What To Do After a Car Accident
Getting injured in a car accident can cause severe physical, emotional, and financial pain. Victims of Nevada crashes often want to know what they need to do to recover the compensation they need to pay bills, make up for lost time at work, and hold the person or company at-fault for the accident accountable.
In this blog post, we offer some general guidance to respond to those questions. For specific information about your rights after getting hurt in a motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced car accident injury attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers today.
Call 911, Stay Safe, and Gather Information if Possible
Ensuring you get paid after a car accident starts with taking a few sensible steps at the accident scene, if possible. First, call 911 and ask for emergency responders. Wait for them to arrive. Never leave the scene of an accident in which someone gets injured until first responders have arrived and cleared you to leave.
Next, move out of harm’s way. If you can, pull your vehicle to the side of the road and out of traffic lanes. If that is not possible, then get out of your vehicle (if you can) and move a safe distance away.
Then, exchange information with other drivers, if possible and safe to do so. Get names, contact information, and insurance information.
Finally, if you can do so safely, snap as many pictures as you can with your cell phone camera of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, the road surface, the surrounding area. There is no such thing as too many accident scene pictures, so as long as you can remain safe, keep shooting photos or video.
Get Medical Help
Once first responders arrive (or even beforehand if it’s an emergency), seek medical care. Do not assume that just because you feel okay that you have escaped an accident without injury. Instead, let an EMT check you over and treat any emergency conditions. If someone suggests you take a ride in an ambulance to the nearest hospital, do it. An accident scene is no play to act as your own doctor.
Even if an EMT clears you, also schedule an appointment with your regular doctor for as soon as possible after the accident. Many severe, potentially life-threatening accident injuries may not show symptoms right away, but a doctor can spot them with simple tests and, hopefully, begin treating them before they get any worse.
Do not gamble with your life. Not only does seeking appropriate medical care protect your health and wellbeing, it also generates important medical records that a lawyer may need later to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Treat Insurance Companies With Extreme Caution
Depending upon the circumstances of the car accident, you may need to contact your own auto or health insurance company to let them know what happened. Do so, but always remember not to make any casual comments that someone might misinterpret as you accepting responsibility for the accident. Even offhand comments like “I should have seen the other car coming,” or “He came out of nowhere” can suggest you share some of the blame for a crash. Stick to the facts, only, when describing the accident to your own insurance company.
Dealing with someone else’s insurance company calls for far greater caution. In Nevada, the person or entity whose actions or decisions caused a crash that wrongfully harmed you may have a legal liability to you for damages. Insurers for those parties know this, and may try to contact you to offer a fast settlement of your claims—but one that probably won’t come close to covering the costs of your injuries.
Be careful. Anyone who contacts you out of the blue to offer you money after a car accident has one goal in mind: to escape liability for your injuries in exchange for as little money as possible. Any offer someone makes you in that circumstances will, virtually always, amount to far less money than you deserve to receive.
Do not, under any circumstances, agree to, or sign, anything until you have first discussed your car accident injuries with an experienced car accident lawyer. You have valuable legal rights and a lawyer’s job is to protect them.
Hire an Experienced Attorney as Soon as You Can
Most Nevada car accident victims who take the steps above will have set themselves up to get paid for their injuries. Their final step should consist of hiring an experienced Nevada motor vehicle accident injury attorney to pursue that compensation to the fullest extent allowable under the law.
The sooner a car accident victim begins working with a skilled attorney, the better the victim’s chance of getting paid the full amount possible. Every car accident has its own unique features, but generally speaking, once hired a lawyer gets to work:
- Investigating the facts and circumstances of a car accident and its resulting injuries to figure out who has legal liability and the ability to pay damages, and how much money an injured accident victim deserves to receive as compensation.
- Negotiating with insurance companies and defense attorneys to achieve a potential settlement of a client’s claims, if possible.
- Filing and pursuing legal action in Nevada courts to force parties with a legal liability for a client’s injuries to pay damages.
The good news for Nevada car accident victims that experienced motor vehicle accident injury attorneys perform this work without requiring up-front payment from the injured client. That is because lawyers for car accident victims represent them on a contingent fee basis, in which the attorney only receives a fee for legal services if the client recovers compensation as a result of the attorney’s work.
Do not wait to seek experienced legal help for your Nevada car accident injuries. If you want to get paid what you deserve, then act quickly to protect your rights. Nevada law gives you just two years from the date of your accident (and sometimes less) to take legal action, so there is not a moment to lose. Contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer today for more information.