Frequently Asked Questions
If your car was towed from the scene of the accident, you must make arrangement for the payment to the tow yard to recover your vehicle. Then you and/or your insurance company will make arrangements to have it taken to a repair shop that will prepare an estimate. If you do not have insurance coverage for property damage for your vehicle, the insurance responsible for the accident will work with you to have your vehicle repaired. There are many repair shops, but only some repair shops have been approved by the insurance companies because their quality of work is above average. Make sure that whatever repair shop you use, the insurance company agrees to work directly with the repair shop so you do not have to pay the bill. If you use your insurance (for a variety of reasons) to pay for the repairs, you will have to pay your deductible. If your insurance company is able to seek reimbursement from the other driver, they will obtain your deductible and reimburse you.
If you have health insurance, you should use that insurance to pay for your medical treatment from the accident. Most insurance companies will want to be repaid the amount they paid for your medical treatment. The insurance company, however, often will take a reduced reimbursement. This means that you get to keep more of the settlement.
If you do not have health insurance, doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and some surgical centers will treat you on a lien, which means they get paid when you get paid from your settlement.
A good attorney can help you find these providers. Because of the risk to the doctor, the cost of medical care on a lien is much more than the rate your insurance company will pay for doctors on their insurance plan. Hence, medical treatment on a lien often will result in less money being paid to the injured victims because a portion of their money is being used to pay for their healthcare treatment.
When you are discharged, you should be at maximum medical improvement. This does not mean you are pain-free. It simply means that the doctor can not help you recover any further. If you continue to have significant pain, you must advise your doctor and your attorney, because you may need to see a specialist.
The most important part of your claim is that you received proper medical attention for all of the injuries from the motor vehicle accident. This may require additional testing to diagnose other problems. You need to know every injury you sustained in the motor vehicle accident so that you can obtain proper medical treatment to protect you for the rest of your life, and seek the maximum compensation for your claim.
If you were employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident, you may seek compensation for the time you lost from your job. Your claim for lost income is calculated at: (1) the number of hours that you missed from work, multiplied by (2) your hourly rate. You need to be able to prove each element. If you were self-employed, your lost income is calculated at the reasonable value of the time you lost from work or actual losses established by reduced income during the period of your injuries from the motor vehicle accident. Under this process, you must exclude from your losses all other causes, such as vacation, reduced work force, reduced market, the recession, etc.
If you seek compensation for lost income, you must obtain verification from your employer. We can provide a form to be filled out by your employer where they signed under oath as to the losses you sustained while recovering from your injuries from the motor vehicle accident.
Claims settle after a Demand is made on the insurance company for payment; a Demand must include sufficient information about the injuries to the victims to justify the maximum settlement possible. Claims take between 30 days and 60 days after you are discharged from your last doctor. Once we have all the relevant medical records, verification of lost income, or other necessary records, we prepare a Demand to the insurance company, which reviews the accident, course of treatment, your injuries, and demands compensation for your injuries and losses.
The insurance company has 30 days to respond to a Demand. The insurance company must either: (1) offer a settlement or (2) request 30 additional days to evaluate the Demand. Once the insurance company has all the necessary information they will make an offer. If necessary, your attorney will make a counter offer, and the process will continue until a settlement is agreed to by both sides.
Victims of motor vehicle accidents have many sources of insurance that may be responsible to pay them, and there is a priority of which insurance pays first. If the person that caused the accident has sufficient insurance for all injuries to all people hurt in the accident, that insurance is primarily responsible to pay money to each victim. If the driver at fault does not have sufficient insurance or no insurance, your own insurance company may be responsible to pay you money. Insurance coverage may come from many different relationships or situation; please make sure you discuss all available insurance coverage with your attorney.
If you seek compensation from your own insurance company, they cannot raise your insurance premiums if you were not at fault. This is called uninsured or underinsured coverage and is required to be offered to every person that seeks car insurance in Nevada. If you do not have this insurance, the insurance company must prove that you rejected this coverage in writing or they are obligated to pay you the minimum amount the State requires. Likewise, the insurance company must offer you medical payments coverage, which is like health insurance only you do not have to pay it back. The insurance company must prove that you declined this coverage in writing or they are obligated to pay you the minimum requirement of medical payments coverage.
Many people waive in writing these types of coverage because they believe it will save them money. Keep in mind that many people drive in Nevada without insurance and if you are in an accident and the person that caused the accident does not have insurance and you waived your underinsured or uninsured coverage, you may not be able to be compensated by insurance or your injuries.
After the insurance company has agreed to pay a specific amount in settlement, they require a written Release to be signed by the victim before they will issue a check for settlement. Once the insurance company has the Release, generally they provide the check within 10 days (but they may take as long as 30 days). The check will be deposited and the bank is allowed 10 days to hold the check to ensure that it clears the account before they must release the funds for disbursements. All settlement checks go into an Attorney’s Trust Account and from that account checks are prepared for each person or entity that is paid from the settlement. The client receives a detailed written accounting of every dollar into and out of the Trust account from their settlement.
From discharge by your last treating physician to payment can be as quick as 30 days, or as long as 90 days, depending upon the insurance company, the cooperation from the client in signing necessary papers, and other factors. Your attorney should do everything possible to expedite this process—you should too.
Also, the liens for medical doctors or a demand for reimbursement from the health insurance company should be addressed. This process generally begins at the time of discharge when all the medical bills or payments have been calculated. Again, the doctors and/or insurance companies can delay this process if they refuse to return phone calls or respond to a request for an accounting or reduction.