After a car accident, as you look around, a million thoughts are running through your head: the other party was at fault, your car is damaged or destroyed, now there will be more bills to pay for medical treatment and the car, you’re going to be late for work, what steps should you take next?
It can be difficult to know what to do. The more severe the accident, the more important that the next steps you take are to your advantage.
Luck always plays a role in Vegas.
If you’re lucky, then the only jarring to your peace of mind is the sound of someone’s vehicle colliding into your car.
If you’re not so lucky, what’s jarring is not the accident itself but the aftermath.
If you’ve been injured you will have medical bills, car repairs, and other unexpected expenses. At the same time you will have lost wages while you can’t work during recovery.
Where will the money come from? The last thing you need is an insurance company giving you the runaround.
A good attorney will represent your interests before the insurance companies to get the maximum settlement for your injuries and losses as quickly as possible. Your focus should be on getting your life back in order after an auto accident, your attorney’s focus will be on everything else from the smallest details to the largest problems to solve.
Remember this, that when you are involved in an accident that is attributable to the negligence or reckless behavior of another driver, you should be compensated for the harm that the other driver has caused you.
Get medical aid for your injuries
You should not forgo medical treatment because you cannot afford to pay. It is more important to be healed and to solve the payment problem as a healed person, than to risk the consequence of an undiagnosed and untreated severe injury.
Picture it! Las Vegas, 2019 …
I was driving at the speed limit down the Strip in front of Caesar's Palace. I'd just finished my shift at TI.
I had both hands on the wheel, maintaining distance. My favorite mix was playing at a low volume so as not to distract me. (Aside) I didn't answer when you called because my smartphone was turned off and stowed safely in the glove box.
Then out of nowhere! C-R-A-S-H.
Did I mention that I was going to meet Caesar for our date?
And come to think of it, it wasn't Las Vegas. It was Rome, 54 BC.
Table of contents
(This guide was getting a little long so some of these sections are on different pages.)
- Frequently asked questions about car accidents in Las Vegas
- Do I need an attorney after a car accident?
- Common causes of automobile accidents
- Types of car accidents
- Possible injuries from automobile accidents
- What to do if you are in a car accident
- If you are injured in a automobile accident
- Liability for an accident
- Compensation available for accident victims
- Nevada automobile insurance requirements
- Types of supplemental automobile insurance
- Auto insurance dos and don’ts
- Steps to file an auto insurance claim
- Questions to ask your accident attorney
- Find an experienced auto accident lawyer in Las Vegas
You should speak to a car accident lawyer first
Among the most important things to remember when you are involved in a car accident is to speak to an accident lawyer as soon as possible. To protect your rights, you will need legal advice before you speak to the insurance company and provide a statement of the event.
Even if this is not your first automobile accident, each accident is unique. A personal injury lawyer should know your rights and responsibilities according to the factors contributing to the accident, and the remedies available to cure.
You do not need to solve this problem on your own. You can avail yourself of the experience and resources offered by an accident attorney to represent your interests.
Your attorney should know who to call and what to say straight away to begin solving the problem.
Insurance companies can be aggressive in contacting you quickly after the accident. Expect their call.
Perhaps the insurance industry finds that such quick contact helps them settle cases faster and faster settlement payment benefits you. Or perhaps quick settlement — before you realize the extent of your losses or the severity of your injury is diagnosed — results in a lower settlement payment and more profit for the insurance company.
You should have the right to a full settlement according to the insurance covering the accident (the policies of all of the parties to the accident). This is why it is so important to speak to an accident attorney as soon as possible after the event. It’s really about protecting your rights.
The right word: attorney versus lawyer
An attorney is a lawyer that has passed the bar exam and can practice law before the court to represent you. A lawyer has been trained in law but is not necessarily an attorney. For most uses of the words, the nuance is not important, and the words are commonly used interchangeably.
Frequently asked questions about car accidents in Las Vegas
You are looking for answers when you contact a personal injury lawyer after an automobile accident. For example:
- How will I fix my car?
- How will I get medical treatment?
- How will I get to work like this?
- How will I get a fair settlement from the insurance company?
The consequences of an auto accident are as unique as the accident itself. We have all known people who have had accidents, and you will find yourself at once in a familiar situation and a situation unique according to the parameters of your own life.
There are different answers and considerations for your unique situation:
Hey, have you heard this? Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination.
