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Archive for August, 2014

The Silver Lining of Jury Duty at Summer’s End

Written by Jon Remmel on . Posted in Blog

I have come to dread the end of Summer.  For a parent who, admittedly, enjoys spending unscheduled time with his kids, the last week of August serves as a stark reminder that, “[some] good things must come to an end.”  This summer has been filled with various highlights including a last minute weekend trip to Disneyland and spending valuable time with extended family.  Summer also entertained its fair share of disappointments, including endless days of Netflix movies (and similar brain draining activities), neighbor (singular) feuds, and a handful of actual bumps and bruises.  In order to get past the drama of it all, including the emotional toll daily living can impose, I try to look forward to unique opportunities that remind me, “the best is yet to [come].”

Consequently, I am committed to ending the summer of 2014 on a high note!  How?  As a juror.  Don’t laugh.  You see, I have been summoned to appear for jury duty in the Eighth Judicial District Court (Las Vegas) for the State of Nevada the last Friday before my kids go back to school.  I understand this isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea” and that jury duty imposes a palpable disruption to daily living.  Above all, the pay is crap ($18 per day!?!).  As a practicing trial lawyer, however, I cannot think of a better way to peak inside the juror’s mind than to participate in actual, meaningful jury deliberations.  It also provides me with an unique opportunity to show my gratitude, through service, for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens.

Talk about an opportunity!

Dreams aside, my chances of actually becoming a sworn juror are slim.  First off, I am an overweight, pasty kid with a law license who has an undying instinct to protect the feeble, yet determined David against the relentless wrath of any taunting Goliath.  So, if the case involves anything related to insurance bad faith, the at-fault party will not be “in good hands.”  It is also important to disclose that any bogus arguments of “degenerative conditions” and [unfounded] tales of “malingering” from the defense, will only fall upon deaf ears.  It may even result in punitive damages.  Second, provided I get paid to talk for a living, I just might chat my way off the cliff of opportunity during voir dire and find myself back in the office, behind my catalog mail order, mocha colored desk.

As we navigate life’s challenges, I hope each of us can learn to look for the good– even when it involves serious injuries caused by someone’s carelessness.  For some of you, this may involve learning to walk again, calculating simple arithmetic, or laughing in the absence of someone you love.  It’s hard and will certainly take time.  But it’s always worth it.  Life is not easy.  I suppose we learn more about life from it’s unexpected challenges than we do from riding the Matterhorn and eating overpriced Churros.  I also strongly believe that, somehow, it all ends well and each moment is worth enjoying regardless of our circumstances.  Cheers.

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Frustrated with an Insurance Company about a Car Accident You Did Not Cause?

Written by Jon Remmel on . Posted in Blog, Uncategorized

Are you frustrated with an insurance company who keeps asking [stupid] questions about a car accident that you did not cause?  I get it.  I just returned from a two plus hour deposition taken by a defense lawyer who works for a popular insurance company.  For the most part, I don’t have any issues with opposing counsel.  She is well trained, quick on her feet, polite, and perfectly capable of defending her client.  That’s not my problem.  You see, this particular case involves a rear-end auto accident that occurred on the Interstate, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  My client was at a complete stop when the defendant driver failed to observe stopped traffic and smashed into the rear of my client’s vehicle.  The force of the collision caused my client significant injuries and totaled her vehicle.

To avoid unnecessary legal costs, and based on the facts of this particular case, I suggested that the parties stipulate to liability.  In short, I was asking the defendant driver to formally accept responsibility for causing the rear end collision.  The stipulation would allow the case to continue as to damages (i.e., injuries, harms and losses) only.  Stipulations are a tool whereby the issues in a case are simplified.  This results in saved costs and time.  The problem?  Opposing counsel will not stipulate to liability until after she gets an opportunity to depose my client and quiz her to death about the details of the collision and every day since.  Despite my frustration, I agree.  If defense counsel isn’t willing to stipulate, I have no choice.

During the deposition, it becomes clear why most of us are frustrated with insurance companies.  Like most depositions, defense counsel started with the basics:  Who are you?  Where are you from?  What do you do for a living?  Then things became a little more serious–  Where were you coming from before the collision occurred?  Where were you going to?  Had you spent any time drinking alcoholic beverages before the collision?  Do you wear eyeglasses?  Was anyone else in the car?  Do you smoke? Were you listening to music?  Were you distracted by anything inside or outside your car?  Counsel even went on to ask my client to produce a copy of her license during the deposition so she could read her driver’s license number, expiration date, and driving restriction into the record.  In most instances, these tactics are appropriate and, in some instances, expected.  However, when you consider what my client was doing at the time of the collision (i.e., safely and legally stopped in traffic on the interstate), it makes it difficult to understand why the insurance company (and their lawyers) want to waste everyone’s time and money by asking irrelevant, fault finding questions.

