Author: Steve Dimopoulos

What is Vicarious Liability in Car Accidents?

Let’s say you’re driving along a Las Vegas street, and begin making a left turn at an intersection with a green light. Suddenly, a truck comes barreling down the street and hits your car, broadside. Your car is totaled, and you are likely to be seriously injured. Unfortunately, after paying medical bills and going through rehabilitation, while missing months of work, you find out that the truck driver who hit you is broke. Are you completely out of luck in terms of recouping any compensation?

Not necessarily. Of course, it’s possible that the insurance held by the truck driver pays some of your expenses, but insurance policies have limits. And what if the diver wasn’t insured? If the vehicle involved in the accident was a commercial truck, the driver may have been an employee of a company. If this is the case, it may be possible that the company can be held liable for the actions of its worker.

This can be true due to the doctrine of vicarious liability, or more specifically, respondeat superior. Under this theory, if an employee is negligent, his employer may be liable for any damage caused by that negligence. Generally, for this to apply, the employee must be ‘on the clock,’ by performing the duties he or she normally would be as part of the job, and be providing some sort of benefit to the employer.

In many cases, a company employing a commercial vehicle driver will have far more resources available to pay compensation to an injured person than the driver him- or herself. Of course, for such a civil suit to work, there must have been some negligence on the part of the commercial driver, and he or she must be an employee. Some businesses will claim that its drivers are independent contractors, and thus, the company is not liable for any negligence on the driver’s part (this is why it’s difficult to sue ride-sharing companies for accidents). Those who have been injured in commercial vehicle accidents may want to consider exploring their options with an experienced Nevada injury attorney.

We Pursue Justice for Motorcycle Accident Victims

Many folks in Nevada know that when it comes to the various modes of transportation, nothing beats motorcycles for combining speed and fresh air. Motorcycles can be both a fast and efficient method of getting from point A to point B and back again. Unfortunately, some people have suffered serious and even fatal injuries while riding motorcycles.

We discussed one of these cases here last week. Reports indicated that an SUV driver turned in front of a motorcycle rider, knocking the motorcyclist to the ground. The motorcyclist was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead. The SUV driver was uninjured in the accident.

Inattentive drivers of larger vehicles can wreak havoc on motorcyclists throughout the Las Vegas area. Many drivers will insist they did not see a motorcycle despite the motorcyclist’s not speeding and otherwise obeying the traffic laws. Sadly, many drivers do not take the time to keep a proper lookout for motorcyclists.

Left-turn accidents – where a motorist executing a left turn collides with a motorcyclist – are one of the commonest sources of injury for motorcyclists. These accidents are often the result of a lack of attention on the part of the turning motorist.

The attorneys at Dimopoulos Law Firm are here to advise motorcycle accident victims – and their families – in their pursuit of justice. Our attorneys will investigate causes and contributing factors of our clients’ motorcycle accidents. It’s all a part of our quest to get adequate compensation for our clients’ injuries at the hands of negligent motorists. Our motorcycle accident page has more information on the services we offer to motorcycle accident victims and their families.

Motorcycle Accident Kills Las Vegas Man

Las Vegas has its share of attractions for both residents and visitors. From the glitz of ‘the strip’ to the natural beauty of the surrounding desert and mountains, there’s a little something for everyone. Many people in Vegas ride motorcycles, enjoying the freedom of flat highways and the view of neon cityscape and pristine vista alike. Unfortunately, motorcycles can be dangerous vehicles for riders, with little protection between them and the bare roadway, save a helmet and whatever clothing the individual decides to wear.

For example, one unlucky rider was killed while riding his bike recently in the Northeast Valley area. The 28-year-old man was driving his motorcycle on Christy Lane, when an SUV turned left in front of him from Lake Mead Boulevard. The motorcycle struck the SUV and the rider was thrown onto the road. After being transported to a local hospital, the unfortunate motorcyclist was pronounced dead. The 75-year-old driver of the SUV had no reported injuries.

In a crash between an SUV and a motorcycle, the laws of physics dictate one obvious winner, and it is not the motorcycle. The size and weight of an SUV, coupled with the lack of protection for the motorcycle driver, makes serious injury for the cyclist almost inevitable. Unfortunately, in too many cases, this can lead to a loss of life.

Those Las Vegas residents who have lost a loved one in a sudden accident understand the terrible effect it can have on a family. From lost wages contributed to the household to the emotional void left by the absence of a beloved family member, such incidents wreak a permanent change on those affected. While there is no way to restore the life of a loved one, it is possible that the burden on the families of those killed by the negligence of others in a motorcycle accident can be somewhat lessened by the possibility of legal compensation.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Motorcyclist killed in crash with SUV,” Jesse Granger, Sept. 18, 2017

Can A Rear-Ended Driver Be At Fault?

