Anyone who drives a vehicle in Nevada must have vehicle insurance. Nevada is an at “fault” state which means that if you are in a car accident, the person who causes the accident (or that person’s insurance company) has to pay for the damage. If you are in a car accident and are able to move around or talk, you should take certain steps immediately following the accident to help with the investigation into your case. The one thing you shouldn’t do is to speak with any insurance company, even your own. You could inadvertently give it information that it may use to shift fault to you. Even if you do believe that you’re at fault for your accident, don’t discuss the accident with any insurance company; let your attorney handle all discussions with insurance companies. If you’ve sustained any injuries in a car accident, contact an experienced Reno car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
According to Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) crash data, more than 7,000 traffic accidents occur in Washoe County each year, resulting in hundreds of injuries and dozens of fatalities. Mechanical failure, heavy traffic, inclement weather, and driver behavior can all contribute to a car accident, but whatever the cause, the majority of crashes are preventable.
If a Reno-area car accident caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions has left you or a loved one badly injured, consult with an experienced Reno car accident injury attorney as soon as possible to learn about your rights to recover compensation from those who did you harm. In the meantime, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, about Reno car accidents.
If you are able to move around safely following an accident, make sure to take note of the other involved individuals’ contact, registration, and license information, after you call first responders. You should also take pictures of both cars from every angle. If either vehicle left skid marks or marks where it might have gone off the road, take pictures of the marks. The pictures may help your attorney determine fault for purposes of a settlement or lawsuit. This is important because the police report may incorrectly assign fault to you, which you can use photos to dispute.
Always seek medical attention following an accident, even if you think and feel that you’re uninjured. Some injuries take hours or even days to show up. When you get checked out, make sure to keep all of your hospital bills. You will need to give copies of them to the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement.
Do I have to file a crash report with Reno police?
If you get into a car accident in Reno in which property damage, injury, or death occurred, then you must report your accident to the Reno Police or the nearest office of the Nevada Highway Patrol. The best, safest, and most conscientious way to do so is to call 911 from the accident scene.
We always advise people to err on the side of caution. If the accident results in any property damage, or even the slightest injury, report it.
How long do I have to take legal action after a Reno car accident?
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in the Reno area, consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Generally speaking, Nevada law gives you two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against anyone with a legal liability for your car accident injuries. However, exceptions may apply that shorten or lengthen this time period. Better to be safe than sorry: call a lawyer as soon as you can to protect your rights to compensation.
The other driver left the scene of the accident. Now what?
Leaving the scene of the accident is a crime in Nevada and every other state. The financial consequences of a hit-and-run driver’s choice to flee the scene can have the most severe impact on accident victims. Unless the authorities identify and apprehend the driver, victims may not have someone from whom to seek compensation for their injuries.
After sustaining injuries in a Reno hit-and-run accident, some victims can seek compensation from their own uninsured motorist insurance coverage, if they carry it. Those who do not may need the help of an experienced Reno car accident injury attorney to help them track down information and evidence the Reno Police may have missed, and which may help to identify the hit-and-run driver.
A lawyer can also evaluate whether the actions of other, known parties played a contributing role in the accident, and thus may have a legal liability for a victim’s injuries even if the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified.
Working With an Insurance Company
By retaining an attorney, you maximize your potential compensation. Oftentimes, an insurance company will increase its settlement offer immediately upon your retention of legal counsel. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and attempt to protect their bottom line regardless of how it affects the lives of injured individuals. The less an insurance company pays out, the more profit it makes. A car accident lawyer will make sure you get a fair and reasonable settlement or else file a personal injury lawsuit.
In the event that you are incapacitated because of an accident, you should have a loved one contact a car accident attorney for you. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible regarding your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim. It is pertinent to start working on your case as soon as possible so that your attorney has adequate time to negotiate with insurance companies and prepare to file a lawsuit, if necessary.
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries range from minor to catastrophic. Additionally, the accident itself may not cause you injury, but the airbags can cause injuries, including burns. Injuries that you could potentially suffer when you are in a car accident include:
Scrapes, cuts, abrasions, and bruises. These generally heal quickly unless open cuts are deep. Regardless of the size or depth, an open wound can become infected, which means it will take longer to heal and may need additional medical care.
Broken bones. You may suffer from fractures or compound fractures. A compound fracture involves a bone that breaks through the skin, creating an open wound. These wounds may get infected, in which case the injury will take longer to heal.
Catastrophic injuries. These types of injuries include head and brain injuries and neck and spine injuries. These can take months to heal and may even leave you disabled for the long-term or permanently. Catastrophic injuries may include head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, internal bleeding, and damaged internal organs.
