You May Still Sue if You are in a Car Accident and not Wearing a Seat Belt


How Wearing a Seat Belt Affects Liability in a Car Accident


Jared: Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has said that his son was ... he has a handicapped son. His son was a passenger in somebody else's vehicle. The passenger slammed on the brakes. They didn't actually get into an accident, but slamming on the brakes threw the handicapped son forward and the son was not wearing his seat belt. The father was asking if he can make a claim against the driver. The answer is yes, probably.

There are two things here that caused the injury. One was the slamming on the brakes. Two was the lack of a seat belt. Now on the first one, it depends on whose fault it was that the person had to slam on the brakes. If the person just was not anticipating traffic properly and had to slam on the brakes to prevent hitting the person in front of him, then the driver may be at fault here. If the driver had to slam on the brakes to avoid an unanticipated accident, something there's no way he could have anticipated, then the driver probably isn't responsible.

What we do here is we compare the son's negligence which for the accident, which is nothing because he's just sitting there, and the driver's negligence for the accident. If the driver is at all negligent for slamming on the brakes, if it at all wasn't a good idea, if there was something other option he could have done to prevent the need to slam on the brakes, then that driver should be responsible for the injury.


seat belt, las vegas, car accident, Nevada, injury


The next question is the seat belt. That actually gets into a very interesting question, because in the state of Nevada you can't use the lack of seat belt use as a defendant to show that you're not responsible for the injury. Quite frankly, this is a really good example because the son's lack of wearing a seat belt did not actually cause the mechanism of the injury. The mechanism of the injury was a sudden stop by the car. His lack of using a seat belt is not responsible for that.

Normally, in most instances, evidence of seat belts do not come in. This is an interesting question, and I'm not completely sure how a court would address it. I can tell you what I think a court ought to do. If the issue is who is responsible for putting on the seat belt, we look at the handicapped son. If he's so handicapped that he really can't put on the seat belt himself, then I think a court should hold that the driver's responsible for not putting on the seat belt. I think the driver had probably the duty to do it. However, there's a possibility that a court might say no, no, no. The statute says I can't consider seat belt use, so they wouldn't do it.

I'm really not sure how that plays out. If the son is able to put on the seat belt himself, then of course it's not the driver's responsibility if the son didn't. Brian, it looks like you have a question.


Brian: Would be there a difference if the driver is a paid employee of the family as opposed to just a friend of the family?


Jared: Not necessarily. It might make a difference as to what the driver's duties are. You might have different duties as an employee, as a driver, than you would as just simply a friend who's picking up the friend's son. We just use common sense here and we look and see whose responsibility was it truly for the son to wear the seat belt.

Anyway, the short answer is if the person was negligent for slamming on the brakes, then regardless of seat belt use, the driver is responsible for the injury. The second tier is let's say the driver had no control. It's not his fault for needing to slam on the brakes. Is it anybody's fault that the son was hurt? I think that fairness says that if it was the driver's responsibility to use the seat belt, then the driver probably should be responsible, but I'm not 100% sure on how a court's going to address that. Anyway, if you have any other questions, give us a call. We're happy to help.

Car Accidents When the Police do not Arrive



What to do in a Car Accident if the Police do not Arrive in Time


Jared: Hi, my name is Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group and one of our readers has asked, "What should I do if I've been in a car accident and the police don't come?" I guess the real question is who's fault is it? Assuming that it's not your fault, it's the other sides fault, then you want to make sure everything is properly documented. You all have phones. Everybody these days tends to have a phone in their pocket. Take pictures. Make sure you take pictures of the other person's insurance card. If that other person's willing to make a statement saying that they were in the accident and they understand that they were at fault, then by all means, take the recording. Make sure that if you're injured, go see a doctor. Go get treatment. Don't wait. Do it that day.


Car accident, Nevada, police, Las Vegas


It's helpful when the police come because the police can often document the injury and the accident and the police often get it right, but quite frankly, the police sometimes get it wrong, even when they come out. Having the police come out is not the end of the world, but just make sure you use your phone. Document everything careful. Looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: What if the offending party won't share their insurance information?


