Each year in Nevada, thousands of people sustain injuries in car accidents. For example, the state Department of Transportation reported 22,285 injury-causing accidents in one recent year, which resulted in injuries to more than 34,000 people.
If you have suffered an injury in a Nevada car accident, keep the following tips in mind to protect your health, safety, and right to pursue compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
Do Not Refuse Medical Treatment
After an accident, get a medical evaluation even if you do not feel injured. Do this for your own safety, because several potentially serious injuries may present with delayed symptoms, including:
- A concussion or blood clot on the brain. Either of these conditions may present with a headache that appears days after the accident.
- Whiplash symptoms may also appear a day or more after the accident, with symptoms such as neck or shoulder pain or stiffness.
- Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the back or damaged vertebrae often appear as delayed lower back pain.
- Internal bleeding, which could show up late as abdominal pain or swelling, along with deep bruising, dizziness, and fainting.
- Damage to the cervical column or spinal column, which often features delayed symptoms of numbness in the arms or hands.
- A traumatic brain injury may be suspected if you suffer changes in personality or physical function, impaired memory, problems with vision or hearing, or depression.
- Post traumatic stress disorder is common after a motor vehicle accident and can present with late-blooming psychological symptoms including flashbacks or nightmares. Children are particularly susceptible to PTSD after an accident.
In addition to catching some of these serious, delayed-symptom injuries, a medical evaluation is also necessary if you plan to file a personal injury claim against another driver who caused the accident. The records generated by seeking that treatment will constitute powerful evidence of the connection between the accident and your injury.
Start an Accident File
Accidents and injuries generate piles of records that can prove useful in proving a claim for damages after a car accident injury. It is important to keep copies of all paperwork related to your injuries or expenses, including:
- Medical bills, lab reports, and papers mentioning your diagnosis as well as information about your treatment
- The accident report that the responding police officer completed with a narrative as to how the accident occurred.
- Any repair bills for damage to your vehicle.
- A copy of your average earnings before the accident and documentation of any work you were required to miss due to being too injured to work or being required to miss work to attend medical appointments.
- A journal of any pain you have as well as other psychological impacts you endure due to your injuries.
- Photos of the accident scene and your visible injuries.
- The names and contact information of anyone who was involved in or witnessed the accident.
Avoid a Quick and Dirty Settlement
Insurance companies are in business to make money. One of the ways they do that is by convincing victims who were injured in accidents caused by their insured to accept a quick and low settlement offer.
They count on the victim’s vulnerability in the days and weeks after an accident, and on the victim not having the experience and know-how to calculate the full extent of potential damages and expenses that the insurance company should pay. Instead, the insurance company will offer to cover a much smaller amount, hoping the car accident injury victim will take the money and, in exchange, give up valuable legal rights.
A fair settlement is one that encompasses all of the expenses you face, which is something that takes time, effort, and (most of all) the guidance of an experienced car accident attorney to calculate.
Accident victims should also avoid making comments to others in the accident, witnesses, or insurance carrier representatives. After an injury accident that is not your fault, do not apologize or otherwise suggest fault or someone might construe it as an official statement and that can result in a lower settlement offer.
Important Steps You Can Take
Do you know what to do in the event of a car accident? Sadly, the number of car accidents in Nevada has gone up in recent years, making it increasingly important to know what to do if you are involved in an accident. Regardless of who is at fault, there are certain things that you must do to comply with the law and protect your rights.
While we’d all love to believe that we will never be in a collision, car accidents are unpredictable, with thousands of Americans involved in them every day. That’s why you must know your rights and responsibilities in Nevada before you are involved in an accident. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you hit the road. To learn more about Nevada law, speak with a trusted auto incident attorney today.
Move Over, It’s the Law
It may seem like common sense, but many drivers fail to move their vehicles off the road after an accident. Nevada law requires that any driver involved in an accident move his or her vehicle out of the path of traffic if possible to do so safely. Not only is moving your car the law, but doing so will help keep you and other drivers safe. After you have moved to a safe location, check with the other driver to make sure that everyone is okay. If you suspect that anyone has been seriously injured, you should call 911.
