Nevada insurance minimums are increasing July 1, 2018
On June 1, 2017, The State of Nevada enacted Senate Bill 308 (SB308) which will amend the Nevada Revised Statutes requirements of NRS 485.3091 and increase the minimum insurance limits each driver is required to carry. Effective July 1, 2018, the minimum insurance limits will increase to 25/50/20 ($25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $20,000 for property damage liability). Currently the state law requires a driver to carry 15/30/10 ($15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $10,000 for property damage). Nevada was one of only 6 states remaining that offered such low limits (1 state allows for lower limits.) The vast majority of states require drivers to carry at lease25/50/25 limits.
Will this affect my insurance rates? Yes, most likely. It is unknown the extent to which it will affect your rates. Each insurance company will have different premiums and we encourage you to obtain several if not many quotes.
Will this affect me if I am the victim in an accident? Yes, for the better we believe. Nevada is in the top 10 states seeing a rise in the number of accidents. Why is this? It is unknown, but there are many theories as to the rationale including the following: 1) distracted driving 2) decriminalization of medical and recreational marijuana 3) distracted walking 4) traffic congestion 5) fraud. With the increase in accidents comes a natural increase in the possibility that you will be hit by another motorist. The current insurance minimum required of 15/30/10 means that $10,000 alone will be available to fix and / or total your car and that $15,000 will be the maximum you can recover for the injuries that someone else inflicts on you from the insurance company. An ambulance and ER visit alone just on the day of the accident can potentially run in excess of $20,000. It is unlikely that a wrongdoer in an accident who has only purchased $15,000 in coverage has a lot of money in their bank account to pay you more if they cause you to be seriously injured. Increasing the minimum limits is one step in protecting the innocent injured as a result of a car crash.
*Please also consider purchasing uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage as a way of protecting yourself in an injury crash that is not your fault. You can’t control what someone else does in following or not following the law on carrying insurance, but you can control if you purchase this protection to protect yourself and your car’s occupants.... Read More
Do I call the police? I thought they wouldn’t come?
I thought the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is not responding to car accidents that don’t need an ambulance anymore… WRONG! YES THEY ARE, AND YOU SHOULD CALL THE POLICE AFTER AN ACCIDENT! Calling the police after a car accident is the first step you should take after being involved in a car accident, whether or not you need an ambulance. Hammond & Hammond knows that many people still believe that the police will not respond if it is not a serious injury car crash requiring immediate medical attention like an ambulance, but that is no longer true. From the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) website:
What types of collisions will LVMPD respond to?
So, if you are involved in a car crash in the Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson, or North Las Vegas area, Hammond & Hammond recommends that you call the police to document, gather witness statements, take photographs, assess liability, and assist with the exchange of information. This can make the difference in winning or losing your case. It is amazing the number of people who cause the accident that change their story once they are home and decide they don’t want to take responsibility for the accident. And call Hammond & Hammond Personal Injury / Accident injury attorneys if you are sore, even if you did not break any bones. We can help you navigate the road ahead of you. Even minor injury may need medical attention to heal properly.
Article from the Review Journal discussing the change:
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- Traffic collisions with injuries or fatalities;
- Property damage only collisions on a public road:
- A driver under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or other substances;
- A driver who doesn't have a driver's license, proof of insurance or registration;
- A hit and run;
- A vehicle disabled on the roadway as a result of an collision; and
- An uncooperative driver (i.e. will not exchange information) or any other disturbance meriting a police response.
We at Hammond & Hammond understand the dangerous risks of cycling on the streets. Our community has come together to provide miles of paved trails to help eliminate some of those risks and passed the three-foot rule to help protect cyclist on the streets. Under Nevada Revised Statutes 484B.270, vehicles are required to give cyclists at least 3 feet of distance when passing a cyclist. The 3 foot measurement is a minimum distance; the law actually requires more distance be given to a cyclist under certain circumstances. For example, "[i]f there is more than one lane for traffic proceeding in the same direction" the driver of the motor vehicle is required to "move the vehicle to the lane to the immediate left, if the lane is available and moving into the lane is reasonably safe." These efforts by our community will hopefully eliminate some of the incidents of collisions between cyclists and cars.... Read More
But I’m not lawsuit happy! Neither are we…
(Author: Brook Hammond) I have so many people that call and say, “But, I’m not lawsuit happy, and I worry about hiring a personal injury / accident injury attorney because I don’t want to file a lawsuit.” And, I promptly reply, “I’m not lawsuit happy or hoping to file a lawsuit either! And I’m an attorney!” If the other side will treat you fairly, you won’t need to file a lawsuit.
