Tag: car accident attorneys Las Vegas

Black Boxes and Event Data Recorders in Vehicles

Las Vegas car accident attorneys

When most people hear the term “black boxes,” they think of the recording devices on planes that are used to recover data about a plane after a crash. Such devices are now more common in today’s modern vehicles. Black boxes, also known as event data recorder (EDR) or accident data recorder (ADR), are electronic devices installed in some vehicles to record information related to car crashes or accidents.

Some EDRs continuously record data, overwriting the previous few minutes until a crash stops them, and others are activated by crash-like events (such as sudden changes in velocity) and may continue to record until the accident is over, or until the recording time is expired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certain information be recorded by EDRs, such as, the pre-crash speed, whether the brakes were applied, and whether the seat belts were buckled or unbuckled.

With some EDRs connected to communications systems, data are transmitted automatically to a remote location upon the occurrence of an event, such as airbag deployment. With most EDRs, however, data has to be downloaded from the vehicle. EDR data may be lost before they can be downloaded under certain circumstances, for example when there is a catastrophic loss of electric power. Special software is needed to download the data. Personal injury attorneys usually retained professionals, such as accident reconstructionists, to download and interpret the data.

As noted above, most data from black boxes still requires some interpretation and may not provide a full picture. Black box data is usually limited to a few seconds before a crash. A Forbes 2018 article describes the limitation on black box data as follows:

Black boxes, under current design, retain only a few seconds of vehicle activity in memory. That means that driving behavior that occurred immediately prior to the start of the recording is omitted from evidence a jury will be able to see. If you were driving at the speed limit for the duration of your trip but had to suddenly accelerate in an attempt to avoid a collision or in response to a trigger event, it is the acceleration and your response that will be recorded while your prior calm driving will be off the record.

Use of black boxes in cars began in the 1990s for the primary purpose of providing information to the NHTSA and car manufacturers. Nowadays, black box data is used in both civil and criminal legal proceedings. In personal injury cases, the data in the EDRs may help determine who is responsible for a crash.

Data from black boxes can affect personal injury cases in other ways. Most important, black box data can provide information as to how severe a crash is. It’s not uncommon in Las Vegas personal injury cases for the insurance company defending the at fault driver to argue that the accident is not bad enough to cause someone’s injuries. A defendant’s insurance company usually hires an accident reconstructionist or biomechanical engineer to examine a car and calculated the crush damage and Delta V. Insurance companies use Delta V as a measurement of how severe a crash is. Delta V is defined as the change in velocity between the pre- and post-crash trajectories of a vehicle. The lower the Delta V, the less severe the crash is, according to these insurance companies. A problem with these calculations arise when the accident reconstructionist rely only on a limited number of photos or photos that are not of good quality. Generally by the time accident reconstructions or engineers are involved, the car involved in the crash cannot be inspected in the condition it was in from the accident. The data from the black boxes may provide information that may contradict these calculations.

If you’ve been an accident in Las Vegas or in the surrounding areas, you may want to download the data from your car’s black box as soon as possible. You should contact an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney who can hire the appropriate experts to download and preserve the black box information. The Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can assist with that.

Timeline of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawsuit

Timeline of a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawsuit

A lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. Generally, if the accident occurred in Las Vegas, the complaint would be filed in state court. In some cases where damages exceed $75,000.00 and the parties reside in different states from each other, those cases can be filed with the federal court. This timeline will focus on cases filed in state court. The person on whose behalf the lawsuit is filed is called the plaintiff. The person being sued is called the defendant.

