MY VEGAS Magazine is proud to bring you an all new special feature section, where each issue we ask readers to submit questions to our Top Lawyers for their opinions and input on topics you want answered.
Steve Dimopoulos of Dimopoulos Injury Law
Q: I rear ended someone, and they sued my insurance company. My coverage was 100,000 but they are going for more. What exactly happens after that? Do they take my personal property?
A: Before pursuing an “excess judgment” (a recovery in excess of an at-fault driver’s liability policy limit), personal injury attorneys will typically advise their clients to offer settle their bodily injury claims for an amount equal to the at-fault drivers’ liability limit (there are a number of reasons for this which I will not address here). Thus, it is likely your insurance company has already declined an opportunity to settle adverse driver’s claim for your $100,000 liability limit. Although you may be personally responsible for the amount by which future verdict exceeds your insurance coverage, you might have a claim for “bad faith” against your insurance company in the event that were to happen. The theory of liability would be that your insurance company unreasonably declined an opportunity to settle your claim for your liability limit, thereby exposing you to an unnecessary excess judgment. Please feel free to contact my office for a consult to further discuss as the legal advice I can give here in limited based on the information, and every case is unique.
Samira Knight of Tarkanian & Knight Law Group
Q: My ex is over 20,000 dollars in arrears in child support payments, and claims he does not work to avoid his child support obligation. My child is 17 now, is there any advice on what steps to take?
A: Unfortunately, these questions cannot be simply answered without knowing all the facts. The first question would be whether you have opened a claim with the Child Support Division. If so, you would then go through them and they would continue to investigate. You can also provide them any additional information that you may obtain. Also, when you open a claim with the child support division they will have the ability to garnish from his bank account, refuse to let him get a passport, and even revoke in driver’s license. If you have not filed with the child support division, I recommend that you do. There are other approaches, but this would be the first step I would recommend.
Q: My wife and I recently separated. We both make them same amount yearly, and split time evenly with the children. She now claims I need to start paying her child support. However, we do not have a court decree in place. She says if she files for child support she will be awarded. Is this possible, and should I retain an attorney?
A: If we both share joint physical custody, child support would be determined under a Nevada Supreme Court case called Wright v. Osburn, 114 Nev. 1367, 970 P.2d 1071 (1998), which states specifically when custody is shared equally, child support is determined as follows: “Calculate the appropriate percentage of gross income for each parent; subtract the difference between the two and require the parent with the higher income to pay the parent with the lower income that difference. .ld at 1368-1369.” In short, stating that child support will be paid based on the difference in income. If there is no difference in income, then there is no child support.