Monday, December 30, 2013

What Happens in a Bus Accident in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Recently, the Las Vegas bus system has blossomed into a comprehensive transportation system in the Las Vegas Valley.  Although it is named the Regional Transportation Commission or the ‘RTC’ for short, the Las Vegas bus system is actually privately operated by Veolia Transportation. The Las Vegas bus system has fast lines for locals to use, such as on Sahara Avenue. In addition to locals use, the bus system is heavily relied on by tourists, as an easy and cost-effective means of transportation along the infamous Las Vegas strip.

Bus accident injuries are much different than car accident injuries. If you are riding the bus and haven’t been lucky enough to grab a seat, you may be standing when an accident happens. So, when you fall, it’s your body hitting the harsh metal of the bus interior. Also, different from a car accident, when you are injured in a bus accident while sitting, there are no seat belts protecting you from injury. 

If the bus is at fault for the accident or injuries to its passengers, then the bus company will be liable for injuries sustained by a passenger. However, if a third party, such as another car or truck was the sole cause of the accident, then you would have to make a claim against the car or truck’s driver, not the bus. 

If you are injured in a bus accident, it is important to ask for an incident card, to document that you were on the bus when the accident occurred. All of the Las Vegas buses have video cameras, which will document the accident. As part of a comprehensive handling of all bus accident cases, we notify the bus company to preserve all video evidence. 

Of course, seeking immediate medical treatment if you are injured, is also the next step you must take after a bus accident. Your bus accident lawyer at von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC will make sure you get immediate medical attention at no out of pocket cost to you.

Next time, we will discuss discovery in semi-truck/big rig accidents.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What are the Different Types of Personal Injury Cases in Las Vegas, Nevada?

I get calls everyday from people looking to hire a “personal injury” attorney. What most people do not know is that there are many different types of personal injury cases and therefore many different types of personal injury lawyers.  Today we will go over the most common types of personal injury cases, so you can make a better decision when hiring a personal injury attorney to meet your needs.
Car Accidents/Motor Vehicle Accidents. The first and most well know type of personal injury case is the car accident case. This also usually includes all accidents related to motor vehicles, such as truck/big rig accidents, bus accidents and motorcycle accidents. Also any accident dealing with a motor vehicle, such as a car hitting a bicycle or a pedestrian, is included in this case type.
Worker’s Compensation. Worker’s compensation is a specialty of personal injury cases. If you are injured on the job, and the person at fault is your employer or another co-worker, then you have a worker’s compensation case.  Sometimes you can have a worker’s compensation case with a regular personal injury component and you will generally need two specialists for each part of your case. There are attorneys who deal exclusively in the area of worker’s compensation. The reason for the specialty, is that worker’s compensation is an administrative area of law, with complex rules and regulations. Worker’s compensation has its own hearing and appeal system that a specialist in the field can navigate.
Medical Malpractice. When you or a loved one is injured through the negligence of a medical provider, then you have a medical malpractice case. You need a medical malpractice attorney to preserve your legal rights. In a medical malpractice case, there is a short time window where you can file your lawsuit. The medical malpractice arena also has special hoops that claimants must jump through, including having a physician review your case, before a lawsuit is filed. Since there are many mine fields that can present themselves in a medical malpractice case, it is best to retain in expert who regularly handles medical malpractice cases.  
Product Liability and Toxic Torts.  When you or someone you love is injured through a defective device, called product liability, or a chemical, also known as a toxic tort, then you need an attorney who can handle such complex matters. The Erin Brockovich case, is probably the most well known example of a toxic tort case. That case dealt with contaminated drinking water in California. Most personal injury attorneys do not handle these types of cases. There are many reasons for personal injury attorneys not handling these types of cases. One of the main reasons is the time and expense in prosecuting these cases. A person needs to make sure their attorney has the funding and time to put into these cases.
Be wary of an attorney who handles everything. You have probably heard the saying, that a jack of all trades can be a master of none. Next time, we will discuss bus accidents and special issues presented in bus accident cases.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What is a Recorded Statement in a Personal Injury Case?

 When you hire a skilled personal injury attorney to handle your case, they will be monitoring and working on your case throughout the process. As part of your case, your personal injury attorney may contact you, to let you know that your insurance company wants to take your recorded statement. A recorded statement is simply a short statement by you, of the accident, your current injuries and treatment.

