Category: Las Vegas Personal Injury

Steps To Take After Experiencing a Cycling Accident in Nevada

Steps To Take After Experiencing a Cycling Accident in Nevada

Being on a bicycle that is hit by a car can be extremely frightening for all people involved. In many cases, the vehicle will hit the person on their bike directly. Unfortunately, these sorts of accidents often lead to injuries for the cyclist, including severe injuries like broken bones, facial trauma, road rash, and spinal injuries.

Even if you were wearing a helmet, being on a bicycle that is hit by a car can lead to head injuries. If you’ve recently experienced a bicycle collision in Nevada, an experienced personal injury attorney can help. This individual can discuss what happened and assist you as you move forward toward recovery.

What To Do After a Cycling Accident in Nevada

There are several steps you should take after being in an accident with a car while cycling. The safety of yourself and others on the scene should be a priority. You can walk through the steps below to make sure you handle everything appropriately at the scene of the accident and beyond.

This applies whether you are the cyclist, vehicle driver, or someone who happened to be at the location when the accident occurred.

Check Up On Others

If you are at the site of an accident between an automobile and a bicycle, the first step is determining whether anyone is injured or at risk of further injury. The cyclist might be injured, as may the driver of the car. In some cases, these injuries are serious and moving the individual to safety may not be immediately possible. If possible, let drivers coming near the scene know to drive carefully.

Ask for Medical Treatment

After everyone at the scene has been checked for injuries, the next step is contacting emergency services. While it might seem as if the accident was minor, it’s challenging to be sure of the extent of everyone’s injuries. In addition, the confusion and adrenaline surrounding an accident may cause injured people to be unaware that they are hurt.

This is particularly true for the person on the bike. Many individuals believe they are fine even when severely injured. Watch for signs of an injury and make sure emergency services are aware of any symptoms you notice. If someone in the accident has a serious injury, ask them to stay where they are until emergency workers can check on them.

Call the Police

An officer should be called to the scene of the accident. Don’t allow anyone to dissuade you from calling them. A police officer can ensure everyone is safe while determining whether the driver should have behind the wheel, ensuring accurate information is gathered, and preparing a report.

The police report will give information about how the bicycle accident occurred. It will explain the location, who was involved, and whether any witnesses were at the location. This is an important factor in protecting the cyclist if they choose to seek damages for injuries later.

Take Down Evidence

Taking photos of the accident is useful. It can show how serious the crash was, who was at fault, what happened, and how injuries were sustained. Try to take photos of the vehicle and bike from various distances, including pictures of the full scene, pictures from several feet away, and close-up photos of the damage. Photos of the surrounding area can also be useful.

Speak To Witnesses

In addition to taking photographs, talk to anyone who saw the accident take place. Witnesses can give information about how the crash happened, which is very useful if the cyclist and driver give different stories. Write down their information, such as their phone number, name, and address. This can be provided to the police officer when upon their arrival.

Get Compensation for Cycling Accidents

If you were injured in a cycling accident with a car, you need an experienced attorney who works with personal injury cases. This is the best way to ensure you get the damages you deserve. You can reach out to a Nevada injury attorney for a free consultation to learn more about your options.

 

Nevada Injury Lawsuits and Recovering Lost Earning Capacity

Nevada Injury Lawsuits and Recovering Lost Earning Capacity

If you are injured after an accident, it’s not uncommon to miss work. Sometimes the amount of time away from work is limited. But in other cases, severe injuries can completely change your career course. If you have any injury that keeps you from working in Nevada, lost earning capacity is considered in your damages.

Lost earning capacity is any future income that a victim is largely certain to lose after an out-of-court settlement or a lawsuit. When victims cannot return to work, these damages are often awarded lost wages in Nevada. Lost wages are defined as any income that has already been lost at the date of the settlement or lawsuit.

The Difference Between Lost Earning Capacity and Lost Wages

In accidents or other types of personal injury cases, Nevada law lets you recover for each of the following:

  • Loss of income that is reasonably expected going forward as a result of the injuries you have experienced.
  • Any wages and benefits from work that weren’t received between the time when the injury occurred and the lawsuit or settlement.

Lost wages are often proven with a large amount of certainty. This is because they are the amounts you have already lost due to missing work following an accident. However, lost earning capacity can be more challenging to prove. The amount is based on what you would have earned in the future if you were not injured.

