Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is Speed of a Car Admissible in a Court of Law in Nevada?

A car accident happens in Las Vegas. One car is going over the speed limit. The injured party is going 55 in a 45 zone, when another car makes a left hand turn in front of them. The left hand turn driver attempts to argue that if the injured party had been going the speed limit, then the parties would never have collided. This argument is not allowed pursuant to Nevada law.

The seminal case from the Supreme Court of Nevada is almost 100 years old and titled Bawden v. Kulinski, 48 Nev. 181 (1924).  This case held excessive speed cannot be used in this manner. Courts have determined that when a driver has the right of way, and his speed does nothing but bring his vehicle to the same location as the other driver, his speed is irrelevant. Regardless of the injured party’s speed, the injured party had the right of way, and the right to assume that no one was going to invade it and cut him off. 

Courts have held this way because, saying that a driver’s speed caused a collision, can be construed as an irrational argument. For example, this argument can also be used to say that the speeding driver would have cleared the point of impact by driving drastically higher than the speed limit, or much lower. So, if the injured party had been traveling slightly faster, the accident would not have taken place. To avoid these absurd arguments, courts consistently hold that the mere fact that someone’s excess speed brought the two vehicle together, is not allowable argument in a court of law. 

Next time, we will discuss what costs are allowed in Las Vegas court cases.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Happens When A Minor is Involved in a Car Accident?

Most people do not know that when a minor is involved in a car accident, special legal steps must be taken in the minor’s personal injury claim.

First, Court approval must be sought, before any settlement can be confirmed. That means, once the parents have agreed to the settlement amount, the Court must also agree that the settlement amount is in the best interests of the minor child. It also doesn’t matter if the minor is a teenager and will turn 18 soon. As long as they have not reached 18 years of age, the Court must agree to the settlement terms.

Additionally, the parents cannot hold onto the settlement money for the son or daughter. That means, parents cannot invest the monies in the stock market or any other type of higher yield investment.  Instead, the settlement funds for the child must be placed in an interest bearing blocked account with a local financial institution. Only when the child reaches 18 years of age can they can access that money. So, parents cannot take any money out of that account at any time.

Next time, we will discuss if whether a car is speeding is admissible in a court of law.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Happens When You Get a Ticket for Not Having Your Registration Sticker Even Though You Registered Your Car Online?

There are two separate laws that govern registration tags in Las Vegas, Nevada. One is the City law, called municipal law. While the other, state law, located in Nevada Revised Statutes, usually shortened to simply “NRS”.

Municipal is another word for City and includes the laws in the City of Las Vegas. According to Municipal Code §11.24.010, it is unlawful, on a street within the City, to "[p]ark a vehicle which does not display thereon a valid registration permit …  So, what happens when you renew your registration, but haven’t received that new color-coded sticker in the mail?

Nevada state law may come to your rescue. NRS §482.280(4) states that a car owner who has applied for renewal may continue to drive the vehicle for the time it takes the DMV to issue a new registration card aka sticker. NRS §482.280(4) states: an owner who has made proper application for renewal of registration before the expiration of the current registration but who has not received the license plate or plates or card of registration for the ensuing period of registration is entitled to operate or permit the operation of that vehicle upon the highways upon displaying thereon the license plate or plates issued for the preceding period of registration for such a time as may be prescribed by the Department as it may find necessary for the issuance of the new plate or plates or card of registration.

According to state law in NRS §482.280(4), your car registration is valid for a short time even if you have not received your new sticker. If you are issued a ticket under city law, you should be able to argue state law overrides the lower, city law.   

However, if you want to avoid these problems, it is good idea to print out your online registration renewal sheet and tape it to the interior of the back of your car, while you wait for your new sticker to arrive in the mail. This way, you won’t have the headache of dealing with a ticket. 

Next time, we will discuss what happens when a minor is involved in a car accident.