When motor vehicle accidents in Las Vegas involve substantial property losses or physical injuries, the law requires the police to appear at the scene and make a report. Part of their report involves something known as the vehicle damage rating. This is an assessment of the severity of the impact.  

These reports can have an impact on the outcome of insurance claim settlement negotiations. Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers are here to protect your rights to maximum compensation during the process.  

What is the vehicle damage rating?  

Any time the police make an accident report, part of that documentation includes the extent of the damage to the vehicles. This does not always involve the use of a formal damage rating system.  

There are three aspects to a vehicle damage rating, and each of them is potentially important to your injury case.  

  • Direction of force. This value establishes the direction in which the vehicle was struck. Various numbers are used to establish the area of the car that was struck by the other vehicle.  
  • Damage description. These letter codes establish the nature of the damage. For example, the code “F” indicates a head-on collision.  
  • Severity of damage. These codes represent the extent of the damage to a vehicle using a numeric scale. Damage coded as “1” is the least severe, while damage coded as “6” is the highest level of destruction.  

Can the damage rating cost me my financial compensation?  

Ultimately, this rating is based on the opinion of the reporting officer. While these ratings might be relied on heavily by insurance adjusters, remember that nothing in the police report represents the final word in your damages claim. You and your legal representative have the right to present your own evidence to dispute the conclusions of the police vehicle damage report, if you feel there is cause to do so. This evidence can include photographic or video evidence of the crash scene, professional repair estimates, and more.  

Talk to an attorney about your accident today 

If you were seriously injured in an accident, the police vehicle damage ratings report can be an important piece of evidence demonstrating the overall severity of the crash. It may also provide valuable clues as to the nature and circumstances of the crash, and who caused it. This evidence can then be used to establish the liability of the other driver in a personal injury lawsuit seeking full compensation for the losses you sustained as a result of the accident, including not only damage to the vehicle, but also medical expenses (both now and in the future), lost wages, reduced future earning capacity in the case of long-term disability, loss of quality of life and more.  

Valiente Mott is ready and able to provide the tough, professional, effective legal representation you need after a motor vehicle crash. Schedule your free consultation with a Las Vegas car accident attorney

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, it might be necessary to go to court for your Utah injury claim because settlement negotiations have stalled. This can happen when the defendant and their attorney consistently offer compensation that would not cover your present or even your future damages and losses. In that case, your attorney will prepare for trial before a judge and jury. 

At Valiente Mott, our Salt Lake City car accident lawyers are ready to help you review your options during a free consultation. We can review your case and answer your questions.   

Why is court necessary? 

There are a few circumstances where you might be required to appear in court for our personal injury case. Thankfully, an attorney can appear on your behalf for the vast majority of hearings in these situations. However, you can expect to receive a summons to appear at trial. If you do not show up, the court will dismiss your case.  

In addition to court, you could also be required to appear at a deposition as part of the discovery process. Discovery is the stage of an injury trial where both sides provide copies of their evidence to each other. This includes depositions, which are informal proceedings where attorneys can ask witnesses questions regarding their future testimony at trial. If you refuse to participate in this process, the court could dismiss your case.  

You do not have to go to court if you settle 

If you reach a settlement with the other party, you do not have to appear at trial. Often, settlements are possible early on in the case—even before you file a lawsuit. In some cases, you might be able to reach a settlement after a lawsuit but before a trial date is set.   

You do not have to go to court if you rely on PIP coverage 

There is no need to go to court if you rely on personal injury protection—or PIP—insurance coverage. Utah is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that you often must rely on your own insurance coverage to pay for your damages in an accident. This is the case even if you are not at fault. There are times when it is possible to pursue legal action outside of the no-fault system. However, if you opt to rely on PIP coverage you will never need to go to court.  

Call an attorney about your Utah accident claim 

Going to court might seem scary, but most cases are resolved without the need for court appearances. A Salt Lake City auto accident attorney could help you resolve your claim and get the compensation you deserve. If you are required to appear in court, the team at Valiente Mott could make sure you are prepared. Call today for a free consultation.  

Car accidents are chaotic, often traumatic events, but knowing the right questions to ask a witness can protect your rights to compensation and prevent you from being held liable for a wreck you didn’t cause. Even if you’re a safe driver with an unblemished driving record, another motorist who is busy texting, speeding, driving aggressively, or who simply makes a bad decision behind the wheel, can cause a collision. When that happens, you could be left with expensive damage to repair, the loss of your vehicle, or severe injuries.  

Ensuring you have a reliable witness to the crash helps your Las Vegas car accident attorney get you the settlement you need to cover hospital bills, lost wages, and more. 

Neutral Third-Party Witness 

It’s common for the drivers involved in a crash to dispute who is most at fault. While first responders will do their best to reconstruct the physical scene of the accident and document their findings on the accident report, that report may not capture behaviors leading up to the accident, environmental considerations, or statements made by drivers before the police arrive.  

If both parties maintain their innocence, the insurance companies and any court proceedings are potentially left with a confusing situation.  

