An injured victim of a Las Vegas car accident has two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. The clock begins ticking immediately after the victim discovers, or should have reasonably discovered, an injury. Once the two-year time limit elapses, the victim may lose the right to pursue compensation for damages caused by that injury or misconduct.
The injured victim should involve a car accident lawyer in Nevada throughout the claim process. The lawyer will explain to the victim all the available legal options. The lawyer will also complete all the necessary forms and file them on time.
Taking Immediate Action After a Car Accident in Las Vegas, Nevada
Besides seeking medical help, a motorist injured in a Las Vegas car accident should file a police report and notify the insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. The police may sometimes fail to conduct investigations on the car accident. If the car crash resulted in death, injuries, or property damages worth above $750, the injured motorist should file a report with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 10 days.
Drivers involved in minor car accidents sometimes fail to notify law enforcement officers and their insurance providers of these incidences. They do this for two reasons. The first is due to the fear of attracting high insurance premiums. The other reason is the notion that they can resolve issues with the other party without any assistance.
Car accident victims should always notify their insurer, even when the accident does not result in injuries or property damage. Notifying an insurer does not amount to filing a claim. Instead, it protects the right of the injured victim to seek compensation in the event of discovering an accident-related injury long after the car accident. Without notifying an insurer and the absence of a police report, an accident victim has little or no chance of recovering damages through an injury claim or lawsuit in the future.
An Overview of the Nevada Car Accident Claim Process
The Nevada personal injury law gives a person injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence the legal right to pursue compensation. The compensation covers the losses incurred due to the injuries suffered in the crash.
The compensation often includes money for medical expenses, lost earnings, lost or reduced earning potential, damage to the vehicle, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more. Disputes sometimes arise during the claim process. The other party may deny liability in the accident. In such situations, the injured accident victim has the burden of proof.
The injured victim initially files a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver’s insurer refuses or fails to pay the claim, the victim may escalate the issue and file a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim proves beyond reasonable doubt that the other driver was at fault, the Nevada court system will order the liable driver’s insurer to pay the claim.
If a person dies due to a car accident caused by another person’s wrongful act or negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in two years. In Nevada, the surviving spouse or domestic partner, decedent’s parent, decedent’s children, and personal representative of the decedent’s estate are legally permitted to file a wrongful death claim. Damages for this claim may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Accrued Medical expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Loss of the deceased person’s companionship and affection
Statute of Limitations for Car Crashes in Las Vegas, Nevada
Personal injury cases related to car accidents in Las Vegas, Nevada, have a two-year statute of limitations from the date the victim knew or should have known the injury. The victim can file an injury claim within these two years.
Victims who suffer serious injuries may require more time to recover. The victim may lie unconscious in a medical facility for weeks or months. The two-year time limit allows the victims to seek appropriate medical services.
The medical recovery period also allows the victim to know the severity of the injuries suffered and total medical bills accrued. A Las Vegas attorney can use this information alongside other elements of the case, such as lost wages, incurred out-of-pocket expenses, and level of pain and suffering, to determine what would be reasonable and fair compensation for the victim.
Pursuing Compensation from Insurance Providers
During the recovery process, the victim, or the victim’s attorney, will have to file an accident claim with the relevant insurer or insurers. Each insurance policy dictates the timelines for filing a claim. Filing a claim within 30 days of a car crash is a wise move.
The accident victim should wait until he or she attains a substantial medical recovery before pursuing compensation from the liable driver’s insurance company. The victim can use health insurance to cover the medical bills.
Injured victims should know that insurance companies can sometimes engage in bad faith practices to deny claims or offer low settlements. An insurer may, for instance, question a medical report and sometimes ask for more medical checks. The insurer may misquote statutes of limitations or policy language to the policyholder to deny the claim.
The insurer may also respond quickly and offer what seems like a reasonable settlement at first glance. The victim may discover that the payout cannot cover the full extent of the losses long after receiving the check and the insurer closing the case. Having aggressive legal support from the start can help in negotiating with insurance providers for a fair and full settlement.
Discovery Rule and Tolling of the Statute of Limitations
Some car accident injuries, including spinal cord injuries and whiplash, may take days, weeks, or even months to manifest. Other life-threatening injuries, such as brain bleed or brain injury, could exacerbate for months before a person links the issue to the car accident. In such cases, the discovery rule may apply.
This rule extends the statute of limitations to the date an injured victim discovers or should have reasonably discovered an injury. The two-year deadline for filing a claim still applies. The only difference is that it starts after a victim notices or should have reasonably noticed an injury.
The Nevada statute of limitations may be suspended for a specific period if the victim is a minor below 18 years or is determined to be mentally incapacitated by the court. The statute of limitations starts when the victim clocks 18 years or is declared no longer mentally incompetent.
Getting Legal Support from the Start of a Personal Injury Claim
Getting legal support from the onset of an injury claim increases the chances of an injured party receiving maximum compensation. A motor vehicle accident lawyer in Nevada knows all the relevant insurance and personal injury laws. The lawyer will fill out and file all the paperwork on time. The lawyer will investigate the accident to identify the liable party (parties) and determine the full extent of losses incurred by the injured party.
The lawyer will send a detailed, well-drafted demand letter to the relevant car insurance company, counter its response aggressively, and strive to negotiate a reasonable settlement for the injured party. The lawyer will also be ready to involve the Nevada court system and persuade the jury to direct the liable driver’s insurer to cover the full extent and cost of the damages.
If the injured driver’s child also sustained injuries due to a defective car seat, the driver can bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer on behalf of the child. A car seat lawyer can review the accident facts and have the car seat inspected to determine whether a defect in the car seat itself caused the child’s injury.