.
Several things need to be established in court. First, the facts of the case will be presented. Second, liability of the parties will be determined. Lastly, the amount of damages will be decided.
It is possible to lose in court. If the jury is not convinced by your lawyer’s arguments, they can determine to pay little or nothing. On the other hand, they may decide to pay more than you’re asking in court if they so sympathized with your plight. The jury is your final and most important audience to your claims.
You may be called on to testify in court. As with all witnesses who testify, you will also be cross examined by the opposing lawyer. Your lawyer will work with you to prepare for potential questions which may be presented during your testimony. You will testify under oath, which means that your testimony will be subject to perjury if you don’t tell the truth.
At this conclusion of the trial, both lawyers will present their closing statements and the court will dismiss the jury to deliberate on the matter. The jury will return after they have considered the evidence and issue their ruling in the matter.
The court is the one body, who will not only come to a final decision on your case but has the legal authority to compel compliance with its decisions. The stakes are high in court, but with the guidance of a skilled attorney, you can prevail.
The Richard Harris Law Firm will take your case to trial
All of the litigation lawyers at the Richard Harris Law Firm are experienced in Personal Injury Law but are also court proficient. They’ve been through jury trials before and know how what to expect and how to argue their case in that venue. All of our litigation lawyers have won in that arena and have no hesitation in bringing their cases to court for resolution. If you’ve been injured in a Car Accident, and need legal help, call our office today at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog, Legal Information, Uncategorized
Auto Accident Series (Part 12) – Mediation and Arbitration: how might they fit?
Your lawyer will let you know if they feel that use of Arbitration and Mediation may assist in bringing your dispute over a fair settlement to a conclusion in your favor. These two methods have…Read more
Your lawyer will let you know if they feel that use of Arbitration and Mediation may assist in bringing your dispute over a fair settlement to a conclusion in your favor. These two methods have been gaining greater traction over the last several years, and in some cases, they are required by the courts during the pre-trial phase. Since these methods are gaining in popularity, an understanding of why and under what circumstances they may be used to resolve disputes is probably in order.
Your dispute is, that you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you’ve completed your treatments, and been released from medical care, your lawyer has submitted a Demand to the Insurance Company which, for any number of reasons, has not resulted in a settlement. After negotiating with the insurance company, your lawyer has chosen to sue in order to obtain a fair settlement for you. In our last post, we discussed some of the preliminary activities included in the term litigation. Mediation and Arbitration are two of the alternate dispute resolution methods that we will look at next, so you can have some expectation of what these processes can accomplish and under what circumstances they are used.
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Mediation and Arbitration are very similar since they are alternatives to a court trial and can avoid trial completely if a resolution is reached. In both methods, a neutral third party is selected to oversee the proceedings. This person should be familiar with this and similar types of disputes and acts informally as the judge in the proceeding.
The advantages of settling a dispute by an alternate method include confidentiality. If the negotiations fail, the discussions of the mediation or arbitration will not be used in an eventual lawsuit as opposed to testimony in a court which is considered public record.
These methods are less expensive than going to court and resolve faster. The parties to the dispute determine the resolution, not the judge or jury, by directly communicating face to face, rather than through a lawyer in a courtroom.
Mediation v Arbitration: What’s the difference?
Both mediation and arbitration employ a third party to oversee the proceedings, and either method can be either binding or non-binding.
Mediation – is the less formal of the two methods. Usually a single mediator is employed who will attempt to help the two parties find common ground to settle the dispute. Under Mediation the mediator will not have the same powers as a court judge has but will facilitate discussion and attempt to help both parties settle. Typically, for our use, this less formal and non-binding form of dispute resolution is called Mediation.
Arbitration – may employ multiple Arbitrators, one of which is selected by each side, and the third selected by the existing Arbitrators. For our purposes, the term Arbitration will describe the more formal and more binding form of negotiation. In an arbitration, the findings of the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, may be binding on both parties.
In both forms of conflict resolution, the facilitator(s) is chosen by the participants, while in a trial, you can neither choose the judge or the jury.
What to expect in a Mediation meeting?
