Death of College Basketball Star in Car Crash Is An Example of A Tragic Avoidable Accident

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Yesterday afternoon, 19-year old Terrence Clarke, a University of Kentucky basketball player, died in a car crash in Los Angeles. Based on reports, he had run a red light and crashed into a vehicle that was making a left hand turn. Clarke’s car then hit a light pole and a brick wall.

According to reporting by ESPN, Clarke was driving “at a high rate of speed” when he ran the red light. It was also reported that Clarke was not properly wearing his seatbelt. The crash was captured on surveillance video, per the reports.

Clarke’s family and friends are devastated by their loss and have expressed their condolences on social media. Before being sidelined by an injury, Clarke started in Kentucky’s first six games and was one of its top scorers. Clarke had recently declared for the NBA draft in March.

While we know only the above facts about Clarke’s tragic accident, the speeding and disregard of a red light reminds us of many crashes we’ve seen like this. Sadly, in our combined 50+ years of experience as Las Vegas car accident attorneys, this is not the first time we have seen crashes like this, resulting from, amongst other things, speeding and running red lights.

Although we generally learn in driver’s education that yellow means slow down or use caution, in reality, many do not follow this rule. Unfortunately, many drivers see a yellow light and speeds up to try to beat the impending red light. On the other side of traffic, those whose lights turn green do not wait to see if the cars from cross-traffic will stop at the red light or misjudge the speed of cross-traffic. They just assume they will.

According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, more than 800 people were killed in 2016 in crashes involving running traffic signals. In that same year, an estimated 137,000 were injured as a result of not obeying traffic lights.

A study conducted by a University of Cincinnati doctoral student found that several factors influence a driver’s decision to try to beat the light. For one, the study found that the faster a car is going when the light switches to yellow, the more likely it is to pass through the light. The study also concluded the longer the yellow light is on, the likelihood of a driver trying to beat it increases.

 

How Much Can I Get For My Car Accident?

How much a car accident victim can get from a personal injury settlement is not an easy question to answer. This is also a different than asking how much your car accident claim can settle for. How much a personal injury claim settles for depends on the injuries, the medical treatment, and how much insurance policy is available. How much the accident victim can get takes into account how much the claim can settle for, how much medical bills have to be paid out of the settlement, and how much the attorney’s fees and costs are.

Settlement Value Of A Car Accident Claim

The settlement value of a car accident claim depends primarily on the nature of the injuries and how much money is available. Of course, the more severe and permanent the injuries are, the higher the value of the case. However, regardless of how severe the injuries are, the amount of money or insurance policy the defendant has will limit how much the case could settle for.

Also, no two people’s cases are alike. While people can have similar injuries, everyone heals differently. Injuries can also affect people differently.  The injured victim of a car accident can claim for their medical bills, their pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and any wage or income loss. In the legal field, we call these items “damages.”

Because the settlement value of a case depends on a person’s injuries, how long they heal or whether those injuries are permanent, an experienced car accident lawyer cannot know from the beginning of a case how much the case could settle for. The more common injuries from a car accident are neck and back pain that are initially diagnosed as a soft tissue injury, usually a sprain or strain. Some neck injuries may require surgery. Doctors generally can’t tell at the beginning if a neck sprain or strain may turn out worse and require surgery. Imaging, such as MRIs, may be necessary. Doctors also may require pain management and even epidural steroid injections. Other tests, such as nerve conduction studies, may be needed. All of these tests and treatment take time.

Once a car accident victim is fully healed or has reached maximum medical improvement, then the attorneys can begin the process of settling the case. A car accident victim shouldn’t settle their case until they know the full extent of their injuries.

How Much Does The Injured Victim Get Out of A Car Accident Settlement

When a client has reached maximum medical improvement, then the settlement value of his or her claim can be evaluated. After determining the settlement value, we can then estimate how much the client’s share is of the potential settlement. To do that, we would have to deduct the medical bills that have to be paid back, the attorney’s fees, and the costs that have to be reimbursed to the attorneys.

