Each year in Nevada, thousands of people sustain injuries in car accidents. For example, the state Department of Transportation reported 22,285 injury-causing accidents in one recent year, which resulted in injuries to more than 34,000 people.
If you have suffered an injury in a Nevada car accident, keep the following tips in mind to protect your health, safety, and right to pursue compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
Do Not Refuse Medical Treatment
After an accident, get a medical evaluation even if you do not feel injured. Do this for your own safety, because several potentially serious injuries may present with delayed symptoms, including:
- A concussion or blood clot on the brain. Either of these conditions may present with a headache that appears days after the accident.
- Whiplash symptoms may also appear a day or more after the accident, with symptoms such as neck or shoulder pain or stiffness.
- Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the back or damaged vertebrae often appear as delayed lower back pain.
- Internal bleeding, which could show up late as abdominal pain or swelling, along with deep bruising, dizziness, and fainting.
- Damage to the cervical column or spinal column, which often features delayed symptoms of numbness in the arms or hands.
- A traumatic brain injury may be suspected if you suffer changes in personality or physical function, impaired memory, problems with vision or hearing, or depression.
- Post traumatic stress disorder is common after a motor vehicle accident and can present with late-blooming psychological symptoms including flashbacks or nightmares. Children are particularly susceptible to PTSD after an accident.
In addition to catching some of these serious, delayed-symptom injuries, a medical evaluation is also necessary if you plan to file a personal injury claim against another driver who caused the accident. The records generated by seeking that treatment will constitute powerful evidence of the connection between the accident and your injury.
Start an Accident File
Accidents and injuries generate piles of records that can prove useful in proving a claim for damages after a car accident injury. It is important to keep copies of all paperwork related to your injuries or expenses, including:
- Medical bills, lab reports, and papers mentioning your diagnosis as well as information about your treatment
- The accident report that the responding police officer completed with a narrative as to how the accident occurred.
- Any repair bills for damage to your vehicle.
- A copy of your average earnings before the accident and documentation of any work you were required to miss due to being too injured to work or being required to miss work to attend medical appointments.
- A journal of any pain you have as well as other psychological impacts you endure due to your injuries.
- Photos of the accident scene and your visible injuries.
- The names and contact information of anyone who was involved in or witnessed the accident.
Avoid a Quick and Dirty Settlement
Insurance companies are in business to make money. One of the ways they do that is by convincing victims who were injured in accidents caused by their insured to accept a quick and low settlement offer.
They count on the victim’s vulnerability in the days and weeks after an accident, and on the victim not having the experience and know-how to calculate the full extent of potential damages and expenses that the insurance company should pay. Instead, the insurance company will offer to cover a much smaller amount, hoping the car accident injury victim will take the money and, in exchange, give up valuable legal rights.
A fair settlement is one that encompasses all of the expenses you face, which is something that takes time, effort, and (most of all) the guidance of an experienced car accident attorney to calculate.
Accident victims should also avoid making comments to others in the accident, witnesses, or insurance carrier representatives. After an injury accident that is not your fault, do not apologize or otherwise suggest fault or someone might construe it as an official statement and that can result in a lower settlement offer.
Speak to an Experienced Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer is a type of civil litigator who provides legal representation to those who are injured in accidents that have been caused by someone else’s careless or reckless behavior. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, which is a time for you to explain the details of your case and to get answers to the legal questions you have. It is also a time for you and the lawyer to each consider if it would be in the best interests of your case for you to hire him or her to represent you.
In addition to legal guidance, a personal injury lawyer provides important services to clients, including:
- Establishing the value of your case, which is how much compensation you will demand from the other driver’s insurance policy, based on the severity of your injuries, the medical and other out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred, and how the injuries have impacted your life.
- Investigating your case to uncover all potential sources of liability and insurance resources to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Obtaining statements from medical and accident experts as to the long-term prognosis for someone with your type of injuries.
- Absent a fair settlement offer, preparing for litigation. This includes the timely filing of a personal injury lawsuit, the deposition of witnesses, the selection of a jury, attendance at all pre-trial conferences and hearings, courtroom representation, and continued representation after a verdict is rendered in the collection of your settlement and in the course of any appeals to the verdict that are filed.
Obtaining a fair settlement for your car accident injury claim can take time and effort. Hiring an experienced car accident injury attorney, and then having patience as the attorney pursues a resolution of your case, is often the best way to make the most of your claim.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101