A mediation meeting will probably take place in a conference room as determined by both side’s attorneys. A typical mediation session may be scheduled for either half a day or a full day. Mediation sessions provide confidentiality and discussions will not be used in a trial if negotiations fail. They cost less than a trial, resolution and settlement are faster,
The selected Mediator will take charge of the meeting and will explain rules and processes of the mediation. Both sides will be given an opportunity to make their statements and lay out facts which support that side’s position. You may be asked to speak at the session, at which time you should feel free to express yourself and the emotions you have dealt with due to the accident and the resultant dispute regarding settlement.
Once each side has made their initial statements, the mediator may ask questions of the two parties in order to gain greater insight into the details of the dispute. As the process unfolds, the Mediator may ask to have private meetings with the participants and will work to establish negotiations between the disputing parties.
If the mediation is successful, a written document may be drawn up for both parties to sign, which can be upheld in a court. The resolution, however, is accomplished by the disputing parties, not imposed by a judge or jury. It may take several mediation sessions to arrive at a full agreement between parties. If it becomes apparent that a resolution will not result from the sessions, both parties may agree to a binding arbitration, or court.
Arbitration Sessions are similar…
with the exception that the Arbitrator(s) have been given more power over the proceedings by the agreement to arbitrate, which will have been signed by both parties before the meeting begins. Binding arbitration means that the decisions of the arbitrator(s) are binding on both parties.
While this form of conflict resolution is more formal, it shares the advantage of having both parties to the dispute hammer out the resolution and settlement. It is less expensive than a trial and if successful will settle quicker. Depending on the complexity of the negotiations, it may take several sessions to arrive at a final agreement.
At the conclusion of the Arbitration Meeting(s) an Agreement will be drawn up to settle the case. You and the other party to the dispute will be required to accept the findings of the arbitrator(s) and settle on terms determined in the Arbitration.
The Richard Harris Law Firm employs Mediation and Arbitration to settle your case
Your lawyer will know when or whether alternate methods of resolution should or need to be employed to settle your case. These methods may or may not result in a settlement with which both parties feel comfortable. If these methods do not result in a settlement, the last resort is a civil trial before a judge and jury. We will cover that in our next installment. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, through no fault of your own, call our firm to discuss your potential case at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Auto Accident Series (Part 9) – Negotiating your Auto Accident Claim
Once a well-structured and strong Demand for Settlement has been filed as part of your Auto Accident Case, negotiations begin to obtain a fair settlement for your case. The demand is actually the first step…Read more
Once a well-structured and strong Demand for Settlement has been filed as part of your Auto Accident Case, negotiations begin to obtain a fair settlement for your case. The demand is actually the first step in negotiating your claim and sets the conditions for the remainder of the process to obtain a reasonable and fair settlement for you.
Your lawyer has evaluated your case and set a value range for a fair and equitable settlement to take place, based on experience with similar claims and knowing that the insurance company would rather settle the case than go through the expensive and potentially lengthy process of litigation. Having an attorney negotiate your claim adds value to your settlement due to the implied threat of litigation if negotiations fail. Your lawyer also knows the tactics employed by the insurance company to discourage you during this phase of obtaining a fair settlement and is prepared to counter those tactics.
Negotiations can be frustrating when an individual attempts to take on the insurance company without legal counsel. Remember that the insurance company’s objective is to settle to case quickly and unreasonably for you and having a lawyer act as your negotiator places you in a much stronger position.
What to expect when negotiating a claim
The negotiation process can take weeks to months. Once the Demand is received by the insurance company an adjuster will be assigned to the case by the insurance company. Due to the ethical rules under which attorneys practice, all offers of settlement either reasonable or not, must be presented to you, the client.
You can expect initial offers to be ridiculously low, or the insurance company may respond with a Reservation of Rights Letter, which is a delaying tactic, however this letter informs you that the company is investigating the claim and may pay you nothing if they find that their policy doesn’t cover this claim. At this point in the process, your lawyer knows what the insurance policy covers and has organized the demand within the policy’s limits of liability. Your lawyer will recommend to either accept the offer or make a counter-claim. If you decide to counter-claim, your lawyer will communicate the counter offer to the insurance company.
