How Much Damage Should There Be Before You Hire an Attorney?

 

Knowing When to Hire an Attorney

Transcript:

Hi, my name’s Jared Richards and I’m one of the partners at Clear Council Law group and one of our reader’s has asked, “My medical bills and property damage and wage loss don’t amount to much, should I still hire an lawyer?” The answer is you should still consult with an attorney because sometimes you are not analyzing the claim properly and sometime an attorney will have different insights for you as to the true value of your claim. However, if it really truly a small value claim, often many attorney will decide that it’s really not cost effective to get the attorney involved and the attorney will talk to you about that.

Because most attorneys will take personal injury cases on a contingency fee, meaning they’ll take a percentage off in a third before you file a lawsuit of any money that they collect and most attorneys in personal injuries will give you free consultations. It never hurts to at least talk to an attorney and maybe get them involved initially.

 

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If it really truly a small value claim, other than writing to the demand letter the lawyer may have second thoughts about actually filing a law suit and going forward with it. That’s something you need to talk to the attorney about and that’s something the two of you could work out together.

Otherwise, there’s always small claims. If it truly is a small value claim, a few hundred dollars in medical bills, a few hundred dollars in property damage, at that point you can file a small claims complain and small claims court is specifically designed for people to represent themselves. That is always a vital option and sometimes a very good option. Anyway, if you’re in that situation please give us a call, we’re happy to talk with you and have to give you any guidance we can. Thanks for listening and go take a look at our other videos. Thanks.

 

 

What You Need to Know about an Advanced Healthcare Directive

 

A Short Explanation of an Advanced Healthcare Directive

Transcript:

Jonathan: Hello, I’m Jonathan Barlow, I’m an estate planning attorney at Clear Counsel Law group. Today we’re talking about advance healthcare directives, what they are, whether you should use one, how you might be able to change them. What is an advanced healthcare directive? It’s a document where you can sign and state what you want done in end of life decisions. Sometimes called a do not resuscitate order, it’s “Pull the plug” we say colloquially.

What do want done at the end of your life. Do I want to remain on life support? Do you want to receive artificial nutrition or hydration through a feeding tube? When do you want your life to be able to be ended? Those are directives and things that you can state and make those decisions clear in a healthcare directive.

Along with a Healthcare directive we often do what’s called a healthcare power of attorney. That’s where you get to mane somebody as what’s called your agent, name somebody to make those decisions for you when you’re not able to make your own healthcare decisions. If you’re not able to talk to your doctors this allows your agent to talk to your doctors and make those decisions for you at that time.

Of course they would want to follow the directives that you put in your healthcare directive but at least you have somebody there on the ground to talk to doctors and make those decisions in that situation. Now, how do you change a healthcare directive? Say later on down the road you decide that you do want to receive life sustaining treatments for a certain period of time to give a hope of recovery or vice versa, you decided, “No I would want life sustaining support removed.”

 

advanced healthcare directive, Las Vegas, Nevada, Estate Planning

 

You can always change your healthcare directive as long as you have your mental capacity. Which means as long as you understand what it is you are doing and what you want to accomplish. In order to amend it or change it, these documents are relatively simple. We basically do a new healthcare directive for you. We’ll take your old one, we’ll tear it up, throw it in the garbage can, we’ll burn it, revoke it. We just want to get rid of that old one so there’s no confusion.

You can always amend it, you can always change it as long as you understand what you’re doing at the time. Now, sometimes people say, “I don’t really now what I want to do at end of life. I don’t know whether I want to be kept on life support. Should I still do this document if I don’t know what I want to do?” The answer to that is definitely yes.

If nothing else, signing one of these documents again allows you to name somebody to make those decisions for you. It avoids the situation if you didn’t have a healthcare directive or if you didn’t have a healthcare power of attorney and you became incapacitated, not able to talk to your doctors.

The only way someone would be able to make those decisions for you is to go into guardianship court, open a guardianship case and have the guardianship court involved in the process of your healthcare decisions. It becomes very cumbersome, it becomes time consuming.

It’s expensive to go that route, which all could be resolved by doing a simple healthcare power of attorney document. Brian has a question about advanced directives.

 

Brian:    Yes, a quick question. If the power of attorney doesn’t follow the designated healthcare directive, what happens then?

