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.

Distracted Driving

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

Drowsy Driving

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. 

Aggressive Driving

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:

  • Speeding
  • 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

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

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. 

What Damages Are Available in a Car Accident Claim?

In the aftermath of a car accident in Nevada, victims who plan to file personal injury claims should understand the various forms of financial compensation in such claims, including both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable losses and account for a substantial portion of damages in most car accident lawsuits and settlements. In accidents caused by negligence, victims are entitled to reimbursement for all financial losses related to the crash. 

This includes hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing medical treatments. Additionally, economic damages include compensation for property damage, including the costs to repair or replace the vehicle involved in the crash. Lost wages, both current and future, are also factored in to provide financial relief for income disruptions caused by the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Beyond tangible economic losses, non-economic damages address the intangible toll that an accident can take on a victim’s life. Under Nevada law, any losses that cannot be assigned an exact dollar figure may be sought under non-economic damages.

The available non-economic damages in a Nevada car accident lawsuit may include:

  • Pain and suffering – Serious car accident injuries often cause severe pain. Although medical expenses are included in economic damages, victims may also seek financial compensation for the physical pain they’ve gone through because of their injuries.
  • Emotional distress – A car accident is a traumatic experience that can result in serious mental injuries, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims of accidents caused by negligence deserve to be compensated for such emotional distress, which can have a major impact on their quality of life.
  • Disfigurement – Some car accident injuries result in scars and permanent injuries. While the cost of treatment is covered in economic damages, victims may also qualify for additional damages for disfigurement. These injuries do not carry a financial toll but can affect the victim’s quality of life.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – In accidents involving severe injuries, the victim may no longer be able to participate in certain activities they previously enjoyed. For example, an avid golfer who suffers a catastrophic shoulder injury may never be able to golf again. In such cases, the victim may recover non-economic damages for loss of enjoyment or quality of life.
  • Loss of consortium – Spouses of car accident victims may seek loss of consortium damages if their spouse’s injuries have affected their relationship. This includes loss of companionship, sexual relations, or the ability to have children. 

You can learn more about which non-economic damages you may qualify for and how much those damages may be worth by speaking with an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer.

How Can a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Help?

Many car accident victims may be aware that they should discuss their case with an experienced car accident lawyer. But what exactly does a car accident lawyer do and how can they help victims seek financial compensation?

Providing Legal Guidance

Navigating the legal complexities of a personal injury claim for a car accident can be overwhelming. However, an experienced car accident lawyer can act as a guiding force. They will help you understand your legal rights, the legal process, and potential outcomes. With their guidance, you can make more informed decisions throughout the process of seeking financial compensation for your injuries.

Thoroughly Investigating the Case

Car accident lawyers are adept in the art of investigation. They delve into the details surrounding an accident, scrutinize police reports, gather witness statements, and find and examine every piece of evidence relevant to your claim. These detailed investigations are designed to establish fault and build a compelling case on your behalf, which can reinforce your position when filing a personal injury claim.

Calculating Damages

Calculating the full extent of injury-related damages requires a nuanced approach, and skilled car accident lawyers excel in this area. A proficient car accident lawyer takes into account both economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain, suffering, emotional distress, and others. They draw on their experience in similar cases and a fair evaluation of the case to arrive at an accurate calculation that fairly reflects the harm suffered.

Recommending Medical Professionals

Car accident lawyers often have connections with local medical professionals and help their clients connect with them. They can recommend specialists who regularly treat patients with common car accident injuries. This not only aids in your recovery from your injuries but also helps you provide the medical documentation you’ll need to file a successful claim.

Negotiating a Settlement

Negotiation skills are essential for car accident lawyers. Although some personal injury claims go to court, most cases are resolved through negotiations with insurance companies. Lawyers leverage their experience and past negotiations with insurance companies to engage in fair and strategic settlement talks, with the aim of securing the best possible settlement offer without the need for a lengthy legal battle in court.

Representation in Court

When insurance companies refuse to offer a fair settlement during negotiations, the case may need to go to court. Your car accident lawyer can represent you in the courtroom. Their familiarity with court proceedings, rules of evidence, and persuasion skills become invaluable assets. Your lawyer will act as your advocate and passionately present your case to fight for the best possible outcome.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Your actions in the aftermath of a car accident can have a significant impact on your personal injury claim. Law enforcement and medical responders should be contacted immediately. Following all medical advice is essential for a comprehensive recovery. To maximize your chances of securing fair compensation, you should also strongly consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. 