Remember, personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. That means, car accident attorneys like D.R. Patti & Associates don’t get paid unless they recover monies for the client. In a typical contingency fee case, the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the total settlement. That percentage usually increases if the case goes into litigation.

Is Hiring An Attorney For A Car Accident Worth It?

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If you were injured in a car accident, you may be wondering whether it’s worth hiring a car accident attorney. You may be worried that you can’t afford an attorney or that the attorney’s fees may reduce your share of any settlement. Or you may be looking at all the billboards of personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas and wondering whether an accident attorney will really care about you and your case. Or you may be thinking, making a claim seems so simple since the other person was clearly at fault that you don’t need an attorney to handle your claim.

There could be many reasons why you may be concerned about hiring an injury lawyer, but whatever those are, it is usually best to consult with an attorney before settling your car accident case. You may discover it’s not about whether you need an attorney but whether you can find the right accident lawyer for you and your case. You may also discover that the at fault party’s insurance company does not have your best interests at heart and that your claim is not as simple as you think it is.

Why Hire An Injury Attorney For Your Car Accident?

A good personal injury attorney will have the knowledge, skill, and experience to value your case and to get maximum recovery as possible. Doing a Google search for how to handle your personal injury case is no substitute for experience, because each injury and each accident are as unique as each individual. Meaning, there is no one foolproof formula to handle a car accident claim. A seasoned car accident lawyer knows what facts to look for and to highlight, as well as how to deal with facts that the insurance company uses to low ball your accident claim.

If you suffered serious injuries or have permanent lifelong damages from a car accident, you may find that the automobile policy limits of the person who caused the accident is not enough to fully compensate you. Most of the time, the automobile insurance policy limits for the at fault driver will not be sufficient to compensate someone with serious permanent injuries. In Nevada, drivers are only required to carry car insurance policies of a minimum of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.

If you are seriously injured, you would want to definitely hire an attorney who will conduct the research and investigation to find other sources for recovery. For example, sometimes there may be more than one person at fault or who contributed to a car accident. There are times when the design of a roadway contributed to the crash. A good car accident lawyer knows their first obligation is to their client and to perform the due diligence necessary to provide maximum recovery for their client.

What About The Cost Of An Attorney?

The cost of a personal injury lawyer should not be a concern. Personal injury and automobile accident cases is one of the few areas of law where the lawyer does not get paid up front. A car accident lawyer doesn’t get paid at all they are not successful in obtaining a settlement or an award for their clients. This type of fee arrangement is called a contingency fee.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, call and speak to one of our Las Vegas car accident attorneys. All personal injury consultations are free. D.R. Patti & Associates has a combined 50+ years of experience in all forms of injury cases.

Wrist Injuries From Car Accidents

Car accidents, even minor car crashes, can cause wrist injuries, and even minor wrist pain can be a sign of a more severe injury. The wrist injury can occur when drivers or passengers use their hands to brace themselves for the impact from the car crash. Wrist injuries could range from sprains and strains to fractures.

Signs and symptoms of a wrist injury can include pain, swelling, numbness, tenderness, and/or inability to straighten or flex the wrist. Wrist injuries could present with minimal pain or symptoms and because of this, may go untreated or undiagnosed for sometime. People could assume mild wrist pain is a minor sprain and not seek treatment or x-rays. Also, many people may not realize that a car accident can tear ligaments or break bones in the wrist.  However, those mild symptoms could result from an unrecognized wrist fracture or severe ligament tear.

Common types of wrist injuries from car accidents include:

Strains and/or Sprains: The bones in the wrist are connected by ligaments, and these ligaments can be pulled, torn or partially torn during a car accident. Sprains can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of damage. Even a sprain can result in permanent damage and wrist instability if left untreated. Physicians rate the severity of wrist sprains as follows:

  • Grade 1 sprain (mild). The ligaments are stretched, but not torn.
  • Grade 2 sprain (moderate). The ligaments are partially torn. This type of injury may involve some loss of function.
  • Grade 3 sprain (severe). The ligament is completely torn or the ligament is pulled off of its attachment to bone. These are significant injuries that require medical or surgical care. If the ligament tears away from the bone, it may take a small chip of bone with it. This is called an avulsion fracture.

