Have you been in a car accident recently? Of course, it is a difficult situation, and dealing with the fallout can be daunting. Many drivers have been in a similar position that you now face with questions about the critical first actions at the scene, insurance claims, and the legal options you can use to seek compensation for your injuries. The following answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) will give you the information and direction to proceed confidently after an automobile accident. So, take a moment and read through the following information.

What Do I Need to Do After Being Involved in a Car Crash?

Even though auto accidents might be traumatic and disorienting, the law imposes some obligations that all parties involved should follow after an accident. These include the following:

  • Stop right away — The severity of the crash does not matter. You need to stop your car immediately and pull over. Even if the accident is minimal, this condition still applies.
  • Examine for injuries — Determine who needs medical assistance and, if so, contact emergency personnel.
  • Secure the scene — Use cones, danger lights, or other appropriate actions to stop more collisions or injuries.
  • Exchange information — Give other drivers involved in the crash your contact information, insurance information, and car details. If you hit an unoccupied vehicle, leave your contact information and vehicle details in a secure but conspicuous place for the other driver to find. You can take a photo or video to prove you did so.
  • Report the accident to your insurance provider — If injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceed $750 from the collision, you must notify the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days. You will be required to fill out the SR-1 report. It captures the drivers’ information, the details of their insurance coverage, and the damage or injuries involved in the crash.
  • Document the scene — Take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to capture everything, including the vehicle damage and any pertinent road conditions.
  • Notify your insurance company — Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible to prevent coverage problems. Your insurance provider will also expect you not to admit fault or claim you did not suffer any injuries. Doing so will give the insurance company grounds to deny your insurance claim.

Is it Mandatory to Report a Car Accident to the Police?

No, it is not. However, you must report the crash to the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) or the police in the following circumstances:

  • Injury or death — You have to notify the police about the accident immediately if anyone involved sustained injuries or died.
  • Considerable property damage — It is advisable to report an accident to the police if it causes significant property damage, for example, damage to vehicles or other property valued at more than $7,500.

You can call 311, 911, or *647 to reach the NHP.

By reporting the accident to the police, you enable them to take official records of the incident, look into its cause, and document it. Legal actions and insurance claims may require this documentation.

What Could Happen if I Fail to Report to the DMV?

Failure to report an accident to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as legally required can result in a one-year license suspension. The DMV can end the suspension of your license earlier if you take certain actions, namely:

  • File the crash report — If you submit the required crash report to the DMV within the specified timeframe, they could revoke the suspension of your license.
  • Produce evidence of non-willfulness — If you provide evidence demonstrating that your failure to report the accident was not willful, the DMV may consider revoking the suspension.

By following these procedures, you can lessen the effects of neglecting to report an accident and have your driving privileges restored. Furthermore, in most cases, you are not required to file a second report if the DMV receives an accident report from a police officer or member of the Nevada Highway Patrol. The accident report that the law enforcement officer files becomes the official record of the accident. It should include pertinent liability insurance details, like your policy number and coverage dates.

Do I Need to Notify My Insurer if the Accident Resulted From a DUI?

If driving under the influence (DUI) contributed to the accident, you must notify your insurer. Regardless of the situation, most insurance policies mandate that policyholders report any incidents immediately. You can lose your insurance or deny you coverage if you do not report the accident. Giving them advance notice enables them to start the investigation and determine the scope of your coverage.

Your insurer will still assess the claim per the provisions of your policy. They will do so even though DUI-related accidents could lead to increased premiums or policy revisions. You can lose your chance to secure compensation for injuries or damages if you do not report the collision.

Note: Your insurer must fairly evaluate the risk involved in your coverage. Withholding information about a DUI-related collision could result in an erroneous risk assessment and could have an impact on your future coverage.

If a DUI accident results in charges, you must obtain an SR-22 from your insurance provider to get your license back. This document is proof of financial responsibility.  You must actively obtain an SR-22 since it is proof of financial responsibility. It attests to the fact that you possess the essential liability insurance coverage the state requires. A conviction for any driving infraction, including a DUI, frequently requires this certificate.

Could I Be Charged With Hit-and-Run If I Leave the Scene?

Yes, you could. It is not always immediately apparent who was at fault for a car accident or how minor it was. Leaving the scene could imply guilt and result in you facing hit-and-run charges. You must remain on the site and assist law enforcement officers in investigating the accident, regardless of who is at fault or if responsibility is uncertain.

A hit-and-run or fleeing the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information or offer assistance can have significant legal repercussions. NRS Chapter 484E mandates that drivers involved in collisions stop at the scene and share information with other concerned parties.

Hit-and-run is a misdemeanor offense if the accident results in property damage. If convicted, you risk facing the following penalties:

  • A maximum of 6 months in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines, or
  • A fine and jail time.

You will also earn six demerit points on your driving record.

If someone is injured or he/she dies after the car accident, the hit-and-run offense becomes a Class B felony. Convictions result in the following penalties:

  • Two to twenty years in prison.
  • $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, or
  • A fine and imprisonment.

Fines and imprisonment are part of the criminal process. You will need a criminal defense attorney to fight these charges. However, the criminal process does not stop the victim(s) from pursuing civil lawsuits, including wrongful death lawsuits, if the victim dies.

Can I Seek Compensation for My Injuries or Property Damage if I’m at Fault?

You have the right to pursue compensation for any property damage or injuries sustained, even if you share some blame for the accident. The comparative negligence system in the state allows for a reduction in your compensation based on the extent of your fault. For example, you would still receive 70% of the entire compensation even if it was determined that you were 30% at fault.

The "51% rule presents a challenge. Compensation is only available if your percentage of culpability is less than 50%. You are not entitled to damages if you are found to be at least 51% at fault.

