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Can I Still Get Compensation If I Was Partially At Fault In An Accident?

Are you eligible for compensation if you were partially at fault in a car accident? The short answer is yes, but it all depends on how you define “partially”.

  • When Your Case Goes To Court When you and your personal injury attorney have decided it’s in your best interest to file a lawsuit, there’s always a possibility that the case will go to trial. At trial, each party’s share of fault in the accident will be determined. The compensation amount for all losses (whether they’re physical, emotional, or financial) that occurred because of the accident will also be calculated. This dollar amount is referred to as “damages”.
  • Nevada’s Accident Laws Nevada is one of 37 states that use a ‘modified’ comparative negligence rule when calculating damages. Under this rule, awarded damages reflect the percentage of fault. For example, if a jury decides that the damages from your accident are $10,000, and they also determine that you were 25% at fault, you’d receive $7,500 in damages because the other driver was responsible for 75% of the accident. The other driver would receive no damages, because they were more at fault than you, which is where the 51 Percent Bar Rule comes in: you must be no more than 50% at fault in order to receive damages.
  • 51 Percent Bar Rule Nevada is one of 21 states that operates under the 51 Percent Bar Rule. Put simply, this means that in order to receive damages or compensation after an accident, it must be determined that you are no more than 50% at fault for the accident. If you’re found to be 51% or more at fault, you will receive no damages or compensation.
  • Not Just For Court Whenever you file an insurance claim after an accident, the insurance company responsible for your claim will attempt to determine your level of fault in the accident in order to best determine the settlement you’re entitled to. If you feel like you’ve been unfairly assigned more fault than you deserve, you have the right to dispute the insurance company. In this case, it’s an especially good idea to have an attorney that’s experienced with Nevada personal injury law.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

How Much Is My Case Worth? – The Age-Old Question

Before placing a value on a given case, we must ask how every aspect of the case will affect the jury. This is due to the fact that the most important elements of every case, liability and damages, are typically fact issues, reserved for the jury to decide. Thus, evaluating how a given element will impact a jury is vital to assigning a value on the case.

Many personal injury attorneys make the mistake of advising clients that juries typically award plaintiffs “three times a client’s medical bills.” This advice is often misplaced and ill-advised. When beginning any evaluation of a case, one must start with the only factor that has a definite dollar value: the special damages.

  • Special damages include any element of damage that can be objectively measured by monetary value. For example, medical expenses, repair bills, lost wages or anything that carries a receipt may be considered a special damage.

The problem, however, with advising clients to anticipate a case value three times their special damages is that numerous intangibles may also impact the value of a given case. Comparative fault can drastically alter the value of a case. In other words, if the plaintiff is comparatively negligent, then both plaintiff and defendant are liable for the proportionate share of damages the jury awards. If the plaintiff is more liable for the accident than all defendants, a jury may bar all recovery.

Finally, numerous intangibles may also impact the valuation of a given case. For instance, the venue of the case, tendencies of the trial judge, experience and ability of the respective attorneys, and the make-up of any jury pool can affect the value of a case. Moreover, the testimony and credibility of the parties will factor into a jury’s verdict.

The lesson to be learned above is that attorneys should never commit to a specific dollar figure when reporting the value of a case to a new client. This not only allows the attorney to account for the jury and intangibles, but also prevents the attorney and client from creating false expectations. Attorneys should give clients the best-case, worst-case scenario for each case in order to prepare the client for any potential outcome.

By communicating all of the potential issues and outcomes to a client, good and bad, however, the attorney can effectively prepare each client and temper all expectations. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

Personal Injury Claims: Documenting the Details

It is paramount that a personal injury claimant articulate any noticeable symptoms and physical complaints to their treating physician with respect to injuries sustained from an accident during the initial patient consultation with the medical provider. It is important for you to identify and discuss your complaints and symptoms with your physician for two important reasons.

1.First, an accurate depiction of your symptoms and complaints will allow your physician to properly diagnose your medical condition. Sometimes, patients filter their symptoms and fail to disclose them to their medical provider. When this occurs, it puts the physician at a disadvantage with respect to formulating a diagnosis. Sometimes little details will change the scope of a medical diagnosis.

2.Secondly, with respect to a personal injury claim, you must identify and describe in detail all physical symptoms that you notice after being exposed to an accident to your treating physician. This allows the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and formulate a proper treatment plan. More importantly, your medical record will reflect, in detail, all of your symptoms and injuries that you sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence.