Your personal injury attorney will advise you that recorded statements are required when you are making a UIM (under-insured motorist claim). UIM claims come into play, when the person who caused the accident does not have enough insurance to cover your claim and you are tapping into your own insurance coverage that you purchased, called UIM coverage. (Read our UIM blogpost to find out more about UIM claims.)

If you have UIM insurance coverage, your insurance company is allowed to take your recorded statement. When you sign up for insurance, you agree to ‘cooperate’ with your insurance company when you make a claim. Cooperation has been deemed, in part to mean, giving a recorded statement. By contrast, the other person's insurance company cannot require you to give a recorded statement, since you are not their insured. In other words, you did not sign an agreement with them to let them take your recorded statement.

A reputable personal injury attorney will make sure that the recorded will take place at their office and your attorney will be present. Your lawyer’s office will also make sure that the recorded statement is scheduled on a day and time that works with your schedule. The insurance company will call the attorney’s office. Your attorney will put the call on "speaker mode", so you and your attorney can both hear the questions. You as the injured person, will be providing the answers. 

Your personal injury lawyer may ask you follow up questions, if necessary, to clarify any answers you provided. A recorded statement usually only takes 15 to 30 minutes. On the day of your recorded statement, you will arrive at your personal injury attorney’s office 15 minutes early, to go over your current treatment status and the recorded statement process with you, so you are fully prepared. 

Next time, we will discuss different types of personal injury cases.

Monday, December 2, 2013

How Does Surgery Affect My Personal Injury Case?

When a person is injured a car accident or a slip and fall accident, shock is usually the first thing people feel. Your adrenaline is up and you are on alert.  It is similar to working out. You go to the gym and are feeling good. However, the next day, you cannot get out of bed! It has a formal name called “delayed onset muscle soreness”. Most people generally have the same reaction after a car accident. Immediately after the accident, they feel “okay”.  But, later that day or in the evening, when they are trying to sleep, they pain surfaces.  I cannot tell you how many times I have clients tell me that they are just a “little sore” immediately after an accident. Yet, days, weeks or months later, that soreness does not go away and becomes worse.   
After an accident, if you are feeling sore, the best course of action is to seek conservative care.  Conservative care generally consists of seeing a primary care physician, chiropractor, physical therapist and/or massage therapist. If you were injured in a car accident and sustained a strain of your neck, it generally takes 2 to 3 months for that injury to resolve with conservative treatment. 

However, if the discs in your spine were disrupted or a nerve became impinged, you will generally require more treatment, that last longer than the 2 to 3 month timeline. After this period, your treatment providers may refer you out to more invasive care, such as undergoing an MRI or having injections performed.  If those fail, your doctor may decide that you may need surgery.

The question client’s ask, is “How does having surgery affect my personal injury case? The answer is actually very simply, the cost of the surgery, as well as the pain and suffering you had to endure, associated with having surgery will be part of your damages in your personal injury case.   

Next time, we will discuss recorded statements in your personal injury case.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What Does the Las Vegas, Nevada Personal Injury Court System Look Like?

In the state of Nevada, we have what are called District courts, where all matters with a value of $10,000.00 or more are heard. That means a lot of car accident cases that do not settle and require a lawsuit being filed, end up in district court.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, we have 32 district court judges that hear personal injury matters. When making their decisions on cases, the judges look at the laws as written by the legislature and written opinions from our highest court in Nevada, the Nevada Supreme Court. As of this writing, there is presently no intermediate court of appeals in Nevada.  
However, there has been a growing movement to have a court of appeals in Nevada. Without a court of appeals, the Nevada Supreme Court has to decide all appeals. Given the limited resources of the Nevada Supreme Court, the court is not able to make decisions on all cases that request an appeal.
What happens when the legislature and the Nevada Supreme Court haven’t addressed an issue? You guessed it! Each district court judge makes their own decision! Oftentimes, that means that one judge can make a decision that is completely opposite from the judge in the next courtroom. Although that means there is always uncertainty in any lawsuit, your Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer is willing and able to fight for you!
Next time, we will discuss surgery and how it impacts your case.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What Does the Settlement Process Look Like?

