As a statewide population, Nevadan suffered 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people in motor vehicle accidents in 2014, the last year for which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has made that data available. The situation has not improved since then. According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada saw 893 fatal crashes from 2015 through 2017, and 63,156 injury crashes in the same period.
Nevada motor vehicle accident victims sustain various injuries, from minor to catastrophic, depending upon the circumstances of the crash. In this blog, we discuss the varied causes of car accidents in Nevada, and what you should do if you get into an accident in which you or someone you know sustains a serious, life-threatening injury.
Causes of Accidents
- Illness and fatigue. Drivers who take the wheel while feeling under the weather or overtired risk making poor decisions that can cause collisions. Occasionally, a driver might even suffer a medical emergency behind the wheel. But merely feeling foggy-headed, because of a lack of sleep, from battling a bad cold, or from having taken medicine, can impair judgment and motor coordination.
- Aggressive driving. Most drivers do not think of themselves as “aggressive” or “reckless.” But the truth of the matter is, almost everyone with a driver’s license has driven at unsafe speeds, run stop lights, and ignored traffic signs. Any of these bad decisions can easily result in a major collision that causes devastating injuries or worse.
- Poor maintenance. A driver who does not keep his or her vehicle maintained properly risks causing an accident. Poor maintenance leads to blown tires, frozen steering, ineffective brakes, and other mechanical failures that suddenly and dangerously raise the risk of an accident.
- Distracted driving. These days, drivers are frequently in a hurry and try to do more than one thing at a time. Anything a driver does that takes away from the visual, manual, and cognitive tasks necessary for driving safely constitutes a dangerous distraction. Common distractions behind the wheel that lead to accidents include talking or texting on the phone, eating, putting on makeup, reading a book, turning to talk to kids in the backseat, turning to look at something outside the car (such as an accident), and fiddling with the radio.
- Driving under the influence. A person who is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, any chemical substance, or prescription drugs, whether prescribed or not, will suffer from dulled senses and decreased reaction times. These impairments frequently lead to catastrophic accidents and tragedies.
What to Do After an Accident in Which Someone Gets Injured
If you are involved in, or witness, a motor vehicle accident in which someone sustains an injury, take the following steps if you can do so safely:
- Call 911. The dispatcher will ask you about your condition. If you can move around without causing yourself pain, check on the others impacted by the accident. Ask them if they are okay. Relay what they tell you to the dispatcher so that he or she can send appropriate first responders to the scene.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to take photos from a distance and all angles and some close-up pictures of the damage to the vehicles. Keep your close-ups far enough away so that someone who sees the photo can tell what they are looking at.
- Get the other drivers’ contact information, including their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses.
- Write down the other drivers’ registration and insurance information.
- Get the name and phone number of any witnesses.
- Do not leave the scene until the police tell you it is okay to leave, unless you need immediate medical attention. If that is the case, let the EMTs check you out first. The last thing you need to do is to cause another accident because your injuries make driving dangerous—if your vehicle drives.
If you did not get transported to the hospital from the accident scene, get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not “feel” injured, you should let medical professionals check you over for signs of injuries that might take awhile to show symptoms (such as concussions and more severe brain injuries).
Then, contact an experienced Nevada motor vehicle accident attorney. It is not a “sure thing” that you will have the right to seek compensation from others involved in your accident, but the only way to know for sure is to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Working With Insurance Companies After an Accident
In most cases, getting into a car accident means you will have to have some amount of interaction with an insurance company. For instance, you will have to notify your own auto insurance carrier about any damage to your vehicle, and you (or your doctor) will also likely have contact with your health insurance carrier.
Be careful in these interactions not to say anything that might suggest you were “at fault” for your accident, or that minimizes the nature or extent of your injuries. Just state the facts.
If someone else’s insurance company contacts you, watch out. The only reasons an insurance company for someone else would reach out to you are either to (a) try to pin blame for the accident on you; or (b) try to minimize their own financial exposure to the accident by getting you to accept a lowball settlement. In either case, send the insurance company to your attorney. Do not try to negotiate with an insurance adjuster on your own. Chances are you will be outmatched and vulnerable to losing important legal rights.
If you have injuries after a car accident, or you lost a loved one in a wreck, a car accident lawyer can help you figure out how best to deal with the insurance companies and pay the bills that resulted.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101