Frequently Asked Questions Do I really need to hire a personal injury lawyer?This question can be answered by giving us a call and telling us what happened. Some cases may not need the services of a personal injury lawyer; however, it is in your best interest to give us a call for a free consultation so we can figure out if you have a case. If it is determined you have a legitimate injury claim, hiring a lawyer makes sense and could yield a larger settlement or verdict as opposed to handling the case yourself. How long does the whole injury litigation process take?There is no single answer to this question. It really depends on your injury and how complicated the case is. Some lawsuits take a few weeks to resolve, while others can take longer; however, I can assure you I will leave no stone unturned to get the compensation you need and deserve. I have very little money and am worried I can't afford to hire an injury lawyer. What can I do?Have no worries. You do not have to pay anything up front. My firm handles cases on a *“contingency fee basis”. This means we only get paid when you get paid. I was hurt in a car crash. What is my personal injury claim worth?This depends on the severity of your injury. Are you permanently disabled or unable to return to your job because of the injury? Did you lose a loved one in the car wreck? Every case is different, so every settlement/verdict is different. The best way to determine the value of your potential case is to give me a call. What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?A settlement is a voluntary agreement between the injured plaintiff (i.e. you) and, usually, the insurance company for the defendant. The settlement will end the case in return for a lump sum payment of a certain amount of moneyA verdict is a decision made by a jury. It is usually either “judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of X dollars” or “judgment for the defendant.” What are punitive and compensatory damages?Punitive and compensatory damages are usually combined to be the sum of a judgment.Punitive damages are a way to punish the defendant for a serious breach of contract or a particular law and deter them from similar action in the future. These damages are sometimes used to set examples for other companies or individuals who could potentially violate a similar law or contract; however, punitive damages are not always awarded and most judgments are made up of only compensatory damages.Compensatory damages are meant to make-up for the plaintiff’s injuries. The amount can include compensation for medical bills, legal fees, pain and suffering, etc. where the goal is to properly compensate the plaintiff for the different aspects of their accident and injury. Do you charge by the hour?No. I am pleased to handle all personal injury cases on a *“contingency fee basis.” What is a *contingency fee? This is where you agree to pay a percentage of the total recovery in the case. The percentage varies depending on the type of injury case. This is a good system for you, the client, since I handle the expenses of initiating the injury litigation process. I didn't see a doctor until six months after the accident. The insurance company is saying there is a time limit to see a doctor and they won't pay my expenses. Is there really a time limit to see a doctor?There is no legal time limit to see a doctor. The insurance company is basically saying that they do not believe your injury was caused by the accident since you waited six months after the accident to see a doctor. Can I sue for something that could have happened?No. The law provides the pursuit of compensation for an injury that was due to the carelessness of another person, company or entity. There needs to be some type of direct connection between the carelessness and your injury. The fact that something “might” have happened doesn’t count. How much insurance do I need to have on my car?The state of Nevada requires all vehicles currently registered to maintain liability insurance during the entire registration period, even if you don’t use your car, truck, SUV, or other motor vehicle.Nevada state law requires the following minimum coverage:Bodily Injury $25,000 for bodily injury or death of any one person on any one accident $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons on any one accidentProperty Damage $20,000 for any one accident; however, it is recommended you purchase more than the minimum coverage. Why? Because if you’re involved in a major car wreck, you may not be able recover enough to adequately cover medical expenses. For example, if your injury claim is worth $100,000, but you and the at-fault driver only have the $20,000/$40,000 bodily injury minimum, you will only be paid $20,000 by the at-fault driver’s insurance company and $20,000 by your own underinsurance carrier. You should also purchase uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist insurance since roughly 10 to 15 percent of Nevada drivers don’t have adequate car insurance. If you purchase this coverage, you can file a claim against your own insurance to help recover for your injury expenses Is it okay for me to participate in additional rehab that my doctor hasn't recommended, but I think may help in the healing process?I strongly recommend avoiding this and all physical rehabilitative activities that are not directly recommended by your doctor. Why? Because insurance defense lawyers will try to use this against you during a deposition and could then use that deposition in court. They