After a car accident, adrenaline often hits hard. You may find yourself shaking, unsure of what to do next. Did you suffer serious injuries? If you think you have only minor injuries, should you go to the hospital?
What you do after a car accident in Nevada can make a big difference in your ability to acquire compensation for the damage to your vehicle and for any injuries, especially major injuries, that you may sustain.
Do You Have to Report the Accident?
You should always report any auto accident that involves injury or serious property damage to the police. While you may not need to have the police come out for a minor fender bender that barely dents your bumper, you probably should have the police come out to handle an accident that involves more serious damage.
If you intend to pursue compensation for any injuries or damage sustained in the accident, a police report can serve as essential evidence that may make it easier for you to manage your claim. A police accident report shows when and where the accident took place and often identifies the driver that bears primary liability for the accident. All of that information can make your accident claim easier.
When Should You Seek Medical Care?
In general, you should seek medical care any time you have suffered even seemingly minor injuries in an accident. If your accident involves substantial property damage, you may want to go ahead and have a doctor in a local emergency room or urgent care center evaluate you as soon as possible.
It may surprise you just how many injuries people do not notice immediately after a car accident. Adrenaline can camouflage the full extent of your injuries, hiding pain and making it difficult to determine how much you are actually injured. If you do not have a medical evaluation, you could end up missing broken bones, strains and sprains, back and neck injuries, and even brain injury.
While you can pursue compensation even if you discover injuries well after the initial event, seeking medical care immediately after the accident can make it much easier to establish exactly when your injuries took place, which can make it easier for you to pursue compensation. When you do seek medical care, make sure that you:
- Keep track of all your medical bills, ideally in one place, so you can use them to put together an injury claim later
- Follow all instructions issued by your medical care providers
- Let your medical care providers know promptly about any new symptoms that emerge while you go through treatment
If you do not pursue immediate medical care after the accident, try to see a doctor, including one at a Nevada urgent care center, within 24 hours. A doctor can help rule out serious injuries.
Which Insurance Company Should You Contact?
After a car accident, you will need to pursue compensation from the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident. If the other driver caused the accident, you will need to contact that driver’s insurance company.
However, you may also need to let your insurance company know about the accident, and you may need to look into compensation through your own insurance policy.
When do you need to contact your insurance company? In general, you may need to use your insurance if:
You Carry MedPay Coverage and Suffered Injuries
MedPay coverage offers compensation and coverage for injuries sustained in a car accident regardless of which driver caused the accident. If you intend to use MedPay coverage following an accident, you may want to notify your insurance company about when the accident occurred and your intent to use that vital coverage.
You Caused the Accident
If you caused the accident, you will need to notify your car insurance company about the accident, give a statement, notify the insurance company of any insurance that you intend to use to help cover the damages from the accident, including collision coverage that will help cover the cost of repairing your vehicle.
You Need to Use Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and the driver that caused the accident does not have adequate auto insurance coverage or does not have insurance at all, you may need to use your coverage to take care of the damage to your vehicle. A little more than 10% of Nevada drivers do not carry auto insurance, so having uninsured motorist coverage can prove critical.
When Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
If you have a relatively minor fender bender with fairly straightforward liability, you may not need a lawyer to handle your car accident claim. On the other hand, in many circumstances, you may need a lawyer to help you prove liability, negotiate with the insurance company, and help you get the compensation you deserve. You should contact a car accident lawyer if:
- You suffer any type of injury in the accident. Injury claims can, in general, prove much more complicated than the average property damage claim.
- The insurance company tries to prove that you caused or contributed to the accident, which may reduce the compensation you can claim.
- The insurance company tries to deny the extent of your injuries and damages, and you have a hard time getting the full compensation you deserve.
You can also contact a car accident lawyer any time you have questions about the compensation you deserve for a car accident, the claim process, or who may have caused or contributed to your accident. Many lawyers start with a free consultation, which can help make it more affordable to decide your next steps.
Contact a Nevada Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you need help managing a personal injury claim after a car accident, Pacific West Injury Law can help. Contact us as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about your rights, including how to file a car accident claim and what you may need to do next to protect yourself.