Archive March 2020

Will the Coronavirus (COVID-19) affect your Divorce or Custody Case?

While the nation is worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) it is understandable if you are also worried about your pending divorce, custody, child support, adoption or guardianship case. We understand that you are concerned about how this health crisis will affect your family. Our attorneys are responding to phone calls and emails from clients and accepting new cases to provide as many answers as possible. Further, information on court proceedings is being updated daily and we are closely monitoring the Courts to provide up to date information for our clients and potential clients.

Court Closures and Continued Trials

In Clark County, the Eighth Judicial District Court issued an order that effective March 16, 2020, all non-essential District Court hearings are to be conducted by video, phone, decided on the papers or rescheduled. At this time, each Family Court Judge has the discretion to suspend trials and hearings or use phone or videoconferencing to handle hearings. Our office is keeping track of each Family Court department and can give you up to date information on how your case will be handled by your judge.

In these uncertain times, it is especially important to consider settlement options. If we are able to negotiate a full settlement for your divorce or custody case, we can submit the Order without further delay. If your case cannot be resolved, we can advise you on whether we believe a fair trial can be accomplished through videoconferencing. However, some judges may continue all trials on a temporary basis while we access how coronavirus will affect Las Vegas and Henderson.

Options to Resolve your Case while the Courts are Closed

During these uncertain times, some people will decide that they no longer want to fight their ex in court or that they are willing to make compromises to reach a settlement. If you are interested in resolving your case outside of Court, there are several options. Some cases can be resolved through attorneys negotiating directly. However, another option is private mediation. While private mediation is often conducted in person, it can easily be conducted via phone or videoconference. During private mediation, an experienced attorney will speak with both sides to assist them in making compromises to reach settlement. Further, during mediation, your attorney will advise you and assist you in reaching a settlement that works best for your circumstances. Unlike a Judge, a mediator does not make decisions based upon the evidence of your case or force you into a settlement. A mediator listens to the evidence and concerns of both sides and can provide information on what would likely happen in Court. Even though your attorney has likely already explained to you what could happen in Court, there are many variables to each case. Hearing an opinion, from a neutral third party mediator is often the final push both sides need to reach a settlement. If you already have an attorney, our office has a team of attorneys who can provide private mediation. If you are an existing client and want to have our office set up a private mediation, please contact your attorney.

Travel Restrictions Can Affect Visitation

The coronavirus (COVID-19) may cause travel restrictions that will affect non-custodial parents who live in another state, or even custody timeshares within the state of Nevada. For example, if your children are scheduled to visit the other parent in another state for Spring Break, travel to that state or from your state may be restricted. At this time, many parents do not feel comfortable putting their children on a plane, even if the flight remains an option. For travel by car to a parent’s home in another state, the parents should discuss their options and try to reach an agreement. If you and other parent have poor communication, an attorney can help you negotiate Spring Break and summer custodial arrangements. In the event that you or the other party decide to withhold for safety, the other parent can seek make up time when this situation is under control. Further, if you are separated from your child, for any length of time, do not underestimate the value of frequent phone calls and video calls. If the other parent denies you custodial time you should seek the advice of an attorney to determine your rights. Further, if you are the parent considering withholding time from the other parent, with good cause, you should consult an attorney.

If you reach an agreement with the other parent modifying your summer custody plan, make sure you get it in writing. After you come to an agreement, you should have an attorney prepare a Stipulation and Order, to be signed by the Judge, so that your agreement is enforceable.

Check your Parenting Plan, Decree of Divorce, or Custody Order

At this time, it is unknown when the Courts will resume normal operations. It is never too early to look ahead and make sure you are complying with your custody order. For example, you may want to reserve late summer or early fall vacation with your children in case life has returned to normal.

Check your Parenting Plan/Custody Order to see how much notice you need to provide for travel with the children. Further, in the event that travel is deemed safe by summer, you may want to negotiate additional time during the summer if the children are still out of school.

If you have questions about your Parenting Plan, now is the time to consult with an attorney. Further, if you have tried and failed to negotiate changes to the custody plan, which are in the children’s best interest, you may want to file a motion. At this time, the Court is still accepting motion filings and some Judges are making permissible decisions on the pleadings alone. While custody cannot be modified absent a stipulation or evidentiary hearing, you may wish to preserve your rights so that your case is heard as soon as the Courts are fully operational.

Even though this is a stressful time with many unknowns, our attorneys have made a commitment to continue representing our clients and to take on new clients. Please contact our office at 702-629-7553 to set up a consultation for any family law issues.

