Every road user, whether a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or motorist, is vulnerable to road accidents. According to a report by the Nevada Department of Public Safety, over 75% of all reported accidents require compensation on the victim. However, most of these victims opt to personally negotiate for the settlement, incognizant of how complicated this type of case might be. This is a wrong move; you should understand that an insurance company is a big organization that is after profits. They will use the easiest trick on you to reduce the end compensation. Therefore, to ascertain a fair settlement, you require the services of a professional personal injury lawyer. We at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm will provide you with top-notch services that will ensure you are compensated fairly as per the law.
Before we look at how you can seek compensation after a car accident, you need to understand personal injury laws and overview of car accidents in Nevada, what to do after an accident, the common causes of these accidents, among others.
Steps To Follow After a Crash
Your health matters. So, immediately after an accident, first, assess your health condition and that of the passengers on board. Regardless of the severity of the injuries, you are advised to seek medical services immediately since any delay to visit a doctor is enough evidence that the injuries are not severe. Ensure you keep a record of the total medical bills, treatment, and the diagnosis plan. This helps to tighten your injury lawsuit. Some of the other preliminary steps to take after a crash include the following:
Stop instantly- You are prohibited from leaving an accident scene that led to injuries or damage of property, before getting a legal order. Failure to which, you can be charged with a hit and run offense. You should immediately pull-over, assess the situation on both parties, and offer your assistance wherever you can. Note that the law requires you to remain at the accident scene, even if you are not liable for the accident.
Move your car to ease traffic- In case the accident is minor, and the vehicle is movable, you should drive it to the side of the road, ignite the hazard lights and set up flashers to warn other motorists of the accident. In case the car is unmovable, you should move away from the scene and wait for law enforcement officers to come and give way forward.
Don’t carry the burden- Nevada operates under the fault-state rules. This rule means that the liable driver caters for all financial losses incurred. We advise you to not take fault of the accident, either through apologizing or sympathizing. First, wait for the investigator to arrive and assess the scene. This is because there might have been other underlying flaws in the other presumed victim’s car.
Assess the scene- According to the laws in Nevada, you are required to notify the police and Insurance agencies immediately an accident occurs, regardless of the severity. As you await the police, ensure you first assess the scene, by taking photos of:
- The extent of damage to the vehicle
- The scene of the accident
- Body injuries. The car’s position on the road
- Collect similar information on the other party
With the photos, it becomes easy to collect any available evidence that you will present to the Las Vegas Personal injuries Attorney to prepare the suit. In turn, this will help us prepare a strong case to seek the right compensation.
Report to the police- Police are mandated with collecting data on the number of accidents and casualties in their area of duty. If the accidents left victims or led to the destruction of property worth over $750, then it is mandatory to report. If the accident caused minor impacts, then it voluntary to report the case. However, such claims should only be reported to the Las Vegas Metropolitan police, since a review of the law in 2014 limited Patrol police from attending to minor accidents.
Keep good records- If you are planning to file a suit later, ensure you store all the necessary data collected in a safe place, for example, in a file. You should neatly submit all the documents available, including health records, police reports, and photos of the scene. Remember, the more information you gather, the tighter your case becomes.
Contact a lawyer- Lawyers help interpret the law to victims and communicate on their behalf before the insurer and jury. Thus, it is essential to contact a qualified Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. The attorney elaborates to you what is expected of you in such a situation.
Call your insurance company- Most of the insurance companies have mandatory deadlines when you should report an accident, mostly within 24 hours of the occurrence. Ensure you adhere to all the instructions given by the agent. In case the other party’s insurer calls you, avoid giving any statement or accepting any form of negotiation. First, speak to a qualified attorney before contacting anyone else.
Finally, after the police arrive, ensure you provide very accurate information and remember not to give any information that may symbolize you are at fault. Like for instance, “I didn’t see this coming,” or “I am sorry.” As earlier stated, this can innocently victimize you.
Statistics for Car Accidents in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA. Hence, alcohol consumption is inevitable since tourists come to have fun. This lifestyle narrows down to drunk driving, which happens to be the most common cause of car accidents in the state.
Again, most of the residents and tourists often use the Las Vegas Belt, which stretches to about 50.5 miles. The road covers over 75% of the Las Vegas Valley and is often marred by heavy commercial cars and careless driving due to the high-speed limits. This is also the case on other famous highways in the city, hence the staggering statistics.
From 2012-2017, the Nevada Department of Public Safety reported the following statistics:
- Over 396 people died from road accidents, with 22094 others sustaining severe injuries, and 29843 damages registered
- Clark County covered over 75% of the total fatalities and injuries
- About 57% of all these accidents were between a single car and pedestrian
- 82% of all fatalities and injuries occurred on city roads
Surprisingly, of all the deaths reported, 301 occurred on intersections, especially in Clark County. Hence, the government is now putting more emphasis on these spots to reduce the rising number of casualties.
