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

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.

See also: Las Vegas Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer

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