What to Do if You are Injured in an Auto Accident in Vegas
For a city that never sleeps, Vegas unsurprisingly sees a lot of car accidents. Whether you are flying down the Strip or pulling out of a parking garage, it is very easy to get struck by another vehicle. At Ladah Law Firm, we meet with clients who unfortunately have made critical errors in the moments after an auto accident that cost them time and money. To protect your right to compensation, remember to follow the tips below.
Swap Insurance Information
Some drivers try to get you to accept cash on the spot for any damage to your vehicle, and far too many drivers think this is a good idea. If you just take the $200 offered, you’ll never have to report the accident to your insurer, but you’ll have money to fix your car. It’s a great deal, right? Actually, you should avoid accepting payment like this. For one thing, you have no idea how serious the damage to your car really is. What looks like a tiny scratch on your fender at night could turn out to be costly repairs to parts under the hood. For another, you might actually have suffered serious physical injuries as a result of the crash, but the symptoms are delayed. This is a real possibility with the following injuries:
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
It might be 24-48 hours before your symptoms materialize, at which point you could need thousands of dollars in medical care. True, you might feel fine in the moments after the crash, but you soon will have gigantic medical bills. Instead of taking cash from a driver, ask for their insurance information and share yours with them as well.
Take Pictures of the Accident
Every state decides whether it will operate under a “fault” or “no fault” system. Nevada is a fault state, which means that the driver who is responsible for the accident must pay compensation to victims. For this reason, it is vital that you establish what exactly happened. Unless you have a dashcam, you probably can’t prove definitively how the accident occurred. But you can fully document the damage to each vehicle, which contains important information about how the accident unfolded.
Walk around and take pictures of every car involved in the crash from all sides. Zoom in, if necessary, to really highlight dings, dents, and scratches. If debris is littering the road, like a side mirror that was torn off in the crash, then take pictures of that as well.
You should pull your vehicles to the side of the road after an accident so that you do not block traffic. However, try to get at least one picture with your smart phone of where the vehicles ended up after the collision. This can help establish who hit who.
Call the Police
A police officer can write up a police report to document the collision. This report should contain basic information, such as the identities of the drivers and any witnesses. Volunteer to call the police.
Also get a copy of the police report or at least ask for the police report number so you can obtain a copy later. Your insurance adjuster will want to see it, so you should have a copy handy.
Avoid Claiming Responsibility for the Crash
As discussed above, Nevada is a fault state, so you will not be able to obtain compensation if you are fully responsible for the crash. Even if your own negligence contributed a little to the accident, you will receive less in compensation.
The best move is to keep your comments to yourself. Stand to the side of the road and wait for the police officer to show up. Any statement you make about the accident could come back to haunt you later on, when the insurance companies try to figure out who is responsible for the crash.
As experienced Las Vegas auto accident attorneys, we have seen insurance adjusters seize on innocent statements and try to use them to deny compensation to our clients. For example, some adjusters have grabbed onto statement like:
- “I never even saw where you were,” which the adjuster claims is an admission that you were not paying attention to where you were driving.
- “I feel okay,” which the adjuster claims is proof that you were unharmed and are only making up your injuries later.
- “I’m so sorry for this,” which adjusters love to claim is an admission of responsibility for the accident.
The less you say the better. You don’t want your words twisted out of shape.
By the same token, you should carefully document anything the other driver says to you. If they admit responsibility for the car accident, then your insurance company will want to know that fact.
Receive Medical Treatment Promptly
Find the nearest medical facility to receive treatment. Even if you feel uninjured, you should still have a doctor look at you. Doctors can notice when things are wrong, such as your speech is slurred (which could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury).
At the hospital, tell the doctor you were involved in a car accident. Also explain if you bumped your head on anything. If you need treatment, remember to hold onto your medical bills and any receipts if you bought prescription drugs or supplies.
Also remember to do everything your doctor tells you to do. If you don’t follow your doctor’s advice, you might be partially responsible for your injuries.
Notify Your Insurer
Even if you are not to blame, you should contact your insurance company and tell them about the collision. They will want information about where and when it occurred, as well as your version of events. Call as soon as possible.
Hire an Attorney to Represent You
Many car accident disputes are easy to resolve. You fill out a few forms and the insurance company for the at-fault driver sends you a check. Unfortunately, not every case is that easy. Instead, insurance adjusters deny far too many legitimate claims, leaving our clients without badly-needed funds.
Call a lawyer after getting medical attention proceeding an accident. The Vegas car accident lawyers at Ladah Law Firm have decades of combined experience and can help you obtain compensation for medical care, any lost income, and pain and suffering.