So why do insurance companies ask these types of questions when liability is undisputed?  Because, insurance companies want to create doubt– in you, your case, and the juror’s minds.  They want to nit pick every injured plaintiff until they fold or break under the pressure.  They want fault free drivers to feel bad about listening to music in their car, or believe they did something wrong because, milliseconds before the collision, they didn’t make some heroic maneuver to check their mirrors, activate turn signals, look over shoulders, and safely merge into a nearby lane.  In most instances, driver’s injured in a rear-end collision do not bear any legal blame.  Further, there is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to music (though counsel may not appreciate your taste), or coming to safe, complete stop on the interstate when heavy traffic has slowed everyone down.  There is, however, a very real problem when a driver fails to pay attention, slams into the back of a parked car at interstate speeds and tries to shift the blame.

Even the simplest of cases can become frustrating.  Don’t let it consume your life.  Consult with a qualified trial lawyer for help.  Consultations at our office are always free and we are happy to help.  If, as a community, we allow negligent drivers to avoid accountability, we are only harming ourselves.  I believe our community expects more out of at-fault drivers and insurance companies.  I know they expect more out of jurors.  If you are frustrated and need help, or if you simply have questions, please contact my office for a free consultation at (702) 522-7707.

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The New Las Vegas Law and What it Means for Your Car Accident

Written by Jon Remmel on . Posted in Blog

Between high levels of traffic and drivers unfamiliar with the area, Las Vegas has a high rate of traffic accidents. They’re so frequent, in fact, that the Las Vegas police department has taken on a new policy to mitigate the work-load. What it amounts to is that officers will no longer be required to respond ton non-injury accidents. What this means is that if you’ve been in a minor incident, it will be your responsibility to collect all the necessary information and file a police report. In this article, we’ll take a look at why this new policy was put in place and what you can do to make your eventual accident claim process as smooth as possible.

Las Vegas Car Accident Policy

With the gradually increasing number of traffic fatalities int he Las Vegas valley, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has found the need to shift focus and spend more time and resources on accidents that lead to injuries and death. The LVMPD cites several circumstances in which they will still respond. In addition to injuries and fatalities, police will follow up on your call if the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there’s been a hit and run, the other driver refuses to cooperate, or a disabled vehicle remains in the roadway.

What You Need to Do if You’re Involved in an Accident
You should still call 911 in the case of an accident. The dispatcher will ask you for some general information about the accident to determine whether an officer should respond. If there are no injuries, you should follow these steps:

  • Collect photographic evidence of visible damage. Be careful about ongoing traffic.
  • Move the vehicle off the roadway if possible.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and issuing state. You’ll also want all the details associated with their insurance plan, including the company that represents them, their policy number, and the expiration date.
  • Gather information about their vehicle such as the make, model, license plate number, and VIN number. If the driver is not the owner, obtain the contact information for the person
  • Obtain insurance information from the other driver(s) including the name of the insurance company, policy number and expiration date of the policy;
  • Obtain the year, make, model and license plate number, including state of issuance of all vehicle(s) involved. Also obtain the name and address of the registered owner and the (VIN) Vehicle Identification Number.
  • Communicate with any witnesses, including vehicle passengers, and get contact information for them in case of an eventual dispute.
  • Document everything on the DMV’s SR-1 form, which you can find here.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies now have a smartphone app to make it this process as hassle-free as possible.

After an accident, emotions can run high and your sudden responsibilities can seem overwhelming. Take a deep breath and collect every bit of information you can–it will pay off in the end. Always remember to contact a good car accident lawyer immediately!

 

 

Ask an Auto Accident Lawyer: How Much Can I Expect for My Settlement?

Written by Jon Remmel on . Posted in Blog

Car_AccidentIf you’ve been in an accident that incurred serious injury, you may be entitled to damages. Many of these cases are settled out of court, which means you might have to sacrifice some of your potential compensation in order to receive money more quickly and keep yourself out of court—thus reducing legal fees. But how do you know if it’s worth it? In this article, we’ll look at what factors go into deciding a fair settlement.