Fractures. The wrist is composed of eight small bones that are fragile and can be easily fractured during a car accident. The most common wrist bone to be fractured is the radius, but one of the most commonly undiagnosed fracture is a fracture to the scaphoid bone.

Fractures of the scaphoid are often diagnosed late, and late diagnosis can result in a fracture that fails to heal (i.e., a non-union fracture). One medical article explains why scaphoid fractures are often diagnosed late:

Scaphoid fractures can escape early detection because in many cases they are subtle and the initial symptoms are minimal. Missed scaphoid fractures have a high risk of nonunion or malunion. Nonunion occurs in up to 12% of patients if an occult fracture is not detected and treated. Scaphoid nonunions are especially challenging to treat successfully, and if untreated, they can progress to carpal collapse and degenerative arthritis. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of an acute scaphoid fracture and the possible consequences of nonunion are critical to avoiding debilitating wrist problems.[1]

The fracture itself can disrupt blood flow to the area and contribute to the failure of the fracture to heal, i.e., non-union; thus, nonunion is more common with scaphoid fractures. A long standing non-union scaphoid fracture can lead to osteoarthritis or “scaphoid nonunion advanced collapse” (“SNAC”). Osteoarthritis is a painful disease process that can lead to decreased function and disability of the affected arm. Avascular necrosis, also known as bone death, is a common complication of a scaphoid fracture.

With long standing non-union or unhealed fractures, surgery may become necessary. Post-surgery, a patient may be required to wear a cast or splint for an average of 12 weeks up to 6 months or until the fracture is healed. During the post-surgery recovery period, a patient would usually be ordered to avoid the activities that may injure the wrist or prevent healing, such as lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling more than one pound of weight. Post-surgery recovery may also require treatment with a trained hand therapist, as maintaining full finger motion is important.

Injured In A Las Vegas Hotel or Casino?

Imagine the following: You’ve been looking forward to a vacation in a fancy Las Vegas hotel and casino. But then suddenly your vacation is tragically interrupted by a jarring injury. You’ve slipped and fallen over some liquid on the casino’s marble-like floors. Or perhaps you’ve broken a bone or two when some faulty or improperly maintained plumbing caused liquid to accumulate in your hotel bathroom. Now, instead of enjoying the vacation you’ve looked forward to and saved up for, you’re in the emergency room. This is certainly not how you imagined how your get-away would look like.

We also know how an injury can change your life. The medical bills are accumulating, but you can’t work because of your injuries. What do you do? The first step is to call an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney to discuss your case. The experienced and award-winning personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can help. We’re more than just Las Vegas car accident attorneys. We’ve represented thousands of people who’ve been injured in a hotel or casino in Las Vegas. Over the course of our combined 50+ years of experience, we’ve obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our injured clients.

Of course, a hotel or casino is not responsible for every injury that occurs on their premises. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney with experienced in hotel and casino injuries can discuss the facts of your case and let you know whether you have a viable claim. If the injury could have been reasonably foreseen and prevented by reasonable precautions, then the hotel or casino may be negligent and responsible for your injuries. In Nevada, a business such as a hotel or casino owes its patrons a duty to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition for use. Sprague v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 109 Nev. 247, 250, 849 P.2d 320, 322 (1993). Injuries in Las Vegas hotels and casinos as a result of the business’ negligence fall under the category of premises liability.

For example, spilling a drink on the casino floor is an event that is foreseeable, given how many people drink in the casino. If the spill occurs in an area that would be made slippery because of the liquid, then the casino can reasonably anticipate that someone could be injured if the liquid is not cleaned up quickly. If the casino does not have procedures in place to catch and quickly clean up such spills, then the casino could be negligent.

Another example is when a person trips and falls over worn out or improperly maintained carpeting that has become a hazard. We had one case in which a client tripped over a carpet that a casino duct-taped together.