The amounts are more speculative and harder to prove, but it can be done. The attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can help you prove the certainty needed by the court to recover lost earning capacity damages.

How Lost Earning Capacity is Calculated in Nevada Personal Injury Cases

Many factors can go into calculating your lost earnings in the future, including the following:

  • How long the injuries are likely to last?
  • Whether your income was performance-based or fixed?
  • Whether you will likely be able to return to normal employment?
  • What your long-term employment goals are?
  • How old you are and what your life expectancy is?
  • Any raises you might have received?
  • Your state of health before the injury or accident?
  • Potential for promotions in your work field?
  • The number of working years before your probable retirement?
  • Anything else that relates to your earning potential?

Length of Injury Time Needed to Recover Lost Earning Capacity

There is no specific amount of time that you must be injured to claim lost earning capacity in the state. However, Nevada typically only grants lost earning capacity if your injuries make it impossible for you to work for an extended period. This period typically extends beyond the last date when you can file a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations starts to count down as soon as you realize that you have an injury. In most cases with Nevada personal injury cases, this is a two-year period. However, it can be longer or shorter depending on the type of case. Failing to file a suit within the statute of limitations will cause you to lose your right to sue for the injuries.

With serious injuries, you may find that you cannot work while the statute of limitations is running. Other situations may lead you to miss out on promotions or other advancements within a company. Lost earning capacity in Nevada lets you recover damages for these opportunities and income.

Acquiring Damages in Nevada for Lost Earning Capacity

If you have been severely injured in the state of Nevada, you could be looking at a huge level of compensation from an insurance company. However, they work to delay your case and keep their losses low. Having an expert personal accident attorney on your side will help you get the damages you deserve for your injury.

DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY IN A FENDER BENDER?

Do YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY AFTER A FENDER-BENDER?


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Even if you can’t see any damage, or it appears to be to a small scratch, there may be minor damage underneath that has gone unnoticed. Not all vehicle damage is apparent right away. It is not unusual to drive away from a crash and then, one or two days later, notice that your car is having mechanical problems.
This is also true with respect to injuries, as some soft-tissue injuries it may take a while to show symptoms. Remember, not all injuries are obvious. Some injuries, like whiplash and brain injuries, may not be obvious for several hours or even days.
Usually, after a traumatic event like a car accident adrenaline also called epinephrine, is known as the “fight or flight” hormone. After a frightening or dangerous event, adrenaline floods a person’s bloodstream. This hormone masks the pain that people feel from their injuries. More importantly, many car crash victims may have a head injury. Sudden back-and-forth motion usually causes whiplash, and sudden loud noises (like a crash) can cause a more serious traumatic brain injury. Medical Care:  Don’t refuse medical care at the scene. You could be seriously injured and not realize it. Refusing or delaying medical treatment after an accident can result in your claim being denied. You’ll be giving the insurance company a reason to argue your injuries weren’t caused by the crash. We advise all car accident victims to see a doctor right away if they have been involved in any type of collision

WHAT ARE SOFT-TISSUE INJURIES?

What may seem like a bruise or stiffness after an accident may, in fact, be something much more serious. The result can be pain, swelling, and bruising. Soft-tissue injuries are classified as the following:

  • Lacerations
  • Tendonitis
  • Stress injuries
  • Strains
  • Muscle Contusions (bruises)

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

If you aren’t taken directly to the hospital from the scene, have a medical evaluation as soon as possible, preferably the same day. See your doctor or go to the nearest emergency department or urgent care center. If you don’t seek medical attention after the accident, the insurance company may try to use this to their advantage and claim that you did not actually sustain your injuries in the accident
If you or a loved one are facing a lawsuit for injuries you sustained as a result of a car accident in Las Vegas, the experienced Accident Attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can assist you. With a combined total of 50+ years of experience, we can advise and guide you through the process and obtain the best results possible.

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Common Mistakes In Car Accident Claims

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The car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates have over a combined total of 50 years of experience. In that time, we have seen some car accident victims harm their personal injury case. While often times these mistakes do not destroy a case, these mistakes can cause difficulties in negotiating adequate settlements.

Ignoring Medical Advice Or Appointments

One of the most, if not the most, contested aspect of any car accident claim is the injury.

