If you or a loved one were seriously injured in an auto accident, the Las Vegas Car Accident Guide was created by Nevada Personal Injury Attorney Craig Murphy to help residents learn what they need to do in order to be successful with their case.
Driving, for some people, is quite relaxing and enjoyable. However, when you are involved in a crash, you may feel the opposite. Injuries from a car crash can cause lifelong pain and suffering as well as a decrease of enjoyment in life. If you have been seriously injured in an accident, you don’t have to go through it alone. With the help of an experienced and highly skilled Las Vegas car accident attorney, you can get the full and fair compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Nevada Car Crashes
Most Nevadans may live in the Las Vegas or Reno areas, but people all across the Silver State know the importance of road safety wherever their travels take them. Whether you are traveling the roads of Reno or cruising along I-15, obeying the speed limit, signaling before turns and lane changes, and in yielding to pedestrians are essential each and every moment of your road trip or daily commute. The traffic laws and rules of the road protect us all and keep us safe from injury or death.
Even if you follow all of Nevada’s traffic laws and rules of the road, there is always the chance that you will be involved in a car accident. Mechanical failure could cause someone to swerve into your car or force you off the road. Another driver may neglect to signal before cutting across lanes, impaired drivers or texting while driving often cause car wrecks. The sad truth is that when people decide to break the traffic laws or choose to ignore the rules of the road, they put us all at risk of danger and tragedy. Before you are in a car accident, facing what may be a life – changing catastrophe, you should learn how to respond in the event of disaster. If you were injured in an auto accident call an auto accident attorney as soon as possible to receive the legal advice and representation you need.
First Steps After a Las Vegas Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident before you already know the intense emotions that you experienced just after the crash. There was sudden shock that an average drive was now a major emergency. You may have broken bones or had internal injuries. Then came the anxiety about whether anyone else was hurt or if you would be held responsible for the accident.
Typically, your first thoughts after a collision in Nevada are not to call a car accident attorney. That should wait. Your first priorities after a car crash are to secure the scene of the accident and help anyone who has been seriously injured. You should move a safe distance from the accident scene and contact emergency personnel. Take care of anyone with serious or life-threatening injuries first. If possible, move the cars out of traffic or off to the side of the road so no one else hits one of the wrecked cars. Do not leave the scene of the accident until a police officer has told you to do so. If there are other people who’ve been injured, do not move them if they have serious injuries. Inspect the area for traffic and dangers such as gas leaks or small fires that could lead to a further disaster.
As soon as you and all of the others injured in the crash are at a safe distance from the accident, call 911. If you are badly injured or cannot access your phone, ask someone else to make the call. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department or Nevada Highway Patrol will respond. Be sure to ask for an ambulance, and again, do not try to move anyone who appears to be badly injured. Trying to move another person or yourself after a major injury can potentially cause more injuries or make the injuries worse. It is best for the emergency medical technicians to move anyone who has been seriously injured or who is in severe pain.
While you are waiting for the police and the ambulance to arrive, you should start to take notes about the car accident. Take photos of every vehicle involved in the accident with your phone. Take pictures of the damage to each car, the positions of the cars relative to each other, and the overall scene of the accident. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, and be ready to provide your name, license plate number, and insurance information when asked by the police. Every account from an eyewitness can strengthen your case, so get as much information as possible for your Las Vegas car accident attorney to use later on. If possible, have witnesses give you recorded statements on your phone of what happened and what they saw. Witness statements can be essential to proving your case. This early information can prevent the insurance company from denying your claim or trying to blame you for causing the accident.
The Most Common Injuries in Las Vegas Car Accidents
It is possible that you may walk away from a car accident with very few injuries. Some people, unfortunately, are not so lucky and you should familiarize yourself with the more serious injuries that you may suffer in a car crash. By far, injuries to the head and neck are the most common injuries sustained in auto accidents, regardless of where the accident occurred. Drivers and passengers often hit their heads against dashboards, headrests, or steering wheels whenever a car strikes another vehicle or object and suddenly stops. Airbags often cause burns and injuries from their impact upon deploying. Cognitive damage can follow since impacts to the head and neck easily lead to traumatic brain injuries such as concussions or worse. Brain damage may be temporary, but some brain injuries may last for years after the accident or may be permanent, lifelong injuries. In addition, if the head is jerked back and forth, damage to muscles and ligaments of the neck can cause whiplash. Unfortunately, severe whiplash often lasts a lifetime and causes frequent pain and limitations.