Injuries can also occur in hotel rooms and other areas in the hotel, such as common area bathrooms, or in elevators. If these injuries were foreseeable and could have been prevented by proper maintenance, then the hotel could be liable for your injuries. Hotel injuries can also arise from improperly maintained, broken, or defective furniture.

What To Do If You Are Injured In A Las Vegas Hotel or Casino?

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION if necessary. Not all injuries from accidents will be obvious immediately. If you have some pain, get checked out by a doctor and use your health insurance. Do not rely on getting reimbursed by the hotel or casino or waiting for it to offer to pay for your medical bills, as most business will not agree to pay for your medical bills before you make an official claim with proof or documentation of injury.  Delaying medical attention could not only be dangerous to your health but also to your personal injury case.

NOTIFY THE HOTEL OR CASINO IMMEDIATELY.

If the hotel or casino is not notified immediately of the slip and fall accident so that they can conduct some investigation that the slip and fall accident did in fact occur, they may deny your claim. A denial is more likely if you have no witnesses to verify that the accident occurred. Make sure an incident report is completed and that you are provided a copy.  The absence of an incident report, particularly when there are no witnesses, could be fatal to a slip and fall case.

TAKE PICTURES OF WHAT CAUSED YOUR ACCIDENT.

Do not rely on the hotel or casino taking photographs of what caused your accident and injuries.  Also, even if the hotel or casino took photographs, the business or its insurance company may not provide a copy of those photographs, videos, or incident report until they are forced to do so during litigation.

ASK THE HOTEL OR CASINO TO PRESERVE AND/OR GIVE YOU A COPY OF ANY VIDEO OF THE ACCIDENT.

While hotels and casinos have video cameras throughout their property, those video cameras do not necessarily catch every event happening in the hotel or casino.  Additionally, it would be far too burdensome for hotels and casinos to record and maintain the video recordings of every minute their business was open.  Thus, unless the hotel or casino is notified of the accident immediately, it may not retain a copy of the video of the event, even if the accident was caught on camera.

GATHER WITNESS NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION.

Again, you cannot rely on the hotel or casino gathering all of the witnesses’ names and contact information or giving you that information without having to file a lawsuit.  Ask the witnesses what they saw or heard.  Witnesses may include the names and contact information of the business’ employees who may have been in the area.

What Is The Deadline To Bring A Personal Injury Claim For An Accident In A Hotel or Casino?

The only hard deadline for asserting a personal injury claim arising from an accident in a hotel or casino in Las Vegas is Nevada’s statute of limitations. This statute requires those injured as a result of someone’s negligence to bring a lawsuit within two (2) years of the accident. See Nev.Rev.Stat. 11.190(4)(e). However, injured victims shouldn’t wait until the 2-year statute of limitation is almost up, as evidence can be lost during that time. It’s important to act as quickly as possible.

Call D.R. Patti & Aassociates, Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm, For a free consultation. We will explain your legal rights and duties, and we fight to get you the maximum recovery for your injuries and losses.

My child was injured at school

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The law requires that schools must provide a safe environment for students. Once they are on school property, the school has a responsibility to their students for a reasonable duty of care. Students spend a significant time in school, and it is inevitable that accidents will occur.

In Loco Parentis a Latin term meaning “in [the] place of a parent” or “instead of a parent.”  Refers to the legal responsibility of some person or organization to perform some of the functions or responsibilities of a parent. Legal Information Institute. In Loco Parentis

Authorities must repair or eliminate dangerous conditions in a timely manner and make sure students receive proper supervision. Many student injury cases fall under the category of negligence. A case based on negligence often highlights a school’s failure to provide a safe environment for student safety while they’re on school grounds, on buses, or at a school sponsored event.

Common Causes of Injuries at School

  • Bullies
  • Slip and falls
  • Playground injuries
  • School bus accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Inadequate security on premises

Damages

The school’s negligence must have resulted in damages that are calculable and provable. These include medical costs, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and pain and suffering. If the child had a part-time job, then you may have a wage loss claim.

