Every driver should know the proper steps to take after a motor vehicle collision. Sadly, the number of crashes are on the rise nationwide. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that there was a drop in vehicle miles driven in 2020 due to COVID-19—but nonetheless, car accident fatalities still increased by nearly 8 percent. The amount of fender benders and minor accidents increased as well.
Even a relatively minor fender bender can ruin your entire day. At the Ladah Law Firm, PLLC, we want to make sure that you know the right things to do after a minor crash. In this article, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers highlight the steps that you should take after a minor car crash in Southern Nevada.
If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, you have a legal responsibility to stop your car, remain at the scene, and exchange information with all other parties. Under Nevada state law (NRS § 484E.020), “the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall: Immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash.”
In other words, it does not matter whether or not someone was injured or the crash was “serious.” If property damage was sustained in the accident, then you have to stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the crash. Make sure that you get the relevant information from the other parties involved in the wreck. Among other things, you will access to:
All car accident injuries should be evaluated by a competent doctor or medical specialist. Certainly, in a serious accident in Vegas, immediate medical attention is a must. Serious injuries require emergency medical care. Be sure to get a serious injury checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. In general, this means accepting an ambulance ride from the scene of the accident.
Non-emergency injuries also require medical attention. One of the biggest mistakes that people make after an auto accident is not seeking care because they feel like they are “not injured enough” to require a doctor. Do not assume. Even seemingly minor crashes can still result in significant injuries. Many common car accident injuries—concussions, whiplash, back injuries, etc—can occur at relatively low rates of speed.
TIP: You need medical records to file a personal injury claim. If you do not see a doctor after a car accident, you will not be eligible to get financial compensation for your medical bills or your pain and suffering. Get all car accident injuries examined and treated.
One of the most common questions that people ask after a fender bender is: Do I need to report the accident to the police? The answer depends on the severity of the crash and the extent of the damage. If you tap a parked car and make a very minor dent, you are not required to file a police report. You may be able to handle the matter with the other driver on your own.
However, if the crash resulted in any physical injury or in significant property damage, it must be reported. Notably, Nevada state law (NRS § 484E.070) requires an accident to be reported if any person was injured or killed or if “there was $750 or more in vehicle or property damage.” Of course, $750 is not very much. In effect, this means that most car accidents that result in property damage should be reported to the police.
Nevada is a fault-based motor vehicle accident jurisdiction. Whether it is your fault or not will determine who bears primary financial responsibility for the damages. You do not want to be blamed for another driver’s carelessness, recklessness, or otherwise negligent behavior. For this reason, it is imperative that you carefully and comprehensively document your car accident. By doing so, it will be far easier to get access to the full and complete financial compensation that you deserve. Among other things, you should:
As noted above, car accident liability in Nevada is based on fault. The insurance company of the at-fault driver is generally responsible for covering the damages, including vehicle repairs in a minor accident. That being said, regardless of who was at fault for a collision, you should always take proactive steps to notify your insurance company that a crash has occurred. You simply need to start by giving notice as mandated by your policy.
From there, you can take the proper steps to file a claim. How exactly that will occur depends on the nature of your coverage and the cause of your accident. If fault is disputed or if you were injured in the crash, you should speak to an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer before giving an official statement to your insurance company. An attorney will protect your rights and ensure that you can maximize your financial recovery.
You may be wondering: Do I need to hire a car accident lawyer if I was in a minor car accident in Las Vegas? The answer depends entirely on your specific circumstances. Certainly, legal representation is not needed after every minor fender bender. Still, there are plenty of “minor” car accident claims that could require professional guidance and support. You should speak to a Las Vegas car accident attorney if:
If you are unsure as to whether or not you need a lawyer for a minor car accident, the best thing you can do is schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with a Las Vegas attorney at the Ladah Law Firm. During a free case evaluation, we will review your accident, answer your questions, and let you know if you can benefit from hiring a lawyer. If you are better off handling your case on your own, we will tell you. If our attorneys can help you get a better outcome, we will let you know.
At Ladah Law Firm, PLLC, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys have the professional skills and legal expertise to protect your rights after a crash. Whether you were involved in a minor fender bender or a serious wreck, we are more than prepared to help. Contact us now 702-252-0055 for a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case. With an office in Vegas, we handle motor vehicle accident injury claims throughout all of Clark County.