Your medical records are the most important resource to identify the injuries that you sustain as a result of an accident. If you do not discuss and describe your injuries, the information will not reflect in your medical record. You are the author of your personal injury claim. If you do not let the doctor know what your medical problems are, you will not be able to receive the best medical treatment to achieve maximum medical improvement and just as important, you will not depict all of the details with respect to the injury and treatment that you received as a result of sustaining a compensable injury.

During any visit with a medical provider, always remember to provide accurate and detailed information with respect to your medical condition so that you can receive the very best medical treatment and document your personal injury claim at the same time. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

7 Things You Shouldn’t Do After a Car Accident

It is prudent to understand your automobile insurance coverages on your automobile insurance policy before filing an The moments immediately following a car accident can be stressful and confusing. An experienced attorney, however, is able to offer you advice that pertains to your specific circumstances, and may include, but not be limited to the following list of common mistakes that arise during first few minutes after an accident when you don’t have legal representation yet.

  • Don’t Admit Fault. In normal, daily life, it’s common courtesy to say “I’m sorry” in situations where someone has been inconvenienced or hurt. In the world of auto accidents, however, apologizing can be seen as an admission of liability if the case ends up going to court. Even if you think you might have contributed to the accident, don’t apologize. The insurance companies and/or the courts will determine who’s at fault during the claims process. If you still want to be polite, it’s a good idea to ask the other driver if they’re ok.
  • Don’t Freak Out. Yes, you may feel like you have to let off some steam after an accident, especially if you think that the other driver was at fault. Instead of getting into a screaming match, or worse, a physical altercation – take a few deep breaths. Losing your cool won’t help the situation, and will probably make it worse.
  • Don’t Leave The Scene. Fleeing the scene after an accident is a crime – even if everyone seems like they’re okay. Don’t leave until you’ve been cleared to leave by law enforcement. In some jurisdictions like Las Vegas, police won’t come to the scene of an accident where there are no injuries and the cars aren’t blocking traffic. If this is the case in your area, it’s still important that you call 911 to report the accident, and the dispatcher will ask you a series of questions to determine whether they need to send law enforcement to the scene.
  • Don’t Leave Your Car In The Middle Of The Road. If you can safely get your car to the nearest shoulder, you should do so. This will not only help prevent traffic jams, it’ll also get you out of harm’s way. Once you’ve pulled off the road, you can start getting the other driver’s information.
  • Don’t Leave Without Getting Witness Information. Witnesses may be able to help piece together information about the accident in ways that you or the other driver won’t be able to do. Witnesses aren’t required to give you their information, but many will. It will save time and help you gather evidence in the event that you need to file a personal injury claim.
  • Don’t Talk to The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Or Attorney. The “don’t” list doesn’t end after the initial shock of the accident wears off. If the other driver is insured or gets an attorney, chances are they’ll try to contact you to get information about the accident. If this happens, don’t give them any details. Instead, tell them to contact your insurance company or lawyer.
  • Don’t Wait To Get Help. If you’ve been in an accident and you’d like more information about your options, it’s important to get in touch with a trusted, experienced attorney as soon as possible. The injury attorneys at Schwartz Flansburg PLLC are experienced in getting victims of auto accidents the compensation they deserve. Call (702) 385-5544 today for a free consultation.

Personal Injury Claims: Know Your Insurance Policy

accident claim. There are a multitude of options to consider and most are optional coverages. However, the State of Nevada requires you carry a minimum liability policy of $15,000.00 per person and $30,000.00 per occurrence.

1. Automobile insurance Liability Limit Options:

Obtaining coverage limits that exceed the minimum requirements of the State of Nevada. Coverage increments start with theminimum limit policy of $15,000.00 per person and $30,000.00 per occurrence (“15/30”) and progress upward in the following increments: 25/50, 50/100, 100/300, 250/500. These coverage amounts can be customized with your insurance agent.

2. Additional coverages Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage (“UM/UIM”)

UM/UIM coverage protects you in the event that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident wherein the other party was either an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist. By having UM/UIM coverage on your personal automobile insurance policy, you have protection if you are faced with an accident scenario that involves an uninsured driver or a driver that does not carry enough liability insurance to fully compensate you for damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Medical Payments coverage

Medical Payments Coverage is an excellent option that simply pays for medical expense as a result of an accident. The coverage amounts can be customized with your insurance agent.