 

Jonathan: That’s a great question. So you’ve named someone that you thought you thought you could trust to make these decisions as your agent and you’ve said, “These are my decisions that I want you to follow” and the agent’s saying, “I can’t do that. I’m not going to do that.” What happens in that situation?

The short answer is they would really cause a lot of problems. The most likely scenario is that it will eventually lead to a court action again. Probably again a guardianship court situation. Where again, the court will become involved in just determining whether to follow your written decisions or whether to follow up what the agent is trying to do.

It could cause problems and that highlights the importance of what we were talking about a moment ago, which is unique to name somebody that you can not only trust to make those decisions but that you can trust to make those decisions in a very difficult time. It’s a difficult time for them, it’s a difficult time for you and it’s a highly emotionally charged situation.

A lot of people that we trust and love won’t be emotionally able to make those decisions at that time. You need to find somebody who has a strong will and who understands very clearly what you want them to do in those situations and would be willing to follow what you wanted to do. There’s a lot of thought process that should go into this as you think about this important decision of who should make those decisions for you.

Otherwise like I said, you’re going to find yourself in an even worse situation with guardianship court involved. Fighting between the doctor’s and your agent and you’re family. All situations that don’t need to happen at that time in your life.

We’ve talked a lot about advanced healthcare directives, healthcare power of attorneys in this video. I thank you for watching the video. If you have other questions about it, more specific questions feel free to give me a call or any of our other attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group and we’ll answer your questions about healthcare directives and healthcare power of attorneys.

How Does Mediation Work in Nevada?

 

Mediation, Nevada, and Your Civil Litigation

Transcript:

Jared: Hi, my name is Jared Richards. I’m one of the attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our clients has recently asked, what is mediation in the context of a personal injury claim? Mediation can happen either before a lawsuit is filed or after a lawsuit is filed. All it is both sides agreeing that they’re going to go find a neutral third party, and often those neutral third parties are either very experienced attorneys or retired judges, to go back and forth between the two parties and see if the two parties can come to an agreement as to who’s at fault and how much money should be paid.

What will often happen is your attorneys will hire a professional mediator. They’re kind of pricy. You’re going to probably end up paying them thousands of dollars. Generally the attorneys will front that money for you. You go to their office. Each party is in a different room. The mediator goes and talks to the injured party, figures out the injured party’s claim, figures out the story, goes to the defendant, figures out their story, and then communicates back and forth what he thinks is going to be necessary to got the claim settled.

 

mediation, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Mediators are very good often because what ends up happening is each side tends to think that they’re right. a mediator, a good one at least, is good at pointing out the weaknesses to each side about their case so that if one side is looking for … I always like to use low numbers … $100, and the other side only wants to give $1, then the mediator can tell each side why they should compromise, and often will help get the deal done. Mediation generally is a very good thing. If one side is asking for it, it means that they’re serious about trying to settle. Looks like Brian has a question

 

Brian: How will an attorney assist you in a mediation proceeding?

 

Jared: It depends on the size of the claim. If you’re in small claims court, often mediation is required, and attorneys often are not hired in small claims court. If we’re talking about a real injury, something that’s significant, you don’t want to go there alone because you don’t know what the mediator’s going to do. Often the mediator and, quite frankly, the defendant’s insurance company, is going to make certain assumptions about the strength of your case if you don’t have an attorney.

Even if you have a great case, they’re going to make certain assumptions about your ability to handle the case and the complexities of court without an attorney, and they will probably devalue your case a bit for that. Just in any complex litigation, and I count injury as … it can be pretty complex at times … it makes sense to get an attorney involved, especially if you’re going through any sort of judicial process or going through mediation. Anyway, if you’re facing a mediation, don’t wing it. If you need help, give us a call and we’re happy to help. Thanks.

 

File a Claim with Your Insurance Company after an Accident

 

Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company is Important after a Car Accident

 

Transcript:

Jared: Hi, my name is Jared Richards. I’m one of the attorney‘s at Clear Counsel Law Group. Somebody’s asked if both drivers in a vehicle accident have insurance, is it important to file a claim? It took me awhile to … I think I understand what was being asked and I think there’s a misunderstanding about what the process is to actually get insurance money. The process of actually getting money from an insurance company involves filing a claim with that insurance company.