Distracted Driving and What You Should do After a Traffic Accident

In the United States, nine people die every day in car accidents involving distracted drivers according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Distracted driving causes up to 3,500 crashes in Nevada every year and more than 50 deaths in Nevada were related to distracted driving in the past five years. In 2011, Nevada banned the use of handheld cell phones while driving. The penalty for talking or texting while driving, carries a fine of up to $250.00, yet there are still many drivers violating this law every day in Las Vegas. The Nevada Department of Transportation has cautioned drivers:

In fact, driving while talking or texting can delay your reaction time as much as driving legally drunk, even if it is by Bluetooth or other hands-free method.

Even the most cautious drivers are at risk for getting in an accident with the rising number of distracted drivers on the road.

If you’ve never been in a traffic accident, you may not know what your legal responsibilities are following an accident.

-Always stop after the accident. Even if you think there is no damage to the other vehicle or object, you need to stop. You have a legal duty to stop but you may need to stop at a safe nearby location to avoid causing another accident. In addition, fleeing the scene could cause you to be blamed for an accident that was not actually your fault.

-Always check to see if your passengers or occupants of the other vehicle are injured. You have a duty to render aid or call for an ambulance.

-Always exchange information, including your driver’s license and insurance with the other party. Make sure you take a picture of the other party’s driver’s license.

-Always get the name and phone number of any witnesses to the accident. Do not forget to get the names of any passengers in the other vehicles.

-Always take pictures of the accident scene but do not stand in a busy street to take pictures. Look for a sidewalk or other safe area to photograph the damage.

Duty to Report the Accident. You have a duty to report an accident with injuries or property damage to law enforcement, but if there are no injuries or significant property damage, a police officer may not come to the scene. If you contact the police and are informed that an officer will not be sent to the scene, you can still report the accident to your nearest law enforcement office or Nevada State Police. Should an officer come to the scene, make sure you obtain his name, badge number and contact information.

-Never decline medical care if you are injured. In addition, if you start feeling pain from the accident in the days after the accident, do not delay seeing a doctor.

-Do not admit fault. Often in the moments after an accident, you are in shock and unsure exactly what caused the accident. Sometimes the other party will blame you for the accident, but you should not admit fault. You should limit your conversation with the other party to making sure no one in their vehicle was injured, getting the names of all passengers and exchanging insurance information.

-Almost all accidents should be reported to your insurance company. You may need to review your insurance policy, but most require a statement from you after an accident. Many people call their insurance company from the scene, but you need to make sure that your vehicle is parked in a safe location prior to making this call.

-Consult an attorney if you are injured and need advice on your rights. An experienced attorney can guide you and help you navigate the process to ensure you are able to receive the medical care you need.

Five Tips for Taking Accident Photos
1. Remember to get a picture of the entire accident scene. When possible, take photographs of the vehicle prior to moving from the scene.
2. Take photographs of all vehicle involved and be sure to include the license plates.
3. Take close up pictures of damage, including any interior damage especially if the airbags deployed.
4. Look for skid marks and anything that could have caused the accident, such as road construction, potholes, faulty lights or obscured road signs.
5. Take picture of any visible injuries of any person who claims injury at the scene.

Tips for driving Again after an Accident

Bring a Friend- If you are feeling nervous about driving after an accident, try to bring someone with you on your first drive. Having a friend or family member with you will make you feel safer and they can take over if you feel too overwhelmed to drive. If you are still feeling anxious after your first drive, try to arrange a few more drives with a comforting passenger so you can regain your driving confidence.

Start with Shorter Drives- If you have the option, start with shorter drives, during non-peak traffic times. If you simply cannot alter your schedule to start with shorter drives, do not avoid the crash site. Avoiding the crash site or altering your route around the crash site will feed your anxiety. We recommend going back to your regular path, so you can become comfortable with the routes you have to travel.

Consider a Defensive Driving Course- Many people never had any formal driving instruction, while others took a short course in high school. Learning defensive driving tips from a professional can decrease your driving anxiety. Also, gaining practice in situations that could become dangerous will help you learn procedures to minimize risk.

vegas west attorneys is a full service law firm that can represent your interests in personal injury and accidents, family law, bankruptcy, criminal matters, civil litigation, adoptions, stepparent adoptions, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, Hague cases, child support cases, termination of parental rights, custody and visitation, paternity, domestic violence, names changes, relocations, traffic violations, guardianships, corporate formation and other areas.

vegas west attorneys is proud to announce that Holly Fic has joined our group as an Associate Attorney

Holly Fic has joined vegas west attorneys as an associate attorney. Holly graduated 21st in the Charter Class at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Holly obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 1997. Holly has been a member of the State Bar of Nevada since 2001; a member of the State Bar of Nevada, Family Law Section since 2008; member of the Clark County Bar Association since 2002; Member of the Associated General Contractors from 2003-2004; Member of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce from 2003-2004; member of the American Bar Association from 2002-2004; member of the Young Lawyer’s Section in 2001.

