What Are the Steps Involved in Settling a Car Accident Claim?
Suffering serious injuries in a car accident can be a life-altering experience. You might be aware that a settlement can provide financial relief for your injuries, but the process of obtaining it can be complex and unclear. Car accident settlements involve negotiations with insurance companies to agree on a compensation amount for the injuries and damages you have sustained. This compensation typically covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs. It’s crucial to understand that the settlement process can vary based on the specifics of each case, and navigating it effectively often requires the expertise of a Nevada personal injury attorney.
An experienced attorney can guide you through the intricacies of the legal process, help in accurately valuing your claim, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. They can also assist in gathering necessary evidence, such as medical records and witness statements, to strengthen your claim. Furthermore, an attorney can advise you on the feasibility of accepting a settlement offer or proceeding to trial, depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you have specific questions about your accident or your claim, or if you are unsure about how to proceed, contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible is a wise step. They can provide personalized advice and representation, ensuring your rights are protected and that you pursue the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and losses.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident in Nevada
A personal injury claim allows you to obtain compensation for the financial losses you face as a result of your accident. Unlike damage to your vehicle, which falls under a different section of most policies, personal injury claims include bodily injury and the expenses associated with it. In some cases, it can take up to six months after your accident to fully predict what your recovery will look like. An attorney cannot guarantee the results of your car accident claim.
Most victims, however, claim:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages due to those injuries
- Lost earning potential, if the injury forces you to leave your previous profession
- Pain and suffering
Understanding the statute of limitations is critical in personal injury claims. This law sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit after a car accident, and it varies by state. Missing this deadline can mean forfeiting your right to compensation. It’s important to consult an attorney soon after your accident to ensure your claim is timely and to understand your rights for recovering damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Consulting a Las Vegas auto injury law firm before filing your claim can help you understand your rights and the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Negotiating the Best Settlement with Insurance Companies
Once the insurance company completes its investigation, you will often receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. Often, the insurance company will send an accident victim a settlement offer shortly after the accident itself. This offer, however, might not reflect the full compensation you deserve. Instead, it might represent the insurance company’s attempt to minimize financial liability as much as possible.
The insurance company may attempt to:
The insurance company may claim, after its investigation, that you caused some or all of the accident, which minimizes its financial liability for your injuries and other expenses related to the accident.
Minimize the Terms of the Policy
The greater the extent of your injuries and, therefore, the greater the compensation you ask for in your claim, the more the insurance company may attempt to minimize the compensation you receive. The insurance company must disclose the full policy to an attorney; however, your attorney must ask for that information and review the policy to understand the compensation it entitles you to after your accident.
Disprove Your Claims About Your Injuries
The insurance company may attempt to claim that your injuries do not impose the limitations on your life that you initially claimed. They may investigate your daily activities, including checking your social media posts and evaluating your capability to complete work and home responsibilities.
Once you receive a settlement offer, you should discuss it with your attorney. You can choose to either accept the offer or continue negotiating. You may need to go through multiple rounds of negotiation before arriving at a fair offer that suits both you and the insurance company.
When Is Mediation or Litigation Necessary in Car Accident Claims?
Mediation is a voluntary process that can help resolve a car accident claim. It’s often most helpful when both parties agree on the need for the claim but disagree on the amount of compensation. Mediation can be less expensive and quicker than litigation. However, it’s not always the solution.
Some situations where litigation may be necessary include:
- The insurer denies the claim or rejects fair offers
- The insurer claims the victim shares the fault
- The liable party has resources but no insurance coverage
Mediation In Car Accident Claims
Mediation is a legal dispute resolution process in Nevada that involves a neutral third party. The mediator works with both parties to find common ground and reach a settlement. Mediation is typically non-binding.
In a car accident case, mediation can be used to settle injury cases before trial. The mediation session includes:
- Both parties
- Their lawyers
- A neutral mediator
The mediator is not a judge. If an agreement is reached, the settlement is received without a judge or jury trial. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial.
A Las Vegas car accident lawyer can help increase the chances of a successful mediation by effectively representing your interests and negotiating on your behalf.
Litigation in Car Accident Cases
In Nevada, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. This means that if you wait longer than two years to take action, you may not be able to seek compensation for your losses.
Some factors that can affect how much compensation is paid include:
- The severity of injuries
- The likelihood of lifetime disability
- Shared fault
- Insurance policy limits
- Presence of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- Multiple victims
- Legal limits on punitive damages
Two types of damages that can be recovered from a car accident are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are sometimes called actual damages.
In 2022, the average car accident settlement in Nevada was around $14,000–$15,000 for accidents with physical injuries. For accidents with no injuries, the average settlement was around $3,000–$4,000.
How Should I Document My Car Accident Injury & Recovery?
Here are some ways to document a car accident in Nevada:
- Take photos and videos. Document the crash scene, injuries, road conditions, weather, surroundings, and property damage. Also, take photos of the vehicles and other drivers involved.
- Get contact information. Collect the names, contact information, and insurance information for the other drivers and witnesses.
- File a police report. File a police report and report the accident to your insurance company.
- Keep a recovery journal. Track your injuries, how you feel each day, and your medical appointments.
In Nevada, car accident injuries are considered personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for these claims is two years.
The Process of Legal Investigation & Liability Identification in Personal Injury Claims
Once you contact an attorney, the attorney will begin investigating your accident. The liable party’s insurance company will also investigate the accident and your injuries. This may include:
- Looking over any video footage of the accident
- Listening to witness statements
- Going over your report of the accident
- Looking over your medical records and statements from your doctor regarding your injuries and your likelihood of making a full recovery
- Evaluating the damage to your vehicle
- Checking the police report
The insurance company may try to limit its financial liability as much as possible. Its investigators may attempt to pin liability for the accident on someone else—often by shifting some or all of the blame to you. Having an attorney on your side can help prevent any problems in the investigation. A Las Vegas car accident injury lawyer will work to gather evidence on your behalf.
An attorney may also identify other parties that share liability for the accident. For example, you may discover that the vehicle manufacturer or some of its parts, as in a tire blowout accident on a new tire, shares liability for the accident.
In the case of a commercial driver, the driver’s employer might also share liability. By identifying these parties who share liability for your accident, an attorney can help you pursue compensation from all liable parties and often increase the compensation you receive as a result. Your attorney may advise you to wait until the completion of his investigation before filing a personal injury claim, especially if early signs point to multiple parties sharing liability in the accident.
Seeking Fair Compensation? Let Us Help with Your Car Accident Claim
Dealing with car accident claims in Nevada can be complex, but Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC is here to help. Whether you’re impacted by another’s failure to yield or disputing liability, our attorneys offer confidential consultations to navigate your claim effectively. We focus on thoroughly analyzing your case to enhance your financial settlement potential. Reach out to us today for skilled guidance and dedicated advocacy in securing the compensation you rightfully deserve.