Rental Reimbursement coverage

Rental Reimbursement coverage affords you the ability to obtain a rental car immediately after an accident. Rental Reimbursement coverage allows you to circumvent delays and obtain a rental car immediately.

UM/UIM coverage, Medical Payments coverage, and Rental Reimbursement coverage are optional coverages that you are not required to carry, however these coverages will afford you the protection and convenience if you are involved in an accident. If your automobile insurance policy does not have these coverages identified on your Declarations of Coverages, contact your automobile insurance agent to discuss these coverages. Be proactive by electing these coverages to your policy before you are involved in an accident. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Why You Need It Right Now!

What is underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM”)?

UIM coverage is insurance which pays for injuries, such as medical expenses, that result from an accident caused by a driver who has too little insurance to cover all of the injuries. It is sometimes referred to as UM coverage. In short, UIM coverage will provide insurance if the third party driver does not have enough to cover your injuries. In many circumstances, we find out that our clients do not have UIM coverage on their own insurance policy.

How UIM Coverage Applies to You:

Consider the following Scenario:

Driver 1 is lawfully stopped at a red light. Another driver travelling at an excessive speed is rapidly approaching Driver 1. Driver 2 is also driving while under the influence of alcohol. Before Driver 2 can stop, he collides with Driver 1. Driver 1’s car is a total loss and she suffers near fatal injuries as a result of the accident. Driver 1 does not have UIM coverage on her insurance policy. Following the accident, Police determine that Driver 2 has a suspended license and no automobile insurance; not even the minimum limits in Nevada.

In the above scenario, guess how much Driver 1 may recover for her personal injuries? Possibly zero. In the above scenario, Driver 1 will have enormous medical bills and little means to receive compensation for her injuries. She may be able to file a lawsuit against Driver 2, but without assets or insurance, there is little or nothing to recover in a lawsuit.

How can you prevent this situation?

If Driver 1 had UIM coverage in the above scenario, Driver 1 could then make a claim on her own insurance for the injuries she sustained due to the lack of insurance on Driver 2. Moreover, your own insurance carrier, or first party carrier, owes a higher duty to you to provide coverage and settle your claim than a third-party carrier. Although your insurance policy premium will likely go up as a result of adding the UIM coverage, preventing the above scenario far outweighs the additional monthly premiums. Unfortunately, not all drivers on the road carry liability insurance despite laws which make driver’s insurance mandatory. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

Personal Injury Contingent Fee Agreements

Understanding contingent fee basis. This means your lawyer is paid only in proportion to the amount recovered for their client. If there is no recovery, the lawyer is not paid. If money is recovered, the lawyer is paid an agreed percentage of that recovery plus reimbursement of the lawyer’s costs and expenses. What are the Benefits for you?

  1. The contingent fee is the one device in law that gives injured people of moderate financial means a fighting chance in the courtroom against giant corporations and insurance companies.
  2. Contingent fees perfectly align the lawyer’s incentive with results for the client, and the lawyer’s pay is directly proportional to results obtained for the client.
  3. Expenses of litigation as well as fees can be prohibitively high for injury victims. Lawyers who work for contingent fees typically also advance the expenses of litigation (filing fees, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, court reporters, videographers, medical illustrations, exhibit preparation, travel costs, etc.), knowing that most clients are unable to do so, and are reimbursed for the costs out of money recovered for the client.

Contingent fee percentages vary among lawyers and types of cases, but a range of 33 1/3% to 40% is typical. Occasionally, a lower percentage may be offered for cases subject to early resolution and higher percentages may be justified when cases are especially risky or involve appeals after trial. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact the law office of Schwartz Flansburg at 702-385-5544 to schedule a free consultation.

Will Insurance Blame My Accident Claim On Bad Weather?

Who’s At Fault? Simply put, the driver responsible for the accident during hazardous weather conditions is the party at fault. When determining liability in a car accident, negligence is the key factor in establishing fault.

What is Negligence? Negligence occurs when a driver does not exercise the proper caution and care that a driving situation calls for. If a responsible driver performs an action in a certain way, not completing the action that way or doing the opposite may be viewed as negligent.

Bad Weather and Negligence The key to determining fault in bad weather driving accidents is whether the party responsible for the crash exercised caution while experiencing terrible road conditions. Heavy rain can make roads slippery, fog can severely reduce visibility and strong winds can blow your vehicle all over the place. These weather conditions will cause a responsible driver to change their driving habits, making the roads safer for themselves and other motorists. For example, responsible drivers tend to reduce their speed during poor weather conditions.