The amount of damages an injured person is seeking determines which state court the lawsuit is filed in. If the damages do not exceed $15,000.00, the case is filed with the Las Vegas Justice Court. If the damages exceed $15,000.00, the case is filed with the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases In The Eighth Judicial District Court

In personal injury cases (except Medical Malpractice), a lawsuit must be filed no later than the second anniversary of the accident. This is called the statute of limitations. This means that if the car accident or slip and fall that caused your injuries occurred on July 1, 2020, the lawsuit must be filed by July 1, 2022. If the lawsuit is not filed by the second anniversary, the lawsuit will be dismissed. Nevada’s statute of limitations applicable in personal injury cases can be found in NRS § 11.190.
Once the complaint is filed, the plaintiff has 120 days to serve the defendant with the complaint and a summons. This step is called service of process. A defendant must be served before the court can have jurisdiction over the defendant. The laws governing service of process can be found in Rules 4 and 4.2 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (“NRCP”). Failure to serve the defendant without good cause before the 120 expires can result in dismissal of the lawsuit. If additional time is needed to serve the defendant, a plaintiff should seek an extension with the court before the 120 days expires.
The best and primary way to serve a defendant is through personal service, which means that a defendant is personally handed the complaint and summons. Any person over the age of 18 years old and not a party to the lawsuit can serve the defendant. See NRCP Rule 4(c)(3). If the defendant is a legal entity, such as a corporation or a limited liability company, the company’s registered agent for service of process can be served. If the defendant is a Nevada corporation or limited liability company, you can find out who the registered agent is through the Nevada Secretary of State’s website.

If the defendant cannot be found, Rules 4 and 4.4 of the NRCP provides for alternatives to personal service. To be able to utilize those alternatives, the plaintiff or her attorneys must show that they conducted due diligence in locating defendant and attempting to serve them. Alternatives to personal service including publishing the complaint and summons.

Once the defendant is served, they have 20 days to file an answer. Once the defendant files an answer, the plaintiff can request exemption from the mandatory Court Annexed Arbitration Program or proceed through the program.

The Mandatory Court Annexed Arbitration Program

In the Eighth Judicial District Court, 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.

A case is exempted from the program if the case involves a claim in excess of $50,000.00. There are other reasons a case can be exempted from the program, such as public policy. A request for exemption must be submitted to the Arbitration Commissioner within 20 days after the defendant files an answer.

If a Las Vegas personal injury case is worth 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 an answer is filed, 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.

The decision of the arbitrator is non-binding, unless the parties agree otherwise. This means that once the arbitrator issues her decision, either party to the lawsuit can elect to proceed to a trial by filing a “Request for Trial De Novo” within 30 days after the arbitrator issues her decision. If such a Request is filed, the lawsuit will proceed through the Short Trial program unless a party demands removal from the program within 10 days after the Request. If a lawsuit is removed from the Short Trial program, the lawsuit proceeds on the regular course of litigation.

As with the Court Annexed Arbitration Program, the Short Trial program is intended to provide a faster resolution of a lawsuit. Unlike a regular trial, a trial in the Short Trial program must occur within 120 days after the presiding judge is appointed. In a lawsuit that is not in the Short Trial program, it can take a year or more for a case goes to trial. There are other difference. Unlike a regular trial, a case in the Short Trial program only has 1 day to try the case in front of a jury of four people. Also unlike a regular trial, a pro tempore judge, rather than a district court judge, can preside over a Short Trial. The Short Trial rules can be found in the Nevada Short Trial Rules.

Scheduling Conference & Discovery

After a Las Vegas personal injury lawsuit is exempted from arbitration or an arbitrator is appointed, a scheduling conference will be held with the parties or their attorneys. If the case is in the Arbitration Program, the scheduling conference will be set by the arbitrator. If the case is not in the Arbitration Program, the plaintiff will schedule the conference. In the scheduling conference, the parties discuss how long they need to conduct “discovery” and set deadlines.
Discovery is essentially the process during which each side conducts their investigation and discloses the evidence they intend on using at trial. The Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure provide for the following ways to conduct discovery:

  • Interrogatories (NRCP Rule 33)
  • Requests for Production of Documents (NRCP Rule 34)
  • Requests for Admissions (NRCP Rule 36)
  • Depositions (NRCP Rule 30)
  • Site Inspections (NRCP Rule 34)
  • Independent Medical Examination (NRCP Rule 35)
  • Subpoenas (NRCP Rule 45)

In cases outside the Arbitration Program or Short Trial Program, the discovery period could last longer than 6 months after the scheduling conference. Oftentimes, it could be as long as a year. The more complex a case is, the longer the discovery period could take. If the parties cannot agree on how long the discovery period should be, the district court judge assigned to the case or the Discovery Commissioner will set the discovery period.
Along with the discovery period, the other deadlines the parties can either agree to or the court can set include deadlines for filing pre-trial motions, deadlines for disclosing experts, and the deadline for the case to be ready for trial.

