Four Steps To Take After A Car Accident in Las Vegas, Nevada To Prepare For a Personal Injury Claim
It can be confusing to figure out what to do after a car accident, especially while worrying about your safety and well-being. If the other driver or another party is found to be at fault for the accident, they may be held responsible for any damages and medical costs as a result of the automobile collision, so be sure to take note of these things that you should do after an automobile collision in Nevada.
The success of any car accident claim or lawsuit depends on proving the fault of the defendant, and also proving the extent of any damages or injuries sustained as a result, so these records are extremely important. These can be used not only for accidents involving motorists but also for motorcycle accidents, truck collisions, and pedestrian traffic accidents.
Here are four simple steps that you can take in order to get through a car accident that may require legal assistance.
1. Stay At The Scene (Safely!)
Whenever you are in one of these traffic accidents in Nevada, it is imperative that you stay at the scene where it occurred. You may feel panicked, shocked, or afraid, but whatever you do, do not leave the scene of the collision. Do what you can in terms of basic medical needs (first aid, etc.) then find a safe place for you and any passengers to stay while you wait for the authorities. Stay away from the road and other moving vehicles, then call the police immediately.
Eventually, first responders including police, paramedics, and other professionals, will arrive at the scene. The authorities must file a report on the incident and collect information from all those involve, so you should only leave one you have been cleared to do so.
If you leave early, it can be perceived poorly in court or even framed as a hit and run accident. This can lead to severe legal repercussions.
While waiting, spend your time gathering some critical information to protect yourself and strengthen your claim for insurance or legal purposes.
2. Gather Information for Your Car Accident Claim
It may be tempting to rely on the authorities or your insurance to gather information for you, but in this day and age it is important to rely on your own information and sources. This can get complex if it is a substantial accident involving multiple cars, injuries, or a fatality.
Collect your own information at the scene to have on file:
- Take multiple pictures and videos of the scene
- Include vehicles, occupants, and any injuries
- Note the date, time, and location of the accident
- Use addresses, landmarks, or cross streets if possible
- Note the full name, address, phone number, license plate, and insurance information of any drivers involved
- For insurance information, take down the insurance company’s name, phone number, and policy number
- Take photos if possible!
- Note the full name and phone number of any passengers involved
- Find witnesses, even those not involved in the crash (bystanders, pedestrians, other drivers, etc.).
- Note down their full name, phone number or email address, and their comments on the scene
Once the authorities arrive,
- Take multiple pictures and videos of the first responders on the scene
- Note the name and badge number of the police officers involved
- Ask for a copy of the police report (a.k.a. the incident report or accident report) and any issued tickets
The most important pieces of information here are pictures and videos, as well as contact information. These will be critical for your legal team to use while building the case: an experienced lawyer will eventually go back to the scene and re-evaluate the evidence, as well as gather even more information from witnesses and passengers at the scene.
By being prepared, you can speed up the process of your car accident claim and also secure your best chances at success. This information will also help you defend yourself should the other parties involved file a suit or claim against you.
3. Exchange Basic Information with Police and Other Motorists
In every Nevada vehicular accident, a police report must be filed. The police will inevitably approach you to ask about the incident, but know that there are only a few specific pieces of information that you are legally required to provide: your license, registration, and insurance.
Any other information is optional, and you can politely decline to answer any questions from the police. Anything you say at this time can and will be filed on the police report, which can later be used in the court of law against you. Simply let the officer know that you cannot answer any questions without speaking to your attorney.
If the police officers continue to ask for information, keep politely declining to answer, even if they insist. It is natural for the authorities to know what happened in a situation, but it is even more important that you avoid incriminating yourself in the accident or admitting fault.
Nevada is a comparative negligence state: which means that you can be held partially at fault for the accident, even if the other driver was still the main cause of the accident. This means that the amount of damages that are paid to you can be reduced according to the percentage of fault in the accident: for example, if you are found 10% at fault for the accident, the defendant is only 90% at fault and so a $100,000 claim may be reduced to $90,000.
In many cases, you will have to interact with the person that you were in the accident with. You can exchange personal information and insurance policy numbers if they are available. However, this process does not always go smoothly, as in the case of underinsured or uninsured drivers, or when the other driver does not want to provide information. Be prepared to act quickly to gather the specific information you need to build your case that can then be provided to your lawyer.
Exchange just the bare amount of information. This will include:
- drivers license numbers
- phone numbers
- basic insurance information
- license plate numbers
Do not discuss the accident any further with other motorists. Be calm and assertive. Allow them to take their own photos and videos of the scene, but do not share your own files with them, as you may see them later at the other end of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Should the other parties’ insurance representatives arrive at the scene, do not provide information to them. You are not legally obligated to speak to another person’s insurance representatives, and they will immediately be working to build their client’s case and minimize any damages paid to you. Instead, take action to protect your interests and seek your own legal counsel immediately. Do so before you speak to your own insurance agent.
4. Talk To An Experienced Las Vegas Traffic Accident Attorney
As attorneys who have formerly consulted for insurance companies, we think it is critical for everyone to have their own legal counsel since these companies will always have lawyers working for them. Protect your own interests too. Even if there seems to be little to no damage from the automobile collision at first, there are many injuries that take time to show up including:
- traumatic brain injury, head injuries or concussions
- neck and spine injuries
- soft tissue damage
- broken bones and fractures
- post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological effects
- other forms of personal injury and disability
These types of serious injuries can cost tens of thousands in medical costs, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages from work, and other suffering. Having a trusted Nevada car collision lawyer on your side means that you can maximize your claims from the accident. In addition to all the work you have done to document the scene already, they will follow up with the witnesses and compile the evidence to create a convincing case.
Resolving these issues can take anywhere from a month or two, yet some can last as long as a year. It depends on how many people were involved in the accident, how much you are being sued for, or how much you are suing another party for because of your accident. For example, accidents involving multiple vehicles, pedestrian and cyclist accidents, and public transportation crashes can take longer to process since there are more parties involved.
If you have ended up in the hospital, there will be many medical bills that you will have to pay. As a result of this, you will need to sue either the people, or their insurance company, to get the money. Of course, your insurance may help pay for some of that, but if it is not your fault, this is really the only choice left in order to get your bills paid and also a settlement.
By following these simple steps that you must take after a car accident, you will easily be able to document everything and accelerate the process for your personal injury claim. These simple steps should make it easy for anyone that is in a car accident to find a resolution.