could try and argue that you’re capable of performing activity XYZ and this is inconsistent with someone suffering from your particular injury. The best advice to follow is that of your doctor. Can You File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?After you are involved in a car accident, one of the most important things to do is make sure that you file a claim with your insurance company; if you do not file a claim and initiate the process, you may be barred from recovering compensation.When you file your claim, including as much documentation as is possible is important. The more evidence that you can provide your insurance company, the more likely it is that your claim will be approved. While including a police report may not be a requirement, failure to include a police report may raise questions about the validity of your claim. Without a police report, your insurance company may question whether or not the accident really even occurred – are your injuries perhaps related to a separate incident?Further, even if your insurance company believes that your accident did occur and is legitimate, the may not have the evidence they need to make a decision about your claim. Police reports are important sources of evidence, containing information about fault for the car accident, when and where the car accident occurred, property damage, and injuries. Is Nevada a No-Fault State?States maintain either fault-based or no-fault based insurance systems. In the latter, when a driver is involved in a car accident, they turn to their own insurance company for compensation regardless of who actually caused the accident. In some cases, drivers who live in no-fault states can step outside of the fault-based system and file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, but only when their damages exceed a certain threshold.Nevada is an at-fault insurance state. In an at-fault state, drivers are responsible for paying for the accidents they cause. This means that when an accident occurs, the not-at-fault party may file a claim for damages against the at-fault party’s insurance.Unlike no-fault states, to recover compensation from another driver in Nevada after a crash you will need to prove fault. This requires submitting a number of different evidence types, including a police report, witness statements, physical evidence, and more.Nevada also maintains a contributory negligence law, which means that your damages can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. It also means that if your degree of fault is greater than the defendant’s, you will be barred from recovery entirely.While no-fault systems are often criticized based on the fact that claimants have to prove fault in order to recover compensation, they also have a major advantage over no-fault claims: the ability to seek compensation for noneconomic losses. In a no-fault system, claimants are barred from filing a claim against the other driver for noneconomic losses. How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?Because Nevada is an at-fault car insurance state (which means that the driver who causes an accident is responsible for paying for any damages that result), it is important that you know how fault is determined if you’ve been in a crash. In fact, if you cannot provide evidence that proves the fault of the other party, your claim for damages may be denied, or you may be offered less than you deserve.Fault is typically based on negligence per se or negligence (or carelessness or recklessness in some cases). Negligence per se is the violation of a statute or law; negligence is the failure to act with a reasonable degree of care. Based on the negligence standard, a driver need not violate the law in order to be held liable for a crash.In order to prove fault, it is important that a thorough investigation into your car accident is conducted. The investigation should seek to collect a number of different evidence types, including photographic evidence, proof of skid marks or debris from the accident, witness statements, police reports, physical damage to vehicles (interior and exterior), the other driver’s statement, and information that provides insight about when and where the accident happened, and what conditions were like at the time of collision (lighting, weather, traffic, etc.). In some cases, accident reconstruction experts may need to be brought in – this is important when fault is disputed.In some cases, both parties may be found partially at fault. If this is the case, the claim will be subject to the rules of comparative negligence. How Does PIP Insurance Work?Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, coverage is a type of insurance coverage that is not mandatory in Nevada, but that may be a good idea to carry. Called MedPay coverage (medical payments coverage) in our state, MedPay is an insurance add-on that is completely optional.The reason that adding PIP/MedPay coverage to your insurance policy is a good idea is this: if you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury, your MedPay coverage will pay for your injuries regardless of fault. This is important because if you do not carry MedPay/PIP coverage, you can only recover compensation for your injuries from an insurance company if a) the other driver was at fault for your accident; and b) the at-fault driver carries bodily injury liability insurance (or you have uninsured motorist insurance).Another benefit of MedPay coverage is that it will provide you with coverage if you are struck by