Car accidents are not only traumatizing, but the aftermath can also be a daunting maze of insurance claims and legal proceedings. This step-by-step guide by a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer clarifies the legal process so that you can navigate your claim with confidence, whether it involves dealing with insurance companies or taking the matter to court.
The process of filing a car accident claim begins in the immediate aftermath of the collision. Take the following steps to protect yourself and gather evidence for your future case:
Report the accident to the police as soon as you can. A police report will provide an objective third-party account of the accident, which can be valuable in your case.
Seek medical attention promptly, even if you feel fine initially. Some injuries aren’t apparent immediately after an accident, and a complete medical evaluation is needed to assess any potential harm.
Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved, including his or her name, contact details, insurance information, and license plate numbers. Gather contact details from witnesses as well.
If you can, document as much evidence as possible at the site of the crash. Take photographs and videos of vehicle damage, your injuries, and the overall accident scene.
After seeking medical care for your injuries, contact a Nevada car accident lawyer who can represent your case. Do not speak to any insurance representatives or the at-fault driver.
Once you have sought medical attention, your lawyer will help initiate your insurance claim. An insurance representative will be assigned to your case and analyze the evidence and speak to witnesses and involved parties. After the investigation, the insurer either approves or denies the claim.
If approved, the representative will propose a settlement amount based on their assessment of the damages. You have the right to negotiate the settlement if it is insufficient. If your claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal or take your case to court.
If the insurance claim doesn’t adequately cover your losses, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in Nevada civil court. The litigation process typically follows these steps:
Before filing a lawsuit, your lawyer may send a demand letter to the responsible party, outlining your injuries, damages, and the compensation you seek. This letter opens up the avenue for pre-filing negotiations, where both sides may agree on a settlement.
If pre-filing negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will file a lawsuit in court. This step initiates the discovery phase, where both parties exchange information and evidence related to the case.
Even after filing the lawsuit, parties usually have opportunities to negotiate and reach a settlement. This can occur informally or through structured processes like mediation or a settlement conference.
If a settlement is not reached in pre-trial negotiations, the case goes to trial. Both sides will present their evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will then determine liability and damages.
Navigating the car accident claims process can be a challenge, but having an attorney by your side can make all the difference. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a Las Vegas car accident lawyer to initiate your claim and take your first steps toward justice.