Q: Is it impossible for the driver of a vehicle that has been rear-ended to be at fault for a crash?

A: I can think of at least a few hypotheticals wherein the driver of a rear-ended-vehicle would be at fault. For example, an individual whose vehicle was rear-ended yesterday might use that same vehicle to rear-end someone else’s vehicle today.

All joking aside, we’ve had a number of cases in which we have established at least partial liability against the driver of the vehicle rear-ended. In one such case the point of impact to the front vehicle was to its rear-passenger-side and the point of impact to the rear vehicle (our client’s vehicle) was to the front-driver-side. We used this objective evidence to help establish our client’s account of the facts (that the driver of the front vehicle abruptly cut off our client and slammed on his brakes). Had the points of impact been more centralized our client’s allegation of an unavoidable collision would have been less plausible.

What To Do If a Valet Attendant Damages My Car?

You may enjoy the convenience of paying a little money to have your vehicle valet parked when you are on the strip. After all, you do not have to spend so much of your time driving and looking for a close parking spot. When you give the valet attendant your keys, the one thing that may be furthest from your mind is your car being damaged while in the care of a facility’s valet service.

Getting valet services to accept responsibility for property damages that happen to vehicles left in their care is complicated. To minimize the chances of you having to deal with this type of situation, take heed of the following advice:

All valet services are not the same

Make sure you research the credentials and reputation of any valet service before you entrust your vehicle to them. Some services take great care in protecting their customers’ vehicles, so steer clear of companies that have a lot of complaints. Some valet workers are not employees of the establishments they represent. Companies that use outside workers for their valet services generally do not carry insurance to protect their guests against damage employees cause to vehicles.

Take before and after pictures

Before leaving your vehicle with valet, take pictures of its interior and exterior. Make a note of all items inside of it. Make sure those pictures have a time and date stamp on them. Taking pictures may seem unnecessary, but they can be used as evidence if you need to file a claim for property damage.

If after you return to your car you notice there are some dents, scratches or other signs of damage, you should inform the valet company. Get the first and last name of the attendant responsible for your vehicle. You should also get a copy of the company’s insurance information.

Decide if you want to pursue a claim

You must determine if you want to file a claim against the valet company, worker and any other affiliated parties for compensation. If your car has only sustained minor damage like some scratches or small dents, you should consider the cost of repairs against your deductible. If it costs less to repair your vehicle than it does to pay the deductible, you may be better off leaving the insurance company out of it. If your car has major damage, such as a broken door, shattered windshield or some other major blemishes that drastically alter the way your vehicle looks and runs, you should file a claim so you can get your car fixed and be properly compensated for them.

Property damage claims involving valet attendants and services are not always easy to resolve. Insurance companies may try everything they can to reduce or eliminate any compensation they must pay. If your vehicle is ever damaged by a valet parking attendant, you may find it beneficial to speak to an attorney for guidance.

Minimum Insurance Requirements for Commercial Vehicles

Many trucks and busses that pass through Las Vegas are either coming from or on their way to another part of the country. As such, the drivers and the companies that own these vehicles are likely subject to federal rules and regulations governing how they operate their business.

One of these rules pertains to insurance, as the federal government expects these types of vehicles to carry additional liability insurance in case they are involved in commercial vehicle accidents that are the fault of the truck driver. This additional liability insurance is required even though the State of Nevada ordinarily requires much less insurance from those who are simply driving personal vehicles.

Specifically, a truck that is hauling property general has to carry $750,000 in liability insurance coverage and must certify as much to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. When a trucker is hauling a hazardous material, the trucker may be expected to carry either $1 million or $5 million in liability coverage, depending on what type of material the trucker plans to transport.

Passenger buses ordinarily have to carry $5 million in liability insurance coverage, presumably so that they can offer protection and compensation to any passenger who happens to get hurt in an accident. Some smaller vehicles that transport passengers across state lines may only have to carry $1.5 million in liability insurance.

The bottom line is that truckers and bus operators are by law required to carry plenty of insurance that will hopefully be available to pay compensation in the event of a serious accident. Accordingly, victims should feel confident about seeking the recovery of medical bills, lost wages and other damages following a commercial vehicle accident caused by a negligent truck or bus driver.

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Ethics Disclosures: Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. You may have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and costs in the event of a loss. Our mission is to provide you with the highest settlement possible in the shortest time possible. We recover more than two million dollars per month on behalf of our clients. Super Bowl is a registered trademark of the National Football League (NFL).  Dimopoulos Law is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the NFL.702-605-7207