Injuries are also common in other parts of the body. Arms, legs and ribs can break upon impact, and severely damaged organs can start to fail. Beyond bones, ligaments and cartilage in other joints, such as the wrists and knees, can tear. The spinal cord is often affected as well, causing painful disc herniations and a permanent nerve damage.
You must document every detail about your injuries. It is extremely important that you tell your doctors about all of your injuries and pain caused by the crash. If all of your injuries are not documented in your medical records, the insurance adjuster and insurance lawyers will argue that those injuries did not exist. They will claim you are lying or making up new injuries. To avoid this, you need to tell all of your doctors about all of your injuries, even if you think they are minor and will go away. Obtain copies of your paperwork and records from hospitals, physicians, and specialist, as these are critical in your health insurance claims and your claim against the other driver. Your Las Vegas car accident attorney will need this paperwork to support your claim and lawsuit.
When Should I Contact a Car Accident Attorney
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has a goal of “Zero Fatalities” each year. While the state has made major strides towards this goal, car accidents in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada are still an all too common tragedy. NDOT reports that there were 304 fatal car crashes in Nevada in 2016 where 329 people were killed. Shockingly, 34,384 people were injured in non-fatal car accidents in Nevada in 2016.
Car accidents happen in seconds, but the consequences can last a lifetime. In addition to the damage to your car, you or your loved ones may suffer personal injuries. Insurance companies frequently fight your claims. If you were injured in a car accident in Las Vegas, Clark County, or anywhere in Nevada, you need a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney at every step of your case. Contact Craig Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Law Offices today to help you in dealing with your Nevada car accident. You do not have to face the insurance company alone. We have helped 1000’s of people who have been injured in Nevada car crashes and we will help you too. We are here to help you and guide you with caring, understanding and experience.
Frequently Asked Questions | Las Vegas Car Accident Guide
What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
In Nevada, the steps that you need to take in a car crash claim are what I would call multifaceted. The first thing that I tell everybody, no matter what, is you must take care of yourself. The first thing that you have to do is get the medical treatment that your doctor suggests. Follow all of their instructions, do what you’re told, go to all your appointments and make sure that you get all of the treatment that is required for you to get better and to get back to the way that you were.
The other steps that you need to do following a car crash is, make sure that you call the police and have Metro come and investigate the crash. If you have injuries, go with the EMTs and go to the hospital. Get checked out because your injuries could be more severe than you even know. The other things that you need to do is make sure that you know the name of witnesses, take photographs of both vehicles. Take lots of pictures. It’s kind of strange that we all have phones with cameras on them and we’ll take tons of selfies, but when it comes to a car crash, we’ll get one or two pictures that don’t really show anything. Take a ton of pictures and take video. Make sure that you get all the information. Here is something that is critically important: do not lose your temper. Don’t get in a fight with the other driver. Keep calm and cooperate with the police. Do what you need to do. Get the witnesses’ information. If you’re hurt so bad that you can’t do any of that, the police will do the investigation.
Once you get past your medical care and treatment, you can think about dealing with the insurance company. You can deal with the insurance company on your property damage claim and get your car fixed, get a rental vehicle and do what you need to do to get your car fixed. When it comes to your personal injury claim, here’s what you need to tell the insurance adjuster when they call you and want to take a recorded statement. Tell them you’re not ready to do a recorded statement. Never give a recorded statement unless you’ve talked to an attorney. If they press you for it, tell them that you’re going to talk to an attorney and the attorney will get in contact with them.
If they’re asking you about the facts of the accident or how you’re feeling, they will ask you in a manner which will benefit them and not you. Before you talk to them, talk to an attorney. They have years of experience and years of training on how to ask questions to get you to say things in a manner that they can twist and use against you. Get legal advice before you talk to an insurance adjuster.
Is a Lawyer Necessary?
If you have been in a crash and you have only minor injuries, you may be able to settle it on your own. In fact, I’ve written a book that takes you through all of the steps, all of the process, and it gives you all of the forms and answers all of your questions where you might be able to handle it on your own.
However, if you’ve been seriously injured, those are the cases where you must get a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney to help you. The insurance companies and the insurance adjusters have years of training, years of experience, and they’re main and primary goal is not to help you, not to protect you, but to save the insurance company as much money as they can. They will ask you questions and interrogate you in ways that will reduce their exposure or eliminate their liability. They will do whatever they can to reduce what they must pay you.
You need someone who has the years of experience and training of dealing with the insurance adjusters to protect your rights. You need someone in your corner, someone to stand up for you. We have the skill and the experience to do that. We’ve been dealing with insurance companies for almost 30 years and we do this every day. Our goal is to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get a full and fair resolution of your case. You are entitled to get paid for all of the damages that you’ve suffered. You are entitled to receive everything that it takes to put you back into the position that you were in before this collision, and to make sure that your future is secure.