Dispositive Motions, Pre-Trial Motions & Trial

In cases outside the Court Annexed Arbitration Program or Short Trial Program, the next deadline the parties usually face after the discovery period is the deadline to file dispositive motions. This deadline is usually set 30 days after the end of the discovery period. Dispositive motions are papers or briefs submitted by a party to the court, in which the party asks the court for a case-ending decision. The typical dispositive motion is called Motion for Summary Judgment.

Another deadline the parties face after the discovery period is the deadline to file pre-trial motions. Pre-trial motions usually deal with evidentiary issues. That is, the parties argue what evidence can be shown to a jury or what must be excluded.

The final step is the trial. In cases outside the Court Annexed Arbitration Program or Short Trial Program, trial can last days and, sometimes, weeks. By the time a trial starts in a case outside the Court Annexed Arbitration Program or Short Trial Program, over a year could have lapsed since the lawsuit was started.

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 personal injury 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.

Distracted Driving In Nevada

Distracted driving is far too common and occurs for a number of reasons. Texting while driving is just one form. Reading a text or anything on your cell phone while driving is another form. Distracted driving is driving when you don’t have full attention on driving. You could be eating and drinking, talking to other people in your vehicle, looking at your navigation system, or even fiddling with the radio. Any activity that takes your full attention from driving and the road, even for just a few seconds, is a potential distraction and increases the risk of being involved in a car crash.

The Nevada Department of Transportation estimates the increased chances of getting into a car accident by doing any of the following activities while driving:

  • Reaching for a moving object – 9 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Driving drowsy – 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Looking at an external object – 3.7 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Reading – more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Dialing a phone – 2.8 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Applying makeup – 3 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Eating – 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Reaching for a non-moving object – 1.4 times more likely to be involved in a crash
  • Talking on a hand-held phone – 1.3 times more likely to be involved in a crash

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. During that 5 seconds, a car going 40 mph can cover 294 feet. That’s nearly twice the length of a football field. So a lot can happen in those 5 seconds.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road – for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving resulted in 2,841 fatalities in 2018. This figure includes 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. In 2017, 434 people died in crashes reported to have involved cell phone use. According to statistics reported by The Zebra, an estimated 391,000 drivers were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2017 and 2018 saw 4,637 deaths resulting from distracting driving. The Zebra also reports that distracted driving claimed approximately 9 lives per day.

The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety reported that between 2013-2017, 73 fatalities resulted from crashes where distracted driving was confirmed in the crash report. However, they estimate the actual number of fatal crashes involving distracted driving is much higher, as confirming whether distracted driving occurred is difficult.

The experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates know what it takes to prove distracted driving. If you or a loved have been injured by a distracted driver, call and speak to a Las Vegas car accident attorney at D.R. Patti & Associates at 702-331-3391 for a free consultation and see how we can help you.

Documenting Your Injuries, Pain, and Suffering When You Can’t See Your Health Care Provider

Documenting Injuries - Pain Diary

With many of us practicing social distancing to help flatten the curve, we have come to learn that many people have been unable to continue their treatment for their accident-related injuries. Many people with accident-related injuries have regularly scheduled doctor, chiropractic, physical therapy appointments. If they miss some appointments, their healthcare providers would normally give them instructions on exercises they can do at home that may help relieve some of their sometimes. Unable to obtain medical treatment, accident victims may be concerned whether their injuries would linger longer or worsen.

Missing health care appointments, however, cause another concern for their personal injury cases. 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.