Jared: They're required by law to share their insurance information. They have to stay at the scene of the accident and exchange information at a bare minimum. If they won't share, take a picture of their license plate number. Use your phone. It is your best friend after an accident. Anyway, if you have any more questions, give us a call and we're happy to help.


Can You be Held Liable for a Car Accident if You were not Issued a Ticket?



No Traffic Ticket Does Not Mean that You are not Liable for a Car Accident


Hi, My name is Jared Richards, and I am one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group.

One of our readers has asked if he can be held liable if he has a passenger that was injured in an accident, but he didn't receive a citation. He didn't get a traffic ticket.

The answer is yes. Traffic tickets don't determine liability. You can technically be following the law and still get somebody hurt. Even so, the courts do not rely exclusively on the cops to determine who's more at fault. The real question is ... It's not a question of traffic tickets, because cops sometimes don't give them. Sometimes, quite frankly, cops get them all wrong.


traffic ticket, Las Vegas, car accident, Nevada


The real question is; did the driver do something that was negligent? Did the driver breach his duty of care to drive carefully? If he did, then he's going to be responsible for any injuries that he causes. Since the passengers in his car generally are fault free, unless they're being stupid and grabbing the steering wheel, I suppose. Mostly, 99.99% of the time, the passenger is absolutely fault free. So, yes. Even without a traffic ticket, you can be responsible for your passenger's injuries.

Thanks. If you have any questions, give us a call.

Recovering Damages for Injuries to your Pet in a Car Accident



You can Recover Damages for Injuries Suffered by Your Pet in a Car Accident


Jared: Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked whether they can be reimbursed or compensated for injuries to their pet in a motor vehicle accident. The answer is yes. Yes, you can. Now the question is really what type of injuries can you be compensated for. Now the law looks at a pet as property. The legal term is chattel. You don't get emotional damages for loss of property, loss of chattel, but you do get compensated for the actual damage done. If the pet was killed, then you would be reimbursed the value of the pet. If the pet is injured, you'd be reimbursed the value of the medical bills for the dog. Yes, you can be compensated.  However, even though that dog may have been like your child, you're not going to receive emotional damages for the loss of the dog.


pet, car accident, Las Vegas, Nevada


Now you may be able to wrap in emotional damages into your other injuries and a jury, quite frankly, might think about the loss of the pet while deciding that, but as a technical matter, emotional damages for loss of pet is a no go. Brian, looks like you have a question.


Brian: If you nurse your own dog back to health, will you be able to claim any damages?


Jared: That's an interesting question. I suppose yeah, maybe. The amount of time that you spent nursing and if you had to go out of pocket for anything additional if there are any special medicines or other equipment needed to give care, then yes, I suppose you could. It would be a more difficult claim. It's a lot easier claim just to say here's my vet bill. Pay the vet bill. If you have any more questions, give us a call.

Can You Recover Damages from a Car Accident if You are Speeding?



Speeding Won't Necessarily Preclude You from Recovering Damages in a Car Accident


Jared: Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked if they could be held responsible for a motor vehicle accident if they were speeding but it was the other person who pulled out in front of them when our reader had the right of way. The answer is that's an interesting question. Most of the time I think most people would look and say the person who pulled out of a driveway, out of a parking lot or changed lanes without looking is primarily responsible. But, if you're speeding, then you might have contributed to that because it is possible that the person who was pulling out really had no idea that you were there. You might have had to have been speeding 100 miles an hour, but ...

The real question that you have to ask is if this were to go to a jury, if you just go to random eight people on the street and you were to tell them all the facts, who would they find more at fault. I think most of the time they're going to find at fault the person who was cutting off the other person, the person who pulled out. They may find some amount of negligence on the part of the person who was speeding. Let's say that the person who was speeding has a $100 claim, was 20% at fault because he was speeding. Then any sort of award or settlement would probably be reduced by 20%, the amount that person was at fault.

