Nothing ruins your day faster than a car accident. Whether you’re heading to work or running weekend errands, a car accident throws a wrench into your plans immediately, and sometimes for the foreseeable future. You could end up needing immediate medical attention, multiple surgeries, and long-term care. You could confront serious disabilities, a diminished quality of life, and skyrocketing expenses.
Or, worst of all, your family could face an unthinkable tragedy. In one recent year, 330 people died in car accidents across Nevada.
It seemingly makes things worse to know that someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused the car accident that turned your life inside-out. That knowledge, however, also means that you may have rights under Nevada law to recover compensation from that “at-fault” party.
Read on to learn more.
What Damages Can I Recover In a Car Accident?
To recover compensation for a car accident, you need to have suffered an injury because of it. Most typically, the kind of injury that entitles a crash victim to compensation is a physical injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents cause over 2.5 million injuries and over 35,000 deaths, on average, every year on U.S. roads. Injuries range from minor to catastrophic, and typically include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones and orthopedic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Neck and shoulder soft tissue injuries
To obtain compensation for injuries resulting from a car crash, you must prove that the crash caused your injury. That is one of the many reasons why it is critically important to seek medical attention immediately after a crash injures you. Not only does visiting a doctor protect your health, it also generates records that help to show the connection between a car accident and the physical harm you suffered.
Types Of Compensatory Damages
Compensation for a car accident aims to pay you for the damages the accident caused.
Your Nevada auto accident injury attorneys may be able to work on your behalf to obtain financial compensation for the different types of damages you have suffered as a result of your car accident.
Generally speaking, damages come in two varieties: “economic” and “non-economic.”
Financial Losses that You Sustain from the Car Accident
Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident and injuries. They include medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of paying someone to do things for you that your injury prevents you from doing for yourself.
This type of damage will be calculated by the court as they review records and documents, such as medical bills, estimates for future treatment costs, and appraisals for the cost of repairing your vehicle and other property after the accident. Appraisals and estimates from professionals are valuable, so it’s important to keep accurate records. In most cases when calculating economic damages, the judge will also consider your current wages as well as your future earning ability. If your injuries in the car accident are severe, your Nevada car accident attorneys may also be able to help you recover compensation for your lost or reduced capacity to earn future wages.
Compensation For Intangible Losses (Pain & Suffering, Emotional Anguish, etc.)
Non-economic damages are the harms that a car accident inflicts that do not come with a price tag attached. They include your pain and suffering, and harm done to your personal relationships because of your injury. Non-economic damages are less straightforward to calculate, but they can be even more devastating than economic damages. Disfigurement, unrelieved physical pain, PTSD, depression, and significant changes in your daily life as a result of the injuries you sustained can be extremely difficult to live with. Reno car accident injury lawyers will work to prove and represent these challenges to the court on your behalf. Generally speaking, the more severe or permanent your non-economic damages are, the more financial compensation you can anticipate.
Who pays these damages to you? As we said at the outset, anyone whose actions caused your injuries should have to pay you compensation. In the best case, those peoples’ personal assets and/or insurance policies will cover your damages. Practically speaking, however, some of those people will not have the resources to pay you the full amount they owe, usually because they do not carry enough, or any, insurance. Others may fight with you over whether they have an obligation to pay you at all.
Compensatory Vs. Punitive Damages: Understanding The Differences
Sometimes, when someone else’s especially horrendous actions led to your car crash, you might also receive “punitive damages” as compensation, which is a payment designed to punish the person who harmed you and to deter others from acting the same way.
Also called “exemplary damages,” punitive damages are usually the result of negligent behavior, such as drunk or distracted driving, or texting while driving. The defendant would have made a decision to engage in negligent or irresponsible behavior that could harm someone else. During a Nevada personal injury lawsuit, a judge may impose punitive damages on the defendant in an effort to deter other people from making the same actions. Although the intent of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff the way that compensatory damages do, the plaintiff is the recipient of the punitive damages nonetheless.
Human Errors: Factors That Determine Legal Liability In Car Accidents
There are lots of different types of car accidents—sideswipes, t-bones, rear-ends, the list goes on and on. Any of these accidents can cause devastating injuries and losses.
No single type of accident, however, automatically entitles an accident victim to compensation from someone else. Instead, what makes an accident the type where you can get compensation is the presence of human error. Whenever someone makes a careless or reckless mistake that leads to a car accident and injuries, legal liability follows.
The human errors that lead to car accidents are as varied as humanity itself. Some common mistakes that cause crashes, however, include:
- Drug and alcohol use. In a recent year, drivers with illegal blood alcohol levels caused 26 percent of the car accidents in Nevada that resulted in deaths.
- Speeding. Speed reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases the forces involved in a collision, with catastrophic results.
- Fatigue. Driving drowsy is as dangerous as driving drunk or high; fatigue causes exactly the same types of motor and cognitive impairments as those that come from substance use.
- Manufacturing mistakes. Errors on an assembly line or in the design process for auto parts cause defects that lead to accidents.
- Road design and maintenance. Fallible human beings design and build roads. Sometimes they cut corners or make mistakes that lead to a road that is unsafe for drivers.
This is just a sampling of the vast array of human error that leads to car accidents. As you can see, some crash-causing mistakes happen behind the wheel. Others occur far from the road. Whenever an experienced car accident injury lawyer takes a case for an injured client, one of the lawyer’s priorities is to identify whose error(s) led to the crash, because those people may have legal liability to the lawyer’s client.