Let’s take a look at an example of negligence in school wherein a school employee failed to supervise students who were under her care. Johnson v. School District of Millard, 573 N.W.2d 116 (Neb. 1998). Robbie L. Johnson, a first grader at Willa Cather Elementary School, was injured while in his music class.  Nancy Patton, a music teacher taught her class the song and game “London Bridge.” London Bridge is a game in which two children, while singing a song, form a “bridge” by linking their arms. Robbie testified that he was swung “fast and hard” while caught in his classmates’ arms.  While swinging Johnson, the two children released their hands and threw Johnson into a bookcase, cutting his head above his right eyebrow. Robbie required fifty stitches to close the cut above his right eye. Johnson suffered blurred vision for a short period of time and continues to suffer headaches as a result of his injury.

If you or a loved one are facing a lawsuit for injuries you sustained as a result of an 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.

WHAT IS INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

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The Las Vegas personal injury attorneys of D.R. Patti & Associates are no strangers to insurance companies acting in bad faith. With over 26 years of experience in Las Vegas personal injury cases and litigation, D.R. Patti & Associates knows what to look for and how to hold insurance companies responsible. An insurance company is considered to be acting in bad faith if it denies or mishandles an insurance claim in such a way that it is considered unreasonable.  In car accidents, an innocent victim may be entitled to compensation from their own automobile insurance policy if they have uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) coverage.

A UM policy covers an insured who is struck by a car with no insurance or by a hit-and-run driver, while UIM policy covers an insured who sustains damages more than what the at-fault driver’s insurance policy can cover. Also, there are times when accidents happen that are not caused by the negligence of other citizens. In these cases, a person will likely have to have their own insurance company pay for their medical expenses. When an insurance company acts in bad faith on these claims it can cause an unnecessary burden upon the victim.

Under United States law, insurance companies owe a duty of good faith and fair dealing to the persons they insure. This duty is often referred to as the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” which automatically exists by operation of law in every insurance contract. See  Combee, Jamie R. (22 December 2014). “Insurance Bad Faith” (PDF). Mealey’s Litigation Report28 (16). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-06-04. Retrieved 19 March 2018.

Bad Faith Examples

  • Lack of communication
  • Making threatening statements
  • Canceling or changing the policy after the claim is filed and under new terms
  • They took an unreasonable length of time to pay your claim
  • Your claim was denied but you weren’t given a reason
  • Undervaluing your claim, and not offering a reasonable amount so that litigation is necessary to recoup the correct amount
  • Failing to explain why a claim was denied or a compromise offer was made.
  • Not using formal and proper investigative techniques i.e. use of fraudulent or illegal investigative processes.

Damages

Punitive damages might be available, which are imposed for the purpose of punishing the bad actor for particularly wrongful conduct. These damages are meant to deter insurance companies from doing the same thing to other policyholders.

On March 8, 2013, the Brevard County jury rendered a verdict for Cadle and against GEICO in the amount of $900,000.00. Thereafter, judgment was entered in the amount of $75,000.00, representing the UM policy limit. The present suit was filed on October 15, 2013, seeking to recover the $900,000.00 verdict (less set-offs) rendered in the underlying case. See Cadle v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co. (n.d.). Case Text. https://casetext.com/case/cadle-v-geico-gen-ins-co

If you think your insurance company is acting in bad faith, call the Las Vegas personal injury attorneys of D.R. Patti & Associates at 702-331-3391. We have extensive experience with bad faith insurance practices, and sometimes simply having a lawyer can make insurance companies change their practices.

DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY IN A FENDER BENDER?

Do YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY AFTER A FENDER-BENDER?


Call For A Free Consultation

Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys

do you need an attorney after a fender-bender?