What happens when you settle a case? A lot of people don’t know what the settlement process is like once a case settles. So, to take you through the process, we will be begin with your car accident lawyer negotiating the maximum settlement amount from the insurance company. Once a car accident case settles, there is still work to be done by your Las Vegas car accident lawyer.
Once the settlement is reached, the insurance company will prepare a document, called a Release of All Claims, outlining the settlement terms. The settlement document is usually just referred to as the Release. Your attorney will review the settlement agreement before you sign it.  The Release will have your name, the date of the car accident and the other parties’ information as well. The Release basically states that by accepting the settlement, the case is over and you have resolved all of your claims against the person who hit you in the car accident and their insurance company.
The insurance company will usually require that your signature on the Release, be done in the presence of notary. The notary just makes sure that you are the person actually signing the Release and not some other person. That way, the insurance company can be confident that you personally signed the Release and that you know the amount of the settlement. Since your LasVegas auto wreck attorney has a notary at their office, you can come down to their office to sign the Release, if that is more convenient for you. Otherwise, you can sign the Release in front of a notary of your choosing (at your bank or a mail plus center) and mail the Release to your car accident lawyer.
Once your attorney receives the Release, they will send the original document to the insurance company. After the insurance company receives the Release, they will issue the settlement check to your lawyer. Once the settlement check clears your attorney’s trust account, you can come pick up your portion of settlement monies (Your car accident attorney makes sure that all of your medical bills are paid). It takes about 30 to 45 days to receive your settlement monies once you sign the Release.
Next time, we will talk about the district courts in Las Vegas and how the different courts affect your case.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Does the Las Vegas, Nevada Car Accident Court System Look Like?

When your car accident case doesn’t settle and you end up in Court, which Court are you actually in? In Las Vegas, Nevada, there are three main Court levels for car accident cases. These Courts are called Small Claims Court, Justice Court, District Court. Each Court has a higher jurisdictional amount, meaning how much they can award.
Small Claims Court hears cases, where the value of your car accident case is $7,500 or less. Small Claims Court is great for Las Vegas auto wreck cases, where your medical bills are in the $2,000 to $3,500 range. In Small Claims Court, everything is moved along at a relatively fast pace and your case gets resolved quickly.  As part of the Small Claims Court process, you and your Las Vegas personal injury attorney will meet with the insurance company’s attorney at mediation. At mediation, an impartial third person tries to get both sides to come to an agreement on settlement.  If no agreement can be reached, then on a separate date, everyone goes in front of the Small Claims Court  Judge and the Judge makes their decision on what you as the injured person should receive.  If the insurance company is unhappy with the Small Claims Judge’s award, then they can appeal it to the Justice Court Judge.
If you Las Vegas auto accident case is valued at between $7,501 and $9,999.99, then you can go directly to Justice Court. Although Justice Court is not as fast as Small Claims Court, it is still a place where your case can be resolved in a relatively speedy manner. In Justice Court, the insurance company is allowed to do some limited formal fact finding regarding your case. Once that is completed, then you will go before the Judge, who will decide the amount to award you.
If you have a serious injury, then you will be placed in District Court, where all matters with a value of $10,000.00 or more are heard. If you case is worth between $10,000 and $50,000, then your case will be funneled through an expedited system, called Nevada’s Non-Binding Arbitration Program. That program is another blog in and of itself, so that will be discussed in a future blog post. In District Court, if your car accident case does not settle, and it is worth more than $50,000, then your case could take 1 to 2 years to resolve. These are reserved for the most serious of cases, such as if you had surgery or require lifelong care.
Next time, we will discuss how the settlement process works.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Happens When My Car is a Total Loss and I Owe More on it than it is Worth?

Car accidents are a reality of life when you live in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you have just bought the brand new car of your dreams and were just rear-ended in a car accident, you may be dealing with personal injuries, as well as the damage to your car.  If your brand new car is totaled, you may owe more on your car, than it is worth.

When the other driver’s insurance company is trying to determine what to pay for your car, they do not look at what you owe on it.  Instead, the insurance company looks at what your car is actually worth.  Kelly Blue Values are a good place to start, to figure out what your car is actually worth. 

