Some accidents occur at low speeds or when no occupants are in the vehicle. These non-injury accidents are still serious and should be handled appropriately by all parties involved. If your car was struck but neither you nor your passengers suffered an injury, you should follow the steps below.
Nevada Revised Statute 484E.020 requires that motorists move their vehicles if they are creating a hazard or blocking traffic. Pull the cars to the side so other traffic can pass.
If someone hit your car, you can make a claim on their property damage insurance policy. Nevada law requires that drivers carry at least $20,000 in property damage liability, which will pay to have your car repaired after an accident that is not your fault.
Non-injury accidents are typically less contested than if someone was injured, often because there is less dispute about how much damage was done. Still, it is best to fully document what happened. This means getting pictures of your vehicle, which can help establish how the accident occurred. Use your smartphone to take pictures of all damage to the vehicles, or ask someone else to take pictures for you.
Get the following from the driver who hit your vehicle:
You should also provide the same to the driver who hit you.
If you were not at the vehicle when it was struck, then the driver should have tried to find you. Failing that, the driver is required to leave information in a conspicuous place. Look on your windshield.
If you were driving your vehicle when it was hit, then there might be a dispute about who is at fault. For example, you might have been struck in a parking lot, but the other driver claims you pulled out directly in front of him.
Questions about liability matter, because the driver at fault pays to have the other driver’s car fixed. If you are at fault, your liability insurance will not cover your own car repairs.
For these reasons, finding witnesses is helpful. Ask them what they saw, and get their names and contact information.
NRS 484E.050 requires that the motorist who hits an unattended vehicle immediately contact the police or Nevada Highway Patrol if there was any damage.
If an officer comes out to the scene, he or she can write up a police report. If no officer came, then Nevada law requires that both drivers file a crash report with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident if there was at least $750 worth of damage. You should avoid delay.
Reporting the accident serves several purposes. It helps establish when and where the collision took place. It also helps Nevada keep track of the number of traffic accidents in our state.
You might think that you are uninjured because you don’t immediately feel pain at the scene of the accident. But you should realize that not all injuries immediately manifest symptoms. Instead, some injuries take a day or two before victims realize that something is wrong.
For example, whiplash is a soft-tissue injury in the neck caused by the stretching or tearing of ligaments. The resulting pain and neck stiffness can leave a person unable to turn their head. However, the adrenaline after a crash can mask the injury, which doesn’t become apparent for 24 hours or so.
The same is true of concussions. Some people assume they must strike their head on something to get a concussion, but this isn’t true. Any violent shaking can cause concussion symptoms to appear within 24 hours—headache, dizziness, difficulty thinking or remembering, sleep disturbances, etc.
If you suspect any injury whatsoever, you should go to the hospital, even if several days have passed since the accident. Tell the doctor you were involved in a collision and remember to follow his orders for getting well. Some slow-developing injuries can be very disabling.
You can contact your own insurer as well as the insurer of the driver who struck you. Provide basic information to get your claim going. You should report as soon as possible. Since you are not immediately injured, there is no reason to delay.
The precise steps to follow to get the car repaired might differ slightly, depending on the insurance company you are working with. Some insurers will request that you go to a certain body shop or a body shop within their network to get a repair estimate. Others might let you pick the body shop.
The estimate helps tell the insurer how much it will cost to repair the vehicle. Your car will not be made “brand new,” unless it was just off the lot when you got hit. Instead, your car will be put back in the condition it was in before the crash. So if your car had a lot of underbody rust before the accident, don’t expect the insurer to fix it.
It’s entirely possible your vehicle was totaled, in which case the insurer might cut you a check and skip the repairs. This saves everyone time.
The amount of damage to your vehicle could exceed the amount of property damage insurance the other driver has. Remember, many drivers only carry the state minimum, which is $20,000. If your damage exceeds that, you typically pay out of pocket.
If you really suffered bodily injuries in the crash, then you can expect a different settlement experience. Cases involving bodily injuries are usually more complicated because injured victims can get money to compensate for pain and suffering and other intangible losses. These are harder to assign a dollar value to, so negotiation is necessary.
When an accident causes only property damage, some people might be able to handle their own insurance claims. However, if you suffered injury, or if an insurer is being difficult, please contact Ladah Law Firm today for a free consultation 702-252-0055.