With a population of nearly 650,000 and approximately 30 million tourists visiting each year, Las Vegas is a city with plenty of traffic. Unfortunately, this means that car accidents are common here. Many of these car accidents are preventable and only occur due to the negligence of one or more drivers involved in the crash.
When a negligent driver causes a car accident and other innocent motorists are injured, those victims may have grounds for legal action against the negligent driver and their insurance provider. A personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim can help car accident victims recover financial compensation for all economic and non-economic damages related to their injuries.
If you have recently been injured in a car accident caused by negligence, the team of experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyers at the Cottle Firm is here to help you recover the financial support you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.
How Is Fault Determined in Las Vegas Car Accidents?
Nevada is an “at-fault” insurance state, which means that the insurance companies for all drivers involved in a crash conduct investigations to determine who was at fault for the crash. The insurance provider of the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the other driver’s medical expenses and other damages.
While each car accident investigation varies somewhat, most investigations involve the following steps:
- Obtaining and reviewing a police crash report
- Reviewing medical records for injuries suffered in the crash
- Interviewing any witnesses
- Looking over photos from the scene of the crash
- Inspecting the vehicle for damage and compiling repair cost estimates
When Can You Sue For a Car Accident in Nevada?
The state of Nevada follows a legal principle called comparative negligence (also known as shared fault), meaning that more than one driver can be assigned a percentage of fault for the role they played in the crash. You may only seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim if you were less than 50 percent at fault for the crash.
If the court determines that you were partially at fault for the crash, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit as long as the other driver was deemed more than 50 percent responsible. However, the amount of financial compensation available to you will be adjusted based on your percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say that a jury determines you suffered a total of $100,000 in losses due to injuries suffered in the crash. However, you were also determined to be 20 percent responsible for the crash. Your total award would then be reduced by 20 percent, to $80,000 in damages.
Common Forms of Negligence in Car Accidents
Several negligent driving behaviors can cause an accident. Even responsible drivers are at risk of getting into an accident if they happen to encounter a negligent driver on the road. Here is an overview of some of the most common negligent causes of car accidents in Las Vegas.
We all must maintain our complete focus on the road and our surroundings to drive safely. Distracted driving makes our roadways more dangerous for all other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
If a driver causes an accident due to distracted driving, they can be considered negligent and anyone else injured in that accident may be able to recover financial compensation from the negligent driver.
Smartphone use is the most common form of distracted driving, but anything that diverts your attention away from the road qualifies as a distraction. Other common forms of distracted driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Using the radio or navigation system
- Talking to passengers
Most of us are well aware of the dangers of drunk driving, but driving while sleepy or fatigued can be just as dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowsiness impairs your ability to pay attention to the road, slows down your reaction time, and affects your decision-making abilities. All of these effects greatly increase the risk of getting into a car accident.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Although the dangers of drunk driving are well-known, countless motorists continue to drive under the influence. If you were injured after getting hit by a drunk driver in Las Vegas, you have legal rights. You can file an insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation for the various difficulties you face as a result of your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Failure to Follow Traffic Laws
Traffic laws are put in place to keep our roadways safe. When a motorist violates a traffic law and causes an accident because of this violation, they may be considered negligent and held liable for damages.
For example, if you were driving and another driver crashed into your vehicle after running a red light, you would have a case for a personal injury lawsuit against that driver and their insurance provider.
Traffic law violations are among the most common forms of negligence in car accident cases. Other common violations our Las Vegas car accident lawyers see in our cases include speeding, illegal turns, and failure to yield.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Aggressive driving often manifests when a motorist has feelings of “road rage”, but some motorists exhibit aggressive driving behaviors when in a rush, stressed out, or for no apparent reason.
Some common aggressive driving behaviors that often lead to car accidents in Las Vegas include:
- Frequent lane-changing
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Blocking other vehicles from passing or changing lanes
- Driving on the sidewalk, shoulder, or road median
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident victims may suffer from a wide range of injuries, from relatively minor injuries that heal within a matter of days to permanently disabling or fatal injuries.
Head and Neck Injuries
The strong impact of a car accident often results in serious head and neck injuries. Some of the most common examples include whiplash, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries.
Whiplash symptoms may include pain, numbness and tingling sensations, difficulty moving the head or neck, and muscle spasms. These symptoms are often delayed, sometimes not surfacing until several days after the crash.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries share many of the same symptoms, such as memory issues, mood changes, pain, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.
Back injuries are common in all types of car accidents but especially in rear-end collisions. Some of the most common back injuries suffered in car accidents include:
- Slipped or herniated discs – This injury occurs when a vertebra becomes displaced and often causes severe pain.
- Ruptured discs – An extremely painful injury in which vertebrae break open.
- Nerve damage – Nerves can become pinched during impact, resulting in pressure, discomfort, and possibly severe pain. Some nerve damage is also permanent.
- Paralysis – Severe spinal cord injuries can cause full or partial paralysis.
Internal injuries, such as broken bones and internal bleeding, are common in all types of car accidents. While broken bones typically have obvious symptoms, internal bleeding is often missed and may not show symptoms until hours or even days after the crash. This is why it is vital to seek medical attention after any car accident, regardless of whether you have noticed any injury symptoms.
Emotional and Mental Injuries
Car accidents are traumatic events that can cause severe mental and emotional injuries. For example, victims who suffered serious physical injuries often also suffer from pain, suffering, and mental distress in the form of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions. These emotional and mental injuries are eligible for the same financial compensation as physical injuries.
Las Vegas Car Accident FAQ
How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Lawsuit in Nevada?
Nevada has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident claims and other types of personal injury lawsuits. In some car accident cases, the full extent of the injuries may not be immediately apparent following the crash. But in general, it is best to file the insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit as soon as the extent of your injuries is known.
If you are unsure of whether you have grounds for a lawsuit or when you should file your lawsuit, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide legal guidance. At the Cottle Firm, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys can help calculate the full damages you face as a result of your accident and determine how much financial compensation to pursue in a lawsuit against the negligent driver and their insurance company.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer For a Car Accident Injury Claim?
While you are free to go through the insurance claims process on your own, remember that insurance companies are businesses that prioritize their profits above all else. The insurance company will likely do everything it can to offer the lowest settlement possible, even if that amount is unfair based on the damages you have suffered.
The experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at the Cottle Firm have years of experience navigating the insurance claims process and filing personal injury lawsuits against negligent drivers and their insurance providers. We can help you negotiate with the insurance company and take further legal action by filing a lawsuit if the settlement amount does not cover your damages.
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