Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming and confusing. If you have never been in an accident, you likely have many questions about what you should do after a motor vehicle accident. Questions like, “do I need an attorney?” and “how do I file a claim?” are some of the most common questions that we hear regarding personal injury claims. After an accident, the last thing you want to do is search through legal jargon trying to determine what rights you have. At Benson and Bingham, we’ve gathered some of the most common questions we receive from victims of a car accident.
1. I was injured in an auto accident. Will the other driver have to pay?
Nevada is a fault state. This means that an individual who causes an accident will be held responsible for the resulting damages. Nevada requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. Coverage must include:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons on any one accident
- $20,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
You will need to file an insurance claim with the other party’s insurance to recover damages. If the other party is uninsured or has insufficient coverage to pay your damages, you should look to your own personal uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your options.
2. I don’t have health insurance. Can I still get medical treatment?
If you don’t have health insurance, you have a few options when it comes to seeking medical treatment after an accident. First, check with your car insurance to see if you have PIP or medical coverage as part of your policy. While this coverage is not required in Nevada, many drivers still choose to add the coverage in case of an accident.
If you do not have medical coverage through your car insurance, there are several providers in the Las Vegas and Reno area that will allow you to “charge” your treatment against your personal injury recovery. A Nevada personal injury attorney can direct you to medical providers in your area that will work with you. Contact the offices of Benson & Bingham right away at 702.600.6000 if you are having difficulty finding medical treatment.
3. I was partially at fault for the accident. Does that mean I don’t have a claim?
Not necessarily. In Nevada, insurance companies use modified comparative negligence to determine whether a party will be able to recover damages from an accident. Call a car accident lawyer to see if and how that law applies to your situation.
4. What does the other driver have to pay for?
When an insurance adjuster calculates a value for your case, they look at economic damages and non-economic damages. The actual damages from a car accident can vary, based on various factors in your case. A possible settlement offer may include:
- Medical bills: It is standard practice to ask the responsible party to cover all medical costs associated with the accident. These costs may include doctor visits, medication, physical therapy, medical supplies, rehabilitation, and surgeries.
- Lost wages: If an accident has left you unable to work, you deserve compensation for any time that the injury caused you to miss from work. This includes time missed as a direct result of the accident and as a result of any surgeries, doctors visits, or rehabilitation. In extreme cases, you may be able to recover future wages.
- Pain and suffering: All other damages typically fall under pain and suffering. This can include actual pain, mental or emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment, among others.
5. Will I have to go to court?
Statistically, most personal injury claims settle out of court. Going to court can be time-consuming and expensive, so insurance companies generally try to avoid it. That said, some cases do end up in court. In this case, a jury will make the final decision in your case. If your case does have to go to trial, an experienced personal injury lawyer will be a critical component in successfully litigating your case.
6. How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?
Nevada’s statute of limitations laws outline the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. In Nevada, anyone who has sustained injuries as a result of an accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. In the case of wrongful death, the person’s family or representative has two years from the date of death to seek damages. In regards to property damages, a plaintiff has three years to seek legal action against the responsible party.
7. Do I need to hire an attorney?
You are not legally required to have an attorney to pursue a personal injury claim in Nevada. That being said, if you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, it is always advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your case and determine whether you have sufficient cause and evidence to pursue legal action.
In addition, insurance companies almost always offer less to unrepresented parties in hopes that they will be able to get away with paying for less than the case is actually worth. An experienced car accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.