Regardless of who has the insurance the first step is find out what insurance is available. Next, find out which type of insurance is going to apply to the type of damage that you have. Property damage is different than personal injury and personal injury from the other side’s insurance company is different than recovering from personal injury from your insurance company.

 

insurance company, car accident, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

It’s always a good idea to make sure every insurance company is aware of the accident, file a claim with all of them, and then work with them. Preferably also if you have an attorney work with your attorney to make sure that all of the damages whether it’s property damage or damage to a person’s body are taken care of through the proper insurance’s.

Looks like Brian has a question.

 

Brian: What should you do if an insurance company won’t pay a claim that you filed?

 

Jared: Well at that point you absolutely need to get an attorney involved. I recommend getting an attorney involved, on every case, from the very beginning, but if you have decided to go it on your own and the insurance company is refusing to pay then go consult with an attorney. The attorney is going to be able to analyze the nature of the accident and decide who’s actually at fault and if it turns out the other guy’s at fault the attorney will generally be willing to help make that claim. Quite frankly, often insurance companies will stone wall people without attorney’s and when they know that the person has an attorney, who actually litigates, the insurance company will often take settlement discussions a little more seriously. Anyway again, if you have any questions give us a call and we’re happy to help.

Why You Should Take Photographs After a Car Accident

 

How Photographs May Help You After a Car Accident

Transcript:

Hi. I’m Jared Richards, I’m on of the attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, is it important that I document my injuries with photos?

The answer is, it’s helpful, yes. When we get to the point where we’re needing somebody to actually make a decision on the injury, whether it’s a jury or an insurance adjuster, everything that we can give helps. Documenting what the injury looks like right after the accident and how it resolves over time can be helpful to give whoever is making that decision an understanding of the injury.

 

photographs, car accident, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

So yes, if you’re injured and it’s somewhere where you can actually see it, I would take photographs. It is helpful. You also absolutely want to make sure that you see a doctor, because photographs alone are not enough. You want to take photographs and get all the medical care that you need to help your injuries resolve.

Again, my name is Jared Richards and I am happy to answer any questions you have. Give me a call. Thanks.

How the Type of Injury Can Affect the Timing of a Personal Injury Settlement

 

How the Timing of Your Settlement is Affected by Your Injury-Type

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jared Richards and I’m one of the partners at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked: does the type of the injury that you get after being in a car accident affect how long it takes to settle? The answer is yes. Settlement deals with various different factors. Depending on how those play out, your settlement might take a month or two or might take years. The general principle is when you make a claim against an insurance company, you want to make a claim for the full size of your injury.

You don’t really know what the size of your injury is until you’re done treating. Because, one, you don’t know how much you’re going to be out of pocket for medical bills, or how much your medical bills are going to be. You don’t know whether or not you’re going to get better in a timely manner. There may be complications that occur midway through treatment that you don’t anticipate at the beginning. Until your injuries have either, one, resolved, or two, your doctors have said there’s nothing more we can do so we need to start planning what the expense of your future care is going to be, then it’s generally not ripe to settle the case.

 

settlement, personal injury, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Now there is an exception to this. Let’s imagine that you have a horrendous injury. Let’s imagine you get into a car accident and you lose your leg. You know that the other side has only $15,000 of insurance and you also know that that other side doesn’t have money outside of insurance to pay the claim. That case actually might settle very, very quickly because the insurance company is very motivated to get that off their books and to make sure that they are protecting their insured. Sometimes a very big and complicated injury can lead to a very quick settlement.

However, if it was, say, a taxi company that hit you instead or a Walmart truck, or some truck that has a large insurance policy, that probably will lead to a longer settlement, often litigation, because the sides are not going to agree on how serious your injury is and how much you should actually be compensated for it.

Anyway, there are a lot of factors. Big injury, small policy, generally means you’re going to be settling quickly. Big injury, big policy, generally means that you’re going to be in it for a while. Anyway, we’re happy to help. If you have any questions, give us a call and take a look at our other videos. We’ve got lots of answers for you. Thanks.