Insurance companies and defense attorneys typically challenge whether an accident caused the victim’s injuries. Also, a car accident victim must prove their injuries, and generally, Nevada law requires medical evidence of those injuries. Ignoring medical advice or missing doctor appointments can cause problems in car accident claims.

Auto insurance companies tend to argue that a person who is truly hurt, that person seeks medical treatment and that a person who does not seek medical treatment is a person who is not truly hurt. The foregoing is a faulty syllogism, as there are many reasons why an injured person may not seek medical treatment or may have gaps in their treatment. Nevertheless, accident victims must be prepared to respond to such arguments.

In our experience, we’ve also seen injured victims who want to stop going to a doctor not because they are no longer in pain, but because they don’t think the doctor can do anything else. So, those accident victims simply decide to live with the pain and other symptoms. However, these injured persons fail to realize that it takes a medical professional to determine whether injuries are permanent. If the accident claim goes into litigation, a medical professional has to testify to that. An injured victim’s testimony that they continue to be in pain may not be enough.

Not Repairing A Car After A Crash

In other articles, we have discussed the typical argument of insurance companies that car crashes involving minor damages do not cause injury. Insurance companies’ arguments usually go something like this: since the crash did not cause that much damage to the car, it could not have caused the injuries complained of. Of course, this argument ignores that cars and people are not comparable to each other. Nevertheless, insurance companies routinely rely on the extent of damage to the car to contest a person’s injuries.

Unfortunately, some people unwittingly help car insurance companies by choosing not to repair a car following a crash. Generally, in the immediate days after a car accident, the applicable auto insurer will obtain a preliminary property damage estimate. This estimate is usually based on an inspection of the exterior of the car and does not include hidden damage.

Car accidents can cause hidden damage, or damage to the car that is not visible until the car is taken apart. As one car repair shop wrote, “[d]uring a rear-end collision, even a minor bump can cause damage to the frame behind the bumper.” A common property damage that is not seen on initial visual inspection is damage to the reinforcement bar that is hidden behind the bumper and bumper absorber. When a car is repaired, a registered repair facility will usually write a supplement to include an estimate for replacing a damaged reinforcement bar. However, if the car is not repaired, the damage to the reinforcement usually cannot be seen.

Posting On Social Media

As discussed in another article, insurance companies now increasingly rely on social media to find things they can use against an accident victim. To some extent, perusing social media has replaced surveillance videos. Insurance companies can use people’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or other social media posts, particularly photos, to argue that someone is not as injured as they claim.

If a person is laughing, smiling, or looking like they have a good time, insurance companies and their defense attorneys will argue that person cannot be injured. Of course, this argument ignores the fact that a person who has pain or other symptoms can still laugh, smile, or look like they are having a good time occasionally and for brief periods of time. But the more a person has social media posts like this, the more that person provides ammunition to the insurance companies against their own case.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, call the experienced Las Vegas personal Injury Attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. We’ve successfully handled many different types of accidents and injuries, and we’ve done so while providing personalized treatment to our clients. Our golden rule is to treat our clients the way we want to be treated.

Can I Get Attorney’s Fees From A Negligent Driver?

Punitive Damages in Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases

Can I Get Attorney’s Fees From A Negligent Driver?

Generally under Nevada law, the person at fault for a car accident is not obligated to pay for an accident victim’s attorney’s fees. If a car accident claim ends up in a lawsuit, however, it is possible that the at fault party may be responsible for the accident victim’s attorney’s fees.

Nevada’s personal injury law says a negligent driver is liable for an accident victim’s property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. However, if the injured victim has to retain a car accident attorney, the negligent driver does not have to reimburse the attorney’s fees that the victim has to pay out from his or her settlement.  If the victim pursues a lawsuit and wins, the negligent driver may have to pay attorney’s fees. But to get the negligent driver to pay the attorney’s fees, there are certain things that must be done during the lawsuit.

How Do Accident Attorneys Get Paid?

In most areas of law, when a person hires an attorney, they have to agree to pay the attorney an hourly basis and usually must give the attorney a deposit or retainer. Unlike other areas, personal injury attorneys typically get paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that the accident lawyer gets paid only if they obtain a settlement or award. Also, the accident victim does not have to advance any monies for the attorney’s fees.