But just because there is a lot to see outside the car window doesn’t mean you weren’t paying attention. There will always be a few locals in a hurry and even professional drivers sometimes cut corners, even literally.
It may be impractical for you to represent yourself if you are out-of-state. Fortunately, there are car accident law firms that represent out-of-state clients who were injured in an auto accident while visiting Nevada. You should have a Las Vegas attorney to represent your interests in Las Vegas.
A car accident law firm can explain how to make your property damage claim to start the process to get your vehicle repaired. You are more likely to receive your settlement quickly to fix your car if you have an experienced professional guiding your claim through the insurance claims process.
No health insurance
If you are injured you need to seek medical treatment immediately. Your prognosis is likely to be better the faster your are treated after injury. Do not delay! If you do not have health insurance, contact a personal injury attorney.
Your attorney should be able to arrange treatment with a competent doctor – even with specialists – so that you can get treatment and begin your recovery.
An accident attorney can help if the medical insurance company, either your own insurer or the insurer of the negligent party, does not want to pay for your treatment.
Your attorney should be able to contact the health insurance company and give them the information that they require to process and pay your medical bills.
Most auto accidents do not require an investigation, but any investigation should be done as quickly as possible, while the evidence can still be collected and recorded.
In other words, there needs to be an investigation while evidence is still on the ground and witnesses still remember.
If there is an issue about how the accident happened, a car accident law firm can hire an accident reconstruction expert, or reconstructionist. Vehicular collision reconstruction is the scientific process of investigating, analyzing, and producing conclusions about the causes and events during a vehicle collision.
If a loved one was killed in the auto accident, you have my sympathy. I understand your pain. We’ve all lost someone we love. A car accident attorney should do everything possible to provide family members with compensation from every source possible, for example, the insurance companies, the negligent parties, and the vehicle manufacturers.
Your attorney should also be able to refer you to a trusted grief counselor. Everyone experiences and expresses grief in a personally unique way and a grief counselor can support and counsel you during your time of need.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are uninsured, you should ask an attorney about the legal and financial risks for uninsured drivers. You must have insurance in order to drive. The penalties include loss of driving privileges and fines.
Do I need an attorney after a car accident?
It is technically possible to handle your own car accident claim without the help of an attorney.
I don’t recommend this.
If you represent yourself, you may leave out crucial elements of the claim which will result in a lower settlement. You may miss claim deadlines which could result in no settlement.
While a simple accident may allow for a more straightforward claim, a complicated accident is likely to require a complex claim or even multiple claims.
The claim process is made more difficult is there is difficulty determining liability for the accident. If the accident is serious, if there are severe, permanent injuries or disfigurement, or death, or substantial property damage, or if you believe that you may be at fault, you should get a lawyer to get the compensation that you need.
You should expect, on average, that qualified legal representation will be able to obtain a much larger settlements for you than if you represent yourself. This is because an attorney has experience working for accident victims.
They are experts on compiling the evidence and documentation of losses which are necessary for a successful claim. They are also experts at negotiating with the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation possible.
Perhaps more importantly nowadays, an experienced attorney is familiar with insurance company tactics and strategies to lower the value of a claim, and can counter those tactics and strategies to win the best possible payment to make you whole.
Once you are the victim of an automobile accident you the best thing to do is to fight for what you deserve. If not for yourself — although you are a good enough reason — then for those who depend on you and care about you. You need to protect your health and your rights by getting an accident attorney as soon as possible.
Maybe you don’t like hospitals or doctors. Your attorney should be able to refer you to a trusted specialist.
Even if your injuries do not seem serious, your condition may not be adequately diagnosed. It could grow worse.
For example, you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Your injury may not hurt at all immediately after the accident, but can gradually grow worse without the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Common causes of automobile accidents
Automobile accidents happen every day across the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area. The causes of auto accidents vary, but common causes include:
A long time ago driving was a special event. We wore special clothes, driving gloves, helmets, and goggles, and made a day out of driving in the countryside. Nowadays our car culture has become so familiar that some people forget the serious responsibility of operating a motor vehicle.
Some drivers engage in additional activities while they are behind the wheel. These activities are driving distractions that can greatly vary in form and severity. They range from the use of mobile phones, GPS systems, and other electronics to rubbernecking, carrying passengers in the vehicle including children and pets, drinking or eating while driving, and searching for misplaced items. Even talking to another passenger or listening to the radio or music can be distracting.
