Should You Move Your Car After an Accident?

In the moments after a car accident, the stress, chaos, and confusion can have serious effects on your decision-making process. Because it can be overwhelming, it’s a good idea to be familiar with accident protocol. For example, many people think they should leave their car in its place until police officers have an opportunity to write a report, but that’s not always the case. Read ahead to find out when you should move your vehicle, when you shouldn’t, and the best course of action after any crash.

should you move your car after an accident

Fender Bender? Move Your Car Out of the Way

If you’re involved in an accident with no injuries and only minor damages (think bumper dents and door dings), law enforcement officials recommend moving your vehicle out of travel lanes–particularly if you are in an urban area, so your vehicles don’t impede traffic. The exception to this is if moving your vehicle would cause additional damage to the vehicles involved, or if it cannot be moved safely. In major cities, like Las Vegas, police are beginning to adjust their policies about minor accidents, leaving the responsibility of exchanging insurance information and moving vehicles up to the drivers.

In serious accidents involving injuries, major damage to vehicles or property, or a high likelihood of dispute about responsibility, you are better off keeping the vehicles in place until you’ve had a chance to talk with police.

Your Car has Been Moved, Now What?

Once you’ve moved your car to the shoulder, there are additional steps to take. You’ll need to exchange information with other motorists involved, including: your contact information, license plate and driver’s license numbers, insurance information. At this point, you should also document any damage using your camera phone. If necessary, you should then seek medical attention, no matter how minor your injuries.

What else should you do? If there is no injury, you should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible, even while you’re waiting for a tow truck. Not only can they get your claim started, but they can guide you through the entire legal process following a major accident. Contact Gazda & Tadayon if you’re seeking legal help with your accident.

 

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Las Vegas PD No Longer Responding to Minor Traffic Accidents: How This Will Affect Your Case

LV police will not respond to minor accidents

Starting on March 3, 2014 the Las Vegas metropolitan police department will no longer respond to minor traffic accidents. When drivers get into a fender bender or non-injury accident, it will be their responsibility to exchange insurance information and file a traffic report. Representatives of the police department claim the new policy is necessary to address a massive budget shortfall and free up personnel to respond to more serious calls, but some critics are crying foul.

Too Many Accidents, Not Enough Officers

Every year, All State Insurance uses accident claims to rank major US cities. In 2013, Las Vegas was in the bottom half of the list at 130th place. This means that, on average, Vegas drivers have an accident every 8.7 years. This number of accidents puts a strain on police resources. In fact, over the last five years, Las Vegas PD has responded to between 12,000 and 14,000 injury-free accidents. To make matters worse, Las Vegas doesn’t have enough officers: while the national standard is 2.0 officers for every 1,000 people, the Las Vegas area currently employs only 1.8 officers for every 1,000. Under the old policy, these men and women collectively dedicated as many as 250 hours every week to minor accident response.

las vegas police

photo courtesy of Peter Kraayvanger

Filing Your Own Report: What You Need To Know 

If you get into an accident in Las Vegas, police will not respond unless someone is injured or one of the driver’s is suspected of being intoxicated. This means it is your responsibility to collect information, exchange insurance information, and communicate effectively with the relevant parties. Critics of the new policy believe that while it may free up some officers, new problems are sure to arise:  “People are going to be over exaggerating, understating the accident, and the procedure of the accident isn’t going to be reported correctly because of a lack of police involvement,” Dena Gaskin told CNN affiliate KLAS. Insurance companies have decried the policy, warning that it will lead to an increase in medical fraud, personal injury litigation, and, ultimately, higher insurance rates. Without police accident reports, claims investigation will become more error-prone and time consuming, and consumers will end up footing the bill.