Most of the time, it's the person who pulled out and cut off the other person. There was a reverse case of that several years ago where somebody ran a red light but the police were speeding. The person who ran the red light was injured and sued the police for speeding. Although I think most people would tend to agree that the person who ran the red light is more at fault, the Supreme Court actually sent the case back down and said, "No no no no no, judge. You can't just decide that the cops are not at fault. They were speeding, so you need to at least let the jury decide who is more at fault." The answer is it's not a clear cut, but use common sense, and usually common sense can accurately guide you. Looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: What happens if a jury thinks that each party's equally at fault?


Jared: If each part is equally at fault, then the jury's going to cut the judgment in half, or the judge will cut the judgment in half and give half to the injured party. Now if it turns out that the injured party is more at fault than the other side, then the injured party gets nothing. You don't get anything if you're the primary person at fault. If it's equal or if you're lesser at fault, then you'll get something but it is going to be decreased by the percentage of your fault. Thanks. Call me if you have any questions, or watch our other videos. We're here to help. Thanks.

Can a Spouse that Cares for an Injured Partner be Compensated for Her Time?



Will a Spouse be Compensated for her Time in Caring for her Injured Partner?


Jared: Hi. I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, can my spouse who cared for me while I was injured get compensated for her time and for the amount that she has to take off of work? The answer is, yes. In law whenever we tell the court we want to recover some sort of money we have legal theory, we give the legal theory name. This legal theory's name is loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is a claim made by the spouse of an injured party.

Loss of consortium includes the pain and suffering of the spouse from changes in the marital relationship and also for the loss of probable support or anything that that spouse is out of pocket. If that spouse had to pay money, if that spouse had to stay home from work, if that spouse had to hire a maid or somebody to come in and help around the house, that spouse is entitled to be reimbursed for that. If the spouse has suffered from loss of marital relationship, and that means a lot of different things.

Injuries can do different things to different people. People think loss of marital relationship just means their relationship in the bedroom and it does include that, but it also means that the injured spouse is now irritable. The injured spouse is not able to cope with stress in the same way that he used to. All of those things can have a negative effect on their relationship. The law does protect the spouse that has to make adjustments in her life to deal with that.

It looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: Do folks have to be married to claim loss of consortium?


Jared: Generally yes. In the state of Nevada loss of consortium will apply to spouses. For example, there's been case law on whether or not it applies to children because clearly children are affected as well. The Nevada Supreme Court has decided that it's going to limit it to spouses. There is a legal theory that I suppose might work but I've never tested it. There's a doctrine in California that says that people ... It's almost like a common law partner, often people who live together and hold themselves out as spouses can inherit from each other. It's called the Mycroft Doctrine.

Maybe a judge would be sympathetic and allow the Mycroft Doctrine to bleed over to the loss of consortium but it's all something that I wouldn't necessarily rely on. Maybe a judge would be sympathetic. It would be nice if they would. But otherwise, no. I think that the safest route is that they're married. That's the sure fire way under the law. Anyway, if you have any more questions, give us a call. We're happy to help any way we can. Thanks.


When Should You Receive Treatment for Injuries Resulting from an Accident?



Is it Better to get Treatment Before or After Your Personal Injury Settlement?


Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked a question of: Besides the initial doctor evaluation, when should I receive treatment for my injuries? Before or after I get my settlement? There are a couple of things to think about when answering this question. The short answer is get treatment now. Now it can get more complicated than that, but here are a couple things to look at.

First of all, the purpose other settlement is to make sure that your medical bills are taken care of, that any other expenses that you're out of pocket for are taken care of, and that to the extent that you've experienced pain or suffering or, quite frankly, the scales of justice are unequal, that the other side pays money to try to equalize the scales of justice.

Now with that in mind, it's difficult to convince the defendant, specifically an insurance company, to pay you for things that haven't happened yet. You may have the initial doctor visit and he may say that you're injured, but if you don't seek treatment for that, the initial reaction of the insurance company, and quite frankly, often a jury, is going to be that you're not really injured, you're not really all that hurt. Sitting at home in silence in pain is never a good choice because it's bad for the case because it's more difficult to settle for what the case is really worth. It's also bad for you because there's no reason for you to sit at home and be in pain.