a motor vehicle while acting as a pedestrian. The coverage is purchasable in a number of different coverage amounts, starting at $1,000 and ranging to up to $10,000 per accident.At the offices of the Naqvi Law Firm, we strongly advocate for drivers in our state to carry MedPay coverage. If you do not carry Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection coverage and you are involved in a crash and you are found to be at-fault for the collision, you cannot recover compensation. This type of coverage helps to ensure you get the medical treatment you need. Can I Recover Lost Wage Compensation?Being involved in an accident often results in more than just property damage or minor injuries; instead, an accident can leave a person with injuries that are permanently or temporarily disabling. As such, the person may suffer pain and emotional anguish, incur high medical expenses, and be unable to work, resulting in a loss of income.When an injury results in a loss of income, a person may be anxious about how they will provide for themselves and their loved ones. This fear may be exacerbated in the event that the disability is permanent, creating a barrier to work for the remainder of the individual’s life.When an injury results in lost wages, wage compensation is one of the types of economic damages that you may seek as part of your personal injury claim. You can seek compensation for the full value of past and future lost wages, as well as a loss of benefits associated with the income/employment position (i.e retirement benefits, the possibility of a wage increase due to promotion, etc.). It is important that you work with a financial professional when filing your personal injury claim who can help you to determine the total value of your past and future lost wages.Wage compensation is just one of the types of damage that you can seek as part of your personal injury claim. When your injuries would not have occurred but for the actions of another party, you can seek compensation for the full value of economic and noneconomic losses. Who Is At-fault in a Pedestrian Car Accident?Pedestrian car accidents are some of the most terrifying and terrible collision types. Indeed, in the majority of cases when a car and a pedestrian make contact with one another, the pedestrian is left with serious–if not fatal–injuries that change the course of their life.Because Nevada is an at-fault car insurance state, determining whether the driver of the motor vehicle or the pedestrian caused the crash is critical. It is fallacious to assume that a driver is always at fault in a pedestrian car accident.Fault in a pedestrian accident is based on negligence – the failure to act with an ordinary degree of care. While drivers are often to blame for pedestrian crashes due to actions such as driving while distracted or intoxicated, failing to yield, or speeding, pedestrians can also be at-fault as well. A pedestrian may be found at-fault for the accident–and therefore liable for their own injuries–if they breached a traffic safety law (like crossing when they did not have the right-of-way) or otherwise acting negligently.In order to determine fault in a pedestrian car accident, it is important that a thorough investigation into the crash is opened. As a note, pedestrians who carry medical payments coverage (MedPay) as part of their car insurance policy can seek compensation for their injuries regardless of fault. Otherwise, the fault of the driver must be established in order to file a claim against the driver’s liability coverage. What Is the Difference Between Tort and No-Fault Car Insurance, and Which Do I Have?As a driver in Nevada, it is important that you understand your car insurance policy and the coverage available to you in the event that you are involved in an accident. As such, knowing the difference between the terms “tort” and “no-fault” car insurance is critical.In a tort system, also called a fault-based system, drivers who cause accidents are liable for the damages that result. As such, a victim of a crash may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, or even file a lawsuit for damages directly against the at-fault driver. While an upside of a tort system is that one’s full extent of damages can be sought from an at-fault party, the downside of this system is that if a person is at-fault for their accident and injuries, they cannot recover compensation.In a no-fault system, however, drivers turn to their own insurance company first after an accident for compensation (typically for medical payments, and sometimes property damage and lost wages, too) regardless of fault. As such, even drivers who cause accidents can be compensated for their medical bills.The state of Nevada maintains a tort liability system, or at-fault system. If you are in a crash, you can file a claim directly with the insurance company of the responsible driver.But the state of Nevada also allows drivers to purchase MedPay (medical payments) coverage as well, which can pay for your injuries after a crash up to $10,000 regardless of fault. This type of insurance is optional, but wise to purchase. What Is GAP Insurance?If you’re a driver in Nevada, you’ve probably heard of GAP insurance. In fact, you may even have GAP insurance as part of your car insurance policy, as the coverage is optional but is often offered at the time of auto insurance coverage purchase. But what is GAP coverage?GAP stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection, or Guaranteed Asset Protection. This type of