Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How do you Serve a Lawsuit on a Defendant Insurance Company in a Bad Faith or Breach of Contract Action?

You bought car insurance thinking you would be covered in case something happened to you while driving.  Since you are forward thinking, you bought UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage, which protects you in case you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.  Yet, your insurance company is not living up to their end of the bargain, by paying you your UIM car insurance benefits.

If you are in this situation and need to hire an attorney to fight the insurance company, you may be wondering, how does the insurance company actually get notice of the lawsuit? As part of doing business in the state of Nevada, all insurance companies have to go through the Nevada insurance commissioner before they set up shop here in Las Vegas, Nevada. As part of the that process, each insurance company agrees that if a lawsuit is filed against it, the Nevada Insurance commissioner can accept notice of the lawsuit on their behalf. The laws that apply in this situation are NRS §680A.250 and NRS §680A.260.

If they are an out of state insurance company, then your Las Vegas insurance attorney is required to serve the Nevada insurance commissioner instead of the individual defendant insurance company. If they are an in-state insurance company, then the statute allows your Las Vegas personal injury attorney the option to serve the Nevada insurance commissioner instead of the defendant insurance company.

How does this process work?  In Las Vegas, the Nevada Insurance Commissioner’s office is located at 2501 East Sahara Ave., Suite 302, Las Vegas, NV 89104.   Two copies of the Complaint and Summons (lawsuit), with a check in the amount of $30.00 are hand delivered to the insurance commissioner’s Sahara office. The $30.00 fee is set by the Nevada State Legislature. NRS §680B.010 lays out the fees related to insurance companies.  This fee cannot be changed by the Nevada insurance commissioner, as it is set by the State legislature. The benefit of serving the Nevada insurance commissioner’s office is that anyone, including your Las Vegas personal injury attorney, and not a process server, can drop off the lawsuit documents and check with the insurance commissioner’s office. 

Once the insurance commissioner receives the lawsuit paperwork, they forward the documents via certified mail, to the defendant insurance company. Service of process is deemed complete when the insurance commissioner mails the paperwork to the defendant insurance company. Normally, defendants get 20 days to file an answer to a lawsuit. However, when serving the Nevada insurance commissioner, insurance companies get an additional 10 days, for a total of 30 days to file a response to the lawsuit.

After the lawsuit documents are mailed, then your personal injury lawyer will deal directly with the defendant insurance company.

Next time we will discuss how to serve someone with a lawsuit through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How do you Serve a Lawsuit on a Defendant When They Live in a Gated Community?

Gated communities were once a shelter for the rich and famous. Now, in the United States, it is estimated that over 8 million people, across the economic spectrum, live in gated communities. When you need to personally serve a lawsuit on someone who lives in a gated community, this presents special issues. 

In Las Vegas, from golf course communities to apartment complexes, many people are living in gated communities. By providing those who live in gated communities shelter from crime and use of community facilities, these communities have created an unintended byproduct of preventing personal service of notice of a lawsuit to its residents. 

The general rule is that a person must personally receive notice of the lawsuit. Giving someone notice of a lawsuit is usually accomplished in one of two ways. People are commonly served with the lawsuit, either by giving them the notice at their place of work or at their home. 

But, what happens when you do not know where they work, because you were involved in a car accident with them and they were not required to provide their work information? Also, what if your process server has gone to their home, only to find that they live in a gated community and they cannot get in?

Because of these issues there are exceptions to the general rule that someone must be personally served with notice of a lawsuit. Given the boom of gated communities in Nevada, in 1993, the Nevada State Legislature passed a law allowing people who live in gated communities to be served with lawsuit by alternative means.

In Nevada the law for giving someone notice of a lawsuit when they live in a gated housing development, is set out in Nevada Revised Statute, §14.090. There are actually two provisions of alternative service, within the Nevada statute. The first method applies when there is a guard at the gate and they deny access to the home. When that happens, you can leave a copy of the lawsuit with the guard. When there is a simply a gate and no guard present, which is frequently the case, you are allowed to mail the lawsuit via registered or certified mail. Both of these are simple and cost-effective means of providing notice of a lawsuit to a defendant in a personal injury case.

