In the State of Nevada, if you are involved in a car accident, it is your responsibility to file a claim with your insurance company if you wish to receive reimbursement for your losses. That said, filing an accident claim can be an unsettling task to take on immediately following a crash. For that reason, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyer has composed this simple, step-by-step guide on what you need to do before, during and after you file your claim.
Accidents that warrant a claim
If serious damage has resulted from the accident, either to your person or your automobile, or the other drivers’ vehicle or person, it is crucial that you contact your insurance company right away. If anyone involved in the accident is injured, you must report these injuries to your insurance company to the best of your ability.
While there are insurance rules that require the insurance company must be notified of anything that can potentially result in a claim, there are certain instances where notifying the insurance company is not required. These instances include:
- Single-vehicle accidents where there is no significant damange or injury.
- Auto accidents where there is no injury and the property damage can be covered out-of-pocket.
Preparing ahead of time
In accordance to Nevada State law, drivers must maintain liability insurance on each vehicle registered in the State. The legal minimum limits of coverage vary, so it is imperative that you speak with your insurance agent to ensure you maintain the adequate policy minimums.
Without liability coverage, you will be unable to register your vehicle(s) with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are found to be carrying less-than the required minimums, or without insurance at all, your license or registration may be suspended and you will have to pay a minimum of $250 fine to the State to have the suspension lifted. You must have your insurance card in your vehicle at all times.
What to do at the scene of a car accident
Before you can file a claim, you must follow Nevada’s laws about what to do after a car accident. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) requires that any driver involved in a car accident must stop at the scene if there is any damage to a vehicle or other property (NRS 484E.020), or a death or injury (NRS 484E.010). Drivers are also required to provide all parties involved in the crash with their information and render appropriate aid if any injuries are prevalent NRS 484E.030.
That said, the most important thing to do is to remain calm and assess the situation. You are not advised to leave your car unless it is safe to do so. Check for injuries and call the police only if someone is injured or there is severe property damage. As of March 3, 2014, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) announced that they will no longer respond to minor car accidents with no significant damage (less than $750) or injury.
Aside from the fact that it is State law, you should exchange information with all other drivers while still at the scene in the event you later on decide to file a personal injury claim. You should be sure to collect the following information:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license information,
- The vehicle registrants/insureds’ names and numbers and all insurance policy numbers.
- The makes, models, years and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
- Names, phone numbers, and addresses of all passengers and witnesses.
- Conversely, you should provide the same information to the other drivers involved.
Gathering evidence for a personal injury claim
Once you’ve exchanged all required information, you’ll want to pull out a disposable camera or your cell phone (if it has a quality camera) and take photos of the scene. Photograph property damage, roadway obstructions, injuries, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved. You should also jot down a few notes related to the accident, including your thoughts on who was at fault, witness testimony, and the reason for the crash. If the police respond to the scene, however, they will gather this information on your behalf.
How to recover damages following a car accident
You should immediately contact your insurance company while all of the accident details are fresh in your mind. Make sure that you have your insurance information, the other drivers information, and all notes and photographs collected at the scene on hand before you make the call.
In the State of Nevada, the driver that was responsible for an accident is the person who is responsible for paying the damages, including bodily injuries and vehicle damages. As an “at-fault” state, a plaintiff of a car accident may recover compensation for property damage and medical expenses three different ways:
- He or she can file a claim with their own auto insurance company,
- He or she can file a claim with the other drivers insurance company, or
- He or she can file a personal injury claim.
Depending on the details surrounding the accident, the insurance companies will conduct a thorough investigation to detect liability in the crash. To make a determination, a claims adjusters from each company will speak with all drivers involved alongside evaluating property damage. They will make a determination of fault and use their findings to create a settlement for the victim of the crash.
Working with an attorney to achieve a fair settlement
It is important to remember that the insurance companies are not on your side. They are concerned with keeping costs as low as possible. Typically speaking, the settlement amounts they’ll issue are significantly less than what you deserve. By working with a personal injury lawyer, you can rest assured that they will fight tooth-and-nail to secure the maximum settlement offer possible to cover your property, mental, and physical damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please do not hesitate to contact Brian M. Boyer from The Injury Firm | Las Vegas for a free, no-obligation case review. All consultations are confidential, and if we cannot help you, we will point you in the best direction for your financial recovery! Call (702) 800-0988