These activities are so common that distracted driving is among the leading causes of automobile accidents the United States. This can be even more of a problem in The Entertainment Capital of the World which has many attractions to see from the roadside for newcomers and tourists.
Driving while distracted is negligent because the driver’s attention has been taken away from the responsibility of the task at hand.
Driving while overly tired or falling asleep at the wheel
It seems that a lot of us could use more sleep.
Driving while overly tired or falling asleep at the wheel is more often a problem in accidents involving commercial drivers and tractor trailers or large commercial trucks.
A driver who operates the vehicle while overly tired runs the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep at the wheel is more likely to occur at night time, but this can also be the cause of daytime accidents, because anybody can reach a point of exhaustion at any time. Obviously, operating a motor vehicle while asleep at the wheel endangers the lives of others who share the roadways.
Driving if you are too tired is negligent conduct that puts others at risk.
Driving while intoxicated / Driving under the influence
Drivers who are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol pose serious risk to their passengers, other drivers on the road, and pedestrians.
Compared to sober drivers, intoxicated drivers are unable to focus and have shorter attention spans. While behind the wheel, intoxicated drivers can hallucinate, fall asleep, lose control of the vehicle, or operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
A state of intoxication causes an intoxicated person to relax including during an accident. This sometimes allows intoxicated drivers to avoid serious injuries to themselves when they are involved in accidents, but does not spare others from serious injury.
Driving without full possession of your faculties is negligent and can cause such severe social cost that it is more harshly penalized by the criminal justice system.
Drivers who speed
We are taught early on to recognize that speeding is a leading cause of automobile accidents. There are speed limit signs all along the roadways. Speed limits are often matched to local driving conditions or services such as schools in the immediate area.
Driving tens of miles over the speed limit or just a few miles over the speed limit is driving too fast and reduces the time available to stop safely if there is need. It takes time to slow a car to a full stop, the faster the rate of travel, the more time is needed.
Speeders tend to collide into other vehicles because there is insufficient space to stop in the time available. Speeding often causes rear-end collisions and head-on collisions, and these types of accidents can cause severe whiplash, spine, neck and back injuries.
That there are so many speed limit signs posted along the roadways makes speeding especially negligent. There are not many signs, if any at all, warning against other common causes of car accidents.
Reckless driving is a wanton disregard for the rules of the road. It is a much more serious offense than careless driving because it is a willful threat to other drivers on the road who obey common driving procedures.
Drivers who operate their vehicles in a reckless manner may not realize that what they are doing is unsafe and puts others at risk, but they know they are breaking the law, and they are nonetheless negligent.
Reckless driving can include speeding, swerving, not using turn signals, not obeying traffic signs or lights, street racing, and operating a vehicle in an unusual and dangerous manner. Aggressive driving is similar to reckless driving.
Unsafe road conditions / hazardous roadways
Road conditions can change quickly according to the weather or the time of day.
For example, an otherwise safe roadway can become dangerous during a rainstorm, or the sun rising or setting near the horizon and aligned with the direction of travel can be blinding. Construction zones and traffic jams can also make roadways dangerous.
It is not always possible to stay off the roads when their conditions are unsafe and sometimes even best and reasonable efforts in unsafe road conditions are not enough to prevent accidents.
Failure to yield the right-of-way
Failure to yield the right-of-way is the leading cause of accidents in Nevada.
In general, in this context, right-of-way is the right of one vehicle to move before another, meaning that one vehicle should yield to another vehicle that has the right-of-way. This is a key consideration because right-of-way does not grant an absolute right to a particular vehicle to move first, but determines the order in which vehicles should be able to move if it is safe to do so.
You have to use common sense to try to avoid accidents even when you have the right-of-way but another vehicle has failed to yield. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to prevent an accident when a negligent driver fails to yield. Right-of-way is not just for motor vehicle, but also applies to cyclists and pedestrians.
Sometimes there is something inherent to a vehicle that is the contributing factor to an accident.
From fuel tanks to tires to air bags, the problem can be in the design or the manufacture of a component. There are millions of defective components that are recalled each year. Some are more serious than others.
If a defect is not well-known, it can be a difficult process to establish fault in the design or manufacture of a vehicle component without the dedication and resources of an experienced law firm. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a convenient online service to check if your vehicle is subject to a safety issue or recall using your vehicle’s VIN.