The question your Las Vegas car accident Attorney gets asked, is what happens when the amount owed on the car is more than the value of their car.   The answer is GAP insurance.  GAP Insurance, is a shorthand name for Guaranteed Auto Protection. GAP insurance covers the difference between the value of your car and how much you still owe on the financing you took out on the car.

When you are in a car accident in Las Vegas and your loan amount is higher than the value of your car, the only avenue for compensation is if you purchased GAP insurance when you bought the car.  They would have offered you GAP insurance when you met with the financing person at the place you purchased the car.  Some finance companies actually require you to have GAP insurance.   If you are not sure if you have GAP insurance, you can talk to your finance company and ask them if you have it. 

If you have GAP insurance, then you can seek the difference of the value of your car and amount owed. Also, in some GAP policies, they cover your deductible.  So, if you have just bought or are planning to buy a brand new car with financing, you may want to consider buying GAP insurance, in case you are in a car accident and your car is totaled.

Next time, we will discuss the overall Court system for Las Vegas car accident cases.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do Juries Get to See Car Wreck Photographs, in Las Vegas Car Accident Cases?

Is it possible to stop pictures of a car that has been in an accident from coming into evidence at trial?  The short answer is that it depends. The admissibility of photographs in Las Vegas car accident cases is highly fought over issue in litigated car accident cases. Although the  Nevada Supreme Court has not decided this issue, other Courts exclude photographs when no expert testimony is introduced linking the vehicles’ property damage to the injuries from the person hurt in the car accident.  

So, in Nevada, it is left up to the individual judge deciding your case, whether they allow the jury to see photographs.  Why is this issue so important?  Because, when juries see only a scratched bumper, they tend to think a person could not have possibly been injured in the accident.  This is a false assumption. This hurts people who have been injured in minor property damage car accidents, preventing them from getting the compensation they deserve. 

In a 2008  “unpublished” opinion (which means it is an advisory and not mandatory law) out of a New Jersey court, in  Twal v. Hinds, 2008 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2666 (2008), the New Jersey court excluded the car wreck photographs.  The New Jersey Court felt that the car accident pictures would prevent the injured party from getting a fair shake at trial.   The legal jargon for this is that the pictures were “more prejudicial than probative”.   The court reasoned that there was a lack of evidence  to support the defendant’s argument that a relationship existed between the vehicle damage and the injured person’s injuries. This helps the person injured in a Las Vegas car accident. 

Common sense may tell us that if a car was barely damaged in an auto accident, then a person could barely have been injured.  However, common sense also tells us that when we step outside and look at the horizon, that the earth is flat.  Now, we all know that our senses deceive us, and the earth is actually round.  The same principle applies to damage to cars in car accident cases.  Our senses deceive us. The amount of property damage to a car involved in an accident has nothing to do with personal injuries someone can suffer in a car accident. 

Delaware has also agreed with the New Jersey approach and doesn’t allow photographs of cars to come into evidence, for the jury to speculate on injuries. In the case of Davis v. Maute, 770 A.2d 36, 40 (Del. 2001), the court said that“[a]s a general rule, a party in a personal injury case may not directly argue that the seriousness of personal injuries from a car accident correlates to the extent of the damage to the cars, unless the party can produce competent expert testimony on this issue”.

The Supreme Court of Delaware explained that “[a]bsent such expert testimony, any inference by the jury that minimal damage to the Plaintiff’s car translates into minimal personal injuries to the Plaintiff would necessarily amount to unguided speculation.”  Davis, 770 A.3d at 40.  
Similar to New Jersey and Delware, New York has come to the same conclusion that car accident photos cannot tell the story of a person’s injuries in an accident.   In the New York case of Clemente v. Blumenberg, 183 Misc.2d 923, 934 705 N.Y.S.2d 792 (1999), the court rightly concluded that “using repair costs and photographs as a method for calculating the change in velocity of two vehicles at impact is not a generally accepted method in any relevant field of engineering or under the laws of physics”. Because not even experts can come to such conclusions, allowing jurors to do so invites naked speculation based upon “common sense”.
What is interesting about these types of cases, is that the person causing the car crash, almost always admits they were at fault for the car wreck.  The case is then what are the extent of injured person’s injuries.  To top it off, the injured party has almost always been paid for the damage to their car.   So, with the property damage decided and paid for, the pictures of the property damage are completely irrelevant at trial.
Since the Nevada Supreme Court nor the State legislature have not made an actual law on whether car accident photos come into evidence in a Las Vegas jury trial, it is up to the judge who is hearing the case to decide it the pictures come in.  As you can imagine, each judge can decide the issue differently.
Next time we will discuss what happens when your car is a total loss and you owe more on it that it is worth.