One way to counter such arguments and demonstrate injury is to maintain a pain journal. Some physicians will instruct a patient to maintain a written log (journal) of pain-related information and to bring this with them to their office visits. The physician reads the patient’s journal to identify trends in the pain and responses to treatment. The following types of information should be recorded on a daily basis:

  • Your symptoms that day
  • Time when your pain started or got worse.
  • What you were doing at the time the pain started or got worse.
  • The intensity of your pain from 0 to 10, 0 being no pain to 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt
  • How long did the pain last
  • What you were doing at the time the pain stopped or got better.
  • Did you take any medication (over the counter or prescription) and what was the dosage
  • Time you took the medication
  • Whether the medication worked and how long did it take to work
  • Any other thing you did to reduce the pain, such as ice/heating pad, TENS, bed rest, wearing a brace, etc.
  • If you had to skip out on any activities, whether work or social engagements, because of the pain or other symptoms

To learn more about what you can do to document or prove your injuries from a car accident, call the experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates for a free consultation.

Importance of Getting Immediate Medical Attention

In real life, many people who are injured in car accidents do not get medical treatment right away. There are many reasons for this. Some can’t afford to take the time off from work to get treatment. They just live with the pain. Some can’t afford the medical treatment, and they too just live with the pain. Then there are those who believe that their symptoms will go away with time. This statement is particularly true for people suffering from headaches, neck pain, or back pain. It is only when their pain doesn’t go after several weeks that some of these people finally get medical attention. When they find out that their condition may be worse or can last months, if not be permanent, they finally seek compensation against the insurance company of the party who caused the accident. Then their claim is denied by the insurance company. That’s when they finally call an attorney.

In our over 25+ years of experience as Las Vegas car accident attorneys, we have received calls from lots of people with similar experiences. Many of them have consulted with other Las Vegas personal injury attorneys, and their case was rejected. Then they ask why.

The insurance company and other attorneys have rejected their car accident case because of the gap in treatment. A significant period between the time of the car crash until the first medical treatment raise doubts whether the person’s injuries are from the car accident. Remember, people can develop headaches, neck pain, and back pain without a car accident.

Remember also, insurance companies will only compensate you if you prove your injuries. Just because you are in a car accident doesn’t mean you are injured. A significant gap in treatment is evidence to the insurance company that you weren’t injured in the car accident. To insurance companies and to many jurors, an injured person gets treatment, and someone who does not get treatment is not injured. This is a stereotype that doesn’t always conform to reality. Those who don’t confirm to this stereotype may find it difficult convincing anyone that they are injured.

Also, in many cases, only a medical professional is needed to confirm that your injuries are related to the car accident. In most cases, a medical professional must be able to testify in court that your injures are causally related to the car accident “to a reasonable degree of medical probability.” Basically, the medical professional must be able to say that your injuries are more likely than not was caused by the car accident. The medical professional doesn’t necessarily have to be a doctor. It could be a chiropractor or physical therapist experienced and trained in diagnosing the kind of injuries you have. The more we can prove your injuries with medical documentation, the easier it could be to resolve your case.

Keeping a record of your medical appointments can serve as a key piece of evidence in your case. Your medical records can establish important information, including:

  • The nature of your medical condition
  • How long you received treatment
  • The connection between your injuries and the accident
  • The charges you incurred due to your injuries
  • Notes on your future medical needs due to the accident
  • Documentation of your pain and suffering

Be sure that you keep track of all of your medical records and bills and provide them to your personal injury lawyer.

If you can’t go to your medical appointment for sometime, you should keep a pain journal or diary of your symptoms and how it affects you on a daily basis. A handwritten diary written at or about the same time you experienced an event or symptoms is admissible in court. A handwritten journal is evidence in court, but not as powerful as medical records. Experienced personal injury trial attorneys know how to admit the handwritten diary in court as evidence to help prove your case.

If you or a loved one are struggling with your injuries from a car accident and the insurance company, call the accomplished Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. All of our attorneys have 10 or more years of experience in litigating Las Vegas personal injury cases. We will answer your questions and discuss your options in depth with you, as well as the risks and benefits of proceeding. Don’t wait any longer. Call us today.

How Long Does It Take To Settle My Car Accident Case?

car accident attorney las vegas

There is no simple answer to how long it takes to settle a car accident case. Every car accident case is different, and there is no fixed formula. Generally, the less disputes issued, the more likely the case settles early. The more disputed issues, the longer it takes to settle case.  There are several factors to consider.