Contingency fees are common in personal injury and car accident cases because accident victims usually can’t afford to pay for an attorney on top of the medical bills and other accident-related expenses. Also, car accident victims are normally not entitled to attorney’s fees from the negligent driver or his or her car insurance.

Why Am I Not Entitled To My Attorney’s Fees In A Car Accident Case?

Nevada follows the American rule with respect to recovering attorney’s fees. The American rule states that each party must pay its attorney’s fees and costs, unless there is a statute or contract that says otherwise. In Nevada, the general controlling statute on attorney’s fees states “[t]he compensation of an attorney and counselor for his or her services is governed by agreement, express or implied . . ..” Nev.Rev.Stat. 18.010. Under this general rule, a car accident victim may not be entitled to attorney’s fees from a negligent driver, but may be entitled to attorney’s fees if they are suing their own insurance company for insurance bad faith. That’s because an insurance policy does generally provide for the award of attorney’s fees to the winning party.

Under What Circumstances Are Attorney’s Fees Awarded In Car Accident Cases in Nevada?

Nevada law does permit the award of attorney’s fees to the party that wins a lawsuit under certain circumstances. Some of those circumstances are listed below:

  • Winning not more than $20,000. NRS 18.010(2) permits a party in a lawsuit who wins less than $20,000 to recover attorney’s fees. The party must be considered the “prevailing party.”
  • If an accident victim issues an offer of judgment during a lawsuit and wins an award that is higher than that offer of judgment, the accident victim may be awarded his or her attorney’s fees. This method is often how Las Vegas car accident attorneys get attorney’s fees for their clients.
  • If a court finds a negligent driver defended the lawsuit frivolously. This circumstance is very rare.

There are other circumstances where attorney’s fees may be awarded to an accident victim in a lawsuit that are more situation specific. For example, if a defendant engages in discovery during the lawsuit in bad faith, the plaintiff can seek attorney’s fees relating to that bad faith.

If you have a personal injury lawsuit relating to a car accident and want to know whether you can recover attorney’s fees, speak to a personal injury attorney with extensive experience in litigation. The accident lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates have a combined 50+ years of litigating car accident and other personal injury claims and have won attorney’s fees in a variety of circumstances.

What Does It Mean That My Car Is Totaled?

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If you get involved in a severe car accident, your insurance company may declare your car a total loss or, in other words, “totaled.” Under Nevada law, if the cost of the repair a car damaged in a car accident is at least 65% of the car’s fair market value before it was damaged, the insurance company can declare the car a total loss. The repair cost cannot include the cost of painting and towing the car.

NRS 487.790(1)(b) defines a total loss as a vehicle “which has been wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged to such an extent that the cost of repair, not including any cost associated with painting any portion of the vehicle, is 65 percent or more of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged.”

How Is Fair Market Value of My Car Calculated

Fair market value is how much the car would sell in the condition it was in before the wreck. The insurance company determines how much your car would sell for by looking at how much a vehicle like yours is currently selling. The look for identical make, model, year, mileage, and condition. If the insurance company determines your car a total loss, they will provide you with a total loss valuation. This document will list the cars that recently sold and are comparable to your vehicle.

Contrary to public perception, insurance companies do not use Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to value your pre-crash vehicle. However, the Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds’ value of your vehicle may approximate the insurance company’s valuation. So, you can look up the resale value of your vehicle on Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to get an idea. Remember, however, the amount you see will not be identical to the insurance company’s fair market valuation. The insurance company may use their own database or hire a third-party company to determine the fair market value.

Remember, the value of your vehicle usually decreases with age. The older your vehicle, the fair market value will be lower. Even if your car was in perfect working condition, with no damage, your car’s value will not be equivalent to that of a newer model. It can happen that someone has an older car that was not severely wrecked in a crash, but the cost of the repair the damage is still at least 65% of the value. As car accident attorneys, we’ve had many clients who questioned why the insurance company just can’t fix the car rather than paying the lower fair market value. In many cases, accident victims may have the option to keep the car.

What Are Your Options If Your Car Was Declared A Total Loss?

If your car has been declared a total loss after an accident, you may have two options: accept payment for the fair market value of the car or keep the car. If you accept the fair market value, you will have to give the title of the vehicle to the insurance company. By giving the insurance company the title to your wrecked car, your insurance company owns your car. Typically, the insurance company can then sell your car as, usually at an auction in a salvage yard.