If you’re a driver in Las Vegas, here’s how you can be prepared in case of an accident:

  • Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy including the name of your provider and the extent of your coverage. 
  • Keep a camera in your car at all times. Collecting evidence is critical in resolving a dispute. Pictures should include any damage to your vehicle and anything that tells the story of the crash including skidmarks and property damage.
  • Have a pen and pad in your vehicle. You will want to collect names and contact information of any witnesses that can corroborate your accident report, as well as the information of those involved in the accident.
  • Keep a step-by-step after accident guide in your glovebox. Having a reference can be extremely helpful as the stress of an accident can lead to lapses in judgment and memory.

After an accident occurs, you should immediately seek medical attention for even minor injuries and contact your insurance company. If you’re not sure about what steps to take right after, contact your Las Vegas accident attorneys at Gazda & Tadayon. 702-220-7128.

 

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Las Vegas Police May Stop Responding To Minor Motor Vehicle Accidents: How This Could Affect Your Case

Faced with a $30 million dollar budget shortfall, unprecedented staff constraints, and a rising service call volume, Metropolitan Police Department leaders may soon have Las Vegas police officers stop responding to most local car accidents. According to Lawrence Hadfield, a department spokesperson, the protocol change is currently under consideration by officials and could go into effect sometime this year.

The proposed policy would require drivers involved in minor auto collisions to exchange information with one another on their own, as well as fill out their own accident reports to submit to insurance companies. Officers would continue to respond to accidents involving injuries or suspected drunk driving.

driving in Las Vegas

How this could affect your auto accident case

Insurance company leaders have voiced alarm about the change, warning that it will lead to increased medical fraud and personal injury litigation, as well as higher auto insurance rates. Unlike civilian witnesses, police responders are uniquely equipped to provide accurate and neutral information about how a given accident occurred, who was at fault and what its effects might be on those involved. Without police reports, the process of investigating accident-related claims will become more time-consuming, expensive and error-prone. Consumers will, it appears, bear the brunt of these costs.

The causes: Too many accidents, too few police officers

Despite the consequences, police leaders may have no choice but to adopt the new policy. As service calls to the department have increased, the number of officers on duty to respond has hit an all-time low. Currently, Las Vegas employs 1.8 officers for every 1,000 citizens. This is well below the national standard of 2.0 and represents a sharp decline from the city’s highest rate of 2.06 several years ago.

For the past five years, police have responded to between 12,000 and 14,000 injury-free accidents, as well as an additional 10,000 accidents involving injuries, annually. Decision-makers are considering whether cutting these responses could help officers protect citizens from more serious crimes.

While no details have been released about when the change might take effect, Hadfield has promised the department will work hard to let the public know when, and if, it receives approval.

If police do stop responding to minor auto accidents, Las Vegas drivers will need to become well-prepared in the event of a collision.

What Las Vegas drivers can do

If you’re one of these drivers, take the time to understand what you can do to protect yourself under the new protocol. In addition to familiarizing yourself with your insurance policy coverage and reviewing how to exchange information with other drivers, you should understand how to collect evidence and communicate effectively with relevant parties about what happened.

Keeping a working camera in the car at all times, for example, will become especially important, so that detailed pictures can be taken of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved, and any skid marks on the ground. You should also make a concerted to collect contact information from anyone who may have seen the accident and can corroborate details about what happened. To maximize your chances for successfully resolving any disputes that may arise later, contact your insurance company, no matter how small the accident, seek medical treatment, even for minor injuries, and call your lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs.

Finally, consider placing thorough, step-by-step instructions that explain what to do if you’re in a motor vehicle collision in your glove compartment. Having a reference to refer to instead of relying on your memory at a time when you’re likely to be anxious and overwhelmed could make a big difference down the line. Read our post about What to Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident for more information.

Photo courtesy of .
 

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20 Nevada Laws Every Las Vegas Driver Should Know

 

20 Nevada Traffic Laws Every Las Vegas Driver Should Know

For most of us, it’s been many moons since we passed Drivers Training and got that plastic card stating we were capable of operating a vehicle. While the basic laws have pretty much stayed the same, there are a few you may not be as familiar with. Here are 20 to keep you on your toes, and remember keep the hands at ten and two, or is it three and nine?

