What to Do After a Car Accident in Las Vegas
Chances are high that you’ll be in an auto accident at some point during your lifetime. With luck, you’ll escape with no significant harm done. But over 2.5 million Americans are injured in crashes every year. Knowing what to do after a vehicle accident is important to protect your legal rights.
First, know this: Your health is always the first priority after a car crash. Getting prompt medical treatment is the No. 1 thing to you can do to help protect a potential legal claim. But if you’re not too hurt, there are other valuable steps that you can take to improve your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation. There are also certain actions that you are legally required to take in Nevada.
Have you been hurt in a car accident in Las Vegas? You could be able to recover money for medical bills, missed wages, and other losses if someone else is to blame. Reach out to the experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at THE702FIRM Injury Lawyers for immediate help.
Call or contact us now for a free consultation.
Key Things You Need to Know If You Have a Car Accident
There are several important things to know after a Las Vegas car crash:
- Nevada is a fault state. That means that you will need to file a claim for compensation against the at-fault party’s insurer. Most often, you’ll file against the other driver’s insurance policy. But depending on the facts of your case, another party may be liable for the wreck. For example, if the crash occurred due to faulty brakes, your injury claim would be filed with the insurer of the automaker or parts manufacturer. A skilled lawyer from THE702FIRM Injury Lawyers can review your claim and make sure that all responsible parties are held accountable for their negligence.
- Insurance companies are only responsible for paying up to the policy’s limit. The minimum required coverage for auto insurance in Nevada is $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people, and $20,000 for property damage. Many Nevada drivers do not purchase insurance beyond these limits because it increases their premiums. But if the cost of your damages exceeds the policy limits, you may be able to file a car accident lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.
- Nevada uses a contributory negligence rule to assign fault. Auto accidents are not always one person’s fault. To account for cases where multiple parties (including yourself) may be to blame, Nevada law uses a doctrine called contributory negligence. This means that you may still receive compensation as long as you are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Any compensation awarded will be reduced by your portion of fault, which may be decided by the insurance company, a judge, or jury.
It’s critical to contact a knowledgeable Las Vegas car accident attorney if you believe you are partly responsible for your wreck. It’s guaranteed that the insurance company will use every possible tactic to push blame for the crash onto you. If they succeed, your ultimate payout could be drastically reduced. You can count our Nevada car accident lawyers to fight so that you are not unfairly blamed for the crash that injured you.
What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident
The moments after a car accident can be disorienting, confusing, and stressful. Here’s what you need to know about your responsibilities after a crash:
- Remain at the scene: Nevada will penalize anyone who drives away after an accident.
- Check for injuries: If anyone was hurt, call 911 for immediate medical attention. Make sure to see a doctor if you don’t have any obvious injuries. Medical records are the foundation upon which personal injury claims are built.
- Call the police: If anyone was injured or killed during the crash, you must call the police. If you have to file a claim for a serious injury in the future, a copy of the police report may indicate the officer’s opinion of who is at fault. Las Vegas police are not required to report to the scene of minor crashes.
- Move to a safe place: Most car accidents happen in the middle of the road. If you leave your vehicle in traffic, it could cause a secondary accident. Move your vehicle to a safe location if possible.
- Take pictures: Photos can serve as valuable evidence, indicating how the crash happened and who may be at fault. Take pictures of the vehicle damage from multiple angles. Also include shots of your injuries and any items relevant to the accident scene, such as a malfunctioning traffic signal, broken glass, or open alcohol containers in the car.
- Exchange information: You must gather information from the other driver(s) involved in the crash, including their names, contact information, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
- Report the crash to the DMV: If anyone was injured or killed during the crash, or there was property damage that exceeds $750, you must report it to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. If police visited the scene, this is not a legal requirement, as they will likely file a report with the DMV directly.
- Notify your insurance company: Most insurers require policyholders to report wrecks within a certain timeframe. Check your policy to learn the deadline. Remember, all you need to do is inform the claims representative that an accident happened, when it occurred, and where. Don’t mention injuries, agree to a settlement, make a recorded statement, or sign anything until you’ve spoken with a car accident attorney.
- Contact an experienced Las Vegas auto accident lawyer: While it’s not a legal requirement, it’s wise to talk to an attorney any time you’ve been injured in a crash. At THE702FIRM Injury Lawyers, we can meet with you to discuss your legal options at no charge and with no obligation.