Holly brings an eclectic experience to vegas west attorneys. Before attending law school Holly worked as a medical insurance biller for more than eight years. While practicing primarily in family law and personal injury, Holly has extensive experience in construction defect, real estate, business law, commercial litigation, Homeowner’s Association disputes, torts, wills and trusts and legal malpractice. Holly currently serves as the Pro Tem Hearing Master for Discovery and Domestic Violence at the Clark County Family Court and has also served in the past as a Pro Tem Hearing Master for mental commitment and the guardianship court. Holly participated in the Child Welfare Clinic as a student, has presented to the Family Court Community Legal Education classes, represented children in the Children’s Attorney Project Cases and regularly participates in the Clark County Family Court “Ask-A-Lawyer” program.

With almost 20 years as a practicing litigator, Holly is a committed and caring attorney and is accepting new clients with vegas west attorneys.

I Am Hurt and It’s Not My Fault, Do I Need an Attorney?

Whether from a vehicle accident, dog bite, or slip and fall, if you’ve been injured in Nevada, personal injury laws should be a priority on your mind of things to examine, especially if you were not at fault in the accident.
From a monetary perspective, to receive financial compensation for injuries sustained, you must show that another person was negligent, or at fault, and that the negligence displayed was the direct or indirect cause of your injury.
If your accident was recent, you will want to promptly save any evidence. Here are a few pointers to follow after being injured in an accident:
1. Physically write down everything you can remember about the accident itself, your injuries, time of day, location of accident, etc.
2. Make sure you obtain both the names and contact information of any witnesses to the incident;
3. Call the proper local authorities (i.e. the police department for a vehicle accident or animal control would be called for a dog bite);
4. Make an incident report if you slip and fall on the premise of a commercial establishment (i.e. casino, gas station, supermarket, sporting event, etc.);
5. Take a picture of the incident report with your cellular device to later provide the same to your attorney: The establishment may make it difficult to obtain the incident report later and/or hold it against you if you did not complete a report;
6. Take additional pictures of any noticeable injuries you or anyone with you suffered, along with pictures of any damages to both your property and that of the person’s property who struck you. If you slip and fall, take pictures of any wet services of cautionary measures taken (i.e. cones, signs, etc.) at the time of the accident;
7. Immediately contact a personal injury attorney to see if you have an actionable claim against the person who injured you before making any statements, either written or verbal, to insurance company representatives.
8. In Nevada, the statute of limitations to file a claim is two years from the date of your accident or your claim is lost forever.
If your attorney can prove the at-fault driver was in fact the cause of your injuries, you could be entitled to specific compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses; property damaged because of the incident; paid help for caring for you or your loved ones; lost wages from employment which includes time spent going to and from medical appointments; emotional distress that results in anxiety and/or depression, interference with your sex life; or any other expenses incurred as a result of the injury.
If you were the cause of the accident, or partly at fault, it will affect the value of your case. Nevada is a comparative negligence state, which means if you contributed to the incident, your recovery in the case will be reduced by your percentage of fault in the case.
By not reaching out to an attorney, you risk providing a damming written or oral statement, fighting over damaged property that the insurance company may refuse to fix, seeing a medical professional who does not diagnose you properly, or most importantly, limiting the value of your case. Many drivers who are injured believe they do not need an attorney, especially because auto insurance companies have funny commercials and claim they are good neighbors, so they must want to help you, right? Wrong, the advertisements from insurance companies are simply misleading. Insurance companies have more in common with a neighbor who cuts down your tree only to say they thought it was on their yard, not yours. You do not need to be tricked into a settlement, or forced to believe that your injury is insignificant.
At vegas west attorneys we evaluate the value of your claim and fight for your right to be compensated. The insurance company owes you a fiduciary duty as their insured and policyholder, this is no different than the fiduciary duty we owe to you. The result is vegas west attorneys fighting for the compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages or income, medical expenses and more as set forth above.
At vegas west attorneys, we have experienced attorneys who work directly with you, directly with your doctors, and provide you with the proper legal advice to answer those common questions. Our experienced attorneys and case managers provide aide in different aspects of your accident case as well. We are your injury advocates and will speak with the insurance companies, so you do not have to. Vegas west attorneys participates on YELP for purposes of client reviews and customer service, and also posts client reviews on its website located at vegaswestattorneys.com to help share the trust and results that actual clients have experienced when working with vegas west attorneys.

x
Vegas West