Knowing what to do after a car accident can help to secure your right to financial recovery. The first priority is the safety of everyone involved. Check if you or anyone else has been injured and needs immediate medical attention. After seeking medical help for any injuries and making sure everyone involved is safe, you will need to take additional steps to protect your financial interests. While still at the scene of the accident, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, take photos of the damage, get contact information of any eyewitnesses, and call the police. The police will usually investigate the scene of accident if there are injuries. If the police do not come to the accident scene, you should file a police report.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Knowing what to do if you are in an auto accident helps you prepare for a successful injury claim. There are several important steps you should take to ensure your safety and protect your legal and financial interests:
- Check for injuries. The first thing to do after an accident is to check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 for emergency medical assistance.
- Move to a safe location. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe location to avoid obstructing traffic and causing further accidents.
- Gather information. Gather information and evidence at the scene of the accident. This includes exchanging information with the other driver involved in the accident, including his or her name, contact information, insurance company, policy number, and driver’s license number. You should also take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles and any injuries you or your passengers may have sustained.
- Contact the insurance company. Report the accident to the relevant insurance company as soon as possible. They can guide you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage.
- Consult with an attorney. To understand all options that you might have after an accident, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene of an Accident
As soon as you are able to after an accident, start gathering evidence. Evidence you may need to gather at the scene of the car accident includes:
- Contact information of the other driver involved in the accident
- Contact information of any witnesses, including names and phone numbers
- Photos of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles, the location of the accident, and any other relevant details
- The name and badge number of the police officer who responds to the accident, as well as the police report number
- Information about the other vehicle involved in the accident, including the make, model, and license plate number
- The name and phone number of both insurance companies and policy numbers
Take note of any other relevant details, such as traffic signals, road signs, or anything that may have contributed to the accident. After any accident, you will need to document as much information as possible about the accident, even if it seems minor at the time. All of this information will assist you if you need to file an insurance claim or take additional legal action.
When to File a Police Report
Call the police immediately after the accident! The police will usually investigate the scene of the accident if there are injuries. If the police do not come to the accident scene, you should file a police report immediately after being involved in any type of car accident. You will especially need to file a police report after a car accident if there was significant damage to property or if anyone involved in the accident suffered injuries. Some situations where filing a police report is particularly important include:
- If the accident involves injuries or fatalities
- If there is significant damage to property, including damage to your vehicle, other vehicles, or public property
- If the other driver is an uninsured or underinsured motorist
- If the accident is a hit-and-run accident
- If the other driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- If there is any disagreement between you and the other driver about who was at fault for the accident
- If the other driver is uncooperative, aggressive, or threatening
In general, victims of car accidents should call the police to file a report (the police report can also be done online in most places), particularly if they’re not sure about the severity of their injuries. Victims should also file a police report after a car crash involving alcohol-related accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, or accidents caused by cell phone use while driving. A police report can provide important documentation of the accident that can be useful in the event of an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Contacting the Insurance Company After an Accident
After a car accident in Nevada, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company, or the company representing the at-fault driver. You should call an attorney as soon as possible after the accident to assist you with the claims process so that we can ensure that fair questions are being asked, including the details of the accident, the date and time, the location, a description of what happened, and the treatment and injuries to date. He or she may also ask for information about the other driver involved, including his or her name, contact information, and the insurance company. Ultimately, the insurance company responsible for covering the crash will depend on who is at fault for the accident.
The responsible insurance company will likely ask for documentation to support your claim. This could include photos of the damage, a copy of the police report, and any medical records if you were injured in the accident. After you have filed your claim, direct all contact with the insurance company through your attorney. Your attorney will ensure that the process continues to move forward and help you avoid falling prey to any bad faith insurance tactics. You may need to provide additional information or answer more questions, which can also be done with the help of your attorney.
Once the insurance company has reviewed your claim, they might make a settlement offer to resolve your claim at a very early stage before you know the full extent of your injuries and damages. If you agree to the settlement offer, this will fully resolve your claim and you will not have the ability to re-open the claim. You should have an attorney review the offer to ensure that it is a fair offer, or you can have your attorney negotiate with the insurance company to help you get a better settlement. Almost always, it is in a claimant’s best interest to negotiate a settlement, rather than taking the insurance company’s initial offer.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover
Once you are done with your treatment for your injuries, if we are unable to reach a fair settlement with your insurance company, we may have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover more than the settlement amount that the insurance company might offer. A lawsuit, however, can also be riskier and more time-consuming than the settlement process. A car accident attorney can help you decide if you will be better off pursuing a lawsuit or settling with the insurance company.
A car accident lawsuit is more complex than simply filing a claim with the insurance company. A car accident lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim, and involves several steps. First, a car accident attorney will help you to draft and file a complaint that outlines your case, including a description of the accident, the damages you suffered, and the legal basis for your claim. Once the complaint is complete, it must be filed with the appropriate court. Then, the insurance company will be notified and have the opportunity to respond.
Once the lawsuit begins, you and your attorney will take part in the discovery process, set a court date, and secure any witnesses or evidence. You may reach a settlement with the other party at any point during this process. If no settlement is reached, however, the case will go to trial. If your case does go to trial, a jury will decide your case after being presented with evidence from both parties and receiving instructions from the judge.
How Much Will You Recover in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Similar to other personal injury claims, the amount of compensation you receive will primarily depend on the severity of your injuries and the actions that led to the crash. You may be entitled to economic damages for things such as medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and property damage. In addition, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, psychological trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life. If the other driver acted egregiously, you may be entitled to punitive damages as well. A Nevada car accident attorney can help you determine what compensation you are likely to receive.