During this time, keep in mind that the adjuster’s job is to settle cases or, if unable to do so send the case on to the insurance company’s legal department. Litigation increases the costs of settling the claim for the insurance company and the adjuster’s job performance relies on settling cases with a minimum of expense. Patience is key to obtaining a fair settlement for you, and once your lawyer receives a settlement offer within the pre-determined value range, they will recommend settlement. If this does not occur, the legal system provides other means to determine liability and damages, and your lawyer will not hesitate to use them.
You can expect a few offers from the insurance company and counter-offers from your lawyer to take place during this phase of your auto accident claim. Once the process is exhausted, you will either receive an acceptable settlement offer, or after considering several factors such as increased expenses of litigation, and the time it may take to successfully litigate your claim, you and your attorney may determine to file a lawsuit as a means to receive fair treatment for your claim.
Our next installment in this series will discuss the settlement, and subsequent articles will detail steps in the litigation process. 90 percent of the auto accident cases at our firm successfully settle during the pre-litigation phase. Negotiations with the insurance company consider what is best for you the client, to provide compensation for applicable out-of-pocket expenses such as medical care and prescriptions for your recovery, wages lost due to missed work during your recovery, and the pain and suffering caused by being involved in an accident that was caused by the negligent driver.
The Richard Harris Law Firm will Negotiate your claim with the Insurance Company
The lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm successfully negotiate hundreds of car accident claims every year. We are highly qualified to negotiate yours. If you’ve been injured in an Auto Accident caused by a negligent driver, call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 444-4444.
Richard Harris discusses negotiating a case
Filed under: Auto Accident, Legal Information, Uncategorized
Auto Accident Series (Part 8) The Auto Accident Demand
Your recovery from your accident will be under the direction of medical providers, and specialists, who will provide treatment and pos sibly prescribe medications to manage pain. As your accident claim progresses, your doctor may…Read more
Your recovery from your accident will be under the direction of medical providers, and specialists, who will provide treatment and pos
sibly prescribe medications to manage pain. As your accident claim progresses, your doctor may disable you for a time. You may be referred to chiropractors and/or physical therapists to assist in the healing process for soft tissue injuries. You should follow their directions to the letter. Once your doctor finds that your recovery is essentially complete or at least has stabilized, he will notify you and your attorney.
At the appropriate point in the process of your claim, your lawyer will notify the at-fault party’s insurance company of their total liability for all items which require compensation, and also how the accident has affected your life in general to establish a value for pain and suffering. Your lawyer and case manager will gather all documentary evidence of your claim, including the police reports, witness statements, medical bills, ambulance bills (if any), time off from work and associated lost income with supporting statements from your employer, statements from other involved parties who were affected by the accident, and any other information that supports your claim. For significant injuries which may require long term care, your doctor may be requested to provide an estimate of future treatment.
Evaluation and Demand for Settlement
Once documentary evidence is gathered, your lawyer will then evaluate your claim to set a value range for all claimed losses. The evaluation is a range from low to high of what we are willing to accept to settle the case. Since your attorney handles car accident claims on a daily basis, he or she has experience with similar claims and is equipped to assess what is a fair and equitable settlement for your claim.
Your attorney will prepare a Demand Letter to be forwarded to the liable parties to demand payment for all you have suffered as a result of the accident. A strong Demand is the basis of your claim and will set a starting point in the negotiation process with the adverse parties. The demand letter will contain a description of what happened, including dates times and locations of the accident, why the other driver was at fault, what injuries you suffered, and what compensation you and your lawyer believe is fair settlement of the claim. Attached to the demand letter will be documentary evidence of the claim.
Writing a strong demand which will survive the attempts by the insurance company to minimize their liability is perhaps one of the best reasons to hire an attorney to assist with a car accident claim. The demand will detail all suffered losses and will include language to minimize potential claims of comparative negligence by the insurance company, which may attempt to split responsibility for the accident between you and the responsible party and reduce your settlement.
