Understanding “Reckless Driving” in Las Vegas and Getting Legal Help

Were you or a loved one injured in a Las Vegas reckless driving accident? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages.

How Nevada defines reckless driving

State law explicitly prohibits acts of “reckless driving.”

According to Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 484B.653, it is against the law for an individual to:

  • “Drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property on a highway or premises to which the public has access.
  • Drive a vehicle in an unauthorized speed contest on a highway or premises to which the public has access.
  • Organize an unauthorized speed contest on a highway or premises to which the public has access.
  • Drive a vehicle in an unauthorized trick driving display on a public highway.
  • Facilitate an unauthorized trick driving display on a public highway.”

Anyone who engages in these illegal activities puts themselves and others at risk of serious or even fatal injuries.

Examples of reckless driving in Las Vegas

The language regarding unauthorized speed contests and trick driving displays is clear-cut. But what exactly is “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons”?

An individual puts others at risk when they operate a motor vehicle:

  • While intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (both prescription or illicit)
  • Over the posted speed limit
  • Too fast for road or weather conditions
  • While distracted by the radio, eating or drinking, or any electronic device
  • Don’t obey traffic signals and signs
  • Without checking their blind spots before changing lanes
  • With no regard for pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle safety

Reckless driving is a choice. The tragedy of these types of accidents is that they are preventable.

Time limits for reckless driving injury lawsuits

For personal injury cases, such as a reckless driving accident, there is a time limit to file a legal claim. This time limit is called a statute of limitations and varies from state to state. According to NRS 11.190, you must take legal action within two years of the date of the accident.

Two years seems like a long time, but there is no benefit to waiting.

In fact, you should contact an attorney immediately after a Las Vegas reckless driving accident because:

  • The insurance company and its lawyers will question the seriousness of your claim if you wait to take legal action.
  • Memories of the accident can fade over time, including your recollection of events, as well as what witnesses may remember.
  • Crucial evidence may be destroyed, erased, or go missing, especially any videos of the accident.
  • If you are entitled to a settlement, you postpone your payout by not speaking with a lawyer right away. That could mean that you lose income and are pursued by debt collectors.

The only way to know if you have a legal case is to speak with an attorney. Most personal injury law firms offer a free consultation. You have nothing to lose except a few minutes of your time.

When tourists are injured in a Las Vegas reckless driving accident

In recent years, Las Vegas has attracted around 40 million people annually. That many people coming in and out of the city while on vacation or attending a business conference is bound to injure someone.

Any accident that occurs while visiting Las Vegas quickly becomes a stressful event. First, you have to seek medical care at an unfamiliar hospital. Next, there are the logistics of getting back home while injured. Then, you are left wondering how to handle a legal claim from your home state.

Typically, the location where the accident occurred is the jurisdiction that can handle a personal injury case. However, there can be some exceptions. If you live out of the area, your best bet is to contact an experienced Las Vegas personal injury law firm.

Questions that injured tourists should ask a Las Vegas lawyer

If you were injured while visiting Las Vegas, your first question when contacting a law firm should be, “Do you handle cases for out-of-state reckless driving accidents?” If so, the next step is to schedule a consultation with that attorney.

Many personal injury law firms offer a free case evaluation.

This is your chance to ask:

  • How will we keep in touch about my case?
  • Will I have to travel to Las Vegas for medical appointments? If so, who is responsible for the cost?
  • How will you and I exchange important documents that can’t be emailed or faxed?
  • Is there another jurisdiction that could handle my case?
  • Will I have to travel to Nevada for any court proceedings?

Being injured while on vacation adds a layer of complexity to your case. Choosing the right attorney to handle your case will make a difference.

How an attorney can help after a Las Vegas reckless driving accident

Some injured parties wonder if they really need a lawyer after a reckless driving accident. Won’t the insurance company voluntarily offer a settlement?

It’s not a good idea to try to handle a personal injury case on your own. Don’t be so sure that the insurance company will see matters the same as you do. They may try to blame you for the accident.

Even if the insurance company offers you a settlement, it may be much less than what your injuries are worth. Don’t sign any paperwork or make any agreements until you speak with an attorney. You could sign away your right to pursue more compensation or any compensation in the future. There are several benefits to working with a lawyer.

#1. An attorney can help maximize your compensation

Personal injury lawyers are on your side. They know that you are going through a difficult time. And, they work tirelessly to ensure that you get every penny that you deserve.

You and your family shouldn’t have to worry about money after a reckless driving accident.

#2. An attorney takes over negotiations with the insurance company

At first, the insurance company may seem helpful or even sympathetic. They might offer you a settlement right away. However, you shouldn’t take their actions at face value.

Insurance companies are first and foremost for-profit businesses. After a reckless driving accident, they have their own best interests in mind, not yours. The settlement that they willingly offer you, especially if you don’t have an attorney yet, is likely a fraction of what you are entitled to.