Here is a story I hear time and time again: you were sitting at a red light—minding your own business—and someone suddenly rear ended you. After the accident and while still at the scene of the accident, you think you are fine. In fact, it may not be until later that night or even a few days after the accident that you realize you are hurting and that the pain just isn’t going away. Even still, you just don’t want to file a lawsuit, and so you don’t want to call a Henderson personal injury attorney or a Las Vegas personal injury attorney. What most people don’t understand is that right after an accident, you are simply making a claim for your losses and not actually filing a lawsuit. In most cases, it is important that you call us at the beginning of your situation so that we can help you through the process from the start. We often have people calling us a few weeks or months after the accident after they have not known the right choices to make, and we end up trying to fix problems that were created because the injured victim didn’t have good advice from the start. Or, people realize that the attorney they hired is not calling them back and they want to know if they can hire us? Yes if we talk and decide together that it is the right thing to do. We are not in the business of trying to persuade clients to leave their current attorneys, but everyone (even our clients) has that option.
After a demand is made, you “usually” get to decide whether or not you file a lawsuit. I say “usually” because sometimes the other person or their insurance company argues that they were not at fault and don’t want to offer you anything. Or, what if they don’t want to offer you what is fair? Do you even know what is fair? What if they want to offer you less than your medical expenses? Hammond & Hammond, Henderson personal injury attorneys / accident injury attorneys will help you make a good, educated decision for you and your life. YOU can choose to file a lawsuit or accept their sometimes ridiculous offer.
We will always advise you to accept a reasonable alternative to a lawsuit or eventual trial. But, we will also let you know our opinion regarding when an offer is reasonable or unreasonable, and then you get to decide what to do. We know that we have a lot of cases, but you only have one, yours! And, we don’t want you to feel like “a number” at our firm. Call and meet with us so that you can interview US, and we can show you the type service you will receive at our boutique Henderson personal injury / accident injury law firm. Even if you don’t live near our firm, we can arrange to come to you. Your most important job should be to get better. Leave the legal issues to a firm you can trust: Hammond & Hammond.
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Vehicle Damage - Should I use my insurance or the other person's insurance?
When an accident happens and the other person is at fault, your first concern is often getting your car fixed. I try to remind clients that their health is the most important thing and that they should focus on that.
However, your car will need to be taken care of and people often are not sure whether they should use their insurance (if they have collision coverage) or the other person's insurance. Here is a simple explanation of your options:
Option 1 - Using Your Own Collision Insurance Coverage: You have a contract with your insurance company whereas you do not have a contract with the other person's insurance. That means that you have paid your company a premium in exchange for coverage. Because you are contracted with your insurance company, they have contractual obligations to you which they must satisfy or you can sue them for breach of contract and bad faith. Thus, your insurance company is arguably more motivated to take care of you than the other person's insurance. Usually your insurance company will begin fixing your vehicle right away. However, you will have to pay your deductible and wait to get reimbursed from the other person's insurance down the road. In summary, using your insurance company is often quicker and carries with it some protections afforded by contract law but requires that you be able to float your deductible. Also, remember that Nevada law specifically says that your company cannot raise your premiums for using your coverage when you are not at fault for the accident.