What To Do If You Are In a Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault
What Needs To Be Shown To Prove Negligence?
Legally speaking, negligence refers to a breach of duty. When it comes to operating a motor vehicle, drivers hold the responsibility to follow traffic laws and to drive safely in order to protect other drivers, passengers, and themselves. For your Henderson auto accident injury attorneys to succeed with legal claims of negligence, they will need to provide evidence that proves the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- Your injuries would not have occurred if the defendant had not failed in their duty of care, known as cause in fact
- The defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of your injuries
- You suffered damages caused by the accident
Your team of Nevada car crash injury lawyers will make a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the accident and the damages you’ve suffered as a result in order to collect sufficient evidence on your behalf. In these types of lawsuits, the plaintiff holds the burden of proof. If there is enough evidence to support your claim of negligence, the defendant can be held responsible for their actions against you in the car accident.
How To Obtain Compensation For Your Car Crash Injuries
To obtain the compensation you deserve, hire an experienced car accident injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident injures you. Getting paid the money you deserve requires engaging in a process of investigation, negotiation, and (if necessary) litigation to force the at-fault parties in your accident (and their insurance companies) to write you a check. That is not a process you can handle on your own.
You need an experienced car accident injury lawyer on your side to act as your representative and to protect your legal rights.
The sooner you speak with an attorney about obtaining compensation for your car accident, the better. Waiting to protect and enforce your legal rights could cost you thousands (or more) dollars. You could even lose your rights to compensation altogether.
So, do not wait. Contact an experienced attorney today to get compensation for your car accident.
Proving That Your Injuries Resulted From The Car Accident
Sometimes, it is challenging to prove that your injuries resulted from a vehicle accident. The moments immediately following the collision, your initial interactions with law enforcement officers, and your actions in the days and weeks following the accidents are crucial. Even if you do not immediately seem to be injured, call 911 so that a police report will be filed. If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the scene, the debris, and all of the vehicles that were involved.
Always consult with your Nevada car crash injury lawyers for legal advice and guidance. Missteps can significantly reduce the strength of your case or result in a loss of a potential settlement. An experienced legal team will initiate their own investigation into the circumstances of the accident to find out if there is sufficient evidence for a case on your behalf.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident, even if you do not think you are injured, so that there will be a clear trail of documentation. Broken bones and concussions may be simple to diagnose immediately after an accident, but other injuries may require time and medical testing. Soft tissue injuries may not be felt or seen immediately after an accident. Medical documentation is crucial to your case in proving both the nature and extent of any injuries you’ve suffered, so be sure to provide detailed statements and describe all of your symptoms. Records from before and after your accident can help prove that your new symptoms are the result of the accident.
Avoid Actions Or Statements That Could Contradict Your Injury Claim
It’s common for victims of car accidents to unintentionally minimize their chances of compensation by their inadvertent actions or statements. The strength of your case depends upon your careful actions and consultation with a Nevada auto accident injury attorney. Immediately after your collision, be careful not to make statements about your health, such as “I’m fine” or “I don’t seem to be hurt.” These statements can be used against you during a court case; misstatements to the police can be especially damaging since they will be put into the official police report. Making fast movements toward the other vehicle and claiming you do not have severe injuries can also hurt your case when it comes to witness testimony.
In the days and months following the incident, it’s crucial to avoid actions or statements that may appear to be contradictory. For example, returning to work as quickly as possible gives the impression that you are doing well physically and emotionally, and may be used against you by an insurance company that wants to deny or decrease your claim. Other activities such as going on vacation, recreational activities that require physical exertion, and even some types of volunteering should be avoided because they can give the impression that you are not injured. It’s also important to avoid making social media posts about the accident and your physical abilities. Insurance companies will be looking for ways to deny your claim, which can include pictures or statements that you make on your social media outlets. It will be difficult to prove that you suffer pain or mobility restrictions if you are running a 5k only a few weeks after your car accident.
Finally, do not make statements to insurance companies – either your own or the defendant’s. Many insurance companies will try to get a recorded statement from you very shortly after the accident, but you are not obligated to provide such a statement and should wait until after you’ve consulted with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer. Do not accept the first settlement that you are offered by an insurance company because it will likely not reflect the full extent of the settlement you are due.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney To Represent You
Personal injury cases are complex. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need an experienced Nevada car crash injury lawyer to represent you and build a strong case in your favor so that you can receive the maximum financial compensation for your losses and damages. Your legal team will assist you with documentation, finding a skilled physician, securing witness testimony, obtaining evidence, and much more. A personal injury lawyer will also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and guide you through every step of the legal process after your car accident.
How Long Do I Have to File An Injury Claim In Nevada?
It’s important to work with a Nevada personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your car accident. The statute of limitations in the state of Nevada has a two year limit on personal injury claims. Waiting longer to file means that the court will dismiss your case and you will have lost your chances at compensation. Additionally, evidence and witness testimony become increasingly difficult to secure as time passes.
When it comes to wrongful death claims, the state of Nevada also has a two year statute of limitations from the date of the person’s death, which may be different from the date of the vehicle accident. Hiring a personal injury attorney right away will strengthen your case and can increase the compensation you receive.
Legal Representation For Car Accident Personal Injury Claims In Las Vegas
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Nevada, contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers. We are a leading team of experienced Nevada personal injury attorneys who are committed to standing by your side every step of the way as we work to help you win maximum compensation. Let us handle the details of your legal case so you can focus on your recovery! Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.