Types of car accidents
Typically, a car accident is classified according to its cause. There are a lot of ways to crash a car, but almost all can be placed within five broad categories of road traffic collisions:
- lane-departure collisions — as the name suggests, these are collisions which occur when a vehicle leaves the lane in which it was traveling and collides with another vehicle or a roadside object. These include head-on collisions, sideswipes, and run-off-road collisions.
- collisions at intersections — These include rear-end collisions and angle or side-impact collisions.
- collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists
- collisions with animals
The types of accidents within a category have similar causes, but different consequences.
For example, head-on collisions, sideswipes, and run-off-road collisions all belong to the category of lane-departure collisions. In a lane-departure, the driver of a vehicle fails to stay centered in their lane, and either leaves the roadway, or crosses the centerline, possibly resulting in a head-on or sideswipe collision, or a run-off-road crash on the far side of the road if the vehicle avoids oncoming traffic.
It may seem like there is a possibility for ambiguity in that categories can overlap, and types of accidents can be assigned to more than one category. Consider that one accident may actually be a series of accident in which one accident leads to another until the unfortunate series of events is complete.
These categories may not be as familiar as the common names for types of accidents within the categories.
The most common types of car accidents in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has unique circumstances that frankly increase the likelihood of severe car accidents:
- more than a few tourists unfamiliar with the roads;
- busy nightlife;
- large intersections; and
- non-stop alcohol service.
From a fender bender to a major incident, there are important steps to follow for reporting a traffic accident that you should know and follow.
Some of these accidents may be secondary events that occur after a primary event. For example, a run-off-road may precipitate a rollover.
These are the most common types of accidents:
This type of accident usually occurs when a driver traveling behind another vehicle misjudges the speed of the vehicle ahead or is distracted. In other words, this type is often caused by the sudden deceleration (either slowing down or braking) of the preceding vehicle.
In some cases, another driver is following too closely, or accelerates to a higher speed than the car in front of it.
A rear-end crash can also be caused when the roadway ahead is obscured by heavy rain, fog, smoke, or dust. Whatever the cause, this type of accident can result in severe bodily injuries to the back and neck, whiplash, and other injuries.
Whiplash is the most common injury and can affect the driver and passengers of the impacted car. For this type of crash fault is typically attributed to the driver of the vehicle that rear-ends the other vehicle, but you may need help to obtain the medical care and compensation you need. You should hire an attorney with experience handling cases involving back and neck injuries.
The best way to prevent this type of accident is to maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle and other vehicles at all times. Even in slow traffic, tailgating puts you and others at risk.
Hey, everybody: Let’s leave our tailgating for The Park Las Vegas before a Golden Knights game.
These accidents typically occur at intersections, or where drivers exit or enter entranceways, driveways, or parking lots. They can also be called “broadside,” “T-bone,” or “cross-traffic” collisions, or be called “angle” collision if the one vehicle impacts at more of an angle than straight against the side of the other vehicle.
Side-impact collisions occur when the side of a vehicle is impacted either by the front or rear of another vehicle, or by a fixed object. These accidents can be very dangerous, causing grave bodily injuries and wrecking vehicles.
Important factors in this type are the weight and speed of the vehicle that impacts the other vehicle in the side, and where the impact occurs in the side. They are usually caused by a driver running a red light or stop sign, or taking a left turn without yielding to oncoming traffic.
After the accident it can often be established that the negligent driver could have seen the victim’s vehicle and slowed or stopped in time, if the negligent driver had not been distracted, for example, by texting on a smartphone. Since most side-impact collisions are caused by the negligence of a driver, the best way to avoid these crashes is to follow traffic laws.
Unfortunately, not everyone is responsible about this. In order to prevent being a victim of another person’s poor driving, take extra caution when driving through intersections and watch out for any signs that the other driver is distracted and not paying attention.
These are vehicle crashes where the side of one or more vehicles is impacted. Typically, this accident occurs when the sides of two cars are approximately parallel to each other touch in a glancing collision. For example, merging vehicles (and vehicles around the merging vehicle) are at risk of being sideswiped.
These types of crashes are generally caused by a failure of the merging driver to check all blind spots. In many cases, the damage is only minor, because the vehicles have only “swiped” each other.
However, despite minimal impact, the effect of these types of collisions can be significant. Often, a sideswipe can change the direction of a vehicle, causing it to run off the road or into the path of another vehicle. These crashes often occur at intersections, in parking lots, and when two vehicles pass on a multi-lane roadway.
Injuries and damages are most often minimal unless the driver of one of the vehicles loses control.