coverage is meant to fill in the gap between the amount of compensation received as part of an insurance policy for the total loss of a vehicle and the amount of money the claimant still has left on the loan. In other words, GAP insurance pays the difference between what a person owes on their car at the time of crash and what the insurance company says the car is worth.Because cars depreciate rapidly, GAP insurance is important. For example, say a party pays $40,000 for a new car, taking out a loan for the full amount. Shortly afterwards, the car is stolen or involved in a crash that leaves the vehicle completely totalled. While the party still has close to $40,000 left on their loan, the insurance company deems the value of the car to only be $32,000. GAP insurance would make up the difference, offering the party $8,000 to pay the remaining amount left on the loan. In some cases, a GAP policy will also cover the cost of an insurance policy deductible. Should I Go to the Hospital Following a Car Accident?In the event that you’re in a car accident, going to the hospital is a no-brainer if you’ve suffered serious injuries. In fact, it may not even be optional; if you are unconscious or injured to the point where you are unable to move, an ambulance may be called to the accident scene, and you may be transported to the hospital as such.But if you haven’t suffered traumatic, acute, and obvious injuries in a car accident, you may be wondering whether or not going to the hospital is even necessary. Depending upon your personal feelings about medical care and your insurance situation, you may even be leaning against going to the hospital.But not going to the hospital is a big–and potentially costly–mistake. Not only do some injuries not show themselves immediately (such as a concussion or soft tissue injury), but not going to the hospital means that you risk not getting the medical treatment you need to heal fully. What’s more, if you do notice the development of an injury at a later date, the fact that you failed to seek medical care for it can be used against you when filing an injury claim.In short, going to the hospital or at least getting checked out by your family doctor immediately following a car accident is always a good idea. This serves as documentation of your injuries, and establishes a connection between your car accident and harm suffered. The Other Driver Is Claiming I Am Partially at Fault. What Should I Do?Because the state of Nevada maintains an at-fault car insurance system, drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for them. Similarly, claimants seeking damages can have their settlements reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. Which means that it is not uncommon for one driver to claim that the other one is at fault; putting blame on one driver reduces liability of the other.If you do not believe that you were at-fault for your car accident but the other driver is claiming that you were indeed partially to blame, you should not hesitate to hire an experienced car accident attorney. In order to disprove allegations of fault, an attorney who has the resources necessary to investigate your case is a must. Your attorney can hire accident reconstruction and other experts who can piece together what happened, analyze evidence, organize documents, and more to prove that the other driver was 100 percent to blame. Evidence that may be analyzed includes property damage evidence, electronic control module data, witness testimony, physical evidence, angle of impact, and more.Your attorney can also help you to understand the laws of comparative negligence and what may happen if you are determined to be at fault. Of course, an attorney can also represent you during settlement negotiations to maximize the amount of compensation you receive. Is it Wise to Accept a First Settlement Offer from My Insurance Company?If you are involved in a car accident and file a claim with your insurance company, you may be thrilled when the insurance company comes back to you with a settlement offer. What’s more, if you have suffered medical expenses, property damage losses, and lost wages, you may be hoping to get your settlement as soon as possible. Accepting a settlement can feel both like a financial win, and provide closure after an emotional experience.But accepting a first settlement offer is rarely a good idea. In fact, our lawyers almost always advise our clients to reject first settlement offers. This is because first settlement offers are often intentionally low balled. Insurance adjusters realize that you are desperate for a check, and take advantage of this to offer you less than you deserve.Instead of accepting a first settlement offer, you should have it reviewed by an attorney who is familiar with your case and the extent of losses you have incurred. In most cases, you will need to reject the settlement offer and head to the negotiation table, where you will demand a settlement offer that fully compensates you for your losses. While this can be challenging to do, especially if you are eager to close your claim and move on with your life, negotiating your settlement could result in hundreds or thousands of dollars more in your pocket.Don’t let the insurance company get away with paying you less than you deserve; don’t accept a first settlement offer. How Do I Go About Filing an Auto Insurance Claim?After being involved in a car accident in Nevada, filing an auto insurance claim is one of the first things that you should do. If you wait too long