What Information to Collect After a Car Accident
Because injuries are not always apparent after a car accident, it’s important to collect as much information as possible from other drivers in case a future legal claim becomes necessary.
Make sure to collect:
- Names and contact information: Your attorney may need to contact the other driver and include their information with your claim. Always ask drivers for their names, phone numbers, and any other contact information they can provide.
- Insurance information: Your attorney will definitely need to contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Retrieving the name of their insurer, policy number, and phone number is essential.
- Car registration information: The car registration will include the vehicle make and model, as well as the vehicle’s owner. The driver of the car that hit you may not be its owner, so it’s important to get details from the registration for liability purposes.
- License plate number: Again, the license plate number of the other driver is important because it can help identify the vehicle. License plate numbers can be especially helpful in hit-and-run cases where video surveillance might have picked up the accident in real time.
- Driver’s license number: You need as much identifying information about the driver as possible. Being unlicensed may be useful evidence in your negligence claim.
- Passenger information: Passengers can be excellent witnesses. Ask for their names and contact information if they are willing to provide them. If they refuse, you can write down how many passengers there were, their approximate ages, how they behaved, and any statements they made.
- Other witness names: If any bystanders witnessed the car accident, try to get their names and contact information. It can be challenging to track down witnesses at a later date, and their statements will be better when memories are fresh.
Don’t worry if you are unable to collect all of this information at the accident scene. People who are catastrophically injured in Las Vegas car accidents may not have the chance to get any information at all. At THE702FIRM Injury Lawyers, we will conduct a thorough investigation and gather the evidence we need to build a strong legal claim for you.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Whether you need a Las Vegas car accident attorney will depend on the specifics of your case. If the crash was a fender bender and no one was hurt, you probably don’t need a lawyer. Always contact an attorney if:
- You suffered serious injuries: The more severe your injury is, the more the insurance company will try to avoid paying you fair compensation. If you are unsure of what your case is worth, a car accident lawyer can review your case and determine what past, current, future costs you are owed, along with other damages.
- A loved one was killed: Family members of a person killed in a Nevada car accident may be entitled to wrongful death compensation.
- You cannot return to work: You deserve to have the full amount of your lost income replaced. That includes missed wages, but also include lost earning potential if your injuries have caused a permanent disability or have affected your ability to earn the same amount of money you could before the car accident.
- The insurance company is disputing your claim: This can take many forms. An insurance company may state that you were at fault for the accident or that you did not report the accident soon enough. When insurers start making excuses, you need legal representation.
Finally, you should contact an attorney if you feel unsure of whether you have a valid legal claim. At THE702FIRM Injury Lawyers, we’ll give you honest opinion about your case and discuss every possible option. Call us today.
How to File Your Las Vegas Car Accident Claim
It is highly recommended that you do not speak to any insurance adjusters without consulting a lawyer first.
Nevada car accident victims have several options for filing a claim:
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company: This is by far the most common scenario. Most car accident cases resolve with a settlement, though it may take some negotiating to get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
- File with your own insurance company: This option is generally reserved for two situations: first, if the negligent driver’s insurance is not enough to cover the cost of your injuries and second, if the at-fault driver was not insured at all.
After you have told the insurance company about the accident, an adjuster from each insurer will independently investigate the crash. Each will draw their own conclusions about who was at fault after inspecting the vehicles and speaking to the drivers involved.
Adjusters are trained to ask questions that could cause you to accidentally admit fault for the crash. Any statement that can be turned against you could lessen your final payout. Once you hire a Las Vegas car accident attorney from THE702 FIRM Injury Lawyers, we will take over all talks with the insurance company for you. That way, your legal rights are protected from Day 1.
No one can determine how long the accident claims process will take. Claims that are fairly simple may be concluded within 4 to 6 weeks of the accident. Complex claims can take much longer than that, especially if they proceed to trial. Your car accident lawyer may be able to estimate a general timeline for you. But keep in mind that cases evolve all the time, so there are no promises.
What THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys Can Do For You
At THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers can assist with every aspect of the claims process. With over 130 years of combined experience, our team of tough trial lawyers know what it takes to craft a solid case for compensation. We’re prepared to stand firm and fight for the compensation you are owed, no matter if it’s at the settlement table or in a courtroom.
Questions? We’re here to answer them. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.