These crashes can also occur when the victim is driven off the road for example by a careless tractor trailer driver or passenger vehicle driver.
In order to avoid these crashes, always look around you and check blind spots before changing lanes. Also, don’t speed, especially in areas where other drivers commonly will be merging. You may make it more difficult for them to properly see you when checking in blind spots.
A rollover occurs when a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof.
This type of accident is extremely dangerous and frightening. While any vehicle can be involved in a rollover due to an impact or when there is a significant drop off on the road shoulder, vehicles with narrow wheel bases or high centers of gravity (looking at you, sport utility vehicles) are especially prone to rollover.
This type of accident is often caused by sharp turns in the roadway when driving at high speeds. While there is no other vehicle involved in the accident, in some cases, the victim may have a cause of action against the vehicle manufacturer. In other cases, the victim may be able to file a defective road design suit against the state or municipality responsible for the roadway. It’s also possible that both the vehicle and the road are defective.
We’ve all seen television and movies with vehicle rollovers and can imagine the serious injuries that can result.
These are usually the most violent accidents because, roughly, the momentum change of one vehicle is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the momentum change of the other vehicle, and frequently result in catastrophic bodily injury, including serious burns or death.
In other words, head-on collision are often fatal. A head-on collision is what it says on the box, it occurs when the fronts of two vehicles impact each other.
Many head-on collisions happen at night with alcohol as a contributing factor.
It may be surprising that single vehicle crashes are common. These accidents are usually caused by objects being or falling in the way of a vehicle, for example utility poles, walls, fire hydrants, fallen cargo, trees or tree branches, deep potholes, standing water, or poorly placed or temporary signage.
Single-car crashes can also be caused by defective car parts.
In some cases, this type of accident can involve pedestrians and other innocent bystanders.
If the accident is the result of excessive speed or alcohol use, any passengers in the vehicle may have a cause of action against the driver.
These are accidents that occur in parking lots, ramps and private areas, such as on casino properties.
In these environments drivers can often be confused about right-of-way, and other factors like missing or improper signage or design can contribute.
If there was an environmental factor then these accidents can be treated like slips-and-falls, in which the property owner failed in his or her duty to maintain safe roadways.
(No, an off-road collision is not what happens when you take a case of beer and your truck out to go mudding. And where would you go mudding in the immediate Las Vegas area?)
These are a type of single-vehicle accident that occurs when a vehicle leaves the roadway, for example, if a car collides with a utility pole or a streetlight. Hey! this sounds a lot like a single-car crash.
There is some overlap, but there is also nuance. Did a utility pole fall over into the roadway in front of a vehicle, or did the vehicle leave the roadway and crash into the utility pole?
A low speed collision or fender-bender refers to a minor and insignificant collision between two or more vehicles.
Low speed impact crashes may not be the worst, but they can still do damage.
Fender-benders, bumps, parking lot collisions, and other crashes under the speed of 10 MPH can often happen in parking lots and residential areas, risking pedestrian lives. Even at low speeds, pedestrian accidents can result in serious injury.
Since many low speed crashes happen while drivers are backing up, take extra care to look out for other drivers before reversing. You must always be on the lookout for pedestrians in neighborhoods and other common pedestrian areas, and you should never speed.
Sometimes several vehicles are involved in one “serial crash” event exhibiting one or more of the other types of accidents in the vehicles involved. If many vehicles are involved, the event may be called a “pileup” or “major incident.”
These types of crashes often occur on busy roads for example highways and freeways. They can be the most dangerous accidents of all because a vehicles can be impacted multiple times and it may be difficult to escape. It can also be difficult to determine fault in these types of cases.
Other types of accidents
We may also type an accident according to its cause. This is not a formal system although it may be helpful in describing an accident.
More accidents happen in intersections than any other place. The cause is usually one driver not paying attention, driving too fast, or turning in front of oncoming traffic instead of waiting. You are obliged to evaluate the situation at each intersection according to any traffic signals, other vehicles, and road conditions.
For example, is it a traffic light intersection? A two-way or four-way stop? Is the right-of-way being honored?
The hit-and-run is among the most frustrating types of accidents.
Why does the driver flee the scene of the accident? Sometimes the culprit is located and you learn that he or she is uninsured, or underage, has a prior DUI conviction, or was simply terrified.
Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes NRS 484E.030 ”Duty to give information and render aid.” all drivers are required by law to stop after an accident. Fleeing is a crime.