Preserving evidence and documents is vital. Take photos at the scene, gather witness contact information, and hold on to any paperwork related to medical treatment and vehicle repairs. Organize these in one accessible place and retain correspondence with insurance companies.

In addition, it is advised to avoid posting about the accident on social media. These posts can be misconstrued and could potentially affect the claim process. To protect your case, it’s prudent to refrain from sharing accident-related information online until the case is resolved.

Las Vegas Car Accident FAQ

Over the years, we’ve accumulated the same questions asked by our clients. If you’re looking for more answers, please review the questions below or visit our Videos page.

If you still have unanswered questions, we invite you to contact us directly. We’re here for you.

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.

How Will My Car Be Repaired?

If your car was towed from the scene of the accident, you must make arrangements for the payment to the tow yard to recover your vehicle. Then you and/or your insurance company will make arrangements to have it taken to a repair shop that will prepare an estimate.

If you do not have insurance coverage for property damage to your vehicle, the insurance responsible for the accident will work with you to have your vehicle repaired. There are many repair shops, but only some repair shops have been approved by the insurance companies because their quality of work is above average. Make sure that whatever repair shop you use, the insurance company agrees to work directly with the repair shop so you do not have to pay the bill.

If you use your insurance (for a variety of reasons) to pay for the repairs, you will have to pay your deductible. If your insurance company is able to seek reimbursement from the other driver, they will obtain your deductible and reimburse you.

​How Will My Property Damage Be Settled?

The insurance company of the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying fair and reasonable charges for the repair of the vehicles damaged in the accident. If that person does not have insurance, then your insurance company may be responsible for the repairs to your car if you have property damage coverage. If you owe money on your car to a bank, chances are they require property damage coverage to protect their interest in the car in the event of an accident. In that case, your insurance company will repair your car. If you have further questions, you should talk to the attorney’s office or your insurance company.

​How Long Can I Keep the Rental Car?

During the time that your vehicle is being repaired, you are entitled to a rental car if the adverse driver has insurance. If you have to use your own insurance to repair your vehicle, you are entitled to a rental car if you have rental car coverage––your insurance agent can advise you if you have that coverage. The insurance company will pay for the rental car only so long as it takes to repair your vehicle. Typically, vehicles with moderate damage can be repaired in 7 to 10 days. In order to avoid a delay in obtaining a rental car, you should start the process with your insurance company immediately after the accident so that you have a vehicle to drive to your appointments, work, and the doctors’ offices.

Will an Underinsured/Uninsured Claim Raise My Insurance Premiums?

No. Because the accident was not your fault, the insurance company cannot raise premiums based on a covered claim. This applies only to automobile accidents and does not apply to other types of personal insurance.

How Are My Doctor’s Bills Paid after a Car Accident?

If you have health insurance, you should use that insurance to pay for your medical treatment from the accident. Most insurance companies will want to be repaid the amount they paid for your medical treatment. The insurance company, however, often will take a reduced reimbursement. This means that you get to keep more of the settlement.
If you do not have health insurance, doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and some surgical centers will treat you on a lien, which means they get paid when you get paid from your settlement.

A good attorney can help you find these providers. Because of the risk to the doctor, the cost of medical care on a lien is much more than the rate your insurance company will pay for doctors on their insurance plan. Hence, medical treatment on a lien often will result in less money being paid to the injured victims because a portion of their money is being used to pay for their healthcare treatment.

What Happens If I Still Have Pain After Treatment?

When you are discharged, you should be at maximum medical improvement. This does not mean you are pain-free. It simply means that the doctor can not help you recover any further. If you continue to have significant pain, you must advise your doctor and your attorney, because you may need to see a specialist.

The most important part of your claim is that you received proper medical attention for all of the injuries from the motor vehicle accident. This may require additional testing to diagnose other problems. You need to know every injury you sustained in the motor vehicle accident so that you can obtain proper medical treatment to protect you for the rest of your life and seek the maximum compensation for your claim.

How Long Should I Receive Treatment From The Doctor?