to file your claim, you don’t give the insurance company the time it needs to investigate your accident, and your claim will be denied as such.To file your claim, do the following:Get the other driver’s information. If you do not have the other driver’s information, including name, insurance information, driver’s license number, registration number, and vehicle make and model, your claim can be more difficult to pursue.Call your insurance agent. As soon as possible after your crash, you should call your insurance agent and notify them of the incident.Be ready with information. When you call your insurance agent and initiate the claim process, you should be ready with information. Have your insurance card out, as well as a copy of the accident report in front of you.Take notes, ask questions, and follow up. When speaking with your insurance adjuster, write down the details of the conversation. Further, be sure to ask questions, such as whether or not you need to contact the insurance company of the other driver, how long your claim will take to process, and what steps you need to take next. Finally, be sure to follow up. If you don’t hear back from your insurance company about the status of your claim, call and ask.To aid you in pursuing damages via an auto insurance claim after a crash, we strongly recommend working with a Nevada car accident lawyer. I Was Injured in a Car Accident in Which the At-fault Driver Was Not the Owner of the At-fault Vehicle. Whose Liability Policy Applies?To answer this question, you should consider whether the driver had permission to use the car. If they had either express permission or implied permission, then Nevada Revised Statute 485.3091(1)(b) requires that the car owner’s liability insurance extend to them. As a result, the car owner’s insurance policy will pay out benefits to injured victims. Express permission is explicit confirmation that a person can drive the car. Implied permission might exist where someone regularly borrowed the car and the owner did not object.Nevada law is very liberal regarding permissive use of a vehicle. In one case, the court held that once an owner gives a driver permission to use a vehicle, the driver is covered for all subsequent uses of the vehicle while it remains in his possession. The court justified its decision on the ground that all wrongfully injured people should have someone to sue to recover compensation. The driver is also covered even if they are named as an excluded driver in the policy. The insurance company must pay at least the minimum liability coverage to injured victims, provided the driver had permission to use the vehicle when they caused a crash.Lastly, Nevada law also imposes liability on the car owner irrespective of whether they have insurance. According to NRS 41.440, the owner of a motor vehicle is jointly and severally liable for any injuries caused by an immediate family member who lives in their house and who uses the vehicle, including wife, husband, daughter, son, parent, or sibling. This law comes into play if you decide to sue someone in court. Can My Auto Insurance Raise My Premiums if I Was Not At Fault?No. Although insurers in other states can raise a driver’s premiums regardless of fault, Nevada has rules on the books that protect drivers. In particular, Nevada Revised Statute 687B.385 prohibits insurance carriers from canceling or increasing the premium for a renewed policy as a result of an insured making a claim when they are not at fault. The state’s Supreme Court has upheld this law, so it covers all car insurance policies in the state.Nevada’s administrative code provides additional language protecting drivers. The code prohibits increasing premiums for the liability portion of your insurance coverage because of an accident that is not a “chargeable event.” Each insurer gets to define what is a “chargeable event,” but it cannot include an accident for which the driver is less than 50% responsible. In practice, this means you will be protected so long as you did not bear the majority of fault for the crash.If your insurer tries to sneak through a premium increase illegally—or if they cancel your policy for making a claim—then you might have a case for insurance bad faith. You might need to file a complaint with the Nevada Division of Insurance, which you can do at their website. A staff member will work with you and the insurance company to resolve your dispute to your satisfaction.If you are unhappy with the resolution obtained by the state’s Division of Insurance, then you should pursue other legal avenues. Gather your documents and meet with a Las Vegas attorney who can review your case. What is “Insurance Bad Faith”?An insurance carrier commits bad faith when it wrongfully denies coverage to its insured. Because your policy with an insurance carrier is a contract, insurers have a legal duty to deal with you in good faith.Insurers can breach their duty of good faith in many ways:Engages in unfair practices when selling you an insurance policy Fails to promptly investigate your claim in a thorough manner Delays payment for an unreasonable reason Denies benefits without good reason Fails to communicate with you in a timely manner Refuses to defend a claim where you were not at fault Refuses to reimburse you for the entire loss Fails to pay for an independent medical exam (IME) when the contract requires it Engages in unreasonable interpretations of contract language to deny you benefitsTo succeed, you must show more than the fact that your insurer acted