It can be very difficult to determine the identity of the vehicle or driver involved in the hit-and-run. Even when the other driver cannot be located, you have the option of seeking compensation through the your automobile insurance policy includes optional uninsured motorist / under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. There are steps to follow after a hit-and-run collision that may improve your chance for a successful recovery.
Phantom car accidents
The phantom accident is similar to a hit-and-run, except the driver is unaware of the accident that he or she just caused. For example, the driver may cut in front of you, forcing you off the road and into a ditch, or worse.
You have the same recourse for compensation as people injured in hit-and-runs, through your own insurance policy if you elected to include optional uninsured motorist / under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. However, you may find that your insurance company is slow to pay up.
That’s another reason to have a competent attorney to represent your interests to the insurance company.
These are accidents caused by driving at unsafe speeds, either above the posted speed limit, or above the common sense speed limit according to the prevailing road conditions.
For example, even if the posted speed limit is 55 MPH, if a pouring rain storm has limited your visibility in heavy traffic, you should consider slowing down to match the speed of other drivers.
The right word: collision versus accident
When one vehicle comes into contact with another vehicle, we commonly call that an accident.
We could more correctly call that a collision because the first vehicle collided with the second. Furthermore, to call it an accident may imply that the collision was an unforeseen and unplanned event as if nothing could have been done by anyone to prevent it. Indeed, a legal definition of accident states that the unfortunate event is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.
If you are involved in a vehicle collision, you hope that everyone is uninjured and that there is minimal property damage, but you also hope that you are not to blame. But the operators of all of the vehicles may share responsibility for the collision, even when each operator claims to be the victim of the accident caused by the others. The fault may also be assigned to the manufacturer of one or the other or both vehicles.
Therefore, it is more appropriate to call it a collision until the investigation reveals otherwise.
Possible injuries from automobile accidents
Automobile accidents can produce all kinds of serious bodily injuries. Typical car accident injuries include
- broken or fractured bones;
- head injuries;
- traumatic brain injuries;
- internal bleeding;
- damage to internal organs;
- neck and back injuries;
- spinal cord issues;
- soft tissue injuries;
- crush injuries;
- amputations; and
- major trauma causing death.
Anyone who has sustained an injury during an accident should first seek medical treatment, and then seek financial compensation from those who are accountable.
What to do if you are in a car accident in Las Vegas
It will always be in your best interest to be prepared if a car accident occurs.
Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes NRS 484E.070 ”Written or electronic report of crash to Department by driver or owner; exceptions; confidentiality; use as evidence at trial.“, you must complete a SR-1 report with Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to report a traffic collision if a report has not been taken by police.
In Las Vegas, it used to be the policy of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) to only respond to an accident if injuries are reported, but there were complaints from accident victims that this policy made it difficult to obtain fair settlements of insurance claims.
Nowadays, the Las Vegas police respond to most accidents and will complete the report that is required by law.
Just in case, if the police choose not to respond to your accident, you should have the following items stored in your vehicle because it is the responsibility of the car owner/operator to collect all of the information necessary for a non-emergency accident:
- pen and paper for collecting data after the accident;
- disposable camera (or your smartphone that can take high resolution photographs);
- your vehicle registration and insurance card;
- emergency contact phone numbers (for family, close friends, place of employment, schools for your children and so on);
- your first-responder medical data (pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, prescriptions); and
- towing company phone number.
Getting a tow can be stressful after an already stressful situation. Find a trusted towing company before you need one.
When the accident occurs, and no one is injured, you should move the vehicle out of traffic if possible. Before moving the vehicle out of traffic, make sure to use your camera to photograph the entire scene of the accident. Take extra precautions if there is moving traffic nearby.
Once you have moved the vehicles out of the path of traffic, you should begin to exchange information with the other driver. If the cars cannot be moved, the police department should be notified.
You should call the Las Vegas police if you discover that:
- you are injured;
- the other driver is injured;
- the other driver is intoxicated, or appears to be under the influence or otherwise impaired;
- the other driver does not have a driver’s license or cannot produce a registration or insurance card;
- the other driver is uncooperative or violent; or
- the other driver flees the scene of the accident.
When you are safely out of harm from traffic, you should exchange the following information:
- name, address, and phone number;
- name and contact information of passengers and witnesses;
- driver’s license number;
- insurance company name, contact number, and policy number;
- make, model, and year of the other car;
- license plate number of the other car; and
- VIN (vehicle identification number) of the car if possible.