You should receive treatment from a doctor for as long as you are in pain and or the doctor feels that you will benefit from the treatment. Proper medical care for a certain duration will help you recover more quickly and, more importantly, reduce the potential for long-term chronic pain from the accident. In other words, most injuries from a car accident require a certain period of treatment to ensure that the injuries have sufficient time to heal before the doctor can confirm there is no permanent damage and release you. Once the doctor determines that you are at the maximum medical improvement from the treatment you received, the doctor will discharge you with instructions on to how to manage your treatments at home.

How Long Will My Case Take to Settle?

Claims are settled after a Demand is made on the insurance company for payment; a Demand must include sufficient information about the injuries to the victims to justify the maximum settlement possible. Claims take between 30 days and 60 days after you are discharged from your last doctor. Once we have all the relevant medical records, verification of lost income, or other necessary records, we prepare a Demand to the insurance company, which reviews the accident, course of treatment, and your injuries, and demands compensation for your injuries and losses.

The insurance company has 30 days to respond to a Demand. The insurance company must either: (1) offer a settlement or (2) request 30 additional days to evaluate the Demand. Once the insurance company has all the necessary information they will make an offer. If necessary, your attorney will make a counteroffer, and the process will continue until a settlement is agreed to by both sides.

Will I Be Compensated For Time Lost at Work?

If you were employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident, you may seek compensation for the time you lost from your job. Your claim for lost income is calculated at (1) the number of hours that you missed from work, multiplied by (2) your hourly rate. You need to be able to prove each element. If you were self-employed, your lost income is calculated at the reasonable value of the time you lost from work or actual losses established by reduced income during the period of your injuries from the motor vehicle accident. Under this process, you must exclude from your losses all other causes, such as vacation, reduced workforce, reduced market, recession, etc.

If you seek compensation for lost income, you must obtain verification from your employer. We can provide a form to be filled out by your employer where they signed under oath as to the losses you sustained while recovering from your injuries from the motor vehicle accident.

What Types of Insurance May Be Used to Pay Me?

Victims of motor vehicle accidents have many sources of insurance that may be responsible for paying them, and there is a priority of which insurance pays first. If the person who caused the accident has sufficient insurance for all injuries to all people hurt in the accident, that insurance is primarily responsible for paying money to each victim. If the driver at fault does not have sufficient insurance or no insurance, your own insurance company may be responsible for paying you money. Insurance coverage may come from many different relationships or situations; please make sure you discuss all available insurance coverage with your attorney.

If you seek compensation from your own insurance company, they cannot raise your insurance premiums if you are not at fault. This is called uninsured or underinsured coverage and is required to be offered to every person who seeks car insurance in Nevada. If you do not have this insurance, the insurance company must prove that you rejected this coverage in writing or they are obligated to pay you the minimum amount the state requires. Likewise, the insurance company must offer you medical payment coverage, which is like health insurance only you do not have to pay it back. The insurance company must prove that you declined this coverage in writing or they are obligated to pay you the minimum requirement of medical payment coverage.

Many people waive in writing these types of coverage because they believe it will save them money. Keep in mind that many people drive in Nevada without insurance and if you are in an accident and the person that caused the accident does not have insurance and you waived your underinsured or uninsured coverage, you may not be able to be compensated by insurance or your injuries.

How Long Will It Take To Get My Settlement Check?

After the insurance company has agreed to pay a specific amount in settlement, they require a written release to be signed by the victim before they will issue a check for settlement. Once the insurance company has the Release, generally they provide the check within 10 days (but they may take as long as 30 days). The check will be deposited and the bank is allowed 10 days to hold the check to ensure that it clears the account before they must release the funds for disbursements. All settlement checks go into an Attorney’s Trust Account and from that account checks are prepared for each person or entity that is paid from the settlement. The client receives a detailed written accounting of every dollar into and out of the Trust account from their settlement.

From discharge by your last treating physician to payment can be as quick as 30 days, or as long as 90 days, depending upon the insurance company, the cooperation from the client in signing necessary papers, and other factors. Your attorney should do everything possible to expedite this process—you should too.

Also, the liens for medical doctors or demand for reimbursement from the health insurance company should be addressed. This process generally begins at the time of discharge when all the medical bills or payments have been calculated. Again, the doctors and/or insurance companies can delay this process if they refuse to return phone calls or respond to a request for an accounting or reduction.

See also: Las Vegas Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer


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