When you’ve been seriously injured, the only way that that is going to happen is by having someone who has the experience to help you, and someone who cares about your interests and is going to stand between you and the insurance company.
What Are the Top Mistakes Made After an Accident?
People who’ve been hurt in car crashes oftentimes can do things that can seriously harm their claims. They don’t do it on purpose. What can happen is that you, like most people, are honest. You want to be helpful. You want to move your claim along the best that you can. You get a call from the insurance adjuster, “Mr. Jones, we just need to talk to you. We want to get a statement from you about what happened. You don’t mind that this is going to be recorded, do you?” You don’t have anything to hide. You’re not making anything up. You’re going to be as honest and as fair as you can with them, and so you start answering questions.
The thing is, they ask these questions in a manner that benefits them, and it doesn’t benefit you. You think you’re just giving them information, but they are asking you those questions to help them and not to help you. It could be something as easily answered as this: “When is the first time that you saw the other vehicle that ran into you?” And your answer is, “Oh, I saw them just a moment before. It was like a flash and they crashed into me.” You’re being honest; you’re being helpful. That’s what most people say. The adjuster’s going to come back to you and say, “Oh, you didn’t see them until the last minute. Obviously, you weren’t paying attention. The wreck is your fault, not mine,” and they’re going to deny your claim or say that you are 50% at fault, and they’re going to lob off half of the value. Is that fair? Is it truthful? No. They are twisting your words when you were trying to help them.
Before you give any recorded statements or deal with an insurance adjuster, I advise you to talk to an attorney before you answer those questions. If you call Murphy & Murphy, we will tell you what you can expect and if you want to handle it on your own, you will be adequately prepared to deal with the insurance company. You must know what their goals are and what your goals are before you ever talk to them. If they call you and catch you off-guard, you may just be trying to help them, but you can end up hurting yourself, and you don’t want to do that.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured?
Most people have never been seriously injured in a car accident. It’s something completely new to them and they don’t know what to do. There are many facets, and the best advice that I can give you is to talk to an attorney early because they can help guide you through the process. You’re dealing with medical issues and legal issues, and you need to have someone who can advise you on the legal issues, so that you can concentrate on taking care of your health, getting better so you can get back to work and take care of your family.
The first thing you need to do if you’re involved in an accident is, if you’re at the scene of the accident, make sure that you get the immediate medical attention that you need. Get the EMTs to take you to the hospital and get the examination that you need, so that your health can be immediately taken care of, even if you don’t know how badly you were or were not hurt. You may not be bleeding, and you may not have any broken bones, but there may be things that are going on that need immediate medical attention. The first thing that you should do is make sure that you take care of your health, and that is getting transported by the ambulance to the hospital and getting the immediate emergency medical care that you need.
Once you get that, you need to follow up with your own doctors or whoever is recommended to you by the emergency room. Whatever they tell you, make sure that you follow that, and you get the appropriate medical care. Your main concern has to be your health, especially if there are very significant injuries involved. That is the most important thing. Also, get in touch with an attorney right away because they will do the investigation of the collision. There might be a lot of evidence that is needed and witnesses that need to be contacted to preserve the evidence, to preserve your case.
How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Attorney?
There are TV commercials running 24/7 for lawyers. There are billboards all over the place, and they all say the same thing. “We’re aggressive.” “No consultation fees.” “We will get you the settlement you deserve.” Everybody says their aggressive. Everybody has free evaluations. The insurance company thinks you deserve nothing. They don’t want to pay you anything. The insurance company is going to do anything that they can to get your case as low as possible or nothing. They are very suspicious of you.
When you’re evaluating an attorney, there are certain things that you have to do to make sure that you have the best attorney for your case, especially if you have a very serious or significant injury. You want a board certified personal injury specialist. That is somebody who has been certified by the State Bar of Nevada and the Nevada Justice Association. To get that board certification, you have to have years of experience. You have to have a certain number of trials. You have had to have passed a rigorous test and an investigation, and an evaluation to prove that you have the skill and experience to receive that board certification.
In addition to that, you want to make sure that you have a great relationship with your attorney. Here is the best way to evaluate your attorney. When you call up the law firm, do you get to talk to the attorney? Does that attorney spend time with you? Do you just go to an intake person and then you’re handed off to a case-handler, and all they want to do is set up an appointment, get you in to sign up, and you never actually talk to a lawyer? You need to have a personal relationship with your attorney. You need an attorney who cares.