Dangerous Intersections in Nevada
Most accidents occur in high traffic areas, and intersections are excellent examples of such areas. The Las Vegas Sun came up with a list of the most dangerous intersections and streets where road users are required to put extra caution. They include:
- Lamb and Charleston Boulevard
- Tropicana Avenue and Paradise road
- Las Vegas strip
- Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard
- Koval lane
Common Factors Contributing To Car Crashes in Las Vegas
Often, the reasons for road accidents are common in most of the states, but some factors are unique in Las Vegas. For instance, there is a high number of tourists in the Las Vegas area. Most of these visitors are unacquainted with the roads in the state, hence causing unnecessary accidents. Some of the other factors include:
Distraction while driving- In 2017, over 3000 people died in the USA due to distracted driving. This is according to statistics by the Fatal Analysis Reporting System. Due to these worrying statistics, the administration in Nevada has put in place very stringent rules to regulate distractions. Most people tend to associate distractions with only the use of cell-phones, but that is not the case in Nevada. The National Traffic and Safety Department defines disturbances as all the external factors that grab your attention from the road. These include:
- Controlling the music system and side mirrors
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup
- Conversing with passengers
Hence, you are advised to settle everything before hitting the road to evade collisions.
Drunk driving- Alcohol impairs one’s judgment, hence limiting your potential to control the car. As a result, it leads to a car crash. Las Vegas is famous for its endless parties, thus consequently topping the list for DUI cases in the US. You are advised to take extra caution on the highways, and if you are drunk, get a cab home to save the lives of other road users.
Additionally, don’t drive during DUI peak hours that are mostly from 6 PM to 6 AM during weekdays, and throughout the weekend. You must not necessarily be inebriated, but another motorist might be, hence, causing an accident.
Defective car parts- Since humans make car parts, they are prone to failures. Thus, car owners and drivers are required to regularly inspect their vehicles to ensure they are in proper conditions. The common section that requires regular inspection before hitting the road includes brakes, ignitions system, gear system, or tires. In case the problem is out of hand, consult an expert to get it fixed to help you evade a looming carnage.
Harsh weather conditions- During some weather seasons, such as when the environment is foggy, visibility is limited, making it difficult to maneuver the roads. This can be very hazardous for either motorist and can easily lead to an accident. During such conditions, always exercise more caution to avoid crashes.
Reckless driving- Speeding is the leading cause of most road accidents in Nevada and the US at large, and mostly leads to death. In 2018, for instance, speeding and reckless driving accounted for about 9717 deaths, totaling 26% of the total automobile-related accidents in the US.
Common Types of Collisions in Nevada
Before filing a car accident compensation suit, you should be conversant with the common types of crashes and injuries that are recognized in Las Vegas. They include:
Rear-end collision- This is a common type of accident, especially on the busy highways. Often, the injuries caused are minor; thus, some people tend to ignore the legal compensation process. However, this is not right as per the law. Any form of injury, regardless of how minor it is, requires full compensation by the insurance company. Therefore, you need to contact a car accident attorney immediately before accepting an out-of-court compensation plan.
Trucking accidents- These collisions involve heavy commercial trucks and smaller vehicles. Due to the size difference, the passengers on the lower car are the most affected. Some even end up with catastrophic injuries or deaths.
T-bone accident- This type of collision happens in intersections. Mostly, the culpable driver might have ignored the traffic lights or rushed to cross a junction overlooking all other road users forcefully.
Rollovers- In most scenarios, these types of collisions can be as a result of recklessness crossover on potholes, a tire blowout, or T-bone collisions.
Repercussions of Car Collisions on Road Users
Accidents lead to two results; it is either the victims die or sustains injuries. These are the main parameter that the insurance company uses to gauge compensation, and hence, the injured party should ensure proper diagnosis for proper compensation. Some of the prevalent injuries considered include:
- Head injuries, like Hematoma, concussions, fractures, hemorrhage, DAX (Diffuse Axonal Injury), and edema
- Fractured bones, mostly on the legs, hands, arms, elbow, spine, feet, neck, and knee
- Internal injuries that include internal bleeding, organ damage, torn blood cells, or damaged lungs
- Spinal cord injuries that include: Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries, tetraplegia, triplegia, paraplegia, Anterior and central cord syndrome, and finally, Brown Sequard Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injuries, including Brain contusion, Second Impact Syndrome, Diffuse axonal injury, concussion, penetrating injury, and coup contrecoup
- Facial injuries- Fractures, jaw damage, orbital fracture, laceration, and nasal damage
- Death- This is the most devastating result of any car accident. After confirming the end, the bereaved family should immediately file a lawsuit- wrongful death- to get compensation. A wrongful death occurs anytime a negligent driver causes the death of another road user. The law only allows the suit to be filed by the victim’s children, spouse, or domestic partner. Although the money will not fill the gap left by the victim, at least with reasonable compensation, then the future of the bereaved family is secured. Because of the complicated nature of wrongful death lawsuits, you should hire a reputable personal injury lawyer who is dedicated to helping you. This is not the time that you should be having the stress of dealing with insurance companies.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Nevada
According to the Nevada Statute clause NRS 11.010, victims have up to two years from the day of injury to file an injury claim. However, there are some unique cases when the deadline is extended, for instance, an extended recuperation period. Often, if the injury is minor, you should start the suit immediately to fasten compensation.