Nevada traffic laws you may not know

Cell Phones and Texting

1. It is illegal to text, access the Internet, or use a hand-held cell phone while driving.

2. There is a $50 fine for the first offense in seven years, a $100 fine for the second offense, and a $250 fine for the third and all following offenses.

3. Fines may be doubled if the offense takes place in a work zone.

4. Drivers may talk with a hands-free headset and touch the phone to turn it on, off, or to launch a feature on the device while making voice calls.

Move Over Laws

5. After accidents in which only vehicles and/or property are damaged, and no one  is injured, vehicles should be moved somewhere that will not block traffic (as long as this can be done safely).

6. Drivers must report to the DMV all crashes resulting in damages or injuries of $750 or more. If the accident is not investigated by a police officer, every party involved is required to file a report on DMV Form SR-1 within no more than 10 days.

7. Except when directed by an officer, drivers nearing a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights must slow to a sensible speed below the posted limit, advance with caution, be ready to stop, and, if possible, shift to a lane away from the one in which the emergency vehicle is located.

8. When passing a bicycle, drivers must shift to a neighboring lane to the left, if possible. Otherwise, drivers should maintain at least three feet between the bicycle and the vehicle while passing.

9. Any driver at-fault in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist may be charged with reckless driving.

Seat Belts

10. Passengers riding in the front and rear seat must wear safety belts.

11. Passengers age six and under who weigh less than 60 pounds are required to ride in a certified child restraint system.

Children and Pets

12. Children age seven or younger should never be left alone in a vehicle if conditions pose a serious safety and health risk to the child, unless someone age 12 or older is supervising or within sight.

13. During extreme hot or cold temperatures, it is against the law to leave a cat or dog unattended in a vehicle.

14. It is illegal to transport passengers under age 18 in the back of a flatbed or pickup truck, with the exception of parades, slide-in campers, camper shells, and ranching and farming activities.

Teenage Drivers

15. Motorists under age 18 may not carry any passengers under 18 years of age, with the exception of immediate family memebers, for the first six months after obtaining their license.

16. Drivers under age 18 are subject to a curfew. They may not drive between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. except when driving to a scheduled work or school event.

Driving Under the Influence

17. Drivers may not refuse to undergo a blood, breath or urine test as instructed by a police officer.

18. Blood samples can be taken involuntarily, even for first offenses.

19. For non-commercial drivers age 21 and over, the legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol level, or any measurable amount of a controlled substance.

20. For non-commercial drivers under age 21, the legal limit is .02 percent.

Knowing the law is the first step toward staying safe on the road. Keeping these 20 rules in mind will go a long way toward helping you avoid danger and injuries behind the wheel.

 

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5 Safe Driving Inventions That Will Shape the Future of Car Safety

Getting behind the wheel of a car is inherently a risky endeavor, even for the most experienced drivers. Over the years, automobile manufacturers have added a variety of features to their vehicle designs to make driving safer and reduce auto-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Here are 5 of the best among them.

Inflatable Seat Belts:

Ford Inflat Seat Belts

Ford is the first, and so far only, car manufacturer to incorporate inflatable safety belts into its vehicles. Starting this year, the safety belts will be available as optional equipment on Ford Explorer and Ford Fusion models. Inflatable seat belts combine the features of seat belts and air bags, inflating on collision to provide additional protection to rear-seat passengers, who are most frequently young or elderly and more vulnerable to head, neck, and chest injuries.

Night Vision:

BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have already incorporated night vision into several of their models. Night vision systems employ technologies like infrared detection to display features of the road ahead that drivers can’t detect with the human eye, no matter how bright their headlights are. BMW recently announced plans to add a system called Dynamic Light Spot, or DLS, as well as animal detection, to their models equipped with night vision. DLS, described by BMW as a “targeted illumination” feature, is designed to help drivers not only see but actually notice pedestrians and obstacles when driving in the dark. It does so by lighting up areas where the car detects the presence of an object that should be avoided.