If you have an attorney who has so many files and is so busy that they can’t even talk to you, and they don’t know who you are, you’re in trouble. You need an attorney who cares, who knows you and is going to take the time to fully develop your case so that you receive full and fair compensation. You’re not going to get that from a lawyer who’s too busy to even talk to you and all you do is deal with an intake person.
Here is the thing: don’t go with the first lawyer that you call. Don’t automatically go with the TV lawyer. Call a bunch of lawyers. Find out who spends the time with you, who answers your questions, and who you think really cares about you and will be doing the best job on your case. That’s how you know you have the best attorney for you and your case. You have to be comfortable with your attorney. You must have an attorney who cares.
What Should I Know When Dealing with Insurance?
The insurance adjusters that are calling you to get an early, recorded statement are not calling just to get the facts. What they want to do is get you on the phone (when you’re in pain and under medication) and ask you questions in a manner that benefit them. They’re not there to help you. They have an ulterior motive.
When they call, here’s what you need to do. If they’re calling to discuss the property damage, you can make the arrangements to get your car fixed, to get a rental vehicle and do what you need to do so that you can get your vehicle back and be able to drive. If they’re calling you to ask you about the facts, about how the crash happened or what your injuries are, tell them that at this time, you’re not comfortable going forward with it because you’re in pain, you’re under medication, or whatever the situation is. Don’t lie to them. You don’t need to be defensive. You can even tell them, “Well, I’ve been injured, and I want to talk to an attorney before I deal with you.” When you tell them that, they’ve got to leave you alone and your attorney can contact them.
If you’re receiving calls from an insurance adjuster and they are pressuring you to give them a recorded statement, before you do that, give me a call. I would be glad to tell you what they’re going to ask you, what you need to know to be prepared for that recorded statement, or I would be glad to represent you and to make sure that I am there with you when that recorded statement is being taken. The one thing that you need to know – and this is absolutely critical – is that the other guy’s insurance company is not there to protect your interest. They are there to save themselves as much money as they can, and they’re going to do it in any way that they can. That can include having private investigators follow you, tricking you into saying things, twisting your words, doing whatever they can to minimize their obligation to you.
You need to be on what I call level ground; an equal playing field. The only way that you can do that is with legal advice from someone who has the skill and experience of dealing with these insurance companies daily, which is what we do.
What If I’m Hit by an Uninsured Motorist?
There are reports out there from the state of Nevada that say as many as one in five drivers do not have insurance. That’s shocking, but that tells you that there is a significant number of people that, even though you’re supposed to have car insurance, are out there driving with no insurance. What happens if somebody runs into you that doesn’t have any insurance?
You should have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection on your policy. All of your insurance on your car protects other drivers in the event that you run into them, but there is one portion of a policy that is available where you protect yourself against all the other drivers that are out there, including the ones driving without insurance. You should contact your insurance agent and get uninsured/underinsured coverage to protect you from everybody else that’s out there.
What is Med Pay?
In Nevada, we don’t have PIP (personal injury protection) insurance; what we have is something that’s called Med Pay. Many people that come to Nevada are from other states and they have PIP. Med Pay means your insurance policy covers you for your medical expenses. Any time you’re involved in a collision and you have injuries, that policy can come into force and help you pay your medical expenses.
People need to know when you’re in a collision and you’ve been injured, and you need medical care, your health insurance should cover that. You want to make sure that your health insurance does cover that, but there are many instances where you will have out-of-pocket expenses. Some special circumstances include; chiropractic care, being out of network, or other treatment not covered by insurance. Med Pay will step in and pay your medical expenses in these special circumstances so that you’re not suffering further losses, in addition to not being able to go to work, and your car being ruined and damaged, and you’re having to pay for a rental car and things like that. If you have Med Pay or PIP, you want to be able to use it to protect yourself. It’s a good coverage to have.
Who Pays My Car Accident Medical Bills?
The insurance company for the guy that hit you is not going to pay your medical expenses. You call them and ask, “Are you going to reimburse me?” In the end, they will, but they’re not going to do it as you go along. What the insurance companies want is for you to be as financially strapped as possible so that you cave and settle your case for pennies on the dollar. Then they can just send you on your way and they’ve saved themselves a bunch of money.
The insurance companies are not out there to protect you; they’re looking out for their own interests. That is why you need to call a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through this process. If you sign your rights away early, you’re never going to have a chance to get compensated in a fair manner. Often, early on, you never know what the extent of your injuries are, so you have to get a full medical evaluation. You do not want to settle your claim before you know that you’re healed and back to the way you were before you were injured.
