After a car crash, the calls that should be made depend on the specifics of the accident such as personal injuries, property damages, and fault for the accident. Before making any calls, factors of the accident should be assessed to protect legal rights.
Steps to Take After a Car Crash
Following a car crash, it’s important to know which calls to make from the scene of the accident and how to proceed to protect legal rights in a personal injury claim.
Taking certain steps after a car accident will ensure personal safety and protection. The order of calls placed after a crash may vary depending on the individual circumstances of the crash, as well as injuries sustained by people involved in the accident. Consideration should be given to personal injuries, property damages, and who’s at fault for the accident, but emergency calls should always be the first priority.
Most states, including Nevada, require car accident victims to call 911 immediately after an accident occurs when there are personal injuries and/or property damages. After a 911 call is made, the police will be dispatched to the accident scene to investigate accident details, collect information from involved parties, and create an accident report. All of this documentation will be necessary if personal injury claims or lawsuits are filed by involved parties.
If there are serious injuries, or anyone is trapped in a vehicle, the 911 operator will dispatch an ambulance and other first responders to the accident scene. Injuries are always a priority, and calling 911 is the fastest way to get medical help. If there are no injuries, property damages, or traffic hazards, it may not be necessary to call 911. If the accident is a minor fender bender, it is acceptable to exchange contact and insurance information with other accident parties and witnesses and file a police report as soon as possible. If the car can’t be driven away from the scene, a tow truck can take the car to a mechanic or other desired location.
Contact Loved Ones
It may take a while for law enforcement to arrive at the accident scene, so this is a good time to phone or text family members and friends to inform them of the crash, especially if they were expecting a visit or phone call. It is not a good idea to leave the scene before police arrive, but family and friends can provide a ride home if there are no injuries, or to the emergency room for minor injuries. Talking to friends and family while waiting on police may help create a calmer atmosphere.
Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
If emergency medical help is not necessary, victims should schedule an appointment with a doctor to check for injuries as soon as possible following the crash. Some injuries like fractured or broken bones, organ damage, back and neck injuries, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are not apparent right away. They may not show up for days or weeks after the crash. A medical checkup with an official doctor’s report will serve as crucial evidence if a personal injury claim or civil lawsuit is filed with a Henderson car accident lawyer.
Contact an Attorney
Even if there are no apparent injuries or property damages, another party involved in the crash may decide to file a claim with his/her insurance company or attorney. In any car accident, fault for the accident plays a major role in the outcome of a claim. To protect legal rights, it’s a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer to discuss the accident and any concerns about claims and compensation. If filing a lawsuit, the lawyer will explain the required legal procedures and handle all necessary paperwork for the case.
Notify the Insurance Company
After contacting a lawyer, it’s time to notify the insurance company about the car crash. However, signing a medical release form for an insurer should be avoided until victims talk to a Henderson car accident lawyer. In Nevada, drivers are subject to comparative negligence laws, often referred to as the 51% rule. A driver in a car crash who’s found 51% or more at fault for the accident is not allowed to collect any compensation for injuries. Insurance companies are likely to withhold payments for medical expenses until fault is determined.
In Nevada, the Statute of Limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. In cases where an injury surfaces after the actual accident date, the discovery rule may apply. The discovery rule may be used to extend the Statute of Limitations, so the time limit begins on the date the injury was discovered, instead of the actual injury date.