If you are injured in an auto accident, the law of Nevada allows for victims to seek compensation for the injuries and damages suffered. The law does not discriminate between the driver and passenger in a car. This means both the driver and passenger are entitled to compensation — additionally, any other person involved in the accident, whether in another car or a pedestrian. The injuries and property damage that follows a car accident can be devastating both financially and emotionally. In the case of death, Nevada law permits the surviving family to sue for wrongful death. Although financial compensation will not erase your injuries or bring back a loved one, it, however, helps in dealing with the aftermath of the accident. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer is essential to assist and guide you in recovering your damages. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have helped many clients recover damages and can help you as well.
Calculating Damages in a Car Accident in Las Vegas
According to the accident laws of Nevada, when a driver is found negligent, they take responsibility for damages incurred following their reckless or careless driving. In Nevada, a victim of an accident stands to recover both economic and non-economic damages following an auto accident.
The economic damages are also referred to as compensatory damages. This is the total amount of the expenses a victim incurs immediately following the accident and any future costs related to the injuries sustained. These costs include:
- Medical costs – when you sustain injuries, you will be expected to see a doctor for a thorough evaluation and treatment of any injuries suffered. There are cases where people are tempted to assume they are not injured because their injuries are not apparent. This is highly advised against because not all injuries are physically visible and can only be discovered following a medical exam. The state of Nevada allows victims to seek compensation for the cost of treatment and future costs, as well. For instance, if you injure your back, you may be treated now, but the condition requires prolonged treatment. All the expenses related to your back injury, both currently and in the future, are calculated and compensated. Other medical procedures, such as physiotherapy, X-rays, or surgery, are also compensated.
- Property damage – following an auto accident, your vehicle or motorcycle will get damaged. This is what is referred to as property damage. The state allows for compensation to repair them, and where they require total replacement, the victim is compensated according to the value of the property. When you insure your vehicle, you will get a cover that states the value of the property. An insurance assessor will investigate the crash and ascertain the amount to be compensated based on the policy taken. If it is damaging to your vehicle, your auto shop will calculate the cost of repairs and issue an invoice which you will present to the insurer. The insurance company will evaluate the invoice with the help of their assessors and decide if it is reasonable or not and if they want to reduce the amount or pay as it is.
- Lost income – as a person is recuperating from injuries sustained, it is likely they will miss work and lose the income they would have earned those days. When seeking compensation, Nevada allows victims to receive damages from lost wages over the period they miss work. Some injuries can be substantial that the victim would lose their ability to earn a living. The law allows for calculating the possible income the victim would make over the period they would be in active employment. The calculation is based on their current income as well as projected future earnings. Once the total amount is arrived at, compensation over this is sought.
The above are some of the compensatory damages one can seek for among others. It is highly advised against contacting the insurer of the driver responsible for your accident without your lawyer. Insurance companies will always find the lowest compensation rate possible when paying for damages. When you get in touch with them directly, they will give you an offer that may seem right, and you get tempted to accept it.
Many people are tempted to accept this first settlement. However, it is essential to remember that once you receive it, you can never go back to renegotiate the offer. In Nevada, the law prohibits a person from accepting an offer and seeking further claims in the future. Taking the first offer means you must waive the possibility of any claims you may have in the future. Individuals that are highly tempted to accept these offers are those that assume the only injuries they sustain are the ones visible.
When this is assumed, one can be offered $2,000 and accepts it but later realized they were more injured than they thought. This will deny them the right to seek more compensation even though the injuries were as a result of the accident. It is, therefore, advisable to get a lawyer to help you seek compensation to avoid being shortchanged by the insurance company. With an experienced lawyer, it is always possible to analyze the immediate needs following the accident and any long-term ones.
Non-economic compensation is also available in the state of Nevada. A victim of an auto accident can seek compensation for the damages not easily quantifiable. As a victim of an accident is seeking damages, it is possible to ask to be compensated for the pain and suffering you are going through. Injuries can cause a lot of suffering and pain. These are damages one can seek compensation for in Nevada.
Some accidents can result in significant injuries that can cause mental anguish to the victim. This may require the victim to undergo psychological counseling to cope with the new way of life.
Punitive Damages Following an Auto Accident in Las Vegas
The state of Nevada laws allows the awarding of punitive damages following an auto accident. These are different damages from compensatory ones. Punitive damages are designed to punish the bad behavior of the defendant and to deter others from similar conduct.
Generally, punitive damages allowed in Nevada should not:
- Be over $300,000 if the compensatory damages paid is below $100,000 or
- Exceed three times the total amount of awarded in compensatory damages, when the amount was higher or equal to $100,000.