Once you have obtained all of this information you can leave the scene and return home to fill out a SR-1 form to submit to the DMV. Once this form is completed, report the accident to your insurance company.
What is a VIN?
The data plate for a vehicle identification number (VIN) is usually affixed to several points on a vehicle.
You can find a VIN data plate by standing outside of the vehicle and looking at the corner of the dashboard on the driver's side where the dashboard meets the windshield.
You may also be able to find a VIN data plate by opening the driver's side door and looking at the door post where the door latches when it is closed. In some vehicles, the VIN may also be engraved on the windshield.
The VIN is also referenced in the vehicle insurance card and vehicle title and registration.
Take as many photographs of the vehicles as you can
Gathering evidence of the damage to your vehicle is extremely important. Insurance companies may argue that the collision was too minimal to cause your bodily injuries. Your case will be strengthened if you have pictures from all parts of the vehicle, including the trunk and underbody, and not just the area of the impact.
You do not have to be an expert in component failure or vehicular collision reconstruction, but if you thoroughly document the state of your automobile after the accident, the experts can use that evidence to determine that your injuries were likely caused by the accident.
You should also photograph the other vehicles involved in the collision and the area of the roadway surrounding the accident. It’s far better to have photographs and not need them than to need a key piece of missing photographic evidence and not have it.
Completing the SR-1 report
You do not need to collect the information to complete the SR-1 report on your own.
The responding Las Vegas police officer will perform an investigation and complete the report for you.
If you can, you should read the report to verify that it contains the required information before you sign the report. You can also request a copy of the report after it has been filed to verify that it is complete.
If you are injured in a car accident in Las Vegas
You must call 911 and report the accident if you have been injured, or if there have been injuries sustained by other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. When you call, request medical assistance if there are any injuries. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will dispatch an officer to the scene of an accident when injuries are reported.
You should also seek medical attention immediately. Do not delay even if the injuries seem minor. An adequate diagnosis may make a positive difference for your successful recovery.
You should provide only the necessary information to the police so that they can file their report. You should never admit to being at fault, even if you believe that you are only partially at fault. Vehicular collision reconstruction is a scientific process that will determine fault.
You may be surprised to discover that circumstances unknown to you at the time prove you were not at fault even if you thought you were.
You should contact an accident attorney before you contact the insurance company about your accident or injuries. Your attorney’s job is to protect your rights in the aftermath of the accident. It has become common practice in the industry for insurance companies to close and insurance claim before the extent of the injuries has even been determined.
This might be good for the insurance company’s bottom line but a quick settlement for a lower amount may not provide for your full recovery. To protect your rights and better ensure a successful recovery, speak to an attorney and allow your attorney to represent your interests to the insurance company handling the claim.
Find an experienced auto accident lawyer in Las Vegas
There are experienced Las Vegas auto accident attorneys ready to help you. When you search for a lawyer consider that the past results of a law firm or attorney do not guarantee, warrant, or predict the results of future cases argued before the court.
While cases are similar, the circumstances of each case, the facts, the parties to it, the legal representation, the court (the judge and jury, for example), and so on are likely to be unique. We’ve all had good and bad days in our own work, and it’s no different for lawyers.
Always bear in mind that a sure thing is until it isn’t.
Be careful if you hire a cheap attorney to be sure that you are getting the service that you need.
Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience. Your attorney should have experience from complicated auto accident cases, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Driving under the influence accidents
What if you lose at court?
In the event that you lose your case before the court you may have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and costs.
It is obvious that you want to hire the best lawyer that you can. The State Bar of Nevada provides the Lawyer Referral & Information Service as a free public service.
Attorneys participating in the LRIS program must be members in good standing of the State Bar of Nevada, and have liability insurance. If you find your attorney using the LRIS the attorney has agreed to charge you no more than $45 for your initial consultation if the initial consultation is not free.
Unfortunately, LRIS is a “next-on-list” system. These types of attorney referral services input an area of law (legal specialty) and geographic area into a program and the program outputs the contact information for the next available attorney of that legal specialty in that geographic area.
There are no additional parameters used to determine the suitability of the attorney, and no additional information is output, for example, there is no rating or review of past results.
You must discover for yourself during your initial consultation how suitable the attorney would be to represent your interests.
Attorneys may also be contacted outside of LRIS. Some attorneys offer free initial consultations. Here are some of the law firms and attorneys practicing in the Las Vegas area:
Other lawyer referral services include: