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New Metro Policy Regarding Non-Injury Car Accidents in Las Vegas

The next time you’re in a fender bender in Las Vegas, and you don’t seem to have any injuries, don’t bother calling the police.  Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced that as of March 3, 2014, they will no longer be responding to non-injury “minor” motor vehicle accidents.  According to the LVMPD, officers currently spend about 250 hours per week investigating fender benders, and that’s just too much time being taken away from more serious traffic concerns.  Las Vegas recorded 114 traffic fatalities last year and LVMPD wants that number to come down.  They’re hoping that with the new policy change, traffic officers will be able to take a more proactive approach by spending more time enforcing traffic laws in order to reduce the amount of accidents on local roadways.  This is by no means a novel idea and other major cities, like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco have already enacted similar policies.  LVMPD will still respond to accidents involving an injury, hit-and-run accidents, and accidents where a driver refuses to exchange insurance information.

HOW WILL THE NEW FENDER BENDER POLICY AFFECT YOU?

insurance companies will be relying on firsthand accounts and motorist gathered evidence to determine fault and liability.

As you can imagine, the new policy is going to cause some headaches, especially where insurance claims and coverage are concerned and you may need the expert help and support of a personal injury attorney more than ever.  Issues regarding fault and liability will likely be the most problematic.  In the past, a police report regarding a fender bender was used to help determine liability for a car accident.  While the police report was by no means conclusive evidence as to fault, it certainly helped in the determination of who had to pay.  But now, without a police report, insurance companies will be relying on firsthand accounts and motorist gathered evidence to determine fault and liability.  Relying on the average citizen to provide evidence rather than relying on an unbiased, third party police officer who has been trained in accident forensics and who knows what to look for at an accident scene raises all kinds of issues.  How honest and unbiased will people be when it comes to reporting an accident?  There are plenty of dishonest people out there who will exaggerate an accident, understate an accident, refuse to take blame, blatantly lie, and manipulate the situation.

Insurance premiums are also likely to go up.  In the past, when a fender bender occurred, the police would take a report and usually issue a traffic citation to the driver at fault.  The citation was recorded with the insurance company and they would likely see a rise in their premiums.  But now that police are no longer responding, citations will no longer be issued, but claims will still be made.  Without an offending party to lay the blame with, insurance fraud is likely to become more commonplace and you can plan on seeing insurance rates go up across the board.  Drivers who frequently break traffic laws won’t be held accountable and may start paying the same rates that good drivers currently pay.

Oftentimes, the pain doesn’t manifest itself until 12-36 hours later, well after the accident has occurred.

The issue of whether an accident can be categorized as “non-injury” will also be a problem.  The most common injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents are neck and back injuries and soft tissue damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.   Oftentimes, the pain doesn’t manifest itself until 12-36 hours later, well after the accident has occurred.  Without an accident report issued by police, insurance companies may decide that since the accident was considered a “non-injury” accident, medical care was unnecessary and they may refuse to pay for care.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN NON-INJURY CAR ACCIDENTS?

Without an officer on the scene of a fender bender, the responsibility of documenting a car accident will now lie squarely with the motorist and there are a number of things motorists need to do and be aware of in order to protect their interests when they are involved in a car accident.

If you are involved in a car accident, take a moment to stop and check yourself to make sure you are not injured.  Move your arms and legs and make sure everything feels alright and then check on the other motorist to make sure they are not injured.  If they are, call 911.  Otherwise, as long as both vehicles are drivable, move them out of traffic so as not to impede traffic anymore and create any other hazards.

Once you are both safely out of traffic, proceed to document everything.  Use the camera on your cell phone if you have one, or keep a disposable camera in your car in case of accidents.  Take pictures of everything, from every angle.  Take pictures of where the impact occurred, the condition of both vehicles, road signs and markers, skids on the roadway, and anything else you can think of.  It’s especially important to take pictures if you don’t see any damage so that the other driver can’t claim that you caused damage to their car when you didn’t.  You may also want to consider investing in a dashboard camera.

Document everything.  Use the camera on your cell phone if you have one, or keep a disposable camera in your car in case of accidents.  Take pictures of everything, from every angle.