If you decide to accept the fair market value, your insurance company will first pay off any loans on the car and give you the balance. Unfortunately for some people whose cars get severely damaged in a wreck, the fair market value of their vehicle may be less than what they owe on the car. This means that, even after the insurance company gives the total loss payment to the car loan company, the car owner would continue to owe the remaining balance. Unfortunately, as car accident attorneys, we see this scenario too often. After a really bad car accident, a car accident victim may end up still owing money on a car that is a total loss.

Because of this possibility, it’s important to purchase gap insurance if you still have a loan on your car. Gap insurance pays the difference between the amount a car insurance company pays for your totaled car and the amount you owe on your lease or loan.

If you do choose to keep the car, remember the insurance company will not pay you amount it will cost to repair the car. It has no obligation to do so. When your car is declared a total loss, the insurance company’s obligation is to pay the fair market value of your car. Because of that, if you choose to keep the car, the insurance company will only pay you the fair market value of the car. However, the insurance company will also reduce what they have to pay you by the salvage value of the wrecked car. Salvage value is the amount the insurance company could obtain by selling your wrecked vehicle as is, usually at an auction at a salvage yard. If you have to pay a deductible, your insurance company will also reduce what they have to pay you by this amount.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and need help dealing with the insurance company, call an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. Our skilled accident lawyers will explain and guide you to the property damage evaluation and fight to get you the maximum compensation for your car and your injuries.

Proving Fault In A Car Accident

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In many car accidents that occur in Las Vegas, who is at fault is usually determined by evidence gathered at the scene. This is why police officers should be called; they know what to evidence to collect. In some other cases, who is at fault is so obvious even if a police officer wasn’t called to the scene. In some other cases, the police officer can’t determine who is at fault; even if a police officer did, the insurance company for the at fault driver may still dispute what happened. In the latter two cases, gathering certain evidence is the key to proving who is at fault. Next is determining the applicable rules of the road.

The first step in determining who is at fault in a car crash is to ascertain how the accident happened. This step requires gathering evidence, which can include:

  • Statements of those involved in the crash
  • Location and extent of the damage to the vehicles involved.
  • Location of the vehicles after impact
  • Speed of the vehicles before and at impact
  • Skid marks
  • Location of debris or parts that may have fallen off the vehicles

The Role of Police Officers

The first step in gathering evidence is to call the police to the scene of an accident. The following is a typical scenario in Las Vegas. You get into a car accident. Someone calls 9-1-1, and a police officer arrives and speaks to those involved in the accident. The police officer may even speak to independent witnesses at the scene. If there is video from a nearby business or from a dash cam, the police officer may likely view that video. The police officer may even document skid marks on the street and the location of the vehicles involved or debris from the vehicles. Before he or she departs, the officer may already conclude who is at fault for the accident and give that person a citation. While the police officer’s opinion as to who caused the accident is not admissible in court in most cases, the evidence gathered by the police officer is.

In car accidents involving fatalities, the police conduct a more thorough investigation, including measuring skid marks, location of debris from the vehicles, determining the point of impact. The police may even perform an accident reconstruction when necessary. When a police officer performs an accident reconstruction, the police officer’s opinion as to who caused the accident may be admissible in court as a form of expert opinion.

If a person who gets into a crash does not call the police, certain evidence may be lost. For example, most people do not document location of the vehicles immediately after impact. Most don’t notice skid marks, let alone take photos of or measure those skid marks. Most car accident victims don’t request video surveillance from nearby businesses. Unfortunately, business do not store surveillance videos for long, and the video may be lost if not requested in time. Thus, car accident victims should not wait too long to retain a car accident attorney in Las Vegas who knows to request those videos. Also, as noted in one of our other blogs, traffic cameras in the Las Vegas Valley may now be available.

Also, police officers may obtain a written statement from the driver’s involved describing how the accident happens. Those written statements are admissible in court when used against the person making the statement, particularly for impeachment. So, if the other driver later changes his or her story as to how the accident happened, a car accident attorney can just pull out that driver’s written statement.

Car Accident Cases Where Fault Is Clear

Certain types of car accidents, liability (i.e., who is at fault) is generally clear. In those cases, typically, how the accident happened is undisputed. Take for example the typical rear-end crash.