Calculating Your Settlement Estimate

Estimating your settlement is not just a matter of adding these numbers up. There are essentially two categories of damages that play into determining a settlement. The first is Special Damages, which are actual expenses that are relatively simple to quantify. General damages, on the other hand, are much more complicated.

Compensation for Expenses

The first factor in your estimated settlement target is your actual expenses, including what you’ve had to pay out for medical expenses and vehicle repairs. Even if you did not pay your medical bills out of pocket, these costs should be included in any settlement estimate.

Compensation for Future Expenses and Losses

This category includes not only the lost income stemming from your recovery period, but also any future medical expenses and loss of income due to an inability to work. Remember, you’re working for a settlement that includes every dollar you lost as well as every potential dollar you could have earned if your accident never happened. If your injury is serious enough to incur some level of disability, your auto accident lawyer should include all future loss of income in the settlement estimate.

Compensation for General Damages

Some things cannot be compensated for with any amount of money. If you experience daily pain and suffering due to your accident, you deserve significantly more compensation than someone who received a minor injury with a brief recovery window. The problem is that these aren’t quite as easy to capture in a simple dollar figure. Included in General Damages is a sub-category called “pain and suffering,” meaning physical discomfort, mental anxiety, stress, and other negative effects of being injured such as interruption to the claimant’s day-to-day life. Your auto accident lawyer will be able to help you determine the right multiplier for factoring pain and suffering into your settlement target. The multiplier will be lower or higher depending the specifics of your case, such as the severity of injuries, the degree of medical treatment you’ve received and expect to receive, and the permanent or long-lasting effects of your injuries.

To find out how much compensation you can expect when your auto accident case is settled, contact an experienced Las Vegas auto accident lawyer today.

car accident attorney

What to Ask Your Car Accident Lawyer

Written by Jon Remmel on . Posted in Blog

After you’ve been in a fender bender, there’s a few things you have to remember: get the other driver’s insurance information, contact the police, collect photographic evidence of the damage and scene, etc. After that, you shouldn’t have much more hassle than dealing with the insurance and getting your vehicle fixed. But if you’ve been injured–or the other driver is uninsured–you may need to take the next step and contact a lawyer. An expert in personal injury and car accident cases can help you get the compensation you deserve, but only if you play it smart. In this article, we’ll lay out the questions you should be asking your car accident lawyer.

Important Questions for Your Car Accident Lawyer

To make sure you get the best representation possible, you need to make sure your potential lawyer can handle the job. Here are a few questions you can ask to find out if they’ll be a good fit for you?

  • “How long have you been representing personal injury clients?” – This will give you a sense of their expertise in this field and whether it’s a sideline or their main focus. As with anything, the longer they’ve been doing it the better.
  • “How many car accident victims do you represent in a given year?” – The higher the volume, the better understanding your lawyer will have of the legal nuances in your region. They may also have the insurance company you’re dealing with and their representation.
  • “How many auto accident lawsuits do you settle? How many do you take to trial?” – This is an indication of how hard they’re willing to fight for you.
  • “Will you be my lawyer or will I be working with another member of your firm?”- If you’re meeting with a partner, there is a good chance that they will actually assign your case to another lawyer. This is not necessarily bad, but you’ll want to meet the lawyer you’d be working with before you make any decisions.

You’ll also want to get a sense of what your lawyer thinks about your case. Make sure you get everything you need to know. For instance, ask:

  • “What is your assessment of my case?”
  • “What kind of settlement or judgement is realistic?”
  • “Will we have to go to trial and how long do you expect it to take?”

You’ll also want to know how your case will be handled:

  • “Do you charge a contingency rate or by the hour?”
  • “Will I have to pay you if we do not win a settlement?”
  • “Can I receive progress reports? How frequently?”

Once you’ve found a car accident lawyer, you’re job will be to provide them with all the relevant information about the case including your account of what happened and any evidence you may have–photographic or otherwise. A good lawyer will work with you and keep you continually updated on the progress of your case. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact a Las Vegas car accident lawyer today.

 

Contact us online or call us toll-free at (702) 522-7707 to learn more about our experienced personal injury services.
As necessary, we can visit you at home or in the hospital — we can also offer evening and weekend appointments.


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Remmel Law Firm, our Southern Nevada Office serves clients in the Las Vegas, Green Valley, Summerlin, North Las Vegas and surrounding areas. Our Personal Injury Law Firm is dedicated to helping families thru the legal process when involved in an auto accident, an accident at work or an ATV accident.

We are happy to meet with you in the hospital or your home to accommodate your unique needs. Contact our law office today!


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