Most accident victims do not know how to avoid the legal pitfalls which can limit their rights when dealing with adverse legal entity such as an insurance company, and will unwittingly add extraneous information which can damage their claim, or neglect to include important language which will protect their rights in this type of dispute. Furthermore, most people are unable to be completely objective when writing about themselves. The objective evaluation and support of a third party, especially someone who knows the law and how juries respond in such cases, is essential to obtaining the highest settlement for your claims. Correct medical descriptions of injuries and treatments are also critical to this process.
The Richard Harris Law Firm will Demand a Fair Settlement for your claims
Our lawyers handle auto accident claims on a regular basis. They know how to structure a demand which will establish the highest value for your claims and will protect your rights under the law. Once a Demand is filed with the insurance company, negotiations begin, and our next installment in this series will discuss the negotiation process of a car accident claim. If you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.
https://youtu.be/5QQ9blQhJZk Richard Harris discusses needed documentation for a car accident demand.
https://youtu.be/PdaI0stPfso Richard Harris discusses the legal system
Filed under: Auto Accident, Legal Information
Auto Accident Series (Part 7) – Social Media and your Accident Claim
Privacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot today. What can others find out about us in the internet age, that used to be considered private? The answer is a lot. Before the…Read more
Privacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot today. What can others find out about us in the internet age, that used to be considered private? The answer is a lot. Before the advent of the internet, about as much as anyone could find out about you, without hours of investigation, is your phone number and address in the phone book. Further information could be gathered, but from specialized sources which were either expensive to access, or difficult to find.
Today a determined individual can obtain comprehensive information about almost anyone by spending a few hours in front of a computer screen and searching publicly available internet sources. This ability to unveil people’s lives in shockingly extensive detail has been enhanced by the advent of social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, among others, where people share details of their lives with loved ones, and perhaps unintentionally, with others who they may not even know.
Credibility is the key to your claim
Part 6 of this series discussed the legal process of an accident claim. One of the first steps in a lawsuit is called Discovery, where both sides are free to develop evidence which will support their side or may impeach the other side. This information is shared before trial with both party’s lawyers.
It’s not uncommon for social media posts to inform others of a vacation just taken, or any other activity in which the poster has participated, with pictures and commentary. While these types of posts may seem innocuous to the poster, to a lawyer who is an adversary in a court proceeding, these posts can be gold, and can have a huge influence on the credibility of claims made by you, which can affect and sometimes negate your potential settlement.
Accident claim settlements usually consist of compensatory damages, or payments for actual expenses, such as medical bills, prescriptions, lost salary at works, travel expenses to the doctor, and other easily documented evidence; and punitive damages, which include pain and suffering and may not be so easily supported by documentary evidence. Settlements made in lawsuits regarding pain and suffering are usually determined by a jury who may be swayed if evidence presented by the opposing attorney can cause them to question your credibility. Seemingly Innocuous posts on social media may be construed by the adverse counsel to tell a story that you didn’t intend.
It is critical to your case that any information shared with others and especially posted on social media platforms present only items supporting your claim. For example, if during your recovery from your accident, you post pictures of having a nice day with kids or grandkids, which show or even suggest an activity which your claim suggests you should not have been able to do during that stage of recovery, can be construed in such a way by the opposing side to cause the jury to question that part of your claim, and your credibility in general.
Be careful using Social Media during your Accident Claim
During any lawsuit, but particularly during an accident claim, you should keep personal information, especially concerning activities in which you engage, closely held. Our website contains more information and an infographic which itemizes some do’s and don’ts with regard to social media. The steps cover privacy settings, considerations for posting photos, which friend requests to accept, which discussion groups you should avoid, among many other considerations during the period of your accident claim.
However, realize that even if you’ve done all the right steps and you believe your privacy settings will protect you, that during the discovery process, the defendant’s or their insurance company’s attorney can access your social media posts and profile via a subpoena. Its best during the period of your claim to minimize use of social media entirely. Follow your lawyer’s instructions during this time to minimize your exposure.
The Richard Harris Law Firm is committed to getting you the highest settlement for your claim
Using an attorney to represent you during an accident claim will allow you to receive the highest settlement for your injuries. The lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm have the experience and know the law and will give you the advice you need to maximize your settlement. If you’ve been injured in an Auto Accident, call our office today at (702) 444-4444.