You’ll also need to exchange pertinent information with the other driver.  Write down their license plate, VIN number, make and model of their vehicle, their driver’s license number, name, address, phone number, and insurance information.  It may feel natural to just write down your personal information yourself and accept anything the other motorist gives you regarding their information, but you are better off writing everything down yourself.  If possible, get a picture of their driver’s license and insurance card as well.

While you’re at the accident scene, look for anyone else that may be able to offer statements or evidence.  Look for eyewitnesses, other motorists, pedestrians, people who may be in a nearby store, and anyone else who can act as a witness as to what happened.

Be very careful about what you say while communicating with the other driver.  Choose your words carefully and stick to the facts.  Don’t unknowingly accept any blame by apologizing or making excuses.  Pay attention to whether the other driver expresses any blame, and make a note of it if they do.  Be especially careful in what you say if the insurance company of the other driver contacts you.  Do not express any fault to them and keep in mind that insurance claims adjusters will use any information you offer up against you during the claims process.

Once you’ve documented all the physical evidence and exchanged all the necessary information with the other motorist, take a minute to record all the details that you remember.  Make a note of the weather, date, and time of the accident, as well the condition of the roadway, demeanor of the other driver and anything else that may seem notable to you.  It’s important to document your knowledge of everything as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in your mind.  In the following days, carefully monitor how you’re feeling and watch for any soreness or tenderness that seems to be getting worse.  Seek medical care if necessary.

If you believe that either vehicle sustained more than $750 in damage, Nevada law requires that an accident report be downloaded and filed within 10 days after an accident.  The report is called a SR-1 report and can be found here.

PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

Without police on the scene of a fender bender anymore, protecting your interests is now more important than ever.  If you are involved in a non-injury causing car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Clear Counsel Law Group has personal injury attorneys who are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and car accidents and they can assist you with any issues you may have.  They will communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, they will help you organize your evidence, and they will defend your rights in court, if necessary.  It’s possible that the accident did more damage than you or the other driver realizes, and even if everything at the accident scene seems simple and straightforward, you never know how things may change later on.  Having the expertise and compassion of an experienced car accident attorney from Clear Counsel Law Group is now more invaluable than ever.  Contact a personal injury attorney from Clear Counsel Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation today.

In Nevada, Legal Cases Can Take Years, and Then Years Again.

Here’s an article about the Nevada Court system that we hope you will read, and share, because it’s important.

Nevada Supreme Court Bogged Down.

NPR reports today that the Nevada Supreme Court is the busiest in the nation, and that’s a very bad thing. Why? Because Nevada is one of just 10 states with no intermediate appeals court, our judges are simply overwhelmed by cases. It means that any time a case is appealed, whether divorce, probate,  personal injury, civil rights, or whatever, it has to go to the state supreme court rather than first passing through a mid-appellate court.

What does this mean for the citizens of Nevada? It means that results can take years to go through court, then even more years to go through appeals. The Nevada Supreme Court is just flooded by cases. Nevada has more than 330 cases filed per Supreme Court justice per year. To get a sense of how bad that is, Arizona, with a population three times that of Nevada, has around only 200, and Utah, with a very similar population to that of Nevada, has only about 100. Both of those states have appellate courts that help resolve many of the appellate cases.

Nevada Chief Justice James Hardesty asks “Do you want us working on precedential-setting cases, the most important cases… or do you want us to resolve drivers’ license revocations or inmate disputes?” (source)

 

Why don’t we have an appeals court?

Many states created appeals courts in the 60s and 70s, as state populations grew and court systems were re-worked. However, Nevada experienced most of its growth in the past 30 years, so we missed that wave of reform. Additionally, establishing an appeals court here requires a constitutional amendment to be approved by voters. Nevada voters have been suspicious of changes to the court system, and wary of the expense.

 

What do we need to do?

Nevada needs an appellate court. Our court system deserves to be free to face tough issues, and our population deserves quick justice for their legal issues. Right now we’ve got neither.

This election cycle, both political parties and the entire legal community are behind this change to the Nevada legal system. But there’s no money to make people aware of how important this is.  That’s why it’s important you share this information.

The cost of an appeals court is only about 1.5 million dollars. That’s less than one hundredth of one percent of our state budget, and it would mean years of relief for countless Nevada citizens, and it would take financial pressure off of programs such as the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

It’s time Nevada moved forward on this important issue.

