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Shallow Pockets: Winning with No Recovery

It is fair to say no one ever wants to be involved in a personal injury lawsuit.  While no one plans to be injured, injuries are common enough that there is an entire area of law dedicated to helping people recover after suffering injuries.   However, there are many people that are harmed in accidents who are unable to recover.  This is not because they are prevented from suing the person who injured them, but rather because they have nothing to gain by bringing suit.


No Way to Pay

In civil lawsuits the goal is typically to recover damages from the person who injured you.  The money you are seeking to recover is likely to pay for the injuries you have sustained by way of medical bills or other expenses.  Unfortunately, all too often the people whom you are attempting to recover from have nothing to give you financially.  The pedestrians injured in an automobile rampage on the Vegas Strip on December 21, 2015 will soon be facing this predicament.  CNN reported 38 individuals were injured, with one dying, when Lakeisha Holloway used her 1996 Oldsmobile to hit people walking down the Strip.  After striking all of these individuals, Holloway drove one more mile before stopping at a hotel.  At that point, Holloway asked a hotel security guard to contact the police. She stated she hit several people as her reason for the call.


With all of the camera footage of the incident, and the call requested by Holloway, it would appear that the case would be an easy win.  However, as CNN reported, this is true in the criminal sense, but not necessarily in civil court.  Even if all of the civil cases brought against Holloway are compelling, there is likely no money to collect.  The article highlighted three main factors in the success of personal injury cases.


  1. Liability;
  2. Damages or injuries; and
  3. The ability of the defendant to pay.


Uninsured and Underinsured

In the Holloway incident, there is strong liability on Holloway’s part and there are considerable injuries caused by her.  The problem is she may not possess money to pay any of the judgements.  This is not uncommon, but usually insurance (auto) can cover these damages. The reality is not everyone drives with insurance, despite this being illegal.  Since Holloway’s license was suspended in 2013 it is very likely that she was uninsured, but this is not confirmed.


Certain laws can help to incentivize drivers to obtain the required insurance. The Insurance Journal reported earlier this year the Nevada legislature explored a bill which would limit the payouts from car-crash lawsuits for uninsured drivers.  Even if drivers possess insurance, civil plaintiffs might still find it difficult to recover after an accident.  The minimum policy coverage for a Nevada driver is $15,000 per person for bodily injury according to the Las Vegas Informer. This amount cannot even come close to pay for most serious long term injury or care.


What to do if You’ve Been Injured

Ultimately it may fall on you to purchase insurance sufficient enough to protect yourself against uninsured or underinsured people.  If you are injured at the hands of someone without insurance, or insufficient insurance, you should seek the help of a qualified Nevada personal injury attorney.

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