Monday, October 14, 2013

How Property Damage Can Affect the Value of Your Car Accident Case

One of the most basic issues that determines the value of your car accident case, is the amount of property damage to your vehicle.  Although there is actually no credible evidence that says minimal property damage = no personal injuries,  insurance companies and juries still come to that conclusion.
There was a recent study conducted by the Trial Survey Group, which presented the same case to similar mock juries (a mock jury is just another word for a test group of potential jurors).   In each case they presented the same injured person with the same injuries.  However, the only thing they changed were the photos of the injured person’s car. 
The juries changed the amount they awarded based upon the amount of property damage they saw in the photos.  When there was a scratched bumper, the jury gave just $6,000.  When the property damage to the car was minor, a small dent instead of just a scratch, the jury tripled its award and gave $18,000.  When the car was totaled, the verdict again doubled.   So, in your Las Vegas Personal Injury case, the visual damage to your car determines, in part, how much the insurance company is willing to offer to settle your case. 
Next time we will take about the related topic of how to potentially prevent minor car accident photos from coming into trial.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Why Don’t Insurance Companies Settle?

This is probably the oldest and most oft repeated question I get in my law office.  The answer is simple, the insurance companies care more about their bottom line, than you.  I often give the example of the insurance adjuster who is trained to deny every claim, no matter what the case is about.
But, once a personal injury attorney is hired, the insurance company generally takes the case more seriously.  However, there are still many insurance companies and individual insurance adjusters, who still deny claims without any reasonable reason.
In the Las Vegas personal injury arena, there are some insurance companies, as a whole, who categorically deny all claims that come before them.  It is unfortunate that some insurance companies behave in such a reckless manner, raking in premiums from unsuspecting honest people.  When you come into my office, I can tell you which insurance companies those are.
Other insurance companies have made a financial decision to offer only very low amounts to injured persons.  Those insurance companies believe that it is in their best interests to take every case to trial and let a jury possibly award nothing.  When the economy was doing poorly, the men and women who sat on juries, adjusted their awards to fit the changing economic landscape.  Now that the economy is picking up steam, it is still the proverbial crap shoot when it comes to what type of jurors will be sitting in judgment on your case and hence what type of verdict they are going to award.
Another reason why insurance companies don’t offer any money to settle, is if they believe that liability is at issue.  Sometimes personal injury attorneys think they are the only ones who deal with unreasonable insurance companies, but we are not alone.  I had a colleague who related a story, where the insurance company denied liability, after his client had a 40,000 pound cargo container dropped on the vehicle he was driving!  So, when the insurance company denies liability in a rear-end car accident, don’t feel bad, the depths of the insurance company’s unreasonableness, has no boundaries.
Next time we will talk about property damage and how it impacts your case. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Who Pays the Costs in a Personal Injury Case?

One of the more common questions I get asked is who is going to pay the costs in a personal injury case.  The short answer is that von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, always pays for the costs of the case.  However, not every law firm does this, so when choosing a personal injury lawyer, this should be one of your main questions.

In the more common rear-end car accident, the insurance company of the at fault driver, settles the case relatively quickly after the client has finished treating., which is usually 3 to 6 months after the car accident takes place.  So, the only costs are those with getting the police report and ordering the medical records.  In those cases, almost all personal injury attorneys pay the costs of the case.
However, in cases where the insurance company does not offer a reasonable settlement or no settlement at all, then the costs increase.  Insurance companies generally do not settle for a reasonable amount for a series of reasons, which will be discussed in a future blog.  However, for now, when litigation is needed, many personal injury attorney’s don’t pay for the costs of the lawsuit and instead expect the client to pick up the tab.  
At von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, the client never pays for costs.  When a lawsuit is filed, immediate costs include the filing fee for the lawsuit itself and the cost to hire a process server to personally serve the lawsuit on the at fault party.  
If the case is more complicated and does not settle immediately after filing of the lawsuit, then depositions, where court reporters and videographers are required and in cases where expert witnesses are needed, costs can and do go into the thousands of dollars.
Please stay tuned for future blogs.  Our next talk will be on reasons by insurance companies do not settle, which is another issue that comes up repeatedly in personal injury cases.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Interestingly enough, I was just looking at the “news” headlines for the day, right before I was “supposed” to be writing my blog for the week, on what to look for in a Personal Injury Attorney.  Since news is now 24 hours, instead of the one hour evening broadcast years back, what passes for news is debatable. 