Often times (but not 100%), fault can easily be determined in rear-end accidents. In those cases, there’s usually no question that the at fault driver was directly behind the front car when the latter suddenly stopped. In many rear-end accidents, the driver that hit the front car is at fault. This would generally be the case even if the front car suddenly slammed on their brakes. Why? The answer can be found in NRS § 484B.127 and the Nevada DMV handbook. Section 484B.127 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) prohibits drivers from “follow[ing] another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” Meaning, a driver should always leave sufficient space between the vehicle in front, enough space to allow the driver to stop, even if the front vehicle suddenly stops. The Nevada DMV handbook explains how long it would take to stop a car going at a certain feet and how many feet a car would travel even after hitting the brakes. A Nevada licensed driver is expected to know these; that’s why this information is in the handbook.

In the above rear-end crash example, how the accident happened was clear. An experienced car accident attorney can determine fault by simply applying the rules of the road.

Rules of the Road

Car accident claims are typically framed as a negligence case. Generally, negligence is the failure to do what an ordinary reasonable person would do under the circumstances. In car accident cases, we look to the rules of the road in determining what an ordinary reasonable person would do. A person who violates a law and injures someone could be liable under the theory of negligence per se. In such cases, the person whose actions violate the law is presumed to be negligent.

Nevada’s rules of the road and traffic laws can found in NRS 484, NRS 484A, NRS 484B, and NRS 484C.

If your or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Las Vegas, speak to an experienced Accident Attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates today. With a combined total of 50+ years of experience as Las Vegas car accident attorneys, we know what it takes to prove your case.

Can A Car Owner Be Responsible For A Car Accident Involving Their Car?

Can A Vehicle Owner Responsible If Someone Gets Into An Accident In Their Car?


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Can A Vehicle Owner Responsible If Someone Gets Into An Accident In Their Car?

The owner of a vehicle can be responsible in some cases if they permitted someone to driver their car and that person gets into a car accident. This concept is called negligent entrustment. In essence under this concept, if an owner permits a person they know is unfit to operate a vehicle and that person causes a crash, the owner is responsible. Negligent entrustment can also apply when an owner knew or had a reason to know that unfit driver was using their vehicle and failed to stop it.

Who Can Be Responsible For Negligent Entrustment?

One of the leading cases on negligent entrustment in Nevada is the case of Zugel by Zugel v. Miller, 100 Nev. 525, 688 P.2d 310 (1984). In that case, a 13-year old purchased a motorcycle with the permission of his parents. The parents claimed they told their son not to drive the motorcycle on the public streets. But the son did, with a friend of his as a passenger. The son ran a stop sign and caused an accident. The passenger made a claim against the teenage driver and his parents. The parents disclaimed responsibility for negligent entrustment.

 

The Nevada Supreme Court disagreed with the parents. What swayed the Court was the son’s testimony that his parents knew he routinely rode his motorcycle on public streets. As stated by the Court, “[f]rom this fact alone the jury could have inferred that respondents possessed knowledge of their son’s activities of driving the motorcycle on public roadways.”

Under this theory of liability, the entrusting person need not have known that the motor vehicle was going to be driven on a public roadway. In fact, a parent who entrusts his child with a motor vehicle may be found liable under a theory of negligent entrustment even when the parent expressly instructs the child not to use the vehicle on a public roadway.

Nevada Supreme Court

The doctrine of negligent entrustment does not apply unless the person that gave permission is the owner of the vehicle. For example, in Mills v. Continental Parking Corp., 86 Nev. 724, 475 P.2d 673 (Nev. 1970), a parking attendant gave keys to a car’s owner who was allegedly obviously drunk. The drunk car owner then hit and killed a pedestrian. The Court held that the parking attendant cannot be held responsible for returning the keys to the owner, even though the owner was drunk. The Court reasoned, essentially, that the parking attendant had an obligation to return to the keys; otherwise, the attendant can be liable for conversion.

