Being involved in a severe auto accident can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in medical bills. But, if another party is liable for the accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Our auto accident lawyers at Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm can help you determine liability and seek the compensation you deserve. Call us today if you or your loved one has been involved in an auto accident in Las Vegas, Nevada.
What are Catastrophic Accidents?
A catastrophic auto accident is a collision that results in serious injuries or death. Most times, a catastrophic auto accident leaves the victim with severe injuries; and at worst, it may leave the victim dead. Regardless of the severity of the accident, it can have a serious financial impact on you and your family. For example, if you are incapacitated and unable to work, you may have to deal with the loss of income. This can be devastating and you should seek professional legal representation.
How is Fault Determined in a Catastrophic Auto Accident?
Determining fault in an auto accident can be complex. Auto accident lawyers use negligence to determine the faulty party in an accident. If an accident occurs due to a driver’s negligence, the negligent driver is held liable for any injuries or damages.
Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would use in the same situation. To recover compensation after a car accident, you must be able to prove that the other driver was negligent.
There are four elements of negligence. The first element is duty. The second element is a breach of duty. The third element is causation. The fourth element is damaged.
To recover compensation, you must be able to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care. Every driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely. This duty applies to all drivers on the road, regardless of the type of vehicle they are driving.
The other element of negligence is a breach of duty. A driver breaches their duty of care when they fail to operate their vehicle safely. For example, a driver who is speeding is breaching their duty of care.
The third element of negligence is causation. Causation is established by proving that the other driver's breach of duty was the cause of your injuries.
The last element of negligence is damage. Damages are the losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident. Damages can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Nevada is a comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you are involved in an accident and your medical bills total $10,000, but you are found to be 20 percent at fault, you can only recover $8,000.
There is a limit to how much you can recover if you are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. You are not allowed to recover any compensation if you are more than 50 percent at fault.
Different Types of Catastrophic Auto Accidents and Their Causes
Car accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury in the United States, with over six million crashes occurring each year. While many of these are minor fender benders that cause little more than a dent or scratch, a significant percentage involve serious injuries or even fatalities. The following are some of the most common types of severe auto accidents and their causes.
- Head-on Collisions ⏤ This is one of the most dangerous types of car accidents is a head-on collision, which occurs when the front ends of two vehicles collide. Head-on collisions are often caused by driver error, such as distracted driving, speeding, or intoxication. They can also be caused by mechanical problems, such as a blown tire or faulty brakes.
- Rear-end Collisions ⏤ These are another common type of serious car accident. They occur when the back end of one vehicle strikes the front end of another. Rear-end collisions are often caused by tailgating, distracted driving, or inclement weather.
- Side-impact Collisions ⏤ These collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, are another type of serious car accident. They occur when the side of one vehicle strikes the side of another. Side-impact collisions are often caused by distracted driving, failure to yield the right of way, or speeding.
- Rollover Accidents ⏤ Rollover accidents are another type of serious car accident. They occur when a vehicle rolls over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents are often caused by driver error, such as speeding, intoxication, or distracted driving. They can also be caused by mechanical problems, such as a blown tire or faulty brakes.
Note that failure to exercise reasonable care and follow the rules of the road is not the only factor leading to an accident. A car may have a mechanical defect, such as faulty steering or brakes. In this case, the vehicle manufacturer and the party that sold the car may be liable for injuries caused by the malfunction.
Common Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries
Catastrophic car accidents can cause serious injuries, both physical and psychological. Common injuries caused by car accidents include:
- Back and spinal injuries ⏤ Most auto accident victims sustain back and spinal injuries which are unfortunately lifelong problems that could take time to heal. The impact of the accident may put extra pressure on the vertebrae, bruising ligaments and back muscles, and compress the spine. These types of injuries are categorized by bulging discs and herniated. The impact of the auto accidents may force the bulging discs to burst open or shift their position causing unnecessary pressure on the spinal cord. The symptoms of these injuries include numbness in the back area accompanied by sharp pains.