Richard Harris discusses Social Media Effects
Filed under: Auto Accident, Legal Information, Litigation, Personal Injury
Auto Accident Series (Part 6) – The Legal Process of an Accident Claim
Once you’ve retained an attorney for your Auto Accident Case, continue seeing your doctor and follow their instructions regarding treatments, taking your medications, visiting with specialists if needed, obtaining needed physical therapy, and concentrate on…Read more
Once you’ve retained an attorney for your Auto Accident Case, continue seeing your doctor and follow their instructions regarding treatments, taking your medications, visiting with specialists if needed, obtaining needed physical therapy, and concentrate on the processes which will allow your body to heal. It’s important to your case, that all instructions from your doctor be followed to the letter.
Once you’ve retained our firm, your case will be entering the first phase of the legal process, with an Investigation of the accident, which may include requesting police reports, taking pictures of the scene, identifying and taking witness statements, verifying insurance coverages from all sources, performing defendant asset searches, and other critical investigative activities. During this process, your case manager or lawyer may need additional information from you and may reach out via phone or email. You may have questions regarding your case status, and you should feel free to reach out to your case manager or lawyer and ask questions as needed.
As your treatment progresses, your lawyer and case manager will be coordinating and obtaining progress reports from your medical provider(s) to begin the process of Documentation of your claim in order to build a presentation to the defendant’s insurance company. Included in this documentation will be medical bills, prescription drug receipts, receipts for travel to and from your medical providers, obtaining statements from employers regarding time off and potential lost wages, statements from other interested parties regarding other losses supporting any claim of pain and suffering, or loss of consortium which may become part of the claim.
Once you have been discharged from medical treatment, all documentation is assembled, and an Evaluation is done by your attorney to ascertain the value of your claim. This value is a range which will be used in the process of negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Once all documentation is gathered, a Demand against the insurance company is compiled which represents your lawyer’s best judgement of a fair settlement of the accident claim, with all supporting documentation of expenses and losses connected to the accident.
The Demand will be forwarded to the insurance company and Negotiations will begin. Nearly 90% of our cases settle as part of this negotiation with the insurance company. Your lawyer will defend our demand against attempts by the insurance company to negate the claim. If negotiations succeed, there will be a fair Settlement of your claim and proceeds will be distributed between the lawyer, any liens against the case, such as unpaid medical bills, with the remaining proceeds distributed to you.
If on the other hand, your lawyer determines that the best settlement obtainable from the insurance company via out of court negotiations, will not represent a fair settlement, if questions of who is liable for the damages surface from the other party, or if neither side can arrive at an acceptable value for a settlement, then a lawsuit is filed, and litigation begins.
Litigation is a more formal continuation of the negotiations already begun, with increasing stakes for the participants. A settlement can occur anytime during pretrial proceedings and up to and including during trial. Pretrial steps differ from case to case, but the processes follow a pattern. During the Discovery phase of a lawsuit your lawyer and the adverse party’s lawyer will establish a framework for Coordination between both parties. This will involve setting deadlines for Production of case documents, and the obtaining of written answers to questions under oath, called Interrogatories.
Depositions may be required to establish the facts of a case, in which both parties can examine any party relevant to the case, to verbally give sworn testimony and answer questions under oath, with a court reporter recording the proceedings. This may include witnesses to the accident, police officers and other first responders involved, medical providers, who can testify in detail regarding injuries and treatment claims made in the lawsuit, and other involved parties. You will be called upon to testify in a deposition, as to how the accident has affected you in terms of the injuries, pain and suffering, lost earnings and other losses.
Parties to the case may ask for an Examination by neutral medical providers of their choice, in an attempt to establish the facts of injuries and treatments to date.
Arbitration Proceedings may take place during the Pretrial phase where both parties meet in an attempt to settle the case before appearing before a judge and jury. Mediation Proceedings may take place, in which both parties meet with a neutral Mediator who will assist in attempting to arrive at a fair settlement before trial. If all attempts fail to resolve the dispute, then Preparations for the jury trial will begin, and ultimately the trial itself.