If you have sustained an injury in a car accident, you should seek economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in your personal injury claim, depending on the specific circumstances of your accident. Even if you were partially at fault, a court may still award you compensation for your injuries. Your potential damages award could include compensation for the following:
Medical costs. You may receive compensation for any medical costs that you’ve incurred due to injuries sustained during your accident. These are economic or special damages.
Future medical costs. These could be categorized as general or special damages. While future medical costs are unknown, they do eventually have a set amount. However, your attorney must first estimate future medical costs for the purposes of your personal injury claim; thus, it is important to keep him or her apprised of your medical condition, including diseases that might slow healing, such as diabetes or neurological issues.
Lost wages. A court may award you compensation for the money you’ve missed out on due to your inability to work because of the injuries you sustained in your accident. These are economic or special damages.
Future lost wages. These could also be categorized as general or special damages. While future lost wages are unknown because you may not know the amount of time it takes for you to heal, or because you are suffering from long-term or permanent damage, your attorney can estimate them and include them in your damages request.
Property damage. You’re eligible to seek compensation for the damage to your vehicle and any damaged personal property that was in the vehicle. These are economic or special damages.
Pain and suffering. A court may award you compensation for pain and suffering if your injuries cause extreme pain for the long term or permanently. Pain and suffering are general damages that are awarded if you have long-term or permanent back, spinal cord, or brain damage.
Loss of companionship. This is a general damage that is awarded if you are unable to enjoy life as you did prior to your accident. For example, if you are unable to do yard work or housework, or if you are unable to do the things with your family that you used to do, you may receive compensation for loss of companionship.
Loss of consortium. This is another general damage that courts award if you are not able to have a physical relationship with your spouse due to injuries sustained in your accident.
If I file a lawsuit after a car accident, what compensation can I receive?
Taking legal action after a car accident means seeking compensation from any individual or entity whose actions or decisions caused the accident and resulting injuries.
Every case has its own unique features, but this type of legal action typically seeks to recover the costs of:
Medical treatment including ambulance ride, emergency room visit, hospital stay, X-rays, surgery, aftercare, and medication
Future medical treatment when a car accident leads to a severe injury requiring multiple surgeries, extensive recovery, or a permanent disability
Lost wages for time away from a job as a result of the accident, hospitalization, and recovery
Lost future wages when a severe car accident causes catastrophic injuries that prevent an accident victim from returning to work or seeking gainful employment in the future
Rehabilitation services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and any other specialized therapy to help accident victims regain function or cope with their injuries
Pain and suffering
Reduced quality of life
Loss of consortium with a spouse
Exemplary damages in rare cases when injuries are a result of gross negligence
No one can predict in advance whether all (or any) of the categories of damages listed above will apply in a particular Reno car accident case. The most reliable way to determine what damages you might seek after getting injured in a Reno car accident, and the potential amount of those damages, is to work with an experienced motor vehicle accident injury lawyer.
Can I sue if a family member died in a Reno car accident?
Nevada law permits eligible family members to take legal action via a wrongful death lawsuit against anyone at fault for causing the death of a loved one. Through this type of lawsuit, grieving families can receive compensation for grief, loss of probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium, and damages for the pain, suffering, or disfigurement a loved one suffered.
A jury may also award the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate special damages for medical expenses before death, funeral expenses, and punitive damages if the wrongful death was a result of intentional harm or gross negligence.
Nevada law also allows the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file a survival action, which is, in effect, a lawsuit the deceased person could have filed had he or she survived, instead of succumbing to, car accident injuries. The personal representative, typically the executor or administrator of the estate, can recover losses and damages that the loved one incurred before death.
Seek the Legal Help You Need
If you sustained injuries in a Reno car accident, you may have the right to recover substantial compensation, if you act quickly. The clock begins running for you to exercise your legal rights from the moment you sustain your injury. Do not wait. Consult our experienced car accident attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, right away to learn about your rights and to plot the best course forward.
Contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC After a Reno Car Crash
If you were in a car accident, or if you lost a loved one in a car accident, call Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC at (775) 600-6000, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team. We also serve clients in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Sparks, and Carson City.
Benson & Bingham (Reno Office)
1320 E Plumb Lane Ste A
Reno, NV 89502
“I was driving on the freeway when a lady made an unsafe lane change and slammed into the side of my car. I had my kids in the car with me at the time. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I knew I needed help and called Benson & Bingham, referred to me by a friend. They helped me and my kids get the treatment we needed. Even though it wasn’t about the money, they obtained a wonderful settlement for all of us. We are happy with Benson & Bingham. Thank you Danielle Richardson and Cassidy Kay for all your help. You are both very caring, understanding, available, and hard working. You kept me informed over months of care. I couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
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