What to do after a Slip and Fall at a Franchise Establishment

 

Whom to Sue after a Slip and Fall at a Franchise Store

Transcript:

Hi. I’m Jared Richards. I’m one of the partners at Clear Council Law Group and one of our readers has asked if I slip and fall at a franchise restaurant, who should I make the claim against? Should I make the claim against the local franchise owner or should I make a claim against the larger company?

The answer is, you have to make the claim against the person who’s responsible. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly who’s responsible, whether it’s a general company’s policy that made the dangerous condition, or whether it’s that individual franchise owner that made the dangerous condition. Sometimes you’ll sue both, but as a general principal, often it is the local franchise owner that is in direct control of the store and is most at fault.

 

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One of the things you also want to consider is whether you want to sue multiple parties or just sue the smallest party that’s large enough to actually pay the claim. It sometimes will simplify the lawsuit. It sometimes will decrease the number for attorneys involved. Although, I think that generally if you’re talking about a franchise, local versus national, they may be represented by the same attorney, so I’m not sure it would matter too much.

Anyway, that’s the long answer. The shorter answer is contact an attorney and that attorney is going to have to make the decision as to whether they sue the local franchise, which I think will happen most of the time, or whether they will sue the national brand, which could happen sometimes.

Anyway, if you have any questions, give us a call and we’re happy to help.

Your Personal Auto Insurance and Rental Cars

 

Does Your Personal Auto Insurance Include Coverage for Driving a Rental Car?

 

Transcript:

 

Hi. My name is Jared Richards and I’m one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked if a person is driving a rental car, and that person’s not listed on the rental car’s insurance, will that person’s personal insurance cover any responsibility for the car accident?

The answer is yes. If you have rented a car, and you let somebody else drive it, then generally the car insurance, or the car rental company. They all carry insurance, but generally minimal insurance, but generally that insurance will refuse to cover anybody who was not an allowed driver; an allowed driver by the rental company.

 

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The next question is, is there any other insurance to use? Yes, that driver’s own car insurance should cover the accident. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a car insurance policy that’s related to that person as an individual that wouldn’t have covered it.

Now, there may be other factors: if he’s driving for reasons of work, or other things that may affect coverage, but in general, if a person is driving a rental vehicle and they’re not an allowed driver, they’re not listed with the car company, then their personal insurance, yes, should still cover the accident.

If you’re in that situation or you’ve been hurt by somebody like that, give us a call, we’re happy to help. You could otherwise explore our website. We’ve got lots of videos to answer all of your questions. Thanks, and have a good day.

You Should Not Represent Yourself in a Deposition

 

Why You Should Not Represent Yourself in a Deposition

Transcript:

Hi. I’m Jared Richards, one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group, and one of our readers has asked, “Is it a bad idea to represent myself in my own deposition for my own personal injury case?” The answer is yeah, it’s a bad idea. The basic concept of this is the rules of this whole procedure, the laws related to injury or really any area of law, they can get complex. Sometimes there are minutia that you don’t think about, little details that attorneys are trained to think about because we’ve done it before, and we’ve been down that road, and we have experience, and we identify these problems and traps that you don’t necessarily know.

In defending a deposition, it’s going to be somebody’s job, either your job or the attorney’s job, to make objections to improper questions, and if you don’t make the right objections, then sometimes your case can run into trouble. In addition, there’s an art to technique to taking a deposition, and it’s really helpful to work with an attorney to learn what it is that you should say, what it is you shouldn’t say. I mean you should always tell the truth, but generally it is both the defense and plaintiffs will tell their people not to volunteer more information that’s not actually asked, and that’s something that an attorney can help you with during a deposition.

 

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The other thing is that it’s always nice to have somebody else as a sounding board, who when you take a break, can tell you how you’re doing, whether your demeanor is good, and whether there’s anything that you ought to be doing to make your deposition even a better experience. That’s something that you can’t really do by yourself because it’s really tough to sit outside your body and watch yourself act or talk and see how your body language is. That’s something that an attorney is good at.

Really, I would never recommend for somebody to, one, represent themselves in a serious lawsuit, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend them to go into a deposition without an attorney. If you’re in that situation, give us a call and let’s see if I can help you or one of my attorneys can help represent you in that. Regardless, if you have any questions, just give us a call and we’re happy to help.

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

Transcript:

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.

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