 

In Las Vegas, tourists too get into car accidents in rental vehicles. The question arises in those situations as to whether the rental car company can be responsible for a renter is an unfit driver. Under N.R.S. 483.610, a rental car company is required to check driver’s licenses, unless the renter comes from a country or state that does not require driver’s licenses. This statute further requires the rental company to visually inspect the license and compare the driver’s signature with that on the license. Attorneys for insurance companies and the rental companies have argued that this statute does not require rental car companies to verify that a driver has a valid driver’s license or is fit to drive a car.

What does it mean to be unfit or incompetent driver?

Not everyone who negligently causes a car accident is an unfit or incompetent driver. To answer the question of what is an unfit or incompetent driver, we have to look at the laws that says who can’t or shouldn’t drive. The easiest and least disputable is a drunk driver. The law says that a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs shouldn’t be driving and penalizes drunk drivers. A car owner who lets a driver they know to be drunk or otherwise impaired to driver their car is responsible for negligent entrustment.

An owner who permits an unlicensed person to drive their vehicle may also be responsible for negligent entrustment. In Zugel v. Zugel, the Court found the parents liable even though their son had driven the motorcycle a number of times. Why? Because the law said that the son, who had no driver’s license, was not legally competent to drive.

There may be other situations where a vehicle owner is responsible for a car accident caused by a driver they lent the car to. To find out if negligent entrustment applies in your case, it is best to speak to a car accident attorney who has experience pursuing claims for negligent entrustment.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and want to know who is responsible for paying for your injuries, speak to an experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. Our skilled Las Vegas accident attorneys will answer your questions and conduct any needed research and investigation to ensure full compensation for our clients.

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How To Obtain Video Of My Car Accident In Las Vegas

How To Obtain Video of My Car Accident In Las Vegas?


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How To Obtain Video of My Car Accident In Las Vegas?

In many car accident cases our personal injury law firm has handled in Las Vegas, our clients have asked us to obtain video of their car accident. Most of the time, that video does not exist. “What about the traffic cameras we see on the street,” they would ask. And we would have to answer that those do not record. Until recently.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cameras in Las Vegas. They are visible on traffic lights at intersections. Those cameras are operated by the Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST), a division of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), in conjunction with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). FAST is responsible for managing traffic control devices in the Las Vegas Valley, including freeway ramp meters and traffic signals at intersections. They also operate those digital freeway signs. The traffic cameras assist FAST in monitoring and coordinating traffic. That is, they program how long the red, green, and yellow signals last, based on the traffic flow in that area.
NDOT and FAST allow drivers to view the videos captured by these cameras. You can view them here live. Although legislators on occasion would consider using these traffic camera videos to issue citations for running red lights, nothing came of it. These cameras were solely there to assist FAST in its traffic management duties.

Traffic cameras are an opportunity for drivers to make travel decisions based on road conditions. Knowing if there is congestion, an incident blocking the freeway, extreme weather or other condition can help you decide to forego travel or detour the area, making for an easier commute and safer roadways.

Nevada Department of Transportation

Unfortunately, recording the videos would require heavy investment in computer servers. So, until recently, FAST did not record and save the traffic camera videos. Now, as recently reported by KTNV, a Las Vegas company has partnered with FAST and NDOT to record and store the videos and/or screenshots. That company, National Traffic Video is operated by a well known accident and forensic engineering firm, American Bio Engineers.

While actual videos of accidents are routinely captured, videos and screenshots depicting the immediate aftermath or vehicle rest positions can provide vital information about how the impact occurred.

American Bio Engineers

As noted on their website, the videos or, if those are not available, screenshots can provide useful information for those involved in car accidents in Las Vegas. American Bio Engineers provide the video or screenshots for a fee, and this is how they say they manage to undertake this venture.
KTNV recently reported that the videos provided by National Traffic Video was used by crash investigators to show what happened in a tragic crash that killed a 1 year old boy.
Before these traffic camera videos were available, Las Vegas accident attorneys and law enforcement crash investigators had to hope that surveillance cameras from nearby businesses would capture a crash. Of course, such videos were not available for car accidents on the freeways. Most of the time, nearby businesses didn’t catch a crash or didn’t have the right angle on the streets.
When videos weren’t available, car accident attorneys and crash investigators in Las Vegas had to rely on accident reconstruction. Car accident attorneys, such as ourselves, had to hire companies like American Bio Engineers to reconstruct an accident based on information obtained by investigating police officers. Such information includes length of skid marks, point of impact, and location of debris. Not all of the information, however, may be included in a traffic crash report, if there is such a report.
The videos or screenshots provided by American Bio Engineers can assist in resolving car accident claims where there is a question of who caused the crash. These videos could also be helpful in cases where the severity of the impact may be at issue.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident in Las Vegas and want to know how to obtain video or other evidence of a car wreck, speak to an experienced car accident attorney at D.R. Patti & Associates. We will retain American Bio Engineer and take other steps to secure the necessary information about your car accident. We check with nearby businesses that may have captured the car accident from a different angle and also speak with known witnesses. Having successfully represented thousands of car accident victims in Las Vegas, we know how to win your case. Give us a call today.