Adjudication of the case by a jury trial will involve presenting the case before judge and jury by lawyers representing both parties in an adversarial format. Both parties will call witnesses to testify before judge and jury by questioning and cross-examining relevant witnesses and involved parties. Once both sides have called and questioned their witnesses, the jury will deliberate and attempt to assess liability and arrive at a fair settlement based on their understandings of the evidence obtained. The court will be the final forum to determine fair settlement of claims and has the legal authority to enforce its decisions upon the disputing parties to obtain a fair settlement for you, the client.
The Lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm will take your case to trial
If all attempts at resolution of your claim fail, our lawyers have no hesitation to prepare your case and present it before a judge and jury to obtain a fair settlement. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience and trial results to pursue a just and fair settlement through all phases of the legal process. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call us today at (702) 444-4444.
Richard Harris discusses the Legal Process
Filed under: About RHLF, Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Auto Accident Series (Part 5) – Communications with our firm
Once you have retained our firm to represent you in your Auto Accident case, the need for ongoing communications between you, your lawyer, and our staff becomes critical. It is important that our lawyers and…Read more
Once you have retained our firm to represent you in your Auto Accident case, the need for ongoing communications between you, your lawyer, and our staff becomes critical. It is important that our lawyers and staff obtain all needed documentation that wasn’t submitted during the Initial Consultation. Much of the additional information will be obtained from the information given in the Initial Consultation.
In the first few days after your case opens, many activities take place establishing our firm as your representative for future communication related to the case. Your Case Manager will send notifications to relevant insurance companies establishing that our firm is now representing you in this claim and all future communications with them in regard to this claim, should be forwarded to our firm. They may refer you to medical providers if needed and follow up with medical providers on your current medical condition and treatments to date.
Communications is critical to your case
It’s important that you forward needed documents as noted during the first meeting as soon as possible, so that your Case Manager can update our files for use in the case. Your case manager may call you during these initial days after retention to follow up on medical treatments and any other business related to the case.
Certainly, phone calls and possibly emails between you and your case manager or lawyer are considered normal during this time. Our firm notes all contacts with you and any documents exchanged, on an automated case management computer program. Documents are scanned into electronic format and are available for retrieval for lawyers and staff of the firm.
Our firm has developed an additional channel of communications with our clients, which allows you to follow up on activity as it occurs. If you have internet access, you can check your case file at any time 24/7 to see the most recent updates to your case. On the firm internet site at the top left corner above our logo, is a link called “Client Login.” In your Initial Consultation, you should have been given your login credentials to access your case. Once you click on the Client Login link, you will be presented with the login to the Client Site. Enter your credentials and you will arrive at the dashboard.
Client Site functions
From the dashboard, you will some instructions, and below the instructions you will see a list of cases. If this is your first case with our firm, you will only see your new case listed with a blue button called “Manage This Case” at the right. If you have had previous personal injury cases with Richard Harris Law Firm or made use of our other divisions, Ticket Busters, or The Defenders, you may see links for those past cases as well. Select the relevant case, and click the blue Manage button.
Once you have accessed your auto accident case, you will see Client Info, which has your legal name addresses and contact information. You can contact your Case Manager at any time by clicking the green “Contact Us” button. You should confirm that all information is correct and contact us with corrections if needed.
At the top of the page you will see a row of tabs labelled Client Info, Case Details, Dates, Providers, Documents, and Notes. Clicking on these links will show a different aspect of your case. Again, during the initial stages of your case, check the information as displayed and make corrections by clicking the Contact Us button.
The NOTES tab, in particular will show actions taken by your Case Manager or Lawyer concerning your case. These notes will display the day after they take place: A nightly process gathers all updates to your case file and posts them for display the next day.
If you have questions about how to access this client site, or have not received your credentials, or have lost them, contact your Case Manager for direction.
The Richard Harris Law Firm provides information to our clients
We believe in using all technologies available to make your experience with our firm as transparent as possible and to keep you informed as your case progresses. In addition to these technologies, we believe the most important part of your experience is the person to person relationships you have with our lawyers and staff. If you’ve been injured through no fault or your own in a Car Accident, call us today at (702) 444-4444.