- Broken bones and fractured ribs — when airbags deploy during an accident they tend to apply unnecessary force on the chest which is likely to break or crack a rib. If you had your seatbelt on, you may also experience broken ribs. If the vehicle also had loose objects, the crash may apply force on them making them smash your limbs or face. If the accident was fatal, you may experience some broken bones. The symptoms of these injuries include feeling chilly, stiff, and severe pain in the affected part. You may also experience bruises.
- Brain injuries — If your head is smashed against the steering wheel or dashboard in a crash, you are likely to sustain brain and skull injuries. The force in the accident could also cause a loose and stiff object in the vehicle to hit your head causing severe brain injury. You could also experience internal bleeding, bruises, torn neurons, concussion, and worst of all a traumatic brain injury. If you experience any bruises, swelling, or severe pain in the head, be sure to see the doctor immediately.
- Head Injuries — Head injuries are usually caused when the driver or the passenger hits his or her head on the steering wheel or the dashboard. They can also be caused when the driver or the passenger is hit from behind. Head injuries can be very serious, and it is advisable to seek medical help immediately
- Organ Damage ⏤ Mainly occurs when one or more of the body’s organs are damaged. Organ damage can be the result of a direct blow, such as a car accident, or indirect damage, such as a fall or gunshot wound. Organ damage can range in severity, from a small laceration to complete organ failure.
- Multiple Bone Fractures ⏤ Occurs when two or more broken bones. Multiple bone fractures can be the result of a direct blow, such as a car accident, or from a fall or other type of accident. Multiple bone fractures can be very painful and can take weeks or months to heal properly.
- Soft Tissue Damage ⏤ This is an injury to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Soft tissue damage can be the result of a direct blow, such as a car accident, or from a fall or other type of accident. Soft tissue damage can be very painful and can take weeks or months to heal properly.
- Internal Bleeding ⏤ occurs inside the body. Internal bleeding can be the result of a direct blow, such as a car accident, or from a fall or other type of accident. Internal bleeding can be very dangerous and can lead to death if not treated immediately.
- Vision Loss ⏤ ( loss of sight) Vision loss can be the result of a direct blow, such as a serious car accident. Vision loss can be very dangerous and can lead to complete blindness if not treated immediately.
- Hearing Loss ⏤ Hearing loss can be the result of a direct blow, such as a car accident. Hearing loss can be very dangerous and can lead to complete deafness if not treated immediately.
What if a Loved One Died After a Catastrophic Injury?
According to NRS 11.190, if someone dies as the result of injuries suffered in a catastrophic accident, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the personal representative must prove that the death of the deceased person was caused by the at-fault party’s negligence and that the survivors are suffering damages as a result.
What Kind of Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim vary depending on who the survivors are in the deceased person’s life.
For example, in a case where the deceased person is survived by a spouse, the surviving spouse may recover damages for:
- Loss of earnings and support that the deceased person would have earned and provided to the surviving spouse had they not died
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort, and society that the surviving spouse would have experienced had the deceased person not died
- Funeral and burial expenses incurred as a result of the deceased person’s death
The amount of damages that a survivor may recover in a wrongful death claim will vary depending on the facts of the case, the relationship between the survivor and the deceased person, and the amount of evidence that the survivor has to support the claim.
If you have lost a loved one in a catastrophic accident, it is important that you seek the help of an experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
How are losses in catastrophic injury settlements Determined?
Losses in catastrophic injury settlements are measured by economic damages (past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.).
How to Determine Pain and Suffering
While some courts have suggested a multiplier of medical expenses, the jury is left to its discretion. The jury may be instructed to consider the following factors in determining the amount of pain and suffering damages:
- The extent of the injury.
- The nature, duration, and severity of the pain.
- The physical and mental anguish suffered by the plaintiff.
- The effect of the injury on the plaintiff’s ability to work, enjoy life, and engage in social activities.
- The loss of consortium suffered by the plaintiff’s spouse.
- The plaintiff’s age.
- The plaintiff’s life expectancy.
- The plaintiff’s mental capacity
- Whether the plaintiff has been disfigured
- The plaintiff’s testimony about the pain and suffering caused by the injury
- The testimony of physicians and other expert witnesses about the injuries
Frequently Asked Questions About Catastrophic Car Accidents in Nevada
If you have a question regarding auto crashes and how to maximize your compensation, read through the following question and answers.