How Do I Determine Car Accident Case Value?
Back in the day, it was much easier than it is now to make that determination. Back then, the standard was three times the amount of your medical expenses is a typical settlement.
Ever since the economy crashed back in the early 2000s, and what we went through in Las Vegas when the economy crashed, the insurance companies didn’t get more fair with people. They knew people were hurting for money, so they substantially reduced the amount of money that they offered to people to settle their cases because they knew they needed cash and couldn’t hang out until they got all of their treatment; they needed money right away. Instead of stepping up to the plate and treating them fairly, the insurance companies drastically reduced what they would pay, and they’ve never increased it back up.
Now, oftentimes, they will not even offer you the amount of your medical bills. Imagine that. You have been in a crash, and there’s no question about liability. You have x amount of dollars in medical bills, and they come back and won’t even offer what those medical bills are. How is that fair? What are you going to do? The only thing you can do in a situation like that is call an attorney. Get some help. We hear about frivolous lawsuits all the time. You never hear about the frivolous actions of the insurance companies, but it happens every day.
Should I Take the First Insurance Settlement Offer?
When the insurance company approaches you with a quick, early, easy settlement, they are not doing that for your benefit. They are protecting themselves. Before you ever accept a settlement, call an attorney, and talk to them to make sure that it is in your best interest, because the insurance companies are not there to protect you. They’re looking out for their interests, not yours.
You need someone who has the experience of dealing with the insurance companies and evaluating these claims to make sure that it’s fair. If you call me and it is a fair resolution of your case, I will tell you that. I’ll give you that information for free! I’m not going to charge you a penny to do that. I’ll be glad to help you, but if it is not fair to you, I will tell you that also.
What is a Typical Car Accident Settlement Timeline?
There is a two-year statute of limitations, which means you have two years after the crash to file a lawsuit. That gives you enough time where you should be able to get the medical care and treatment that you need. The most important thing is to fully evaluate what your injuries are and make sure that you have gotten better and are able to get back to the way your life was before this crash. If it’s a very significant, serious injury, and you’re not able to get back to the state that you were in before the crash, we consider what it’s going to take to get the medical care, attention, and treatment that you need. Maybe for the rest of your life. How much is your income loss going to be for the rest of your life? Until we know all of that, we cannot resolve your case.
If it’s a very simple case, it could be resolved within a couple of months when you complete your treatment, but if it is a very serious injury and your care and treatment is going to last a long time, I can’t tell you how long it’s going to take. With many of the very serious and very significant injuries, your case might have to go to trial because the insurance companies do not want to pay you the full and fair value of your claim; they will fight it every step of the way. If that means for them to take it to trial, they will. In that case, it could take years to get it resolved.
What you need is a skilled and experienced attorney to step in and evaluate your claim, take you through the process, and make sure that your rights are protected.
What Are Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident?
After a car accident, it’s not just your car that has been injured. It’s not just you that has been injured. There are a multitude of damages that come along with a very serious car crash. There is property damage that includes the damage to your car, or your truck, or your vehicle. That needs to be paid for by the other driver’s insurance. Then you come to the damages that you have suffered. Typically, you will get what we all know as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is how badly you were hurt, what you have to go through to get your medical treatment, to go to all those doctor appointments, or if you have surgery. Then, in addition to that, there is how much time you have lost from work. You’re entitled to get repaid all of the money that you lost from not being able to go to work. If you’ve had out-of-pocket expenses for your medical care, whether it’s co-pays on prescriptions, co-pays on doctor appointments, co-pays for the hospital, co-pays for your surgery, whatever it is, you’re entitled to get reimbursed for that.
In addition, you are entitled to be paid for all of the damages that you are going to suffer into the future. If you’ve been seriously injured, it’s very likely that you are going to have pain, discomfort, disabilities that can go on for the rest of your life. You may have income loss or a loss of earning capacity that will go on into the future. You are entitled to recover all of that. You’re also entitled to get pain, suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, disability, etc., into the future. There are many facets to this. Oftentimes, people do not know all of the areas that they are entitled to compensation for or they just want to get a quick and easy resolution of it.
If you’ve been seriously injured, it is absolutely critical that you talk to a personal injury attorney who has years of experience to make sure that your case is properly evaluated and valued by the insurance company. If the insurance company is not going to step up to the plate, you need to have an attorney who is a trial lawyer, who will file a lawsuit and hold the insurance company to their responsibility to you, even if it means taking your case to trial.
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