Gather the Necessary Information
After you have ensured that there are no injuries, one of the most important things you can do is exchange information with the other party. If there are damages to your vehicle or you have suffered a personal injury, you will need the other party’s information to pursue recovery. There are several pieces of information you need to obtain before you leave the scene of an accident, including:
- Driver information. The other driver’s name and contact information are some of the most valuable information you can get following an accident. Do not count on the name listed on the insurance as being the name of the driver, as the name of the policyholder can be someone other than the driver. You don’t need to get a copy of the person’s driver’s license, a name and phone number should be sufficient. If there are other adults in the car, it may be helpful to get their contact information as well.
- Insurance information. The easiest way to make sure you get all of the information that you need regarding the other driver’s insurance is to take a picture of the front and back of the insurance card. If you are unable to take a picture, be sure to write down the name of the insurance company, the policy number, the policy holder’s name, and the phone number to the insurance company.
- Witness information. In addition to other passengers, other motorists may have stopped to help after the accident. If this is the case, be sure to get their contact information, as well. A witness’ account of the accident can be critical in proving fault in a matter of he-said, she-said claims.
Document Relevant Evidence
It’s surprising how many times drivers claim to remember events differently than what actually happened. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for drivers to try to place blame on the other driver or claim that they were not responsible for your car’s damage. This is why taking pictures immediately after the accident is extremely important. Be sure to take pictures of all cars involved in the accident (including your own) and pay careful attention to the damaged areas. Try to include pictures from various angles and distances, as this can help show the true extent of the damage. It’s also helpful to take a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate. You’d be surprised how many people try to claim that they weren’t even involved in the accident. Finally, keep an eye out for skid marks or property damage, and take pictures if you can safely do so.
Contact the Appropriate Agencies
If the accident resulted in the death or injury of a party, you must report the accident to the police. If there are no injuries, you still may need to file a police report. Nevada requires drivers to report any accident that involves estimated damages of $750 or more. Make sure that the information you provide is as accurate as possible, as this document will become a part of any personal injury case. Officers can file their police reports online or through their local police departments, and they must submit their reports within ten days of the accident.
Don’t forget to notify your insurance agent. Even if the accident is not your fault, your insurance will need to coordinate with the other party’s provider. The insurance company will try to get as much information as possible. Stick to the relevant facts and do elaborate beyond the basic information. Anything you say can be used as evidence in a personal injury claim.
Don’t Ignore Your Injuries
It’s easy to shrug off pain after an accident as normal and temporary. While this may be the case, sometimes pain is an indicator of a more serious injury. If you have pain, headaches, dizziness, or any abnormal symptoms after an accident, it’s always best to stay on the safe side. Oftentimes, a trip to your local urgent care office can help determine whether you need further treatment. If you have elected PIP or medical coverage through your auto insurance, your auto insurance policy will cover these costs. If you do not have medical coverage through your auto policy, you will need to use your private medical insurance to cover these costs. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek reimbursement for medical costs associated with your accident.
Speak to an Experienced Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer is a type of civil litigator who provides legal representation to those who are injured in accidents that have been caused by someone else’s careless or reckless behavior. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, which is a time for you to explain the details of your case and to get answers to the legal questions you have. It is also a time for you and the lawyer to each consider if it would be in the best interests of your case for you to hire him or her to represent you.
In addition to legal guidance, a personal injury lawyer provides important services to clients, including:
- Establishing the value of your case, which is how much compensation you will demand from the other driver’s insurance policy, based on the severity of your injuries, the medical and other out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred, and how the injuries have impacted your life.
- Investigating your case to uncover all potential sources of liability and insurance resources to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Obtaining statements from medical and accident experts as to the long-term prognosis for someone with your type of injuries.
- Absent a fair settlement offer, preparing for litigation. This includes the timely filing of a personal injury lawsuit, the deposition of witnesses, the selection of a jury, attendance at all pre-trial conferences and hearings, courtroom representation, and continued representation after a verdict is rendered in the collection of your settlement and in the course of any appeals to the verdict that are filed.
Obtaining a fair settlement for your car accident injury claim can take time and effort. Hiring an experienced car accident injury attorney, and then having patience as the attorney pursues a resolution of your case, is often the best way to make the most of your claim.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101