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Injured In A Hit & Run? What Can You Do And What Can We Do For You

Car in hit and run crash

Hit and Run Accident Attorney Las Vegas

According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit and run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads. It found that an average of 682,000 hit and run crashes occurred each year since 2006. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated 737,100 hit-and-run crashes occurred in 2017. In 2016, hit and run crashes resulted in an estimated 2,049 fatalities, a 60% increase since 2009.

A hit-and-run crash can leave injured victims with medical bills piling up and unable to earn income to pay those bills. Some people think they may have no options if they were injured in a hit and run car accident. That is not necessarily so. In our combined 50+ years of experience as car accident attorneys in Las Vegas, we have successfully recovered compensation for those who initially thought they had no options.

Locating The Fleeing Driver

There are ways to search for the hit-and-run driver. Of course, if a witness was able to jot down or take a photo of the license plate, we can conduct a search for the owner of the vehicle. If the police were called to the scene and given the license plate of the fleeing vehicle, the policy usually will contact the registered owner of the vehicle.

Locating the registered owner of the fleeing vehicle can lead to the applicable car insurance policy. Even if the registered owner was not the fleeing driver, the owner’s insurance on the vehicle may apply and provide protection to the hit-and-run victim. In most cases, the liability insurance policy on the car is the primary policy that applies.

In addition, the registered car owner may also be responsible for the negligence of the hit-and-run driver under the doctrine of negligent entrustment, which is a form of negligence. As described by the Nevada Supreme Court, “[u]nder this doctrine, a person who knowingly entrusts a vehicle to an inexperienced or incompetent person, such as a minor child unlicensed to drive a motor vehicle, may be found liable for damages resulting thereby.” Zugel by Zugel v. Miller, 100 Nev. 525, 527, 688 P.2d 310, 312 (1984).

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

Even if the fleeing driver or the registered owner cannot be located, the injured victim’s own uninsured motorist (UM) policy would generally apply. UM insurance generally applies when you are injured in a car accident and the person who caused it has no insurance. It also applies where the person who caused the crash cannot be found. When the fleeing driver cannot be located, the UM policy of the injured victim applies if  there is physical contact between the fleeing vehicle and the injured victim or the victim’s vehicle. The insured is also obligated to report the accident to the applicable police department, sheriff’s office, or to the Nevada Highway Patrol. These rules governing when UM policies apply to hit-and-run crashes are set forth in NRS § 690B.020(2)(f).

In Nevada, drivers are not required to purchase UM coverage. However, car insurance companies must offer their insured the opportunity to purchase insurance specifically covering hit-and-run accidents. See Nev.Rev.Stat. § 690B.020. The limits of the insurance offered must be at least equivalent to the Nevada minimum liability limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000.00 per accident. Insureds can purchase higher UM/UIM limits for their protection, up to an amount equal to their liability insurance limits.

What Can You Do If You Are Injured In A Hit-And-Run Crash?

  • Call 9-1-1 and report the car accident. As mentioned above, your car insurance company will likely require you to obtain a police report of the hit-and-run crash.
  • Speak to any witnesses on the scene and see if anyone noted the license plate of the fleeing vehicle. Make sure to get contact information for all witnesses. Ask the witnesses if they can stay to provide a statement to the police.
  • If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. Usually, when you call 9-1-1 and report that you are injured, an ambulance will be dispatched to the accident scene.
  • Call the experienced and award-winning Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. We can hire private investigators to search for the hit-and-run driver, if the police cannot locate them. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can begin the search and investigation. Our experience as Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have taught us that locating the fleeing driver as soon as possible is important in order to preserve evidence, such as damage to that driver’s vehicle.