Filed under: Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Uncategorized
AUTO ACCIDENT SERIES (PART 4) – THE INITIAL CONSULTATION
After a car accident which resulted in injuries to you, you’ve now determined to hire a lawyer to assist with your case. When you call the Richard Harris Law Firm, you will talk with a…Read more
After a car accident which resulted in injuries to you, you’ve now determined to hire a lawyer to assist with your case. When you call the Richard Harris Law Firm, you will talk with a Legal Assistant known as an Intake Specialist who will gather and record general information about your accident and will discuss with a lawyer whether our firm can assist you, based on the circumstances of the case. Then an appointment will be set for the Initial
Perhaps your first experience with a law firm is the Initial Consultation. Many questions may be in your mind as to how to prepare for this meeting in a way that presents your case and gives your lawyer the information, he or she needs to pursue further legal action on your behalf. Will I be required to pay to discuss my case with the attorney? What documents do I need to bring to the meeting? We will answer these and other questions you may have concerning the initial consultation.
Will I need to pay for the consultation?
The answer to this question at the Richard Harris Law Firm is no. This consultation and all other aspects of your personal injury case will be handled under a contingency fee agreement.
What documents should I bring to the meeting?
Several documents are helpful to begin the process of a car accident claim. First, you should bring your identification to the meeting. This includes Driver’s License or State ID, Passport, Visa, Work Authorization or Military ID among others. You should also have received an information print out from the police officer at the scene of the accident. On this form, will be the names of all parties to the accident, including the vehicle owners, and drivers of all involved vehicles.
Information about your insurance company, such as a policy declarations page are very helpful. An insurance card would be sufficient. At the very least, your insurance company and policy number will allow us to obtain your coverages from your insurance company.
All of the information you recorded at the scene, including names of other drivers, registered owners of involved vehicles, insurance companies covering those vehicles; photos of the scene, damage to vehicles, and injuries received; and written accounts you may have made of the accident are very helpful to building your case.
Medical bills for injuries received, such as emergency room and subsequent doctor visits should be included in this meeting if you have them. Names of your doctors and medical facilities you have visited for your injury treatments will be collected during the interview.
Law Enforcement will file an Accident Report usually within 10 days of the accident. We will request the accident report from the appropriate police agency as part of our investigation. If you don’t have this document at the time of the initial consultation, we will inquire to the relevant parties to obtain this information.
The Initial Consultation Meeting
When you arrive at our office, you will be accompanied to a conference room and will initially meet with an Intake Specialist who will spend several minutes gathering more detailed information regarding your case. You should feel free to ask any questions you have during this meeting. Any required information that we need that can’t be answered at the meeting will be noted and an information page will be given to you in the case packet you’ll be given at the end of the meeting. You should forward these items to the Intake Specialist as soon as possible. Once the Intake Specialist has completed gathering the initial information needed, your lawyer and case manager will then join the meeting.
Your lawyer will ask questions as needed, to help him or her understand your case and the circumstances of the accident and your injuries and treatments to date. He or she will explain basic legal proceedings associated with your case and will explain step by step the process of your claim, and what to expect. They will go over in detail the retainer agreement and ask if you have questions regarding the retainer and contingency fee. Once the retainer agreement is signed by both you and your attorney, our firm will officially represent you in all aspects of your claim until settlement.
You will be given a copy of the of the retainer agreement in your case packet. Your case manager or attorney will also have you sign releases of information and authorizations needed to act on your behalf. You will be given a copy of all signed documents in the case packet. You should ask any questions you have about this claim and the process during this meeting and establish a comfort level with your attorney and case manager.
At the end of the meeting, your will be given your case packet, which contains information about the firm and business cards for your lawyer and case manager and all signed documents. During the initial stages particularly, but during all steps of your case, communications between you and firm personnel are very important. You will also be given access to the Client Portal during this meeting. We will cover information about the Client Portal in our next installment. Check back often for additions to this series.
The Richard Harris Law Firm is different because We Care
At our firm, we want you to understand as much about the process of pursuing your case as possible. If at any point during your case, if you have questions or concerns, give your attorney or case manager a call. This is a time when you should be able to concentrate on medical treatments to aid in your recovery from an accident. We will handle to details of your case and will communicate with you through phone calls and our Client Portal to give you as much information as you need. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident by a negligent driver, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.