You can, therefore, pursue compensation as long as your proportion of guilt is 50% or less. However, the amount will be reduced accordingly.

The insurance company and the defendant's lawyer will make every effort to minimize your level of fault and reduce your payment. They will claim that you are primarily at fault as a basis to lower the amount of money they give.

They will employ various tactics to undermine your claim since they have a financial interest in diminishing it. Your personal injury attorney will refute their claims and fight for you to secure justice. Your attorney will aim to secure the maximum compensation for your losses or injuries.

Will My Compensation Be Affected If I Do Not Have My Seat Belt On At The Time Of The Crash?

Not wearing a seat belt could affect your claim and your compensation. The defendant can claim that your injuries were more severe, which might lower your compensation. However, they cannot use this to hold you accountable for the crash. Whether or not you buckled up does not absolve them of culpability for the collision.

Can I Settle Out of Court, or Does My Case Have to Proceed to Trial?

Nevada is an at-fault state. Therefore, you can recover damages from an accident without filing a lawsuit. You can actively pursue compensation by:

  • Bringing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company — If another driver is at fault for the collision, you can submit a claim against them directly via their insurance provider. To secure a just settlement with the insurance company, your lawyer can help you with the evidence collection, damage assessment, and settlement negotiations.
  • Filing a claim with your own insurance company — If you have appropriate coverage like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), you can claim with your insurance provider. This coverage can actively assist in paying for your medical bills and other losses, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Why is a Lawsuit Important?

If you file a lawsuit, the defendant may be more inclined to make a better settlement in discussions. You will appear serious about obtaining just compensation for your damages or injuries. It also guarantees that you honor any deadlines imposed by law and safeguard your legal rights. This is important because it can expedite the legal procedure if negotiations break down and you decide to go to court.

A lawsuit also provides you access to legal remedies that may not be available through talks alone. A judge may, for example, mandate that the defendant make restitution or carry out particular duties. Additionally, both parties must exchange information and evidence during the dispute. This could reveal crucial data that supports your position.

Is There a Timeline By Which I Should File a Lawsuit?

Yes, there is a window of time known as the statute of limitations during which you have to file a case following a collision. Personal injury lawsuits, this being one, have two years from when the accident occurred.

You must adhere to this deadline. You risk having your claim rejected and losing the ability to pursue damages or compensation for your injuries if you miss it.

The statute of limitations does not apply when filing a claim with an insurance company. It only pertains to lawsuits filed in civil court.

There are distinct deadlines for filing insurance claims, most of which are specified in your policy. These deadlines mandate that you notify the insurance company about the accident and submit your claim as soon as possible following the incident.

What Insurance Policy Should I Have in Las Vegas?

Drivers in Nevada, Las Vegas included, must have a minimum of 25/50/20 auto insurance coverage in the case of an accident. This aligns with the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) provisions in Chapter 485.185. This implies that you need to have:

  • $25,000 for a single person's death or physical harm in any one accident.
  • $50,000 for two or more people's deaths or physical injuries in one accident.
  • $20,000 for every accident's property damage.

These coverage limitations guarantee that you will have the financial security to pay for hospital bills and property damage in the event of an accident. Failure to maintain the necessary insurance coverage may result in:

  • Fines.
  • License suspension, and
  • Vehicle registration suspension.

The minimum insurance required compensates for the losses and injuries sustained by other victims if the insured driver is determined to be at fault. This coverage pays the other party's medical costs, auto repairs, and other damages up to the policy limitations. Property damage and personal injuries sustained by the at-fault driver are usually not covered.

What are the Legal Provisions that Apply to Drivers of Large Commercial Vehicles?

Commercial drivers are subject to higher standards because operating large trucks and moving goods or passengers entails more dangers. Any departure from these guidelines may make it easier for you to prove their negligence in the event of an accident.

You could argue that a failure to exercise the expected standard of care contributed to the accident. Driving while intoxicated, speeding, inattentive driving and poor car maintenance are a few examples of these kinds of activities.

The following are some legal requirements that commercial drivers must follow:

  • Commercial driver’s license requirement — Per NRS 483, all commercial drivers should have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The CDL guarantees that commercial drivers can safely drive commercial vehicles on public roads. The license covers a variety of classifications and endorsements, depending on the kind of vehicle being driven and the kind of cargo being delivered.
  • Hours of service regulations — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the driving hours for commercial drivers. Drivers of commercial passenger vehicles, like those operating buses, can only drive for ten hours after taking eight straight hours off. The maximum time drivers can spend behind the wheel of commercial vehicles that tow property, like 18-wheelers, is 11 hours. This follows a ten-hour off-duty.
  • Vehicle weight and size restrictions — Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Title 43, Chapter 484B, sets the limits for the weight and size of commercial vehicles to maintain road safety and avoid infrastructure damage. Periodically, weigh stations and law enforcement organizations carry out inspections to ensure all commercial vehicles adhere to the law.
  • Transportation of hazardous products — Commercial drivers must adhere to NRS 459.500 emergency response protocols. They also should meet standards, get permits, and complete reporting obligations. These aim to reduce risks, avoid mishaps, and lessen possible environmental, public health, and safety effects.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

After a collision, contacting a personal injury lawyer is critical. You may be left confused, anxious, and unable to seek compensation after the accident. An attorney can help you by assisting you with the legal process, defending your rights, and fighting for you to secure the financial compensation you are due.

Because of our experience, attorneys at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can successfully bargain with insurance companies and, if necessary, represent you in court. Talking to us as soon as possible improves your prospects of receiving just compensation for accident-related losses, damages, and injuries. Call our offices at 702-996-1224 for further guidance.