Author: Steve Dimopoulos

Undocumented Immigrants & Personal Injury

Q: Can an undocumented immigrant recover personal injury compensation in Nevada?

A: Generally yes. But as you can imagine, all sorts of interesting issues arise in this context. For example, injury settlements typically include future medical expense and future wage loss components. These damages can be greatly mitigated upon a showing that the claimant is an undocumented immigrant.

Properly Communicating With the Other Driver’s Insurer

Accidents happen on a daily basis. If you are in a car accident and it is not your fault, you may be able to get a substantial settlement to compensate for your pain and suffering.

Though your insurance company is there to help, the other party’s insurer most likely will not be. Therefore, there are a few things to know when you communicate with the other driver’s insurer.

Proper protocol

In general, there are a few things that all drivers must do after an accident, and these requirements may vary per state. The Department of Motor Vehicles provides a breakdown of the requirements after a vehicle accident in Nevada. One vital requirement is to collect the information of the other party. Not only is this a requirement by law, but it is also essential to your claim.

Requirements

It is important that you speak with your insurer after your accident. Try to gather as much information as you can before speaking with them, and make sure you are in a clear mental space. However, you are not under any obligation to speak to the insurer of the other individual. In fact, doing so could put your case in jeopardy. If you unknowingly provide information that they may use against you, they may work to decrease your settlement amount. If the insurer contacts you, feel free to direct them back to your insurer.

Statement

There are certain instances where speaking with the other person’s insurer may be a requirement. If so, try to be as consistent as possible with your statement to your insurer. You should also be honest and clear. If you would feel more comfortable, you may have your insurer or attorney join you on the call to ensure you do not say anything that could damage your case.

In short, communicating with the other driver’s insurer after an accident should be at a minimum, if at all. Take time to understand the claim process so you may properly position yourself to receive the settlement you deserve.

Sideguards Reduce Truck Fatalities

Relatively unsophisticated devices can decrease the severity of trucking accidents in Nevada. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety recently tested an aftermarket device that blocked a midsize passenger vehicle from sliding beneath a truck trailer in a 40 mph test in August.

These crashes, known as truck underride accidents, are deadly. There were 1,542 passenger car occupants killed in collisions with tractor-trailers in 2015. Of these accidents, 301 involved truck underride accidents, while 292 involved rear-end collisions.

A 2009 Chevrolet Malibu crashed into the center of a 53-foot-long trailer at 40 mph in this test. The truck’s side guard bent. However, the car was blocked from traveling underneath the trailer. The car’s airbags and safety belt also restrained the test dummy driver. Testing showed that there was a low likelihood that a person would have suffered injuries in this accident.

An earlier successful test was performed where the car was traveling at 35 mph. The second successful test conducted at 40 mph is important because a collision at this higher speed has 30 times more energy.

In a second test performed at 35 mph without a sideguard, the Malibu got wedged under the trailer and part of its roof was ripped off. In a real accident, a driver probably would not survive that crash.

Sideguards that prevent vehicle crashes are relatively new. However, lighter weight devices are being used to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. Boston, New York and Seattle now require the installation of these devices on municipally owned or contracted trucks.

Solutions to side underride accidents, according to one manufacturer of these devices, are possible. More widespread use of similar devices, along with ongoing improvements to rear underride guards on trucks, could help reduce fatalities in large truck collisions.

Improving rearguards may be easier. Guards that meet current federal standards are not always effective in preventing underride. These devices are particularly less successful when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear of a truck off-center. IIHS tests of a midsize car into the rear of a tractor-trailer were successful when performed in various configurations.

A serious or fatal accident could be caused by reckless or negligent driving or where a truck owner utilizes insufficient safety measures. Accident victims or their families should seek legal assistance to help them pursue their right to compensation.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, “Side guard on semitrailer prevents underride in 40 mph test,” Aug. 29, 2017

Bicycle Deaths Rising

Bike riding has grown in popularity in Las Vegas and across the nation because of the benefits for physical fitness, the environment, and gas savings. This has a fatal downside, however, as car accidents have proven fatal to bicyclists. After reaching a record low in 2010, bicyclists’ deaths rose by 12.2 percent from one year earlier. By comparison, total traffic deaths rose by 7.2 percent in that year.

The 818 fatalities in 2015 is the largest increase since 1995, according to a recent report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Cyclists constituted at least two percent of all traffic deaths in this country. Adults accounted for 88 percent of deaths in vehicle-bicyclist accidents. At least 70 percent of these accidents took place in urban areas, and 72 percent occurred in locations where there was no intersection.

Most accidents are blamed on a driver failing to notice the bicyclist. Bicyclists, however, are more likely to see the vehicle and anticipate that the driver will yield. When a driver does not give way, the bicyclist cannot stop in time to avoid a collision.

Bicyclists accounted for 2.2 percent of the 3,477 roadway users who were killed in an accident involving a distracted driver. This number is likely understated because a third of all motorists admitted that they were distracted for at least one minute in about one in ten trips. Twelve percent of the drivers in fatal accidents involving a bicyclist in 2015 had a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit for drunk driving.

The rise in fatalities, according to the GHSA, may be attributed to the lack of protection afforded to bicyclists. The difference in size between a bike and a vehicle results in a bicyclist suffering a serious injury, while the vehicle occupants are relatively uninjured.

Mild winters change bicycling patterns and increase the risk of vehicle collisions. An improving economy is another element because traffic deaths tend to rise as unemployment and gas prices drop. States with greater populations and warmer weather, such as Florida, California, and Texas saw 40 percent of all bicyclists deaths in this country. Seven other states reported 23 to 50 cyclist fatalities.

A bicyclist injured by a negligent or drunk driver may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and other losses. An attorney can help fight for these rights.

Source: Governor’s Highway Safety Association, “A Right to the Road. Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety,” Accessed Aug. 27, 2017

My Friend Crashed My Car. Will My Insurance Pay?

Q: I let my friend borrow my car and he got into a car accident. He is not listed on my liability policy. Will my insurance coverage apply?

A: Most likely yes. Nevada Law requires that a liability insurance policy must extend to any person that is operating a vehicle with the “express or implied permission of the named insured.” NRS 485.3091(1)(b).

Nevada Ranked On DUI Enforcement

Motorists and pedestrians in Nevada face the risk of injury or even death from a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Like other states, Nevada has laws to combat this problem and punish violators. A study done this year placed Nevada 18th in the country for DUI enforcement. It was ranked 23rd in the country concerning its criminal penalties and placed 11th in drunk driving prevention.

The state has a mandatory two-day prison sentence for the first drunk driving conviction and 10 days for a second conviction. However, the minimum sentence may be lowered if the driver completes community service or drug or alcohol treatment education. A DUI becomes an automatic felony after a third offense.

Prior convictions still factor into penalties for 10 years. In Nevada, alcohol abuse assessment and treatment are mandatory following a conviction. Like 43 other states, Nevada has an automatic 90-day driver’s license suspension following a drunk driving conviction.

Drunk driving no longer ranks among the country’s top ten causes of death because fatalities fell by 57 percent from 1982 to 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the NHTSA also reported that drunk driving was still responsible for 29 percent of all traffic deaths in 2015 and causes around 10,000 fatalities each year.

Victims of these accidents and their families may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. An attorney can help seek fair and just compensation and assure that a lawsuit is timely filed.

Source: WalletHub, “Strictest And Most Lenient States On DUI,” Alina Comoreanu, Aug. 10, 2017

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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