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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.

DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY IN A FENDER BENDER?

Do YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY AFTER A FENDER-BENDER?


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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.

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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Will Prior Accidents Affect My Car Accident Claim?

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Prior car accidents or other types of accidents may affect your car accident claim. First, insurance companies may blame prior accidents for a victim’s injuries. The more recent those accidents are, the more likely the insurance company will use those prior accidents against the victim. Second, auto insurers may use those prior accidents to test a victim’s credibility. Under the guise of needing to know more information about those prior accidents, insurers will seek more information from the victim about those accidents. Then, they will use any discrepancy – regardless of how small – against the victim. Thus, it is important to tell your car accident attorney your accident history so they can be prepared to deal with these tactics from insurance companies.

How will insurance companies learn about my prior accidents?

Insurance companies generally run a background check on the claimant in the ISO ClaimSearch database. This database contains detailed records of auto and property insurance claims and payments. Insurers claim they use the database to detect fraud. But they also use information from the database to challenge the cause of a car accident victim’s injuries. An ISO search will reveal the date, insurance company, claim number and possibly the injuries reported.

Why is my prior accidents relevant to my current injuries?

An issue in most personal injury lawsuit is whether the accident caused the victim’s injuries. This is because one of the elements of a negligence claim that a personal injury plaintiff has to prove is causation. Unless an injury is obviously and indisputably caused by a crash, insurance companies will typically question whether a victim’s injuries are related to the accident. An example of an injury that could be unquestionably crash-related would be a broken bone, as doctors would be able to tell from an x-ray if a fracture is fresh or not. However, the most common type of injuries from a car accident are not as clear cut.

One of the most common type of injury from a car accident is a neck pain. Neck pain from a car accident is usually diagnosed as sprain or strain, which can colloquially be called whiplash. There’s generally no definitive objective test from sprain or strain. Meaning, an x-ray or MRI will not definitively show sprain or strain. An MRI may show loss of cervical lordosis or the normal curve of the neck. This curvature loss may evidence muscle spasms, but it also could be from other factors, such as aging or repetitive motions. Doctors generally wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the x-ray whether the curvature loss is from the accident, unless they can compare the x-ray to one taken immediately before the accident.

Also, pain is the usual primary symptom of accident injuries. However, there is no objective test for pain. Doctors routinely rely on their patients reporting whether they have pain and when the pain started. So, if insurance companies and their defense attorneys can show you had the neck pain before the car accident, then they can attack the opinion of the accident victim’s doctors.

Prior accidents can be a goldmine for the insurance company. What better way to show prior neck pain than go back to any prior accidents the victim may have had. Again, neck pain is a common injury from a car accident. Thus, there is a good chance if the victim was in a prior crash, the victim would have had neck pain. Then, the insurance company will likely claim the victim’s neck injury pre-existed the crash.

Of course, it’s also likely that a person can be injured in an accident that occurred years before and fully heal from those injuries. And the person’s medical records prior to the current car accident may prove that. That is why a car accident lawyer needs to know a client’s accident history. The accident attorney would need to obtain the client’s pre-accident medical records or the medical records from prior accidents. With our combined 50+ years of experience as personal injury attorneys, we know what the insurance company is looking for and we know how to beat their game. We obtain the necessary evidence to prove our client’s case even before the insurance company even asks. That’s how we have obtained millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Las Vegas and had prior accidents, you should hire an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney. Personal injury cases where the accident victim had multiple prior accidents can get complicated and may even result in a personal injury lawsuit. The accident victim will need a personal injury attorney who has successfully handled many cases like yours, even through litigation and trial. The personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates have represented many car accident victims who’ve had prior accidents. It’s actually quite common, since accidents can and do happen far too frequently. So call and speak to one of our Las Vegas car accident lawyers today.

People Article On Second Lawsuit Against Wayne Newton For Monkey Bite

Recently, D.R. Patti & Associates filed a second lawsuit against Wayne Newton for another alleged attached by Newton’s pet monkey. The victim alleged that she was asked to pose for a photo with the monkey, whose name is Boo. She also alleged she was assured that doing so would be safe. But then, as her lawsuit claims, the monkey attacked and bit her.

In the first lawsuit filed last year, Marc C. Naron, Esq., of D.R. Patti & Associates represented a 15-year old teenager who alleged she was bitten by Newton’s monkey while touring his famed estate, Casa de Shanandoah. 

The Associated Press and People Magazine covered the first lawsuit. Below is the text of People Magazine’s article, which can also be found here.

Wayne Newton’s Pet Monkey Allegedly Attacked a 15-Year-Old Girl

The longtime entertainer is being sued by a Las Vegas woman for at least $15,000

By Joelle Goldstein August 09, 2019 10:47 PM

Wayne Newton‘s pet likely won’t be monkeying around any longer.

On Wednesday, the longtime entertainer, 77, was sued by a Las Vegas woman after she claimed that her daughter was attacked by his pet monkey, Boo, during a visit to Newton’s former estate, the Associated Press reports.

The civil negligence complaint, which was filed in Nevada state court and obtained by the outlet, states that Jocelyne Urena is seeking at least $15,000 in damages on behalf of her daughter, Genevieve, after the alleged incident at Casa de Shenandoah in October 2017.

Jocelyne’s attorney, Marc Naron, told the outlet that Genevieve, then 15, was bitten on her right wrist by the monkey “without any provocation” and sought out emergency hospital treatment after the encounter.

Naron also claimed that Boo, a capuchin monkey, was unleashed and uncaged during the attack at Newton’s former estate, which has since become a tourist attraction that features stables for Newton’s horses and several exotic animals.

In the time since the incident, Naron told the AP that Genevieve has undergone follow-up medical treatment, counseling and suffered a scar from the bite.

“Without any provocation, the monkey viciously attacked and bit Ms. Urena, causing injury to her body as well as emotional distress,” the lawsuit alleges, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Naron did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In a statement to PEOPLE, however, Wayne and Kathleen Newton denied any knowledge of the situation.

The couple also said that they had severed ties with the company running their former home three months before the alleged attack due to Newton’s health crisis from a spider bite.

“With regard to this lawsuit, we have not seen the complaint, but our company ceased running Casa de Shenandoah July 1, 2017, due to Wayne’s almost dying from a spider bite,” they said.

“So we are not a party and have no idea what happened in Oct 2017,” the couple added.

Newton and his family lived at Casa de Shenandoah in Paradise, Nevada for over 40 years, according to the AP. In 2010, the singer, known as “Mr. Las Vegas,” sold it to investors who later converted it into a tourist attraction and museum.

CSD LLC., the company who took over Newton’s estate, are also reportedly named in the lawsuit, according to the AP.

Since April 23, 2018, Casa de Shenandoah has been closed due to property “maintenance and upgrades.” No reopening date has been announced.

Newton and his family, meanwhile, have lived at another home since 2013, the AP reports.

Pets and other animals can be so cute; but they can also be dangerous, if not outright deadly. If you or a loved one have been injured by a pet or other animal, you may have a personal injury claim. Call and speak to a Las Vegas personal injury and accident attorney at D.R. Patti to find out what your rights are.

 

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

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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.