Car accidents are a common occurrence in Las Vegas. Auto accidents often range from mild collisions to severe and catastrophic crashes. According to statistics, most accidents result from human error and negligence. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, car accidents often result in serious and life-changing injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of a negligent car accident, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries.
Filing a car accident lawsuit is a way for you and your family to recover compensation from the parties liable for your accident. In a successful auto accident claim, you can be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering resulting from the accident. Filing a personal injury claim can be a nerve-wracking experience when you are already shaken up from the accident. Therefore, it is crucial to proceed with the insight of a knowledgeable car accident attorney. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we offer legal guidance and representation for all our clients pursuing auto accident lawsuits in Las Vegas, NV.
Overview of Auto Accidents in Nevada
The city of Las Vegas is filled with excitement and fantastic entertainment. As a result, there is an influx of traffic congestion. This increases the chances of being involved in an auto accident. Often, auto accidents range from minor scratches on your vehicle to catastrophic head-on collisions. Car accidents could involve two vehicles, a small vehicle, a bus or truck, or even a vehicle hitting the pedestrian. Either way, individuals who survive auto accidents are left with severe or life-changing injuries.
Most car accidents in Nevada result from negligence. Suffering an accident and injuries from another person’s recklessness could be very devastating. Fortunately, you can recover your damages by filing a lawsuit against the liable parties.
Liability in Auto Accidents
Victims of car accidents are entitled to compensation from the parties responsible for the accident. However, before you can recover compensation, you may need to establish liability for the accident and provide proof of your losses. Nevada is a fault state meaning that the party liable for the accident will be responsible for damages and injuries resulting from the accident. Also, it is crucial to understand that there can be multiple liable parties in your case depending on the percentage of fault for each party.
Liability for an auto accident is based on negligence. Negligence is the reckless disregard for the safety of other people and has the following elements:
When you seek to establish negligence in a car accident lawsuit, you must prove that the defendant had a duty of care towards you. A duty of care is the responsibility to ensure that your actions do not put the safety of other people. Drivers and other road users are expected to drive safely and obey traffic rules to avoid dangerous situations.
Breach of Duty
Proving that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care is not enough to have them pay for your damages. It would be best if you verified that they breached that duty. A breach of duty occurs when a person acts in a way that places others in harm’s way. You can prove that the defendant breached their duty of care towards you if a reasonable person would have known that their conduct was dangerous. Some of the common ways road users breach the duty of care are speeding, distracted driving, failure to follow traffic rules, or even drunk driving.
After establishing that the at-fault party breached their duty, you must prove that the breach resulted in the accident that caused your injuries. Causation is the most challenging element of negligence to prove in a Las Vegas auto accident claim. When confirming that the defendant’s actions resulted in your injuries, you must establish that the injuries did not exist before the auto accident. This can be done by presenting your medical records prior and testimony from your doctor.
In addition to proving that the fault party’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries, you should be able to show the damages you suffered from the accident. Common damages that you can recover from the claim will include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the incident.
Compensation Benefits for Auto Accidents in Nevada
The times following involvement in a car accident may be challenging. However, you will need to gather your strength and seek compensation for the injuries before the statute of limitations elapses. When pursuing a car accident lawsuit in Nevada, one of your significant questions might be how much compensation you stand to recover from the negligent party.
Understanding the type of compensation you could recover can help you prepare the relevant evidence needed to recover these damages. Your car accident attorney may involve the following types of compensation benefits:
If another party is proven to be at fault for an accident and your injuries, they must shoulder the liability for your medical bills. If the liable party does not have auto insurance, your insurance company may be responsible for these expenses. However, most insurers will initially deny liability until proven in court.
After an accident, your health and wellbeing should be a priority. Therefore, seeking medical care should be one of the first things you do if you have substantial injuries. In this case, you may need to cover your medical bills before your claim is settled. Some of the ways through which you can pay for your medical bills after an accident in Nevada include:
- Payment Under the Nevada health insurance or government healthcare programs
- Payment under your Nevada Med Pay auto insurance
If you have more than one health insurance policy, submitting your medical bills to all the companies would be wise. Both Med Pay and health insurance operate on no-fault and will pay your medical bills as long as you show that they are genuine.