The stress of personal injury

The Stress of Injury

If you’ve been injured by another’s carelessness, you deserve reimbursement for your pain, suffering and expenses. Personal injury law is focused on getting you fair compensation.

Consequences of Injury

The most common side effect of an accident-related injury is stress. Whether dealing with the physical pain, the uncertainty of future finances, or the pressure placed on you by insurance companies and other corporations, the result is the same: lots of stress. Hiring a competent, capable and compassionate attorney can help. The proper attorney will alleviate your stress by helping you find solutions and guidance through the challenges.

The most common side effect of an accident-related injury is stress.

Your personal injury attorney can help you find the best medical resources, to get you through the pain and physical recovery. Your attorney will help you create a financial plan that will let you get back to the lifestyle you are accustomed to. And your attorney will stand up for you against the corporations which are only concerned with their bottom lines. This means that you can focus on the most important part of an accident: recovery.  Regardless of the injury’s severity, the proper attorney will ensure that the client has the best opportunity to retain his/her previous lifestyle, and be made whole again.

Clear Counsel Law Group: Personal Injury Lawyers.

Clear Counsel Law Group has the experienced attorneys to aide you in recovery.  Our attorneys will ensure that insurance companies live up to their promises, and give you the settlement that you deserve.  We minimize our clients’ obligations in the post-accident aftermath, and allow them to focus on recovery.

The severity of the injuries determines the costs of recovery.  As severity of the injury increases, costs increase, leaving a burdensome obligation to the injured party.  It is important to have a competent attorney to handle these matters and assist you in receiving adequate compensation.  Clear Counsel Law Group lifts the burden by managing the expenses and maximizing your compensation.  Our experienced attorneys have the settlement and litigation experience needed to maximize your likelihood of full recovery.

dealing with insurance companies

The Reality of Dealing with an Insurance Company

The Reality of Dealing With an Insurance Company.

When you are hurt, it’s common to expect an insurance company to take care of the costs. Whether it’s your own insurance company, or the insurance company of a responsible party, the cost of your injury needs to be taken care of. After all, it’s why insurance premiums are paid.

However, the reality is that an insurance company is a business. While you might think that it makes sense for the company to make good on the fact that someone (either you or the other party) has been paying premiums, the truth is that, as a business, it’s more about the shareholders and the bottom line. Paying out on your claim doesn’t really benefit the bottom line.

Instead of assuming that the insurance company is there to help, you might have to come to understand that the insurance company might try to convince you to accept a smaller payout than you deserve.

An Attorney Shows You’re Serious

Rather than accept what might not be fair compensation considering your injuries, it makes sense to question what the insurance company is offering. Since the insurer is going to have plenty of people to help back up its effort to avoid paying as much on your claim, it only makes sense for you to have the same sort of help on your side.

An attorney can be just the person to help you. An insurance company — and sometimes your own insurance company is just as bad — is going to look out for its own interests. Your interests are certainly not first on the list. Your attorney, though, is going to be on your side. You can usually trust your lawyer to act in your best interest.

Not only can a personal injury lawyer protect your interests, but he or she can also show the insurer that you are serious. You are more likely to get a more agreeable settlement (and get it in a shorter period of time) if you have an attorney. The insurance company knows that your lawyer has a good understanding of what’s normal and fair in situations like yours, and that he or she will be dedicated to getting that amount. The insurance company also knows that, when you have an attorney, you are more likely to sue if a suitable and reasonable settlement isn’t offered.

Even your own insurance company is mostly concerned with its bottom-line.

Your injury lawyer can also help you work through all the paperwork. When you’ve been injured, the last thing you want to do is try to make your way through tedious insurance paperwork, and you certainly don’t want to talk to pencil pushers who are trying to pressure you into dropping your claim, or accepting much less. A lawyer can take the pressure off. He or she can be your representative with the insurer, which means that he or she can act in your name to get things done. This leaves you free to concentrate on getting better, rather than trying to wrangle with the insurance company.

Bottom Line

It’s too bad that this is the reality of dealing with insurance companies. It would be nice if you could get the compensation you deserve without all of the difficulty. However, that’s not the way things work. As a result, it often makes sense to hire a personal injury attorney if you have been hurt. That way, you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can draw on the knowledge and experience of your attorney, and that is a powerful weapon when you are trying to get justice.

Clear Counsel Law group

Contact Info

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