Las Vegas Car and Auto Accidents
Car accidents can be jarring events and even if you think you know what to do at the scene of a car accident now, you may forget in the moment, which is why it’s always good to refresh yourself on the things you should and shouldn’t do at the scene and after a car accident. If you are ever in a car accident and do not know how you should handle things, remember to put everyone’s health and safety first and then call the police as soon as you are able. Once the police are on their way, feel free to call us if you have any questions or need our help. We Can offer support and make sure you’re treated as you should.
The things to do (and to avoid doing) after a car wreck can fall into three areas:
What To Do At The
Scene Of A Car Accident
If you are at the scene of a wreck and would like the immediate advice of an injury attorney, call SJW now at (702) 291-8007.
Check To Make Sure Everyone Is Ok
The very first thing to do after any type of auto accident is to check on the health and safety of everyone involved. If you are seriously injured but do not realize it, it may complicate the situation and worsen your injuries. So, before you do anything else, take a moment to carefully check yourself for any injuries. Then check on any other people in your vehicle.
Check On Your Vehicle
Next, if you are able, you should see if your vehicle is in any immediate danger. For example, look for signs of fire and make sure your vehicle is not at risk of being hit again. Before you get out of your car, make sure it is safe to do so. If there are oncoming vehicles, it may be safer to stay put and call for assistance from your car. If it is safe to get out, make sure your vehicle is turned off and the hazard lights are on.
Always Call The Police
Always call the police and, if you believe you have sustained any injuries, you should request medical assistance. This is true even if the car accident is just a “fender bender” and any injuries appear minor. In fact, Nevada law requires drivers involved in a vehicle crash to report the accident to the police and a police report can be very helpful in establishing what happened, who is responsible, and who witnessed the wreck.
Do Not Let Anyone Convince You To Not Call The Police
Often, the person responsible may offer to pay to have your vehicle repaired to avoid “going through the insurance company,” and act like calling the police is not needed. This is especially true when the damage appears to be minor. They may even claim that the police will not respond or that calling the police is overreacting – call the police anyway. It is not uncommon for the person who caused a car accident to change their story after they leave the scene of the wreck. If fact, they may go from admitting it was their fault to blaming the victim.
Do Not Let Anyone Convince You To Not Seek Medical Treatment
Do not let anyone talk you out of requesting an ambulance or seeking medical treatment. If you believe that you or someone else may have been hurt, you should always request medical assistance. This is true even if any injuries seem minor, as the adrenaline the body often produces right after a car wreck can mask how bad an injury really is. Misjudging the severity of an accident-related injury is common and because people may not feel pain immediately, or because people simply hope the pain will go away on its own, a lot of people do not think they need to see a doctor after an accident. Avoid this common mistake and seek medical care as soon as possible after being in a car accident. Letting a doctor or other medical professional assess the extent of your injuries is the best way to know how injured you really are. Also, many common types of injuries people sustain in a car accident may not be felt for several days, such as injuries to the neck and back, like whiplash. If you experience these types of injuries, do not wait to have them seen by a doctor. Again, they may be worse than you think. It is also important to understand that if you delay in seeking medical treatment, the other driver’s insurance company may try to take advantage of your attempt to let your injuries resolve on their own. They often claim people who wait to get treatment were not really hurt.
Once you have checked on everyone involved, called the police, and requested any needed medical assistance, the next step is to gather information and evidence. First, if the vehicles came to a stop in a way that blocks traffic or creates a hazard, it may be necessary to move them. But, if they cannot safely and easily be moved, it is not necessary to do so. Simply wait for the police to arrive and let them move the vehicles to safety. However, before the vehicles are moved, document the crash and how the vehicles came to rest by making a video and/or taking as many pictures as you safely can. Try to take pictures that show where the vehicles are in the street and how close they are to one another. This can usually be accomplished by taking photos that are far enough away such that the entire area where the crash occurred can be seen, including any buildings, street signs, etc., visible in the background. If you can safely do so, also try to document the damage to the vehicles, again by taking photos and videos of the damaged vehicles. If possible, take photos of the entire vehicle and up-close photos of the damage.
Talk To Witnesses
Next, if there are bystanders, ask if they witnessed the car crash. If so, politely ask for their contact information. If a police officer has arrived, you should also notify him of any potential witnesses. He can then include their name and contact information in the police report. Also ask the names of any responding officers and ask when a copy of the police report will be available.
Do Not Take Responsibility For The Crash
You will also want to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. When speaking with the other driver, or anyone else at the scene, do not apologize. A lot of people apologize as a natural response to a car accident, often meaning that they are simply sorry that the car wreck occurred. However, the other driver and their insurance company may attempt to use this polite response as an admission that you caused the wreck. It is also best to avoid discussing liability with anyone at the scene. While you will need to carefully describe what happened to the police officer, you should avoid discussing the crash and who is responsible with the other driver or anyone else at the scene. And do not admit fault, even if the other driver or witnesses accuse you of being the cause of the wreck. The cause of a car accident can be very complicated, and the other driver and/or witnesses may not understand who is actually responsible.