However, if either drug or alcohol intoxicated driver caused the accident, these limits don’t apply. This is because some of these drivers intentionally get intoxicated, so punitive damages against them may be much higher.
Proving Damages in a Las Vegas Auto Accident
If an out of court settlement is not reached, your lawyer may file a lawsuit against the party that caused the accident. However, for one to recover damages, there must be proof of the damages before the court. Together with your lawyer, you will involve your doctors to ensure documenting of all the injuries sustained. Additionally, if there were any witnesses, your lawyer will go over their statements and interview them to get any details that may have been left out. Investigators and police statements or reports are also crucial in the trial. It is important to gather any evidence that may be helpful in your case.
After this, your lawyer will be ready to present a compelling case to both the insurance adjuster and the court. When the insurer understands your willingness to fight for your rightful compensation, they may go back and go through your claim once again. When your case goes before a judge, your lawyer will be ready with evidence that may include:
- Official reports from the scene of the accident by both the police and private investigators
- Videos and pictures of the accident scene and its aftermath
- Medical reports may include notes from your doctors or therapists. They may also include any medical procedure the victim underwent such as surgery or X-rays
- Testimony from your therapist or doctor
- An account or statement from a witness to the auto accident
- Family and friend’s testimony attesting to the effects of the accident on your life
- Reports and documents detailing your lost wages
- When necessary, statements confirming the lost ability to earn from vocational experts as well as economic experts
The defendant in their defense may claim that the accident had a low impact and could not have caused the injuries, with the help of experts, your lawyer can show they did. This will mean that the defendant will be accountable for the losses suffered.
Partial Responsibility in an Auto Accident
The law of comparative negligence is also applicable in Nevada. This means, even when you share some fault, you can still seek compensation following an auto accident. Regardless of the degree of error by the parties, damages are apportioned based on the level of fault.
For instance, if your total damages should be $200,000 and you believed the other party is entirely to blame, you can sue for the full amount. However, the jury may find that you also contributed to the accident at least to 30%, then the other driver will be ordered to pay you 70% of your claim. This will mean you will receive only $140,000 and bear the other loss yourself.
Common Causes of Accidents in Las Vegas
There are many causes of accidents in Las Vegas, but errors or negligence of a driver is one of the common reasons. Knowing the various reasons helps in determining the person or entity at fault and seeking compensation. Some of these causes are:
- Declining to yield way – some drivers are rude or just negligent in their driving. They refuse to yield a way where another motorist has the right of way. This, in many cases, results in a collision because the other motorist expected him or her to give them the way.
- Reckless driving – disregarding traffic rules like jumping a red light, speeding, or driving a faulty car are also reasons that lead to accidents. Some drivers fail to maintain a distance between the other cars ahead of them. This becomes a challenge when faced with an emergency that requires stopping suddenly. Changing lanes carelessly and refusing to stay on your path is another contributor to road accidents in Nevada
- Intoxicated driving – although driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense, people continue to drive while impaired. This has been a significant contributor to many accidents in Nevada.
- Distracted driving – some drivers use their cell phones to call or text while driving. Others will fiddle with their radios, or those with children will be attending to them as they drive. This divides their attention on the road and can lead to a severe accident.
- Poor road conditions – some roads can be in a bad state that can cause an accident. Broken cement or potholes, among other hazards on the road, can be responsible for an accident. When this is the cause, the state may be sued for compensation because it bears the responsibility of caring for the roads.
- Adverse weather conditions – an accident can happen due to unfavorable weather conditions. Sometimes the visibility of the road can be compromised while other times, the roads can be slippery. These are all possible causes of accidents in Las Vegas.
It is not always easy to know the cause of an accident immediately after it happens. With an experienced attorney, he or she can investigate to see the reason and find out who is at fault. This will make it easier to know whom to seek compensation from and when to start the claim. While some of the causes are avoidable, others are not, making it more important to understand the reasons for the purposes of compensation.
Recovering damages for economic damages is more straightforward and more accessible compared to non-economic losses. Because economic costs are quantifiable and supported by documented and physical evidence, they are more likely to be compensated without a lot of problems. However, non-economic costs can be more stressful to recover. Here, we will discuss various compensation issues a victim of an auto accident in Las Vegas may be wondering about.
Understanding how Much One can Recover for Suffering and Pain in Nevada
Aside from cases involving medical malpractice, the state has not put an upper limit to the recoverable amount when seeking non-economic compensation in Nevada. However, the law requires for the damages to be reasonable and fairly arrived at.
