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If you were involved in a car accident in Las Vegas, there are many steps that should be taken to preserve your rights. First and foremost, it is necessary to understand that all car accidents or car crashes are not created equally. Some accidents involve one car, others involve multiple cars. Some involve minor property damage others involve total loss. Some accidents involve immediate and substantial injuries, some do not result in injuries or injuries that only become apparent hours or even days later. So this list is not exhaustive, as it would be impossible to go through every possible scenario in one condensed article. However, these are good guidelines composed by a Las Vegas car accident attorney, to follow if you have been involved in an accident:
- Assess the situation
- Exchange information
- Take photos of the scene
- Obtain witness information
- Are you injured? Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
- Contact an attorney! (Let us deal with the insurance companies)
- Follow up with your healthcare providers
1. Assess the Situation
First, you are going to want to assess the situation. Are you okay? Are your occupants okay? Do you or your passengers need emergency medical treatment? If so, do you have the ability to call 9-1-1? If so, do it. If not, you may want to see if anyone else involved in the accident or any witnesses can call 9-1-1. Next, if you are safe to exit your vehicle, you may want to check on the occupants of the other vehicle. Nevada law actually requires you to render aid or assistance if you were involved in an accident pursuant to NRS 484E.030. You should also call the police. There appears to be some confusion as to whether LVMPD will respond to an accident. However, they will likely respond if you call 9-1-1 and inform them of the accident. They will definitely respond if you inform 9-1-1 that an ambulance is required to assess potential personal injuries.
2. Exchange Information
If you are not going to require emergency medical transportation, then you have a duty to exchange information with the other driver. That duty extends both to the person who caused the accident and the non-negligent party. See Nevada State Statutes NRS 484E.020 and NRS 484.030. This includes your identity and your name, address, and registration number, and your license (if requested).
3. Take Photos of the Scene
It is important to secure photos of the scene of the accident for multiple reasons. Photographic evidence can be helpful in resolving later issues with liability and even causation of injuries. Furthermore, if a photo is worth a thousand words, videos, such as those from a dashcam can be worth a million. So check to see if the other driver had a dashcam hanging from their windshield or mirror. If so, ask them to save the footage and make note of the camera’s existence. However, you should keep in mind that if you are severely injured, taking photos is not a great idea. If you are severely injured, ask someone else to take photos or rely on the investigating police officer to gather facts and information on your behalf, and seek emergency medical treatment by calling 9-1-1.
4. Obtain Witness Information
It is also important to obtain independent witness information. An independent witness can be extremely helpful if there is a liability dispute. For instance, there are often disputes over who had a red or green light. It is common for there to be disputes over who went into who’s lane in side-swipe types of collisions. Obtain the names and numbers of any witnesses and put that information in a secure place, not just your cell phone, which can easily be misplaced, damaged, or stolen. Also keep in mind that if you are severely injured, you should focus on your injuries and not obtaining witness info, leave that up to the police if you are injured and seek emergency medical treatment.
5. Seek medical treatment
After you have left the scene, you should be evaluated by an experienced medical professional. Even if you do not feel pain immediately after the accident, you should seek medical treatment just in case. It is common for adrenaline to block pain receptors and many people do not report feeling pain until hours or even days later. Regardless, seeking the advice of a medical professional is your best option in order to make sure that you are not suffering from a serious condition, resulting from the accident. This is especially true if the accident caused substantial damage to the vehicles involved.
6. Contact an Attorney
Notice how we are suggesting that you contact an attorney prior to contacting any insurance companies? This is a very important step. If you contact either your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they are going to ask you to give details about the accident that may be harmful to your case. The best course of action is to contact an attorney first, so they can assess the situation and give you advice. Usually, that advice will be to let the attorney handle all communications, with a few, limited exceptions. You should contact our office to immediately speak to an attorney that can assist you. We have over 50 years of combined experience in handling legal matters for residents of Las Vegas, Nevada.
7. Follow up with your healthcare providers
It is of paramount importance to listen and follow the advice of medical professionals. If you have not seen a doctor after an accident because you do not have a health insurance, you should immediately contact our office. We work closely with many healthcare providers who will treat you, even if you do not have health insurance. If you do not treat with any healthcare providers, then you will not be able to properly substantiate a bodily injury claim, which could prove fatal to your personal injury case.