If you do not have medical insurance, you can seek treatment from a doctor working on a lien basis. Health care providers who work on a lien basis do not demand immediate payment. They provide you with the care you need and are paid with the proceeds of the claim. A competent car accident attorney may be familiar with doctors who work on a lien and refer you to one.
However, it is crucial to understand that these providers bill you at their maximum billing rate. If your medical bills exceed the payouts from your claim, you will be responsible for the excessive bills. Therefore, it would be wise to avoid the doctors working on a lien unless:
- You lack government or private health insurance
- You seek medical services that are not covered by the particular medical insurance
- You cannot afford your co-pays
In Nevada, government and private insurers have the right to recover the amount they used to pay for your medical bills after a settlement out of court. However, this will only apply if you can recover enough money from the parties liable for your accident.
Before you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, the defendant’s insurer may need copies of your diagnosis, treatment, test results, and copy of medical bills. Therefore, when you seek medical care after an accident, it is crucial to ensure that all your injuries resulting from the accident are documented. Also, you need to ensure that the records are kept safe and can be produced when required as evidence of your injuries.
Sometimes, insurance companies will ask for your medical records dating five years before the injury. This is a way to ensure that all the damages for which you seek compensation resulted from the accident. However, it is essential to understand that you could be liable for compensation if you had a pre-existing injury worsened by the auto accident. Other pieces of evidence that could speed up the payment of our medical bills include:
- The police report from the accident
- Names and contact information of witnesses
- Photos of the accident scene and those of your injuries
- Expert evidence regarding your case
If you are a victim of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. Lost wages if the amount of money you lose for not working while nursing your accident-related injuries. In Nevada, some of the familiar sources of lost wages include:
- Regular pay
- Overtime pay
- Income from self-employment
Proof of Lost Wages
If you have a regular job, your best chance at proving your lost wages is by seeking a letter from your employer. The letter will include:
- Your job title
- Duration you have been working with the particular employer
- The number of hours you work each week
- Amount of pay you earn per hour
- The amount you receive for overtime
- The number of workdays you have missed since the accident
- Amounts you would have reasonably received during the time you missed work
If your employer fails to write you a letter, you may need to prove lost wages using tax returns and pay stubs.
Although lost income from self-employment is a legitimate basis for lost wages compensation, it may be more challenging to prove. Some of the documents that can help you establish the amount you lost in self-employment income include:
- Tax returns from previous years
- Billing statements for months before the accident
- Testimony from a forensic accountant if your income is complicated and seasonal
If you do not have a job and rely on unemployment benefits, you may not be entitled to insurance benefits unless you can accept work in your field of expertise. Also, you are mentally and physically capable of working. Otherwise, you may need to file for disability benefits for the times you were unable to go to work.
If the effects of the accident cause you to lose your job and you cannot qualify for employment insurance, you could file a claim based on losing your unemployment benefits. In Nevada, you have up to two years to seek compensation for lost wages. Hiring a skilled attorney immediately after the accident would help you speed up the process and beat the filing deadline.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is the amount you would have earned in the future if you did not suffer the accident injuries. Unlike the lost wages, lost future earning capacity is a prediction and may be more challenging to prove. Most car accident injuries are crippling. If you have not recovered from your injuries by the time you recover compensation for your lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover these damages. Also, some injuries make it impossible for you to return to the position you held before the accident. This could reduce the amount you can earn in the future.
Since the loss of future earnings has not occurred, the court may rely on the following g=factors when awarding compensation:
- The duration within which your injuries are expected to recover
- Whether or not there is a reasonable expectation for you to go back to work
- Your age and life expectancy
- The number of years you have left before retirement
- Your health status before the accident and how it has changed after the injuries
- Your long term employment goals
- Any other factors that could have been significant to your earning potential
If you have held the same job position for a while, proving your lost earning capacity may not be challenging. However, your case could become more complicated if you are young or in a study occupation with high earning potential. With the help of a car accident attorney, you can obtain testimonies from the following individuals to establish your loss:
- Your employer. A current employer may give relevant information regarding your earnings, your work history, and prospects of a promotion in the future.
- Your doctor. After reviewing your injuries, the doctor who treated your accident injuries may be able to give an account of how the accident injuries have affected your work capabilities.
- Your family or friends. People close to you can testify how your life and ability to perform tasks have changed following the accident.
- A forensic economist. With their knowledge and skills, a forensic economist can be able to predict the trend in your line of work and offer expert opinions on your lost future earnings.