It can take months or even years to negotiate a fair settlement. When you hire a personal injury law firm, they take over the hard work. That gives you a chance to recover, and not worry about phone calls and emails.

#3. A personal injury law firm has access to resources that the public does not

Injury attorneys have access to police records and other Nevada State entities that document historical records.  When necessary, personal injury lawyers work closely with other professionals. They may call on medical and economic experts to predict future medical costs.  They may acquire police or third party video footage of the accident. When needed, a firm may also hire a team to investigate the scene of a crash and possibly reconstruct the accident.

These resources help build a strong case. The average individual does not have the time or money to coordinate these efforts on their own.

#4. An attorney can represent you in court

Many personal injury cases are successfully settled out of court. But if you do go to trial, you need legal representation. A lawyer will make sure you understand how a trial works and will prepare you.

How long does it take to win a reckless driving lawsuit?

Many clients are eager for a quick resolution. You need money and you need it now. In addition, many reckless driving crash victims feel a sense of closure when their lawsuit wraps up.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict exactly how long a lawsuit will take. A fast settlement is not necessarily a fair one. It can take some time and negotiation to maximize your compensation.

From the time you file a legal claim until you receive a settlement could range anywhere from several months to a year or more. After reviewing the details of your accident and related injuries, an attorney may have a better idea of how long your case should take. Several factors could impact the length of your lawsuit.

The number of parties involved in the accident

Accidents that involve three or more parties can be more complex from a legal standpoint. There may be a dispute over who exactly is responsible for the accident. And perhaps more than one party was negligent.

The severity of your injuries

Generally speaking, the more severe a person’s injuries, the more money they may be entitled to. The insurance company will want to avoid a large payout. Their lawyers may try to minimize or downplay how the accident has impacted your life.

And if your injuries are catastrophic, it could take some time to calculate an adequate settlement. It may not be readily apparent how your injuries will impact your life or what your chances are for a full recovery.

How much is the average reckless driving accident payout?

If you were injured in a crash, it’s normal to worry about money. You likely have medical bills piling up and you may even be out of work for a while. When first speaking with a personal injury attorney, many potential clients ask, “What is the average reckless driving accident settlement?”

You should take any dollar figures or specific amounts with a grain of salt. For one thing, it would be difficult to gather enough data to calculate a true average without further investigating the circumstances, including policy limits. Many personal injury cases settle out of court, and these payouts may not be public information.

And the truth is, there isn’t an “average” settlement amount because there isn’t an “average” motor vehicle accident.

What does a reckless driving accident settlement pay for?

A settlement or court award is meant to compensate an injured party for both their economic (also known as “special”) damages and their non-economic (also known as “general”) damages.

Economic damages

Economic, or special damages, are those that have a set price.

Medical expenses. It doesn’t take long for medical bills to pile up.

Your payout should cover all of your accident-related medical expenses, including:

  • An ambulance ride and ER visit
  • Ongoing doctor appointments
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Surgery
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Medications
  • Mobility aids such as crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair

Lost income. After your reckless driving accident, you may need time off to recover from your injuries. If you sustained a catastrophic injury, you may not be able to work again. Your settlement should compensate you for these lost wages.

Necessary modifications to your home or vehicle. If you experienced debilitating injuries, you may need special accommodation at home or in your vehicle:

  • Wheelchair ramp
  • Widened doorways
  • A vehicle modified with hand controls
  • Bathroom renovations to accommodate a wheelchair

Professional services. Your injuries could inhibit your ability to take care of your children and your home. You may need to hire professionals for childcare, yard maintenance, housekeeping, and other tasks.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic, or general, damages are the intangible yet very real effects of an accident.

  • Pain and suffering. A reckless driving accident can turn your world upside down. Your injuries cause both physical and psychological pain and suffering.
  • Disfigurement. Serious injuries may result in permanent disfigurement. This can lead to low self-esteem, mental anguish, and embarrassment.
  • Loss of consortium. Your spouse may be entitled to receive payment for what is called “loss of consortium.” This term is a measurement of how your injuries negatively impact your relationship with your partner.

No amount of money can undo an accident. However, compensation for noneconomic damages holds reckless drivers accountable for their actions. After they receive compensation for these damages, many individuals feel like they can move on.

How much does it cost to hire a Las Vegas reckless driving accident lawyer?

The Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct dictate how much lawyers can charge for their services and other fees. Per the Rules, a lawyer cannot charge “an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses.” “Unreasonable” is defined, in part, by the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services.

The cost of hiring a reckless driving accident attorney in Las Vegas may vary from firm to firm. Many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation. This no-obligation meeting is a chance for the lawyer to review the details of the case, and for you to ask questions.

During the free consultation, you and the lawyer can discuss their fees and other expenses that may arise during your case.

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