However, while I was reading the news, I came across an article on the Nine Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People.  Belief Number 4, was that “Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.”  
I believe there is some truth to this statement.  Just because someone has been doing something for 10 or 20 years, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good at it.  Although in the personal injury field and lawyering in general, if you have been doing something long enough, you will of at least learned something along the way and be mediocre.  
But, when choosing a personal injury attorney, a mediocre attorney isn’t exactly on your top ten list.  Instead, asking your prospective personal injury attorney, what percentage of their practice is devoted to personal injury matters, is important.  An attorney who practices in all areas of the law cannot be great at any of them.
Also, when meeting with a personal injury attorney, getting a feel from their office and staff, as to the level of personal attention your case will get, is extremely important.  Sometimes in the practice of law, certain larger cases may get more attention, while you case sits on the back burner.   
This is because some personal injury law firms take any case that walks in the door and they do not have the time or staff to devote to each and every case.  It then becomes like triage in a hospital: work the more serious and pressing cases first.  At von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, we only take on a select number of cases, so we can be certain that we have the time and resources to make sure your case is worked properly, which in the end, means getting the highest value for your case.
Next time, we will talk about who pays the costs in a personal injury case.

Treatment after a Car Accident

Last time we talked on the topic of quickly settling with the insurance company without a car accident attorney and why not to do it! This time we will talk about how your body reacts to a car accident and treatment to make your recovery faster and less painful.
Immediately after a car accident, your body’s first reaction is shock. Your auto accident lawyer will tell you that although you may be in shock immediately after the auto accident, if you are injured, later in the day or in the evening, you will start to feel the soreness in your neck or back.

Some clients are hesitant to seek medical treatment, because they are busy enough with work, home and all of the other commitments they already have to deal with everyday. Some clients think that they will just get better in a couple weeks and everything will be normal. However, this can be very detrimental to your body and your case.

Your car wreck lawyer will tell you that she has seen it time and time again, a client thinks they are just a little sore and doesn’t get treatment. Then, a couple weeks go by and your body is not just getting better. Now, the client comes into the car accident lawyer’s office and wants to get medical care. However, by waiting for two weeks, the insurance company can and definitely does argue that the client must have been injured in some other, new accident, otherwise, they would have gotten treatment sooner, if they were really injured.
Your car accident attorney will argue that the insurance company’s reasoning is flawed, but the insurance company will argue this during the entirety of your case. It is your car accident attorney’s experience that an otherwise straightforward case may even end up going to an arbitration hearing or trial because of a two week gap in treatment.

Seeing your auto accident lawyer is always free. Seeing your car wreck lawyer the day of the accident, or at the latest, the next day after the accident, is always the best idea. Your car accident attorney will coordinate immediate medical treatment for you, including prescription, chiropractic and medical doctor care, so you can be on the road to recovery and get the maximum amount for your car accident case. Always remember that there is no out of pocket cost to you to see any car accident lawyer or for your car accident related medical treatment.

Next time, we will talk about what to look for in personal injury attorney!

Settling with the Insurance Company Immediately

Last time we talked about why it is a bad idea to get a cash advance on your car accident case. Today, we will talk about a related topic of quickly settling with the insurance company without a car accident attorney and why not to do it!

With unemployment in Las Vegas, Nevada, still higher than the national average, you may be feeling pinched for cash. You are in a car accident, you are in pain and your car is damaged. You may not personally know an auto accident lawyer. Instead, the insurance company calls you and tells you that you can get your car fixed and $1,500 cash in your pocket right now! The insurance company tells you if you just sign a small piece of paper, you will get your cash and be on your way. You wonder what the right thing to do is.
The “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” saying applies to this situation. Your car accident attorney has seen this countless times before. You’re in a car accident, feeling a little sore, but you think it will go away in a few days. You are not a person who likes to sue, you just want your car fixed and the extra cash in your pocket seems like a good bonus for your troubles.