Richard Harris discusses the Initial Consultation
Filed under: Auto Accident
AUTO ACCIDENT SERIES (PART 3): WHEN TO HIRE A LAWYER AND CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAWYER
In our previous blog entries in this series, we’ve discussed the accident itself and ways to protect your rights at the accident scene, and what the objectives of the insurance company are in handling your…Read more
In our previous blog entries in this series, we’ve discussed the accident itself and ways to protect your rights at the accident scene, and what the objectives of the insurance company are in handling your claim. If you’ve been in an accident, you may have learned that dealing with the opposing insurance company is not in your best interest. You’ve been injured, you’ve sought medical treatment and you’ve now decided to hire a lawyer to represent you in your accident claim, but don’t know where or when to start.
When to Hire a Lawyer for an Auto Accident
The short answer is, as soon as possible after the accident. The opposing side already has arrayed a large team of adjusters, investigators, and lawyers to minimize your claim so that they will be able to settle the case quickly and for the least amount. To level the playing field, it is important to have a lawyer on your side who will begin building your case to overcome the insurance company’s obstacles from the earliest stages of your recovery. In real life, this means within one or two days after your accident.
How to Hire the Right Lawyer
Perhaps the better question is, how do I hire the right lawyer for me? The answers to this question rely on several factors. Personal injury law is a very competitive field. You’ve probably already heard or seen advertising from many lawyers in the Las Vegas area. Beyond the advertising, however, are several other steps you can take to ensure that the lawyer you hire will best represent your needs.
Martindale Hubbell is the gold standard for obtaining lawyers’ reviews of other lawyers. The ratings system is simple to understand, with ratings ranging from Notable, to Distinguished to the highest rating, AV Preeminent. Selecting a lawyer who has achieved AV Preeminent indicates you are hiring a lawyer who is ethical, who is an advocate for their clients and consistently obtains the highest rewards for their clients, and has earned the highest respect of other lawyers. In your evaluation of lawyers to represent you, this perhaps should be your first consideration in the hiring process.
Second, ask about your prospective lawyer’s experience. How many cases has he taken to court and how many times has he been in a jury trial, and has he won? Has he studied negotiation and mediation? Most car accident cases settle out of court prior to litigation, and these considerations are of prime importance in evaluating a prospective lawyer to handle your claim.
A third consideration should be, does the firm have the financial resources to advance all client costs of litigating a case? At this point, you’re in the process of recovery with medical bills mounting. Coming up with money out-of-pocket to pay for preparing for and taking a case to court is the last thing you should have to worry about at this time.
A fourth question has to do with the lawyer’s disciplinary record with the Nevada State Bar Association. All lawyers are members of the Bar, and whether a lawyer has taken actions which have resulted in any disciplinary actions such as reprimand, suspension of his license, or disbarment may affect your chances of receiving your highest settlement in the appropriate time frame.
Has your lawyer received referrals from other lawyers or judges, and in particular from insurance adjusters or insurance defense lawyers? These people have inside information about the abilities of potential law firms and are an indication of a lawyer’s or firm’s abilities in the type of case in which you will be involved.
Lastly, after gaining answers to these very measurable questions about professional abilities of a prospective lawyer, consider whether this lawyer feels right to you. Do you have sense that this lawyer cares about your case and will be the kind of lawyer to communicate with your regularly, and do you trust what he says in your Initial Consultation?
These considerations should allow you to select a lawyer with whom you are comfortable and furthermore has the professional credentials to successfully represent you throughout the process of a car accident claim. In Part 4 of this series, we’ll discuss what to expect, and how to approach your Initial Consultation. Check back next week.
The Richard Harris Law Firm ranks AV Preeminent in Martindale Hubbell’s peer reviews
Our firm practices according to the highest ethical standards in the field of law. When you select a lawyer from the Richard Harris Law Firm, you can rest assured that your lawyer has been, and will continue to be evaluated according to these standards before being hired by our firm. If you’ve been injured in a car accident call us today at (702) 444-4444.
Richard Harris on When to Hire a Lawyer
Richard Harris discusses Hiring the Right Lawyer