Is There A Dispute As To Who Caused The Accident?

The first factor to consider is whether there is a liability dispute. A liability dispute means the drivers involved in the car accident are claiming the other person is at fault. Many times when there is a liability dispute, a lawsuit will have to be filed. The purpose of the lawsuit is to get a judge, jury, or arbitrator to decide who is at fault. However, even if a lawsuit is filed, a case can still settle without going to trial or arbitration. What happens in a personal injury lawsuit is a whole separate topic, and you can learn more about that by clicking here.

Sometimes, a case with disputed liability can settle without a lawsuit. Usually, this happens when one driver has more or stronger evidence to show that the other driver is at fault. For example, if the police came to the accident scene, did an investigation, and determined the other driver is at fault, that other driver’s insurance company may decide to settle the case. Generally, a person’s car insurance company can settle a personal injury claim without the permission of their insured. If there is a disinterested witness to the accident, there is a good chance of settling without a lawsuit. A disinterested witness is someone who has no interest in the case. Usually, this means the witness doesn’t know any of the other drivers involved.

How Severe Are the Injuries And How Much Insurance Is Available?

Assuming liability is not in dispute, the next two main factors to consider are (1) the extent and severity of the injuries and (2) the amount of insurance available. The more severe the injuries and the lower the amount of insurance available, the faster a case would actually settle. For example, if a car accident caused you to break a leg and the insurance limits for the at fault driver is the Nevada minimum of $25,000, the case would likely settle pretty quickly. The reason this case settles quickly is because there is no dispute that the injuries are greater than the insurance monies available.

The more severe the injuries and the greater amount of insurance available, the longer it could take a case to settle. For example, if you were in a car accident with a semi-truck, it is likely that the semi-truck carries a commercial liability policy. That commercial policy could be more than a million dollars. If you injured your neck in that truck accident, it could take sometime before your doctors determine that the injury is more severe or permanent. Most neck injuries from a car accident 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. A car accident victim shouldn’t settle their case until they know the full extent of their injuries.

More often than not, the less severe the injuries, the more likely the case will settle without a lawsuit. Less severe injuries take less time to heal. 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. You can learn more about the process of settling a case here.

How Bad Was The Car Accident?

The amount of damage to the cars involved in the accident also affects when the case settles. Generally, insurance companies take the position that minor impact accidents do not cause injuries. Even if they do, insurance companies say that the injuries are so minor and they will dispute the necessity or amount of medical treatment. Read more about the insurance companies’ tactics in dealing with “Minor Impact Soft Tissue” injury cases here.

What is considered a minor impact usually depends on the cost to repair the damage or how visible the damage is. An experienced personal injury will always obtain documentation on the property damage. This could include photographs of the cars and repair estimates.

The above are just some of the more common factors affecting how long it takes to settle a car accident. There may be other factors to consider, such as whether the accident victim has pre-existing injuries or is an eggshell person. Again, no car accident case is the same. If you have questions about your car accident case, you should speak to an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney. With a combined total of 25+ years of experience and success, the car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can provide unique insights to your case. Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys know that its important that clients get to speak to their attorneys.


Injured as Lyft or Uber Passenger

Injured while in a rideshare in Las Vegas?

More and more people are using rideshare service such as Uber and Lyft to get around in Las Vegas. Generally, using Uber and Lyft is a good idea. It is generally cheaper than a taxi, responds sooner, and reduces drunk driving. Unfortunately, even Uber and Lyft drivers get into car accidents. Passengers in the rideshare vehicles who are injured in the car accident can recover against the insurance of the person that caused the accident. This is the case even if the car accident was caused by the Uber or Lyft driver.

If the accident was caused by the Uber or Lyft driver, their insurance will cover the passenger’s injuries. Uber and Lyft carry third party liability insurance coverage, which generally covers up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per accident. A passenger is covered under this kind of liability policy when the Uber or Lyft driver is at fault for the accident.

What If The Accident Was Not Caused By The Uber Or Lyft Passenger But Someone Else?