What you don’t realize, but something your car wreck lawyer will tell you, is that once you sign that piece of paper from the insurance company, you are forever barred from making a claim for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
A couple weeks go by and your soreness has not gone away. In fact, it has become bothersome pain and you need treatment. At this time you think it is a good idea to call a car wreck lawyer. You meet with the car accident lawyer and show them what you signed. It is only after your auto accident lawyer has looked at the piece of paper you signed that you realize just exactly what you signed.

Your car accident attorney tells you that although you thought you were just signing a piece of paper relating to your property damage, you actually signed away all of your rights in the car accident.

It is always a good idea to consult a car accident attorney before you sign a legal document. Consultations are always free with your car accident lawyer, so you can only gain by speaking to someone about your rights.
Next time we will talk about how your body reacts to a car accident and treatment to make your recovery faster and less painful.

Should I “Get a Check” Immediately?

Times are tough out there. You’ve heard the ads, where a car wreck lawyer claims that they can get you quick cash if you were injured in a car accident. What people don’t realize is that you will get a lot less money when your case settles.

Your auto accident lawyer has seen it many times. A client hires a lawyer who promises immediate cash. You are in a vulnerable position. You were just injured in an accident, probably missed a few days of work due to the pain and doctor’s visits. The flashy and fast talking auto accident lawyer says you can get money now. Sounds good, right? Not really.
What your car accident lawyer isn’t telling you, is that there are a lot of strings attached to that money you are getting. It is basically a high interest loan shark cash advance. The interest goes up so fast and so high, before you know it, you owe much more than you received.

I have seen a client get $1,500 in cash. But, the loan shark rates are so high, they ended up owing over $10,000! The smooth talking car accident attorney doesn’t tell you this. The car accident lawyer just wants you to sign you up with them, no matter what the cost.
Be careful when you see or hear some car wreck lawyer promise something that sounds too good to be true. You’ve heard the saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This could not be any more true than in the lawyer setting. This practice may contribute to why used car salespeople and lawyers are sometimes lumped together!
Your car accident lawyer will tell you that there are many benefits to waiting until your case settles to receive your check. Most importantly you will end up with more money in your pocket when you case ends. You will also not have to worry about how much interest is being added to the money you now owe! You have a enough to worry about, getting the doctor’s office, feeling better and taking care of you and your family. You don’t need any added stress in your life after a car accident.

Next time we will talk about a related topic of quickly settling with the insurance company without a car accident attorney and why not to do it!

When a Lawsuit is the Only Option: Nevada’s Special Arbitration Program for Whiplash Car Accident Cases

A lot of people wonder what the process is if the insurance company will not come to a reasonable settlement on their case. If you have been injured in an accident, and have suffered whiplash or some other related injury, at our law firm, your car accident lawyer will file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle for what your case is worth.
Your auto accident lawyer will tell you that when we file a lawsuit, the insurance company may decide to increase their settlement offer and your case may settle. This happens frequently, since many car wreck attorneys do not file lawsuits and the insurance companies are surprised when our office actually does file a lawsuit.

However, if your case does not settle after we file the lawsuit and serve it on the other driver, then your case may go into a special Nevada program for whiplash type car accident cases. In Nevada’s special program, we will be assigned to a private judge, called an arbitrator, who will coordinate the transfer of information and documents between the parties, which is called “discovery”.

You may have to submit to a deposition (it is simply a statement under oath), where the insurance company’s attorney asks you questions about the accident. Your car accident attorney will of course be there for the deposition. The insurance company may also ask you to sign and review a document, where you answer written questions from the insurance company on your background information, what happened in the accident and your injuries. Your car accident lawyer will be with you every step of the way during this process.
Should the case not settle before then, the arbitrator will conduct an informal mini-trial in a conference room, where you will say what happened to you and the treatment you received. Your car accident lawyer will provide all of your medical records to the private judge, so they have a full understanding of what is going on in your case.

The private judge/arbitrator will issue a written decision on the case. The private judge’s decision is not binding on the parties, but usually the parties accept the private judge’s decision. The whole process takes about 6 months. We will of course take it one step at a time and you will be informed as the process continues.