Option 2 - Using the Other Person's Insurance: If you cannot afford your deductible or simply prefer to use the other person's insurance, you will normally have to wait for a week or two before the repairs begin. The other insurance company typically wants to complete their investigation before they will accept liability, which includes speaking to their insured and reviewing the police report, if applicable. Police reports are not usually ready for 7-10 days after the accident. For this reason, there is normally a delay. Many people choose this option if their vehicle is still able to be driven because they don't want to float the deductible.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making this decision. At Hammond & Hammond, we review options with clients and help them to make an educated decision. Some of the main factors include financial ability to cover the deductible, condition of the vehicle and whether it can be driven, available rental coverage, amount owed on the vehicle. Another huge factor is whether or not the vehicle is currently in a storage facility - if it is, an accident victim has duties to mitigate damages which may include moving the vehicle to an alternate location as storage fees can be costly and unreasonable fees may not be covered by an insurance company.
In short, it is important to consult an attorney to review the circumstances of your cases. Remember, at Hammond & Hammond, the consultation is free!
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Did you know that insurance companies often hire private investigators to follow accident victims and take video footage of their daily activities? Insurance companies go to many lengths to avoid paying fair compensation and this is simply another method that they employ to try to scare you into taking ridiculously low settlements. It is important for the public to know and understand what is really happening in our community and to be aware of these tactics in the event of an accident.... Read More
Justice Court Jurisdictional Changes
Recent legislation was passed regarding the jurisdiction of Justice Court, raising the maximum claim amount from $10,000.00 to a maximum of $15,000.00, effective in 2017. This is a very exciting change as Nevada only requires a minimum of $15,000.00 of automobile insurance liability coverage. All too often, insurance companies have been selling minimum policies and then abusing the system to under-pay claims due to the difficulty and expense of litigating a small case in District Court that might be worth more than $10,000.00, but not more than $15,000.00. Now, Justice Court has jurisdiction over the entire policy amount of $15,000.00. This is great news as Justice Court is a much more stream-lined process which will facilitate more speedy resolution of claims. If you would like more information on Justice Court cases, please feel free to call us.... Read More
Victory in the Nevada Supreme Court - Taxi Cab Rollover Accident
We are excited to announce that the Nevada Supreme Court upheld one of our 2010 verdicts of approximately 1.32 million dollars. After crawling through the appellate system for about three years, the Court affirmed the verdict. Although the civil judicial system is not always fast, it continues to render justice for injured victims.... Read More
Know Your Opponent
Through the years, Hammond & Hammond has had the opportunity to work on and resolve many cases with many different insurance carriers. One thing that has become abundantly clear is that it is very important to know your opponent so that you can successfully strategize. What does this mean exactly? Insurance companies are NOT all created equal. Years of experience has given us significant insight into the workings of insurance companies and that insight greatly benefits our clients.
For example, some insurance companies have in-house attorneys which are paid a salary compensation. It is sad to say, but these companies don't really care if you file a lawsuit against their insured drivers since they don't have to pay their attorneys an hourly rate to defend the case because, as stated, they are salaried employees. Thus, a plaintiff loses some of the "cost of defense" leverage, or the leverage that a plaintiff has to convince the insurance company that it will cost more to defend the case than to simply make a reasonable settlement offer. As such, a plaintiff going against one of these companies should be prepareed to patiently fight the fight. However, down the road, most of these companies will eventually increase their offers when other legal costs and legal penalties come into play for failure to be reasonable in litigation.
Other companies have to hire attorneys on each case and pay them an hourly rate. This structure enhances the "independence" of the attorney from the insurance comany but increases the cost of defending a case. Thus, the "cost of defense" leverage is much greater against a company with this type of structure. Often times a case will settle rather quickly in these situations since dragging it out will cost the insurance company money.
Other factors include the size of the policies being sold by the insurance companies and the profitability of the companies. Often times the smaller, less-known companies will only sell the minimum policy coverage required by the state of Nevada. Then, they will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out on their claims since they are smaller companies with less revenues.
Armed with years of knowledge and experience fighting insurance companies, the personal injury attorneys at Hammond & Hammond are able to set down with their clients and provide them with a road map and strategy to be readily prepared for the process ahead of them as they pursue a successful outcome.
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Trial Lawyers vs. Non-Trial Lawyers
Las Vegas and Henderson personal injury lawyers seem to be everywhere in - billboards, television, radio, etc.... Read More