You must have very concrete evidence, including photos of the scene, both vehicles, and witnesses on board. Hence, if you extend the filing period, getting access to the witnesses becomes very difficult. In some cases, some vital evidence may as well be lost. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm, we will ensure timely filing of your lawsuit, and safely store all the evidence to assist you to the tail end in your quest for justice.
Insurance Requirements in Nevada
Under the laws of Nevada on insurance policies, every vehicle liability policies require the following coverage:
- $25000 to cover for deaths or injuries on one individual on a single accident
- $50000- this covers deaths or harm inflicted on two individuals in any single crush
- $20000, which covers other property destruction or injuries on other people involved in the accident
However, this is not always the case, since Las Vegas is marred with lots of tourists from abroad or other states (out-of-state motorists). In case the at-fault motorist is not from Nevada, compensations are dictated by their state's or county’s insurance laws.
Common Types of Compensations for Victims
What matters most is an agreement between the insurance firm and the victim. In Nevada, there are different types of compensation plans depending on how well you negotiate the terms. The compensation can either be termed as economic or non-economic, depending on the losses incurred. Some of the common benefits include:
- Medical covers- the insurance firm is expected to cover for your whole medical bills, medication, any form of therapy, and other medical expenses incurred in the future in case of a permanent disability.
- Property destroyed- All forms of property damaged during the crash should be replaced or repaired at the expense of the insurance firm. Remember, this also covers indirect victims.
- Lost income- An accident, no matter how small, always disorients the routine of the victims. They may miss work sometimes due to injuries or an important business meeting. The insurance firm should fully compensate for such losses.
- Psychological pains- The pains may either be on the bereaved in case of a death, or trauma on the victim. In the suit, the Nevada Court assesses the extent of mental instability, using professional psychiatrists and place a monetary value on it. The insurance firm should as well cover all the counseling sessions attended.
- Disciplinary damages- In some cases, there can be enough proof that the defendant acted in sheer negligence, and hence, caused the accident. Thus, the court can penalize him/her with some community service requirements or jail sentences or fines.
In case the at-fault driver doesn’t have valid insurance at hand, or their insurance cover is not sufficient to fully compensate for the damage, the complainant can lounge a lawsuit by filing a personal injury suit. Things become even heftier if the at-fault driver is a non-resident of Nevada.
Tips for Handling Insurance Companies
Car accident victims are advised not to communicate with any insurance agency, even their insurer, before speaking to an attorney. The attorney will advise you on the technicality of the case, for instance, claim adjusters, as he or she handles the correspondence with the insurer. If you are a claimant, you should note that the insurance company and the courts require you to provide sufficient evidence to guarantee compensation. In this case, if you don’t have an attorney, then you may lose out.
Definition of a claim adjuster
These are standard terms in almost every car accident case with an insurer. The insurance company analyzes the claim to identify any hitch of inaccuracy or breach of policy, and if found at fault, your compensation lowers, or it is entirely canceled. Hence, it is essential that you seek the services of an attorney to help you read between the policies and ensure your compensation matches your damages.
Steps Involved In Reporting a Car Accident to the Authority
According to the Nevada car accident law, every driver who was involved in a crash is required to stop immediately. This is mainly if the accident has caused damage to property or other people’s vehicles, deaths, or injuries as per the NRS 484E.010. In the past, police always responded to any type of accident, regardless of its severity. However, this law was revised in 2014, so the police don’t respond to car accidents without casualties or destruction of property. If the total damage exceeds $750, causes deaths or serious injuries, then the driver should report the incident immediately. If they fail to report, the Nevada Highway Patrol can revoke their driving license for up to a year.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Every car accident victim needs to be represented by a professional attorney who understands the personal injury laws. Also, your attorney should be dedicated to helping you get the most out of a lawsuit, so you don’t have to undergo the stress of incurring bills and other expenses. We at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm are ready to take up your case. Call us today at 702-996-1224 so that we can help you seek compensation.