How is Liability Proven in a Catastrophic Accident?
There are some possible ways to prove liability in a catastrophic accident may include presenting evidence of negligence or recklessness on the part of the responsible party, demonstrating that the responsible party had a duty to take precautions to prevent the accident from occurring, or showing that the accident was caused by a defective product.
What damages can I claim in court after a catastrophic car accident?
The amount of damages that can be claimed in court after a car accident will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the accident. Some of the possible damages that may be available include:
- Medical Expenses — Medical expenses are often high following an accident. You may be entitled to recover for these expenses, including any future medical expenses that you may incur as a result of your accident.
- lost wages
- pain and suffering, and
- property damage.
What should I do if the other driver does not have insurance?
If the other driver does not have insurance, you should contact your insurance company and also consult your personal injury attorney.
Who is at fault if an accident occurs in a parking lot?
Although each case is unique, the driver backing up or otherwise not paying attention to their surroundings is typically considered at fault.
Who is at fault if an accident occurs at an intersection?
The driver who ran a red light or stop sign, or otherwise failed to yield the right-of-way, is typically considered at fault.
What if the other driver is at fault but flees the scene?
If the other driver is at fault but flees the scene, you may still be able to recover damages through your insurance policy, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You should also contact the police and file a report. If there are any witnesses, be sure to get their contact information as well.
What is the process for filing a car accident insurance claim in Nevada?
If you've been in a car accident in Nevada, you may be wondering how to file an insurance claim. The process is quite simple. First, you will need to contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident. Be sure to have all of the necessary information, such as the date and time of the accident, the location, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Once you have notified your insurance company, they will send you a claim form to fill out. Once you have completed the form, you will need to send it back to the insurance company along with any supporting documentation, such as police reports or medical bills. The insurance company will then review your claim and decide on whether or not to pay the claim.
How long do I have to file a car accident claim in Nevada?
You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
How much compensation can I get in a car accident in Nevada?
The amount of compensation that you may be entitled to receive after sustaining injuries in an auto accident in Nevada will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Some of the factors that may be considered include the severity of your injuries, the amount of medical bills you have incurred, and whether the other driver was at fault. If you have questions about your specific case, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney
What is the responsibility of an attorney in handling my Nevada auto crash case?
If you have been involved in a car accident in Nevada, you may need to hire a lawyer. Lawyers can help you with many aspects of your case, including:
- Investigating your accident
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Filing a lawsuit, if necessary
- Representing you at trial
What are the available compensatory damages in an auto crash?
Common compensatory damages in a Nevada road accident can include: The cost of your medical treatment, Lost wages from missed work, Pain and suffering from your injuries, property damage from the accident, and any other damages that were directly caused by the accident However, these compensatory damages are not automatic. You must prove that you deserve them.
What kind of evidence do you need to prove compensatory damages?
There are many different types of evidence that you can use to prove your case. Examples of evidence that can be used to prove compensatory damages include:
- Medical records
- Medical bills Expert testimony
- Eyewitness testimony
- Pictures of your injuries; and
- Records of your past earnings
How can you maximize your compensation?
It is important to understand that the insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to pay you as little money as possible. However, you do not need to settle for the insurance company’s first offer. We will help you fight for the maximum compensation available. In many cases, we reach a settlement with the insurance company. However, if the insurance company is not willing to provide full compensation, we will take your case to trial.
How can I choose a car accident lawyer in Nevada?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best car accident lawyer for you will depend on your specific situation and needs. However, some tips that may help choose a car accident lawyer in Nevada include:
- Make sure the lawyer is licensed to practice law in Nevada
- Ask the lawyer for referrals from past clients
- Meet with the lawyer in person to get a feel for their personality and whether you would be comfortable working with them
- Ask the lawyer about their experience handling car accident cases in Nevada
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Sustaining catastrophic injuries can be a harrowing experience, especially if you are not at fault. If you’ve been injured in a catastrophic auto accident, our experienced personal injury lawyers at Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm can help you seek justice. Call us today at 702-576-0010 and speak to one of our skilled attorneys.