What to Do After a Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault

what to do after a car accident not your fault

When you find yourself in a car accident that you didn’t cause, your next moves matter.

At Benjamin Durham Law Firm, helped countless accident victims in Nevada get back on their feet and get the compensation they deserve. We know how overwhelming this situation feels. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process step-by-step.

Here’s exactly what you must do to protect your rights and put yourself in the best position for a successful claim or lawsuit.

Secure the Scene and Call for Help

Move your vehicle out of the traffic flow if it’s safe to do so. Turn on your hazard lights and check if everyone in the vehicle is okay. Call 911 immediately and request assistance from the police and emergency medical services.

In Nevada, drivers must report accidents with injuries or property damage over $750. So, even if you think it seems like a fender bender, call the authorities anyway to document the incident.

Collect Evidence from the Car Accident Scene

When the police arrive, they will gather information and document the accident scene. This is your opportunity to collect crucial evidence that will support your claim, including:

  • Photos and videos of the damage to all vehicles involved, the road conditions, traffic signals, and any visible injuries
  • Badge numbers of the responding officers
  • Names, phone numbers, and driver’s license information of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Contact information for any witnesses present
  • A copy of the police report

Throughout this process, avoid admitting fault or providing any recorded statements, as these could be used against you later.

Get Immediate Medical Attention

Get medical attention as soon as possible. Many car accident injuries, like whiplash, internal bleeding, or concussions, may not present immediate symptoms but can become more severe if left untreated.

Getting checked out by a doctor creates official medical records linking your injuries to the accident. Without these records, it becomes much harder to prove your injuries were caused by the other driver’s negligence when dealing with insurers or filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Request a Copy of the Police Report

A police report does not determine fault or liability. However, the details contained within the report, like the location of the vehicles, the position of skid marks, and the statements of drivers and witnesses, can be instrumental in establishing fault during the claims process.

By law in Nevada, you can request a copy of the police report from the appropriate law enforcement agency. Typically, you can obtain a copy within a few days of the accident, although the specific timeframe may vary depending on the agency’s procedures.

Use All Available Insurance to Cover Medical Bills

In Nevada, which follows a “fault-based” insurance system, you can typically pursue compensation for your medical bills through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy.

However, if you have health insurance or medical payment coverage (sometimes called personal injury protection (PIP)), through your auto insurance policy, consider using those resources first. This can help ensure that you receive prompt medical treatment without delays caused by disputes between insurance companies over who is liable for the accident.

If your injuries are severe or your medical expenses exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, you may need to file a personal injury claim against their insurance company or pursue legal action to recover the full extent of your damages. Our personal injury lawyers can walk you through this process.

Notify Your Insurance Company of The Accident

Notify your insurance company about the accident, even if you weren’t at fault. Most insurance policies require policyholders to report accidents within a specified timeframe, usually within a few days or weeks.

When reporting the accident, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • The names, contact information, and insurance details of all other drivers involved
  • A description of how the accident occurred, including any relevant details about road conditions, weather, and traffic signals
  • The names and badge numbers of any responding police officers
  • A list of any injuries sustained by you or your passengers
  • Information about any damage to your vehicle or other property

Avoid providing recorded statements or signing any documents until you’ve had the opportunity to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. Insurance companies may use tactics to minimize their liability or shift blame onto you, so it’s important to have legal representation protecting your interests.

The Roles of Insurers in a Car Accident Claim

In a car accident claim, two insurance companies are typically involved: your own insurer and the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Each insurer plays a different role in the claims process, and understanding these roles can help you navigate the system more effectively.

Your insurance company’s primary role is to investigate the accident, determine the extent of your coverage, and potentially pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover any payouts they’ve made to you.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company, on the other hand, is responsible for evaluating their policyholder’s liability and determining the appropriate compensation for any damages or injuries you’ve sustained.

This process often involves investigating the accident, reviewing evidence such as police reports and medical records, and negotiating settlements or defending against lawsuits if necessary.

It’s important to remember that insurance companies, regardless of which side they represent, are ultimately businesses motivated by profit margins. To reduce the payout, they may employ tactics such as minimizing liability, disputing the severity of your injuries, or offering lowball settlement offers.

This is where the experience of a skilled car accident attorney can be invaluable. An experienced attorney can level the playing field, investigate the accident thoroughly, and negotiate aggressively with insurance companies to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

While handling an insurance claim yourself may seem appealing, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer provides significant advantages. Attorneys have the resources to investigate thoroughly, gathering evidence like witness accounts, footage, and expert accident analysis.

They protect your rights, maximize compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages, and ensure you meet all deadlines to file injury lawsuits within the statute of limitations. Most car accident lawyers work on contingency fees, so you pay nothing upfront —their fee is a percentage of your settlement.

What to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney

When selecting a car accident attorney to represent you, there are several key qualities to consider:

  • Experience: Look for an attorney who has extensive experience handling car accident cases similar to yours. They will have a deep understanding of the legal nuances and procedural requirements involved.
  • Track Record: Research the attorney’s history of successful settlements and verdicts. This can provide insight into their negotiation skills and ability to secure maximum compensation.
  • Client Communication: A good attorney should prioritize clear and frequent communication, keeping you informed and involved throughout the process. They should be responsive to your questions and concerns and take the time to ensure you understand your options and the potential outcomes of your case.
  • Dedication: Choose an attorney who is committed to your case and willing to go the extra mile to protect your interests. They should have a reputation for being aggressive advocates for their clients, both in negotiations and in the courtroom, if necessary.

While seeking legal representation may seem like an added expense, the reality is that having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can often result in significantly higher compensation than if you attempted to navigate the claims process alone.

Contact Benjamin Durham Law Firm Today

At the Benjamin Durham Law Firm, we’ve earned a reputation as the car accident lawyers insurance companies fear most. Our battle-tested attorneys leverage years of combined experience to build cases that maximize your compensation for injuries, lost income, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. We level the playing field against deep-pocketed insurers and opposition lawyers.

Don’t try to take them on alone – their tactics for denying legitimate claims are endless. Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation so our team can start protecting your rights immediately while you are guided by this stressful process with compassion. You’ve already been through enough – let us fight for the justice and fair resolution you deserve after someone else’s negligence turned your life upside down.

Author Bio

Benjamin Durham is the principal attorney and founder of Benjamin Durham Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm based in Las Vegas, NV. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, he represents clients in both injury and criminal cases. Over his career, he has secured favorable verdicts for clients in both state and federal courts and successfully defended numerous high-profile prosecutions.

Ben’s exceptional legal skills and dedication to his clients have earned him recognition as a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also has been honored as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, further solidifying his reputation as a top-notch legal practitioner.

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