unreasonably. According to the Nevada Supreme Court, you also must show that the insurance company was aware that it had no reasonable basis for its conduct.If you prevail in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, you can receive compensatory damages for your financial losses, such as a financial settlement with another driver. You might also receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish the insurance company and act as a deterrent to future wrongful conduct. Punitive damages are available when you can show that the insurance company denied you out of oppression, malice, or fraud. Is It Possible to Recover More than the At-fault Driver’s Policy Limits?Sometimes it is possible to recover more than the driver’s policy limits. However, you need a lawyer to carefully analyze the circumstances to determine whether other assets exist that can be used to pay your settlement.For example, a driver might have another insurance policy that will cover them in an accident. Often, people have umbrella insurance policies that will provide additional coverage in the event of accidents. Even if the driver’s car insurance has a $25,000 liability maximum per permission, their umbrella coverage might provide considerably more. One benefit of working with an experienced attorney after a car crash is that they can uncover all applicable insurance policies, thus increasing the amount of compensation available.Also, the driver might have personal assets that they can use to pay you. You should not expect someone to willingly sell their home, car, or stock and bonds to compensate you for injuries. Nevertheless, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the driver personally. Usually, you will sue the driver for negligence in how they operated the motor vehicle. If you win your case, you can receive a judgment from the court for a certain amount of money.Of course, some defendants ignore the court’s judgment, and the court will not collect money for you. However, you might be able to have the sheriff sell property and direct a portion of the proceeds to satisfying your court judgment. You might also be able to garnish the defendant’s wages. Pursuing a lawsuit and collecting on a judgment can be time-consuming, but this might be the best course of action in certain situations. What is Med-Pay Coverage?“Med-pay” stands for medical payments coverage. After an accident, you or passengers might need medical care to treat your injuries. This is where your med-pay coverage comes in. Med-pay benefits are not fault-based, meaning that it does not matter if you are to blame for the accident. You can still tap your med-pay benefits to cover all necessary and reasonable medical expenses that result from your collision.Med-pay benefits also cover the medical bills for passengers in your vehicle. Each passenger is covered up to the maximum in medical payments coverage. For example, if you have $10,000 in medical payments coverage, then each passenger can tap up to $10,000, even if several passengers are injured along with you.Generally, you can get medical payments coverage from $1,000 up to $50,000 and even $100,000. Premiums for medical payment coverage are usually relatively cheap, so it is great insurance to have.Sometimes, your healthcare expenses will be paid by your own health insurance or by another driver’s insurance policy if they were at fault. By law, an insurer does not have a right to “subrogation.” Subrogation comes into play if you use med-pay benefits to pay for medical care but then receive a settlement from the other driver’s insurer for the value of your injuries. In this situation, you are not legally required to pay back your insurer.However, health insurers will often require that you sign a “Right to Subrogation” agreement before they agree to pay for your medical bills, and these agreements are enforceable. Talk to your car accident attorney about which insurance you should use to pay for your initial medical treatment after a crash. What is Liability Coverage?If you cause an accident, your liability coverage will pay benefits to the person you injured. It does not pay for damage to your own car or medical expenses for your injuries or the injuries of relative residents who are riding with you (such as your children). Instead, you will need to rely on your medical payments coverage to pay for your medical bills. To pay for damage to your car, you should have collision insurance.Consider the following: You collide with a car at an intersection and are to blame for the crash. The other driver suffers a concussion and a broken arm which requires surgery. The injured driver can make a claim with your insurance, and liability insurance will cover the medical bills.If another driver injures you in a collision, then you can make a claim on their liability coverage. You can either contact the driver’s insurer directly or work with your own insurer, who can submit the claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will review your claim and agree to make payment or deny it.The current minimum coverage for liability insurance in Nevada is:$15,000 per person for bodily injury $30,000 per accident for bodily injury $10,000 per accident for property damageHowever, these minimums are increasing as of July 1, 2018 to the following:$25,000 per person for bodily injury $50,000 per accident for bodily injury $20,000 per accident for property damagesIf you do not carry the new minimums, you are required to purchase the additional coverage by July 1st.