Now the object of treatment is twofold. The first and primary goal is to get you better. You need to see the doctors that are going to treat you will and that are going to get you the care that you really, truly deserve and need. There is a secondary reason to get treatment, and that's evidence-based. Because we need to document what your injuries actually were and what you had to do to get better. Juries and insurance adjusters find that relevant, and it is relevant. Make sure when you get injured to go see a doctor. Go see them that day. That's the best. Then listen to your doctor and do the treatment that your doctors recommend. Do all the treatment that your doctors recommend. At the point where you feel like you don't need the treatment anymore, just don't by yourself decide you don't need any more treatment. Go to your doctor and think about it. Because sometimes even though you're feeling better, it's still beneficial to go a little bit longer to make sure that you don't relapse, to make sure that your muscles, your tendons, everything else are strengthened so that you don't have further injury.

The short answer is make sure that you go and get your treatment before the settlement. Now there are sometimes where you don't have insurance and it's difficult to find anybody who will give you treatment until you have the settlement. Most of the time, there are doctors out there who will still treat you even though you don't have the money yet. Because they care and because they know that it's a difficult predicament for you. There are times when you do need to wait until after the settlement to get the treatment because you need to have the money in order to do the treatment, but usually you can find doctors who are willing to treat you now and then wait to get paid later. Again, the short answer is don't wait to get treatment. Go get it now. Thanks, and if you have any more questions, give us a call.


What if You are Injured and Cannot Afford an Attorney? A Video about Contingency Fees



A Contingency Fee Arrangement is a Good Option if You Cannot Afford an Attorney


Jared: Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked: What are my options if I'm injured by somebody else's negligence but I can't afford to hire an attorney? You have pretty good options, especially when it comes to personal injury. Now you'll find that most personal injury attorneys are willing to and often exclusively do this, that they're willing to take cases on what they call a contingency fee. Now a contingency fee means that essentially the attorney, he is willing to represent you, he's willing to pursue a claim for you in exchange for a percentage of whatever it is that he collects.

Now when you hire an attorney and you pay them hourly or you pay them a flat fee, you are accepting the risk of the attorney's fees because let's say the attorney fails. Let's say that you don't actually make any sort of recovery. You don't make any money on the claim. If you've paid the attorney directly, then you've accepted the risk. Most attorneys are willing to work hourly. Now in most cases, though, individuals that get hurt don't have the kind of money that they would need to hire an attorney hourly, so that's why personal injury attorneys generally are willing to do it the other way around.

Now when you hire an attorney on contingency you have to understand that they're going to get their percentage whether they settle quickly or whether this goes all the way through trial. The percentages will often change. It will often increase depending on how into the litigation you go. The reason that they do that, the reason that they take a large percentage, often a third if the case settles even outside of court, is because the attorney at that point is taking on the risk of the attorney's fees. Because if the attorney doesn't get anything, then he walks away having earned nothing but having done the work.

When we're talking about hourly or contingency, it all depends on who wants to take the risk of the attorney's work if the attorney were to fail. Does the client wanted to do that or does the client want the attorney to do that? In most personal injury attorney matters, most personal injury attorneys will take a contingency fee. Looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: What's a fair percentage for a contingency fee to be?


Jared: Fair? I would say that the industry standard tends to be a third if the case settles outside of litigation, and then 40% if it goes into litigation. Some people do different tiers. Some people would do a third if it settles outside, 40% if it settles after the lawsuit is filed, and then 45% if it goes all the way to the trial, and then 50% if it goes on appeal. Everybody is different, but I would say along those standards are industry standards. We tend to do a third if it settles before we have to file a lawsuit and 40% if we have to file a lawsuit. Anyway, if you have any more questions, please pick up the phone, give us a call, or send us an email, and we're happy to answer them.