An unbiased witness can tip the scales in your favor, helping to demonstrate the other driver’s fault and ensuring that you can seek compensation for the damages caused by those actions. 

Top Car Accident Witness Questions 

When there’s a car accident, your first action should be to make sure you’re safe. You’ll need to exchange insurance information with the other driver and call the police to request an accident report.  

While you’re waiting for officers to respond, look around and see who may be a witness to the accident so you can gather the evidence you need to protect your rights.  

Start with these 10 basic questions for any car accident witness

  • Will You Give a Police Report or Sign a Statement? If the witness is willing to wait for the police and give a statement, you’ll have official documentation of their view of the accident. 
  • What is Your Contact Information? Right after a car wreck, when you’re dealing with injuries, damage, or the police, you may not be able to talk to your witness extensively. Try to get their contact information so they can be followed up with at a later date. 
  • What Did You See? You want to find out when the witness noticed the accident and a broad overview of what they saw to help your Las Vegas car accident lawyers better determine how much support their testimony offers your case. 
  • How Clear Was Your View? Where the witness was standing and what objects, if any, may have obstructed their view is vital to establishing what they may have seen and the level of detail they could make out. 
  • What Did You See Leading Up to the Accident? From changing traffic lights to distracted driving, this can help supply greater context to the other driver’s level of attention or state of mind. 
  • What Were the Road Conditions Before and During the Accident? Find out if there were any road obstructions, slippery surfaces, or low-light conditions that should have prompted the other driver to be more cautious. 
  • What Did You Do or See After the Accident? After the accident, did your witness attempt to render aid, potentially seeing or hearing evidence of recklessness on the part of the other vehicle’s driver, or did they see any attempts by the other driver to hide or minimize their fault? 
  • Do You Know Anyone Involved? Establishing whether or not a witness may be biased helps you establish the credibility of your witness or protects you from the other driver’s friend trying to help them out after the wreck. 
  • Did You Hear the Other Driver Make Any Statements? Did the witness hear the other driver make an extemporaneous statement, such as, “It was all my fault!” or “I only looked down for a moment!” 
  • Who Else May Have Seen the Accident? While one witness is good, multiple witnesses who can support your claim are even better. Find out if they know of any other witnesses or how to contact them. 

Get the Car Accident Settlement You Need 

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Valiente Mott are ready to listen to your story and help you get the car accident compensation you deserve. Las Vegas-born and raised, we’ll help you get the money you need to repair damages to your vehicle, reimburse you for medical bills, and help you put your life back together after a serious car wreck. Schedule your free car accident consultation by calling or reaching out online today. 

Once you finalize a settlement with an insurance company, you are barred from filing a lawsuit against the other signees. This often means that the settlement you agreed to is your only option to recover compensation after a car accident. It is worth noting that these agreements must be finalized before you are prohibited from pursuing your legal options against the other driver.  

If you have initially accepted an insurance settlement or just negotiated some of the finer points of the agreement, you might still have the option to file a lawsuit. Let our skilled and experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott advise you of your options. We are a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We are compassionate yet aggressive when protecting our clients. Contact us for a free consultation so we can answer your questions and assess your case.  

When are settlements final? 

You only give up your right to file a lawsuit when your settlement with an insurance company is finalized. That means you still have the option to pursue legal action even if you have discussed it and agreed on the basic details, including the amount of money you will receive. However, it is not finalized until an agreement is made. Usually, this involves a formal, written settlement offer that waives your right to sue in exchange for a check.  

Once you have been paid, your opportunity to pursue legal action is no longer possible. However, you could pursue legal action against other parties if they were also at fault for your injuries and were not a part of the settlement agreement. 

A Las Vegas car accident attorney from our firm could advise whether you can pursue additional lawsuits after a settlement has been completed. 

What to do before you settle your case 

As noted above, because settlements are final, there are essential steps to take before signing on the dotted line. Consider it from every angle before you reach an agreement with the at-fault party. Some of the steps you should take include the following: 

  • Seek medical care 
  • Follow your doctor’s orders 
  • Compile your other expenses 
  • Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company 

Finally, speaking with an experienced and dedicated lawyer is always wise to ensure you receive a fair and reasonable amount to cover current and future expenses.  

Schedule a free consultation with our team at Valiente Mott 

Agreeing to a settlement for your car accident injury claim is a big decision. Once you finalize it, you can never go back for additional compensation or sue the person you settled with. To ensure you get everything you deserve, contact the team at Valiente Mott today for a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.  

In Utah and Nevada, if you’re in an accident in a company car, the company’s insurance will be responsible under the legal theory of vicarious liability. That’s because the employee is the agent of the employer when they’re driving for work. Vicarious liability is also called respondeat superior. However, in Nevada, if you are not on the clock when the accident occurs, you will be held liable for the accident.

To protect your rights after an accident in a company car, contact our team of Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott, with offices in Reno and Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ll carefully consider the unique circumstances of your accident and advocate for your right to fair and reasonable compensation.


