Collecting compensation after an auto accident relies on evidence. No insurance company writes a check simply because you ask nicely. You need sufficient proof to overcome an insurer’s resistance to paying you. Nevada is a fault state, which means the at-fault party must pay your damages when evidence confirms liability. The primary role of a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas is to build a strong, evidence-based case for you.
What Must the Evidence Show?
Knowing what the evidence should illustrate is helpful in understanding how to document what happened and the losses that resulted. You need evidence that paints a clear picture of the other party’s responsibility and connects that negligence to your injuries and property damage.
The legal standards for proving negligence are:
- Breach of duty
Injury lawyers in Las Vegas argue that drivers are negligent when they ignore traffic laws necessary for safety. All drivers have a duty to follow the rules of the road and consider the safety of other drivers, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
You will need evidence showing that someone breached that duty, such as:
- Failing to yield when required
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Skipping necessary vehicle maintenance
You or the car accident lawyer representing you must first find evidence about the breach of duty. The next step is to connect that breach of duty to what happened to you, which fulfills the causation element.
After demonstrating breach of duty and causation, you can move on to documenting your damages.
Accident victims suffer many types of damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
How to Document Evidence of Your Car Accident
If injuries prevented you from doing much in the way of evidence collection at the accident scene, an accident attorney in Las Vegas could have an investigator revisit the location and collect any evidence that remains available. This is why people typically search for a car accident lawyer near me so that the law office will be close to where the accident occurred.
- Get a Police Report
Police almost always respond to serious accidents. If that was what happened in your case, then a police report already exists. A police report not only can provide important information about the circumstances of the crash and perhaps assignment of fault, it represents an official document proving the accident happened.
If you are able, you should always call the police yourself from the accident scene. Otherwise, you should report the incident to the nearest law enforcement agency as soon as possible.
- Take Pictures at the Accident Scene
Smartphones provide an extremely important tool for collecting evidence. Use yours to take pictures of where the accident happened, the vehicles involved, vehicle damage, road conditions, and traffic signals and signs. Be sure to include images of VINs on vehicles and license plates. The phone camera is also great for grabbing images of the other driver’s license and insurance card.
- Collect Witness Information
Bystanders are not uncommon at accident scenes, especially at busy city intersections. If possible, ask witnesses for their names and contact information. A car accident lawyer could follow up with them and request a statement about the crash. Once again, your smartphone would be handy for recording a witness statement.
- Find Out If the Other Driver Was Working
Many people drive as part of their jobs. Sometimes they are even using company vehicles. If the other driver was on the job at the time of the collision, ask that person for the employer’s name. This could be an important detail when identifying insurance coverage for your damages.
- Obtain Immediate Medical Care
A bad accident will result in your transport to a hospital. Some accidents end up with victims receiving first aid from EMTs. In that case, you should seek another medical evaluation as soon as possible. A quick assessment by an overworked EMT may not catch all of your injuries. Make sure that you tell the physician that you were just in a motor vehicle accident and that this fact is noted in your medical records.
- Keep All Documents About Your Medical Care
On top of initial medical treatments, you may require ongoing treatments and rehabilitation care. A paper journal or calendar will be very useful for writing down the details of each medical appointment. Always ask your medical provider to give you copies of all medical records related to your accident. They contain important information about the extent of your injuries, pain and suffering, and potential disability.
Once the medical bills start showing up, keep copies of them. They provide critical evidence that a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas will use to calculate the value of your damages claim.
- Collect Records of Property Damage
Damage to your vehicle and its contents represent financial losses as well. Take pictures of vehicle damage and retain receipts for repairs.
How Will Car Accident Evidence Be Used?
Nevada law imposes financial responsibility on the at-fault driver. As a result, most car accident victims make claims against the negligent driver’s insurance. This is called a third-party claim. You can expect that insurer to try to avoid as many expenses as possible, but clear evidence can prevail against attempts to lower your settlement.
Sending in strong evidence with your claim limits ways that an insurer might try to deny you. However, insurance companies remain motivated to limit payouts, and they often argue that you were partly to blame.
In Nevada, modified comparative negligence laws enable the reduction of an insurance payment according to the percentage of fault assigned to you. If an insurer can shift more than half of the blame onto your shoulders, you will receive no compensation. A personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas will shield you from this tactic whenever possible.
Evidence will also be crucial if you need to make a claim against your own insurance policy. This is known as a first-party claim. Despite Nevada being a fault state, the negligent driver’s insurance policy might not cover all of your expenses.
Policies must at a minimum cover $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. As you can imagine, serious accidents can easily exceed these limits. That is when you will turn to your own uninsured/underinsured coverage. Of course, your insurer will not welcome this news, and you will need to back up your claim with strong evidence proving your right to compensation.
Finally, evidence is absolutely central to a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit may become necessary when an insurer will not accept your version of events or calculation of damages.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Las Vegas Can Help You
Car accident evidence can easily involve complex variables that might be open to interpretation. A car accident lawyer can manage an investigation that uncovers important pieces of evidence. Additionally, a lawyer could locate expert witnesses who might counteract how an insurer views an event. Darren J. Lach, Esq. has built his career on forcing insurers to meet their obligations to victims. For a free consultation, contact Lach Injury Law today.