If the accident was caused by another driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the Uber or Lyft passenger’s injuries. In Nevada, drivers are required to carry liability insurance that covers a minimum of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident. If  that other driver’s insurance isn’t enough to compensate the injured passengers, Uber and Lyft insurance can cover the rest through underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance.

If the at fault driver does not have insurance or the passenger was a victim of a hit and run, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage of the Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance will apply. Lyft carries at least $250,000 in UM and UIM coverage for its passengers. Uber carries $1 million in UM and UIM coverage for its injured passengers.

What Should You Do If You Were Injured While A Passenger In An Uber Or Lyft?

First, if you are injured, take care of yourself and seek medical attention. If you feel symptoms, such as pain, at the scene of the car accident, and feel like you need medical attention, call 911 and ask for an ambulance and/or go to the emergency room or urgent care. If you do not have health insurance, do not worry about the expense; worry about getting better. Your health should be your first priority. The Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can help you obtain monies from Uber, Lyft, or any other insurance that applies to cover your medical expenses from a car accident.

London Car Attack Raises Concern For Pedestrian Safety in Las Vegas Valley

Las Vegas pedestrian accident attorneys

Two days ago, a man rammed his car into a crowd and injured three pedestrians in London. With this recent terror attack, Las Vegans have wondered whether the Las Vegas is safe for pedestrians. Action News 13 recently discussed the safety of Las Vegas pedestrians. In the recent article, Action News 13 reported that barriers have been erected on the Las Vegas Strip to protect pedestrians.[i]Those barriers, however, have been there for a while and did not prevent the pedestrian deaths at intersections. Terrorist attacks are not the main cause for concern for pedestrian deaths in the Las Vegas Valley. Pedestrian accidents are seen too many times in Las Vegas. Early this month, 54-year old Louis Gagliano was struck and killed by a driver who abruptly changed directions on Sahara Avenue, near Rainbow Boulevard.[ii]

Record-breaking Pedestrian Fatalities

The Review Journal reported early this year that a study by the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety showed that Clark County had set a record-breaking number of pedestrian fatalities in 2017.[iii] Per the report, 78 people were killed by vehicles on public roads, breaking the previous unenviable record of 60 pedestrian deaths in 2015. One of the factors cited by this report is distracted pedestrians, specifically pedestrians who were looking at their cellphones while crossing an intersection. Mr. Gagliano, the man killed early this month, was the 80thtraffic-related death in Las Vegas this year, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The other factors cited in the report are all too familiar in Las Vegas car accident injuries – drunk drivers or other impaired drivers, speeding, and failing to pay attention. Drivers, however, are not the only ones to blame. As mentioned above, cellphones have been cited as causing pedestrians to be distracted as they cross the street. Impaired pedestrians – or drunk walkers – were also mentioned in the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety study.

As a result of the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries, the Nevada Department of Transportation (DOT) are slated to spend millions to provide better protections for pedestrians. One example is a $3 million project along Boulder Highway that involves installing flashing beacons, as well as wider medians and crosswalks. According to the study, there were about 10 pedestrian deaths involving motor vehicles on Boulder Highway last year. The Nevada DOT is also undertaking a $2.4 million study of additional safety improvements along a 16-mile highway between Las Vegas and Henderson.

Get Help Now If A Car Has Injured You

If a motor vehicle has injured you or a loved one, the experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can help. Speak to an attorney now and call 702-331-3391. Our experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have obtained millions of dollars for victims, including injured pedestrians.

Can’t Afford Hospital Bills After Las Vegas Car Accidents?

Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys

From our extensive experience as Las Vegas personal injury attorneys, we have seen the huge hospital bills after Las Vegas car accidents our clients receive. For the injured victims of Las Vegas car accidents without health insurance, those hospital bills could prove devastating. One emergency room visit to a Las Vegas valley hospital after a car accident can amount to thousands of dollars. In many cases, when a hospital knows that someone was injured in a car accident, the hospital bills after Las Vegas car accidents are usually higher than for any other type of injuries. In Las Vegas car accident cases, the hospitals know they can assert a lien against the car insurance company of the negligent driver that caused the accident.
Despite the Affordable Healthcare Act, many people still do not have health insurance, and many more people than that cannot afford the hospital bills resulting from a car accident, which bills could be in the thousands of dollars. Nevada hospitals can hold off on receiving payment until a settlement or the personal injury claim is resolved by issuing a hospital lien.  Section 108 of the Nevada Revised Statute governs hospital liens. NRS 108.590(1) provides:

Whenever any person receives hospitalization on account of any injury, and the injured person, or a personal representative after the person’s death, claims damages from the person responsible for causing the injury, the hospital has a lien upon any sum awarded the injured person or the personal representative by judgment or obtained by a settlement or compromise to the extent of the amount due the hospital for the reasonable value of the hospitalization rendered before the date of judgment, settlement or compromise. 

To be able to put the hospital bills on a lien, the hospital must be made aware that the treatment is a result of a car accident. The hospital will also want to know the car accident’s personal injury attorney and the car insurance company of the person who caused the accident. A hospital lien, however, will not necessarily stop the hospital from sending the bill into collections or reporting the outstanding bill on your credit report. Speak to the hospital about this at the time of your treatment or soon after.

To be valid and enforceable, the hospital lien must be recorded with the county recorder’s office and sent by certified or registered mail to the insurance company of the person responsible for the car accident, as well as that person. NRS 108.610 provides:

NRS 108.610.  Notice of lien required: Recording and service.  In order to perfect the lien, the hospital or the owner or operator thereof shall: 

  1.      Before the payment of any money to the injured person or to a legal representative as compensation for injuries received, record a notice of lien, substantially in the form prescribed in NRS 108.620, containing an itemized statement of the amount claimed. The notice of lien must be filed with:
     (a) The county recorder of the county wherein the hospital is located; and
    (b) The county recorder of the county wherein the injury was suffered, if the injury was suffered in a county other than that wherein the hospital is located. 
  2.      Before the date of judgment, settlement or compromise, serve a certified copy of the notice of lien by registered or certified mail upon the person alleged to be responsible for causing the injury and liable for damages on account thereof and from which damages are claimed. 
  3.     Before the date of judgment, settlement or compromise, serve a certified copy of the notice of lien by registered or certified mail upon the insurance carrier, if known, which has insured against liability of the person alleged to be responsible for causing the injury and liable for damages on account thereof and from which damages are claimed. 

Additionally, the hospital is required to provide a thirty percent (30%) uninsured discount if you make payment arrangements in advance. Under § NRS 439B.260(1), hospitals generally must reduce charges by 30 percent to inpatients who lack insurance “or other contractual provision for the payment of the charge by a third party,” are not eligible for public medical payment assistance, and arrange within 30 days of discharge to pay the hospital bill. See Bielar v. Washoe Health Sys., Inc., 129 Nev. Adv. Op. 49, 306 P.3d 360, 361 (2013). In that case, the car accident victim, after paying the hospital its full bill, sued the hospital claiming that the hospital’s charges were unreasonable and that the hospital failed to give her the mandatory 30% discount under NRS § 493B.260.  She presented evidence at trial that the hospital had made a 185% profit margin on the victim’s bill and that the hospital overcharged the victim.  The district court held that the victim was ineligible for the 30% statutory discount because of the personal injury settlement she received much later after her hospitalization.  On appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the victim was eligible because at the time the victim received the hospital services, she had no health insurance or other insurance that would cover her bills. According to the Court, the subsequent personal injury settlement cannot be considered as “other contractual agreement.”

The hospital lien is enforceable only against the insurance company of the person responsible for the car accident, otherwise known as liability insurance. This means that the hospital cannot enforce its lien against a car accident victim’s uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist policy. See Washoe Medical Center, Inc. v. Reliance Ins. Co., 112 Nev. 494, 915 P.2d 288 (1996) (holding that Nevada’s hospital lien statute does not encompass an individual’s UM benefits for several reasons).

If you were in a Las Vegas car accident and have medical bills piling up, contact the experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of D.R. Patti & Associates to help you. We obtain not only fair compensation for the injuries suffered by our clients but also negotiate with hospitals and other medical providers to reduce our clients’ medical bills. We have helped many clients with their hospital bills after Las Vegas car accidents.