The amount a person is compensated depends on the injuries sustained and the possible suffering a person would endure due to them. If you broke or fractured your hand, it might take approximately a month to heal, meaning your suffering and pain damages may not be as significant. However, if your injuries required you to undergo reconstructive surgery and prolonged therapy or rehabilitation, your pain towards recovery will be more significant. This will mean that the compensation you may seek may be higher.
Some factors contribute to the increase in non-economic damages. These are:
- When the victim suffers the loss of a bodily function or is permanently disfigured
- When the cost of seeking medical attention is high
- When some medical procedures verify the extent of the physical injuries such as X-ray reports
- When recovering from the injury was prolonged and challenging.
Proving Suffering and Pain Following an Auto Accident in Las Vegas
Because non-economic damages are not quantifiable, one can only show them by persuading the insurer or the jury. There are various ways one can prove they went through suffering as a result of the accident. Some of these ways include:
Medical records are vital in a compensation case. If X-rays or other visual tests were carried out, they could be compelling to a jury or insurer. Sometimes injuries may not be visible, but having detailed medical records can help convince the insurer or jury that you suffered injuries that caused you to suffer and experience pain.
When getting treated, ask your therapist or doctor to make detailed notes of the treatment, and the injuries suffered. To establish a claim, your lawyer can guide the doctor on the documents needed and ensure they are provided.
Videos and Photos
When you can, take photos and videos of the accident scene immediately after it happens. These are crucial ways to demonstrate the non-economic damages a victim suffers. If your injuries required you to go through physiotherapy or rehabilitation, taking videos of the sessions would help demonstrate the suffering and pain, you are enduring.
Past Posts in your Social Media Accounts, Emails, and Text Messages
Your posts can be helpful and damaging to your case at the same time. If you post videos of you having fun post-accident and engaging in certain activities such as skiing may not be convincing to the jury. However, if these posts were old and the current posts are of you undergoing therapy or being treated, these are the posts that can help you win.
Testimony from Family and Friends
Testimony from other people of who you are and what you have gone through can be more compelling compared to your own. Your therapist or doctor can also testify to your suffering and the injuries you have sustained. This can also help with your case significantly.
Filing a Claim Following an Auto Accident in Nevada
After an accident, it is crucial to get in touch with your insurer and inform them of the accident. As you do so, ensure to carry your declaration page, insurance card, and any other evidence of the crash. These may include videos or photos of the scene.
When it comes to auto accident liability, Nevada is a fault state. This means an individual or entity found responsible for the accident will be liable to pay damages suffered to the victims. A victim is permitted to seek compensation for all the losses in either three or one way. A claim can be raised against their insurer, with the insurer of the other party or through a lawsuit.
When an accident happens that involves multiple vehicles, an investigation is carried out by the insurance companies to establish the circumstances of the crash. This is important in determining the party at fault, especially where the police report is not conclusive. Claim adjusters will interview all the people involved as they investigate the damage to each vehicle involved. Through this, they will be able to establish who is at fault and come up with a settlement figure for the other party.
If the settlement is not satisfactory, through your lawyer, you can negotiate for higher pay. If this is denied and you feel you have a case, your lawyer can file a claim in court. All the evidence gathered will be useful to convince the jury to award you more damages.
Statute of Limitations in Nevada
This is the law that indicates the time limit one has to file a lawsuit. It is important to note that this law does not apply when one is asking for a claim from an insurance company. The insurer only requires to be notified of the accident that may result in an application in a reasonable time. This is usually in a few days following the accident.
If you need to file a lawsuit following an auto accident, the state puts the limit at two years. You must submit your claim case within the two-year window failure to which you will lose your right to a claim. If a loved one dies as a result of the accident, a lawsuit on wrongful death must also be filed within two years as well. However, the period for filing a wrongful death starts from the date of death. While for injuries is from the date of the accident.
If you seek compensation for property damage such as vehicle damage, the state of Nevada allows the lawsuit to be filed in three years. Once this period lapse, you will not be eligible to claim for the compensation.
For this reason, even when you believe the insurance company will compensate you, it is still advisable to have enough time in case you may need to file a lawsuit.
Find a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Auto accidents, in many cases, result in severe damage to both property and individuals involved. The cost of these damages can be so high for the victim and their family. This makes it necessary to seek compensation from the parties responsible for the accident. In requesting compensation, there will always be resistance from the parties at fault. Due to this, it is crucial to hire the services of a lawyer to represent you. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we are experienced in helping our clients seek compensation for damages suffered following an auto accident. Call us at 702-996-1224 and let us discuss your options comprehensively.