Will Homeowner's Insurance Cover the Medical Bills of a Home Maintenance Injury?


How will homeowner's insurance help with a home maintenance injury?


Jared Richards: Hi, my name is Jared Richards. I'm one of the attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, "I was injured at my friend's home while I was performing home maintenance for him. Can I make a claim against his Homeowner's Insurance to cover my medical bills?"

The answer is yes. Something to think about, and something to be aware of is that each insurance contract is different. Each contract specifies what it is that they cover, and what it is that they don't cover. Most contracts differentiate between people who are at a location for social reason or people that are there for professional reasons. If you're performing maintenance and you're getting paid for it, then you probably ... Quite frankly, you might fall under either category, but you could probably qualify for, "I was there working, providing maintenance," category.

We actually had a case a little while ago where somebody was injured in another person's garage, and just the peculiarities of that contract, they were able to get a recovery because they were getting paid for that maintenance. The key here is you need to look at the contract. You should call an attorney, and you should consult with them, read the contract, and see what category of person you are. Whether you are there for social reasons, there for professional reasons, and then what you're recover under that contract would be.

It looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: Would bartering be the same as being paid? "I will fix your house because you watched my dog last week," for example.


Jared Richards: Maybe. It's really a tit for tat. You have received compensation, and now you're performing services for compensation, then maybe. It's one of those things, we'd have to get into the contract, and think about, and maybe do a little bit of case law research to make a decision on that.

Anyway, if you have an issue similar to this give us a call, and we'll see if we can help you out. Thanks.

May You Still Sue if You Did not Receive Treatment for the Injury Soon after the Accident?



Is a lawsuit still tenable if your injury was not treated soon after the accident?


Jared: Hi. I'm Jared Richards of Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, "Is it possible to make a claim for injuries that were not evaluated after the injury?" The answer is, yes, it's possible. The general principle you look at is one, did the accident cause your injury? How can we prove that? If the accident caused the injury, then the accident caused the injury, that's fine.

Then, we go to how do we prove it? That's where it becomes a little more difficult. Unfortunately, the truth is if you get hurt and you stay at home and you suffer, it is more difficult for your attorney to prove that you were hurt. That's why it's always beneficial to go to a doctor immediately and get evaluated. Part of it because that's just what injured people do and part of it is an evidentiary issue. You need to preserve the evidence.

If however, you realize that six months after the accident, a year after the accident you are getting new symptoms that really can only be attributed to the accident or if you suffered in silence for a long time. The answer is, yes you can make a claim. It may be more difficult to get a jury or an insurance adjuster to believe that that injury is related to the accident.

This is where, if you do this one, most attorneys are going to want this to be a fairly serious injury. Just because of the difficulty of proving it. Two, you need to make sure that you are working with your doctors and that you are communicating with your doctors about what you think the cause is, so that your doctors could make an intelligent decision as to what they think the cause is, because ultimately you are going to be relying on your doctors.

The other thing that you are going to want to make sure that you do is if you've been suffering in silence, meaning that you haven't sought medical treatment. Make sure that if you told any friends, family, colleagues, employers about your injury, your pain. Make sure that you make a list of those, so your attorney can talk to those people, because sometimes those could actually prove that you were hurt, but you just didn't seek treatment. It looks like Brian has a question.


Brian: Was there any value in documenting your injury in like a diary that's dated over time?


Jared: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Again, part of what you need to do is when we go to a jury we need to prove to the jury that you were hurt. Although, it could seem somewhat self serving. It does help document on such and such day, you had troubles taking a shower by yourself. You use to go jogging, but ever since this date you weren't able to jog, because of the pain. It's actually a really good to document specifically what we'd call activities of daily living or duties under duress. Just things that you have to do, that you can't do anymore or you can't do very well. A journal is a very good way to document that.

Clear Counsel Law group

Contact Info

1671 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Suite 200,
Henderson, NV 89012

+1 702 522 0696

Daily: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment Only

Copyright 2019 Clear Counsel Law Group® | Nav Map

Nothing on this site is legal advice.