Pain and Suffering
You cannot equate a person’s pain with money. However, when you file a personal injury claim after an auto accident, you stand to recover compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from the accident. Injuries resulting from a car accident can change your life completely. In addition to the physical pain, you experience from the injuries, the events of the accident may be traumatizing. Although bodily harm is not necessary when proving pain and suffering in a car accident lawsuit, some of these factors could impact the amount you could recover:
- High medical expenses. Incurring high medical bills may serve as an indication of the severity of your injuries. If you had to undergo complicated surgeries and procedures, you suffered severe pain from the injuries.
- Injuries are evident through medical tests. You stand to recover more for your pain and suffering if you are not only suffering physical pain, but your injuries are visible through medical tests like X-rays.
- Permanent disfigurement or loss of function. Some car accident injuries result in disfigurement or a loss of body function. These injuries may include burns, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. The psychological pain and suffering resulting from such impacts could continue long after healing your physical wounds.
- Injuries that take a long time to recover. The longer your injuries take to recover, the more you have to confront the accident’s impact, which can be traumatizing.
Wrongful Death Benefits
If your loved one losses their life in an auto accident resulting from another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a claim seeking compensation for the wrongful death. Although filing the wrongful death lawsuit will not result in the punishment of the liable parties, you can recover compensation for the losses incurred.
Nevada law allows the following parties to file a claim and recover wrongful death benefits:
- A representative of the deceased person’s estate
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased
- Legal and biological children of the deceased
- parents of the disease in cases where there is no living spouse or child
- The siblings of the deceased when there is no living spouse, child, or parent
- The closest family member is when there is no living child, spouse, sibling, or parent.
If your loved one is killed in an auto accident in Nevada, you have up to two years to seek wrongful death compensation, after which your claim will be dismissed. If you are successful in your claim, the defendant may be required to pay you for:
- Medical expenses that resulted from the deceased’s final injuries
- Reasonable burial and funeral expenses
- Lost wages or benefits that the deceased could have been expected to earn if they did not die from the accident
- Pain and suffering suffered by the deceased before their death
- Loss of affection, companionship, and care that could have been offered by the deceased
Since the main witness in the accident may not be available to provide testimony, pursuing wrongful death benefits can be challenging. Therefore, seeking the guidance of a competent car accident attorney would be a wise idea.
Factors Influencing Settlement in an Auto Accident Lawsuit
Without doing a thorough investigation, it may be challenging to predict the exact value of your injury claim. This is because several factors influence the settlement amount. However, some things could happen throughout the case and affect the amount of compensation you recover. Common factors that influence the value of your claim include:
- Value of your economic damages. The value of your financial losses like medical expenses and lost wages have the most significant impact on your potential settlement. High medical bills and spending a lot of time away from work will increase the value of your economic damages and, in return, increase the compensation.
- The extent of non-economic damages. Compensation in the accident claim values both economic and non-economic damages. Although you cannot put a dollar value on damages like pain and suffering, compensation for such damages adds to your total settlement. Generally, accidents resulting in severe injuries will attract a greater value in non-economic damages.
- Fault for each party. Nevada is a comparative negligence state. The responsibility for each party could play a significant role in the amount you can recover.
- Insurance Coverage. The value of insurance coverage is one of the biggest things that could affect your potential settlement. Sadly, even when your claim is worth a million dollars or more, you may not be able to recover the settlement if the insurance money is not enough.
Find a Skilled Las Vegas Car Injury Attorney Near Me
Involvement in a car accident can be a devastating experience. If you survive the collision, you will likely be left with severe and sometimes life-changing injuries. The situation is more complicated when your accident is a result of negligence, and you have to undergo the process of seeking compensation. If another person’s carelessness resulted in a car crash that left you injured, their insurance company should pay your damages. You can settle compensation for the damages resulting from a car accident out of court. However, if you cannot agree on a suitable settlement, you may need to file a claim against the negligent parties.
An auto accident claim allows you to recover compensation for the money you used to cover your medical bills and the amount you lost in wages. Additionally, you can recover compensation for pain and suffering and the wrongful death of a loved one from the accident. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we will offer you the legal guidance you need to pursue your claim and recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 702-576-0010 if you seek compensation for auto accident injuries in Las Vegas, NV.