Parental Controls:

Parents of teen drivers can breathe a little easier if they own a Ford equipped with the manufacturer’s new MyKey system. MyKey allows parents to reduce their car’s maximum driving speed to 80 mph, as well as limit the maximum volume its stereo system will reach. MyKey can also be programmed to sound a continuous alarm if seat belts are left unfastened. MyKey is currently available on the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, but it’s scheduled to be available on all models eventually. If you’re not quite ready to buy a new car for your teen, there are also driving apps that operate in a similar way.

Driver Capability:

Starting in 2010, Mercedes-Benz began incorporating the Attention Assist system into its E-class models. Attention Assist is designed to issue warnings when it detects that a driver is overly tired or otherwise impaired to drive. It does so by remembering a driver’s normal behavior on the road and establishing this as a baseline. The system then measures speed, lateral acceleration, steering wheel angle, and pedal use, to detect deviations from the baseline. When a deviation is detected, the system alerts the driver with visual and audible alarms that say it’s time to take a break.

Driverless Cars:

Google has been road-testing its self-driving Priuses and Lexuses, as part of its autonomous-car project, since 2010. Chris Urmson, the project’s director, has argued that Google’s driverless cars are safer than human-driven cars. Humans, according to two recent studies conducted by Google researchers in California and Nevada, accelerate and brake more sharply, and do a poorer job of maintaining a safe distance behind other cars, than Google’s driverless system.  The company is currently investigating ways to make its cars available for sale to the public.

While even the most advanced vehicle technologies can’t eliminate the possibility of accidents occurring while driving, they can provide drivers with the tools needed to drive as safely as possible, as well as dramatically reduce the risk of collision-related injuries. Now is a great time to explore newly available options for making your ride safer. 

Best Family Safe Cars of 2014

2014 Safest family cars

Every year, the car industry makes vehicles that are a little more efficient, a little more tech savvy, and a little safer. This means you have plenty of options. but with the number of traffic accidents as high as ever, how can you be sure you’re buying the safest possible vehicle for you and your family? Read ahead to learn about some of the safest family vehicles for 2014,  as chosen by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Small SUVs

SUV

Small SUVs give you enough room for the whole family, plus a little bit of space for cargo. According to the the IIHS, the safest new vehicles in this category include the Mazda CX-5, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Subaru Forester. When fully loaded, each of these cars provide anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, as well as a variety of technological and performance specifications that make them safe to drive.

IIHS Pick+: Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester

Mid-sized SUV

SUV

In the next size up, the IIHS selected the Toyota Highlander. This vehicle includes a number of safety features, such as front and side-curtain airbags, but perhaps its biggest virtue is the vehicle’s performance in roll-over and crash tests. The Highlander is one of the safest vehicles on the road, plus it boasts space for the whole family and then some.

IIHS Pick+: Toyota Highlander

Other IIHS Picks: Acura TL

Minivan

minivan

Though SUVs have become more popular and more comfortable to drive, the Minivan remains the best balance of size, functionality, and efficiency for the average family. With seating for up to seven and a plethora of cargo and tech options, the Honda Odyssey also boasts safety functions that made it a Pick + for the IIHS. With daytime running lights, front and side airbags, and excellent performance in crash and rollover tests, getting groceries and picking the kids up from practice has never been safer.

IIHS Pick+: Honda Odyssey

We’ve focused on larger vehicles, but these aren’t the only IIHS picks. If a mid-size car is big enough for your family, the organization has also deemed the following vehicles as Pick +:

  • Ford Fusion
  • Honda Accord 2-door
  • Honda Accord 4-door
  • Mazda 6
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback

We know the importance of keeping your family safe, especially on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and needs legal advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help! 

 

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