What To Do Shortly After The Accident
Get Medical Care & Follow Instructions
In the first several days immediately following a car accident, your health is still the most important thing for you to take care of. If you went to an emergency room or urgent care center directly after the wreck, the doctor there may have instructed you to follow up with another doctor, often your primary care doctor. Do so right away, and if you were injured but have not yet seen a doctor at all – do not wait any longer. Your injuries could be serious and the other driver’s insurance company may try to use any delay in your care against you. If you are not sure how to continue with your medical treatment after a car accident, give us a call. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Paying For Medical Services
One common question our clients have is who will pay for the medical treatment they need after a car wreck. While the driver who caused the crash, and their insurance, are responsible for your medical bills, they do not typically pay them as you go. Instead, people injured in a car wreck usually use a combination of their health insurance and liens to pay for any needed medical treatment. Liens give the doctors who treat people hurt in a car accident the right to be paid at the resolution of the injured person’s case. This allows people hurt in car accidents to get the treatment they need, including surgeries, without having to come out of pocket at the time of the treatment while also helping to ensure the doctors and other medical providers will be compensated for their services.
Do Not Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
In the first few days after a car wreck, you will likely be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. Talking to the other driver’s insurance company is another common mistake. Understandably, many people believe they have to talk with the other driver’s insurance company or that they cannot get their car repaired until they do. This is not true. You are not required to talk with the other driver’s insurance company after a car accident. Such insurance companies often contact accident victims to request a recorded statement. However, they can, and often do, try to use this statement against you after you have made a claim.
Report The Crash If You Have Not Already
Another thing to be aware of in the days following a car accident is that if you called the police and they did not come or if you left the scene without calling the police, Nevada law still requires you to report a car accident within ten (10) days of when the crash occurred. The required form is called the Report of Traffic Crash and can be found here.
Do Not Post About Your Accident On Social Media
If you were just in a car accident, do not discuss, mention, or post anything related to your injuries, the damage to your car, or the crash, including pictures, on social media. After a car accident, it can be tempting to share your story with your friends and family on various social media platforms. However, doing so can seriously harm your case. Lawyers and insurance companies may be prowling your profile, looking for any posts, comments or photos that they can use to try and create doubt about how the car accident occurred or how injured you were. Even if there is an honest explanation as to why the posted picture or comment is not inconsistent with the injuries you are claiming, the other driver’s insurance company will still try to use it against you and it could seriously hurt your case. This means avoiding not just posts about the accident and your injuries, but also anything that they can try to claim contradicts or undermines you. For example, when someone posts a photo of a seriously injured person who is, for example, out with their family, the photo is unlikely to show if that person is in a lot of pain and discomfort, or that it is the first time they have left the house in weeks due to their injuries. In fact, when taking a photo, most people try to briefly mask their pain by putting on a smile, so their discomfort is not captured in the photo. However, when such a photo is posted on social media, the insurance company may claim it shows the person is out having fun and not really hurt. It is also important to understand that simply because a profile is set to private does not mean the insurance companies cannot see what is being posted. They are sometimes still able to see the user’s posts. In other words, a private post is not an invisible post. The best practice is to simply limit the posts you make until your claim or case is resolved.
What To Do Until Your Car Accident Claim
Or Case Is Resolved
Follow All Care Recommended By Your Doctor
One of the most important things to do in the weeks and months following a car accident is to make sure you continue to get the medical care recommended by your doctors. The first and most important reason for doing this is to help ensure you have the best chance at a full recovery. Going to follow up visits and getting any recommended testing done also helps to document the injuries you suffered in the crash. Even if your doctor or other medical provider releases you from care, if you continue to have symptoms, you should return for further evaluation. Also, if there are gaps in your medical treatment, the other driver’s insurance company may try to use this against you, such as by claiming you were not truly injured or as a reason to make a lower offer. So, if your primary care physician refers you for further testing or to physical therapy, it is very important that you go. If an appointment cannot be kept because of transportation or other issues, you should try and reschedule.
If you do not, the other driver’s insurance company or their attorney may argue that if the person was “really” injured and in pain, and was limited in their activities by their injuries, then that person would want to get well and would follow all of their doctor’s recommendations. Also, if a lawsuit must be filed and there is a significant gap in treatment, the attorneys for the insurance company and other driver may claim that the gap in treatment was because you had recovered and that none of the treatment after that was really needed.
Get Your Car Repaired & Let Insurance Cover It
Getting your car repaired after an accident can be a frustrating process and it can be difficult to know where to even begin. However, knowing a few things about how the process works and what your options are can make it easier and faster. It can also help ensure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance companies and avoid mistakes that can hurt your claim. One such mistake to avoid is the temptation to try and skip the entire repair process. We usually see this in one of two ways, clients who want to make the repairs themselves and those who want to sell or trade their vehicle in. However, the other driver’s insurance company needs to be allowed to see your vehicle before you make any changes to it or get rid of it. If they are not given this opportunity, they may use it to deny your claim against the other driver.
Find Out If You Have Coverage
The first thing to do when starting the process of getting your car repaired after an accident is to find out if you have collision coverage on your vehicle. If you are not sure, just call your insurance company and ask. They are required to let you know. If you have this type of insurance coverage through your own policy, you can have your vehicle repaired through your insurance. This coverage protects against damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision, regardless of who is at fault.
This is important because it allows you to begin the process of getting your vehicle repaired or replaced right away. If the other driver is at fault, your insurance company may have a legal right to seek reimbursement from the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company for payments made to you under this coverage.
Contact Your Las Vegas
We love this city and its residents. If you have any questions related to a recent accident, please call anytime or stop by our office. We are always happy to help and hope we can do our part to ease your stresses through this trying time. If you’d like to learn more about what you should do further down the road after a car accident like what to do regarding social media, and how to handle getting transportation while your car is getting repaired. Visit our other car accident-related pages.