Next time we will discuss how to serve someone with a lawsuit via publication.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When Does Video Evidence in Come Into Play in a Personal Injury Case in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Although this is not England, with “CC TV” everywhere scanning and recording what happens on the streets, you would be surprised how often an accident is captured on video here in Las Vegas, Nevada.  If you are involved in an accident in Las Vegas, then one of the first questions your personal injury lawyer will ask in investigating the accident, is whether there is video evidence to document your case.


Since this is a tourist town, a lot of injuries happen at one of the Las Vegas casinos. Due to all the money laying around on the casino floor, there are video cameras in all of the Las Vegas casinos. What some people may not know, is that there are video cameras not just on the casino floor. Areas such as the walkways, elevators and entrances all have video cameras as well. The only place you can be guaranteed that there are not video cameras, are the hotel rooms themselves and the public restrooms. However, there will be video cameras to the doors of the rooms and restrooms.

As you can now imagine, if there is an accident at a Las Vegas hotel and casino, it is probably going to be caught on video. What is important to note is that the casinos are NOT required to turn over the video evidence until a lawsuit is filed and the exchange of documents and evidence is underway. If you are involved in a slip and fall at a local casino, then your experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney will make sure to immediately put the casino on notice to preserve all video evidence, should a lawsuit be necessary.


Another instance where video evidence comes into play, is in Las Vegas bus accidents. If you were riding our public transportation bus system when an accident took place, there are video cameras on the buses to document any accidents and injuries. Video evidence in bus accident matters is important to prove that you were actually on the bus when the accident happened and to document the accident itself. 


What you may not realize, is that if you are involved in car accident, there may actually be video evidence of the accident. The most common way to have video of the accident, is with a “dash cam” mounted on a vehicle. Cab companies and big rig truck operators oftentimes install these dash cams on their vehicles. If you were in a rear-end collision with a vehicle that had a dash cam installed, the events leading up to the collision and the accident itself will be captured on film.

Next time we will discuss a question that comes up frequently, how do you serve a lawsuit on someone when they live in a gated community. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Las Vegas Semi-Truck Accidents Present Different Investigation Issues than your Typical Car Accident Case.

With Las Vegas, Nevada being at the center of the western states, semi-trucks pass through our roads and highways every day. When semi-trucks are involved in accidents, serious injuries oftentimes result.

Because severe injuries and sometimes fatalities are involved in big rig accidents, investigating them is quite different than the typical rear-end car accident. Police officers with specialized training are oftentimes called to the accident scene. In addition to the standard traffic accident report that is prepared in car accidents, other reports are usually prepared. These additional reports may include a separate investigation report, a reconstruction report and commercial vehicle inspection report may all be prepared. An experienced personal injury attorney will request these reports and make sure all of the necessary information is gathered to preserve your case.

Similar to airplanes, big rigs are equipped with the infamous “black box”, which can tell  you a lot about the events leading up to the semi truck accident. Because semi-truck drivers are heavily regulated as far as how many hours that they can work in a day, they also have to keep a log of their driving and other work related activities. As part of the semi-truck driver’s log, the driver is also required to conduct a pre-trip inspection. This information can tell you important information about possible causes or contributors to the accident.

A lawyer well versed in big rig accidents, will also request the ambulance report, tow company reports and fire and rescue reports, which will also have information needed for a complete picture of the accident. An aggressive semi-truck accident lawyer, will also make sure to hire an expert in the area of big rig accidents, to analyze and formulate opinions concerning the evidence. Hiring an attorney who knows the ins and outs of big rig accidents is important in protecting you or your loved ones rights after an accident. At von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, we make protecting your rights our number one goal!

Next time we will discuss video evidence in personal injury cases.