It is very easy to be shaken after a car accident. Accidents happen in an instant, and your car might be overturned or tossed into a ditch. Many people need days before they can begin processing the trauma they have experienced.
However, the steps you take following a wreck often determine whether you can receive compensation or not. Nevada is a fault state, so you should do everything possible to preserve your right to compensation in an accident that is not your fault. Please take time to recover. But also ensure that you protect your rights. Below, our Las Vegas car accident lawyer asks some of the most common questions that people have about what they should do following a wreck.
Yes. Even though you were in an accident, you can’t block traffic indefinitely. Nevada Revised Statute 484E.020 requires that drivers involved in a crash immediately stop their vehicles and move to a safe location so that they do not block traffic.
Yes. Even though you are not at fault for the crash, the law still requires that drivers render assistance to those who are injured. NRS 484E.030 requires that you provide “reasonable assistance” which can include calling an ambulance to take someone to the hospital or taking them there yourself. We recommend calling an ambulance.
If you don’t help an injured person at the scene, you can be charged with a felony and could end up in jail for 2-20 years. This sounds severe, but it’s the law.
Yes. Nevada law requires that motorists report an accident to the nearest law enforcement agency. Typically, you should call the police so they can come out and issue a crash report. If for some reason no officer came, then the law requires that you promptly report the accident to the nearest police authority.
You definitely should. Because you are not at fault for the collision, you can make a claim with the other driver’s insurer. Make sure to get the name of the driver’s insurer, as well as the policy number. Drivers should carry this information on them.
You will want this information also if you’re a passenger. You might have your own claim for compensation against the at-fault driver.
You also need the driver’s name, address, contact information, registration number, and the license plate number. You might need to get in contact with the driver later. Also, some drivers let their insurance lapse. Though they might have an insurance card with them in the car, they are not covered by the policy. You will need to possibly sue the driver personally, and getting his or her personal details is helpful.
No! There is no reason to apologize if you were not at fault for the wreck. Some people instinctively apologize, even when they are not to blame for anything. They see it as a way to show sympathy with someone.
However, apologizing could impede your ability to receive compensation. Remember, all statements you make could get introduced later to establish fault. Saying “I’m sorry,” even if well meaning, sounds like you are taking responsibility for the wreck.
Instead, ask the other driver if he or she needs an ambulance and then call the police to come to the scene. You can wait patiently (and quietly) for the officer to arrive.
It is illegal to leave an accident without handing over your insurance information, even if the vehicle is unoccupied at the time. Nevertheless, countless people hightail it out of there because they do not want to face the consequences of their actions.
We recommend getting as much information as you can. Maybe you saw the vehicle and can tell the police the make, model, and color. If you saw at least part of the license plate, write down what you remember. The police also want to know the location the driver fled in.
Yes, you should. You might end up making an insurance claim with your own uninsured motorist insurer. However, you can only make a claim if you are not at fault for the accident, and an insurer might be skeptical about how the accident happened. You need to fully document it by calling the police and reporting that you were involved in a hit and run.
Take other sensible steps such as photographing the damage to your vehicle as well as the scene of the accident.
You probably have heard that you should, and it is good advice. Pictures serve many purposes after an accident. They help show the state of all vehicles immediately following the collision. If you go get your car fixed, then you are eliminating the evidence of the wreck.
Pictures also document the location of the accident and the conditions at the time. For example, if there was a road defect, then you want a picture of that as well. A pothole that caused you to lose control might be filled up by a road crew shortly after a wreck, and you want documentary proof that it existed the day of your accident.
They might be. A witness can explain how the accident happened. Even though you believe you are not at fault, the other driver might claim you really are. A witness can help tell the police and others what happened.
Get the names and contact information for all witnesses. These include people on the sidewalk as well as passengers in vehicles.
Do so promptly. Even though you are not at fault, you should call your own insurer and tell them about the accident. They want to know this information, because they will be in contact with the other driver’s insurer.
You should also report the accident to the insurance company for the other driver. This will start the claims process.
No! When you initially report the accident, the insurer should take down basic information but not ask you what happened. They might call back in a week or two to ask about your recollections of the accident.
We recommend telling them to contact your attorney. The insurance adjuster is probably combing for information to show that you are partially to blame for the accident, which can reduce the amount you receive in compensation. In some cases, your fault could prevent you from receiving any compensation.
Accidents are expensive. People suffering serious injuries often cannot work. They also need thousands of dollars in medical care and repairs on their car. In total, even a relatively minor collision could cost someone over $20,000.
Filing a claim is not as easy as people think. We recommend hiring an attorney to compile evidence of how the accident unfolded and the severity of your injuries. Once you know the full extent of your losses, you can kick off negotiations with a request that should include a generous amount for your pain and suffering and other inconvenience.
Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers have the experience you need to make an effective personal injury claim. Please call us today to get started on your case at 702-252-0055.