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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Arbitration of Car Accident Claims In Las Vegas

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Car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, and they also cause relatively less serious injuries. For the majority of car accident victims, injuries include neck and back pain that may last only a few months. For those crash victims, facing the possibility of a lengthy lawsuit may deter them from pursuing a claim. Car accident lawsuits in Las Vegas could take more than a year or two. For relatively smaller car accident cases, Nevada law provides for arbitration as a means to resolve those case faster. This article describes Clark County’s Court-Annexed Mandatory Arbitration Program.

What Is Arbitration In General?

Arbitration is a process where a case is resolved by a neutral third-party, other than by a judge or jury. When lawsuits are filed, either a judge or a jury will decide the case at a trial. With arbitration, there is no judge or jury and no courtroom. Instead of proceeding with a lawsuit, the parties to a dispute can agree to hire one or several neutral persons to hear evidence and decide the case. Parties to a private arbitration can agree to make the arbitrator’s decision to be binding or not binding. Nevada has required mandatory arbitration in certain counties, such as Clark County. The decision of an arbitrator, however, is not automatically binding.

Clark County’s Court-Annexed Arbitration Program

In Las Vegas, all cases are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Court-Annexed Arbitration Program. Thus, unless exempted, all cases must first be arbitrated.  The purpose of this Arbitration Program “is to provide a simplified procedure for obtaining a prompt and equitable resolution of cervical civil matters.” Absent good cause, arbitration hearings for cases in the program must be held within 6 months after appointment of an arbitrator. The laws governing the Arbitration Program can be found in the Rules Governing Alternative Dispute Resolution.

For car accident cases, the exemption that usually applies is the exemption for cases where the damages claimed are in excess of $50,000.00. A request for exemption must be submitted to the Arbitration Commissioner within 20 days after the defendant files an answer.

If the damages from a car accident claim is less than $50,000.00, it will usually be first arbitrated. In an arbitration, the case is decided by a qualified neutral third-party. Sometime after the lawsuit is initiated and a defendant files an answer, the parties in such a case will receive a list of five potential arbitrators, usually local attorneys. Each party can de-select two of the potential arbitrators, and the Arbitration Commissioner will select the arbitrator from the remaining names.

Scheduling The Arbitration Hearing

The person who is appointed as the arbitrator will hold a conference with the parties’ attorneys to discuss when the arbitration hearing should be scheduled. All arbitration hearings must generally be scheduled no later than 6 months after the arbitrator is appointed. An arbitrator may continue the arbitration hearing for another 3 months (no later than 9 months after the arbitrator is appointed) for good reason. Only the Arbitration Commissioner can extend the deadline to hold the arbitration hearing beyond 9 months and only for “unusual circumstances.”

The Arbitration Hearing

The arbitration hearing is held usually in the arbitrator’s office or the office of the one of the attorney’s involved. Again, there will be no judge or jury. Arbitration is relatively more relaxed atmosphere. The parties and arbitrator sit around a conference table. The attorney for the plaintiff (i.e., the car accident victim) will usually start with an opening statement, followed by the defendant’s opening statement.
Following opening statements, the parties can then call witnesses. Because arbitration is intended to be a cheaper and faster way to resolve disputes, doctors and other healthcare providers to the car accident victim are usually not called. This is unlike in a regular trial before a judge or jury, where doctors are usually called to testify about the accident victim’s injuries.

In arbitration cases, a car accident plaintiff can rely on the doctor’s written medical records rather than calling the doctor’s to testify, saving the plaintiff a ton of money. Doctors routinely charge for taking time away from their medical practice, and doctor’s fees can amount to thousands of dollars. Not calling doctors to testify also saves tons of time. Because of the limited number of witnesses and reliance on records, an arbitration hearing usually lasts less than three hours.

The rules require that the arbitrator issue his or her decision within seven (7) days after the arbitration hearing. After the decision is issued, either party to the arbitration can request that the car accident dispute proceed through a trial by filing a request for trial de novo. The request must be filed within 30 days after the arbitrator’s decision. If neither party requests a trial, the decision of the arbitrator becomes binding.

If you or a loved one are facing a lawsuit for injuries you sustained as a result of a car accident , the experienced trial 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.

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.