Many motorists will not change their driving habits in horrendous weather, making their actions in a car crash negligent. If the insurance company finds that a person was not driving reasonably during inclement weather conditions, they will almost always pony up on the claim. However, if they do not find any negligent actions, insurance companies may try to fight the claim.

Beware Of Loaded Insurance Questions One of the methods that insurance companies use to place blame on anyone but their insured party is to ask loaded questions, with the intent of using that information against you. For example, an insurer may ask, “The other car hit your rear, but do you think the snowy roads may have contributed to or caused the accident?” Since insurance companies have their own interests in mind, make sure to only speak with a trusted attorney regarding your accident.

Remember that insurance companies are not always on your side and may have their own agenda when it comes to your case. If you’ve been injured in an accident that occurred during inclement weather, a free consultation with a qualified attorney is the perfect solution for determining your options after a crash.

Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

The simple answer is yes, however, there are time restrictions that affect your ability to obtain a discharge when you file a second bankruptcy case. The 2 Year Rule: When you receive a discharge in a chapter 13, you only need to wait 2 years to file and receive another discharge in a subsequent chapter 13.  Considering that a chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years, you might wonder how this is possible.  Fortunately, some debtors earn enough money to pay their debt in full.  If this is the case, debtors can pay off their chapter 13 and receive a discharge in less than 3 years.  Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people, and unemployment or insurmountable medical bills can render one in financial turmoil soon after completing their chapter 13.  When this happens, the bankruptcy code provides a mechanism to allow debtors to gain control of their financial affairs – a second chapter 13. The 4 Year Rule: If you received a discharge in a chapter 7but fall on hard times, again you can file a subsequent chapter 13 bankruptcy Case and discharge your debt through a payment plan. The 6 Year Rule Where you received a discharge in a chapter 13 and your financial situation changes so that you now qualify for a chapter 7, only 6 years need to pass since receiving your discharge in a chapter 13 before you may receive a discharge in a chapter 7. The 8 Year Rule: Most people are very familiar with the 8 year rule between chapter 7 filings.  If you file a chapter 7 case and receive a discharge, then you are barred for 8 years from receiving a discharge in a subsequent chapter 7. Keep in mind that the clock starts ticking from the date of filing, not the date your discharge order is entered. It is also important to know these restrictions only apply if you actually received a discharge.  If your case was dismissed, you may re-file and receive a discharge at any time under Chapter 7, assuming there are no bad faith issues or other issues that may arise. Lastly these restrictions affect your eligibility to receive a discharge.  Some people only need temporary relief to allow them to gain control of their finances.  If you are not eligible to receive a discharge due to a prior bankruptcy filing, this does not mean you cannot file a chapter 13 to deal with your creditors in an organized fashion, instead of the feeding frenzy that creditor collections can be.

Individual Chapter 11 Bankruptcy – Is It Right For Me?

When most people think of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the first thing that comes to mind is a large corporation filing to restructure its debt. Most people don’t realize, however, that the Bankruptcy Code also permits individuals to reorganize under Chapter 11.

Here are a few reasons why an individual might want to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

  • There is no trustee automatically appointed to your case, the debtor serves as his/her own trustee and controls his/her own destiny. Provided the debtor follows the bankruptcy rules and actively participates in the case, it is unlikely a trustee will ever be appointed.
  • For individual real estate investors, a Chapter 11 allows you to potentially “cram down” your mortgage balances and remove wholly unsecured second and third liens on your rental properties to the appraised value, and in many cases reset the term and interest rate related to the loan, making your underwater rental properties profitable.
  • If you have mortgage arrears on your primary residence, a Chapter 11, similar to a Chapter 13, allows you to repay the arrears over a cure period of up to years. Also similar to a Chapter 13, a Chapter 11 debtor can also “strip off” or remove a second mortgage from his/her primary residence, provided that the value of the home is less than the secured indebtedness of the first mortgage.
  • For individuals with non-dischargeable or priority tax debt, a Chapter 11 offers the opportunity to negotiate a payment stream with the IRS over a cure period of up to period of years.  Additionally, for individuals with IRS liens, it provides the ability to revalue those liens and characterize them as either general or priority unsecured debts (depending upon the type of tax).
  • For individuals with a large amount of domestic support obligations (alimony or child support), which are non-dischargeable, it provides a way to pay back the obligation over a 60 month period.  In order to have your case confirmed, however, all domestic support obligations that came due after the case was filed must be current.

More Questions?

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