How Vicarious Liability Works

As noted above, vicarious liability means the employer is only liable for acts of their employee that occur when they are working—not while off-duty.

For example, John works for a company. He drives the company car and gets into an accident. The company will be vicariously liable for John’s accident if he was working when the accident occurred. The rules of vicarious liability extend not only to damage to the car but also to injuries John or others suffered in the accident.

Examples of When Liability Applies and When It Doesn’t

When you have use of a company car, there may be times during the day when you might use it for personal reasons. When an accident occurs during personal use, your employer is not responsible for your accident.

For example, you are a salesman using a company car for appointments. You attend several sales meetings. At day’s end, you stop for groceries and get into an accident in the store’s parking lot. Your employer is not liable for the accident because you ran a personal errand. This is outside the scope of your employment.

Similarly, your employer would not be liable if you met a friend for lunch and got into an accident. Such events are known as “frolic and detour” and are exceptions to vicarious liability. However, your employer would be liable if you had been in an accident while traveling to and from your sales meetings.

Typical Scope of Employment Activities

Many situations are included in the scope of employment, and the most common ones include the following:

  1. Driving to a business appointment
  2. Delivering property for an employer
  3. Running an errand for the employer

Note that in Nevada, an employee is not acting within the scope of employment while traveling to or from work.

Contact Valiente Mott for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been in an accident driving a company car and have suffered severe injuries, contact a Salt Lake City car accident attorney at Valiente Mott for a free consultation. Our team in Utah or Nevada can help you navigate the complex legal issues that often arise when you’re in an accident in a company car. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees.

You may be asked to write a witness statement if you witnessed a motor vehicle accident. Attorneys for either party will likely want to know what you observed, and it is a good way to memorialize your story and help victims seek damages for the injuries they sustained.

At Valiente Mott, we know what needs to be included in a witness statement and all other facets of a personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve been hurt, contact our team of Las Vegas car accident lawyers. We can guide you through this complex process and advocate for the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. Contact us today for a free consultation if you have questions about a witness statement or other issues involving a car accident.

What should be included in a witness statement?

Your witness statement should include a narrative description of the accident. You should also provide some additional information, including:

  • Your legal name and contact information
  • Where the accident occurred
  • What happened before the crash
  • What happened at the time of the collision
  • Describe the weather, especially if it was raining, snowing or sleeting
  • How many cars were involved

Finally, be sure to include what the other drivers said about the collision in the immediate aftermath.

Stick to the facts

A witness statement is designed to provide interested parties with an understanding of what happened. These statements are not intended for you to weigh in with an opinion on who was at fault or what could have been done to avoid the accident. It is your opportunity to factually tell the story of what you observed. Describe how the collision occurred and the events or actions that led to it in your own words.

Why witness statements are important

There is a reason why both sides in a personal injury case might want to hear from a third-party witness. Their testimony is often the strongest available evidence. Third-party witnesses come into a personal injury case without bias, as they generally do not know the victim or the other driver.

They are also more likely to provide crucial details that a party to the accident might miss. Moreover, while witnesses can often stay calm following an accident, that is not always true for victims.

Schedule a free consultation

If you were hurt in a car accident, witness statements could help you build a winning personal injury case against the other driver. A Las Vegas car accident attorney from Valiente Mott is driven to recover maximum compensation on your behalf and understands the seriousness of your situation. We are prepared to leverage our resources and experience to build a strong case for compensation, including witness statements. Schedule a free consultation today. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal costs.

In the aftermath of a car accident, insurance companies are required to treat you fairly—even if they insure the other driver. This is called acting in good faith, and every insurance company should oblige by avoiding unnecessary delays and processing an insurance claim in a reasonable amount of time.

However, if your insurance company is stalling, our team of Las Vegas car accident lawyers might be able to help. Often, getting these cases moving is as simple as aggressively pushing for a resolution with the adjuster. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are happy to answer your questions and assess your case.

Common excuses from insurance companies

Insurance companies use many excuses when they drag their feet in your car accident injury case.

Some common examples include the following:

  • They are having a hard time tracking down a witness
  • They need more documentation
  • They are waiting for medical records
  • They are waiting on guidance from legal counsel

Remember, your attorney has likely dealt with stalled negotiation talks, and they are not intimidated by these tactics.

Delays are often intentional

Delays are often intentional. Insurance companies have the resources to drag out a claim for as long as they want. They also know that the same is not true for most accident victims. These delays often pressure a financially strapped person into settling their case for a fraction of its true value.

Delays almost always work against the plaintiff in these cases because if you wait too long, you could lose your ability to seek compensation because of the statute of limitations. You are also more likely to face financial pressure to settle your case and accept an unreasonable offer. The good news is that our team can help you fight back.

How we can help

Insurance companies are infamous for delay tactics when they know the victim does not have a lawyer. Insurance adjusters handling these cases are trained to reduce the claim’s value as much as possible—even if the amount is unfair.

A Las Vegas car accident attorney could help by contacting the insurance company for an update. Some delays are based on honest mistakes, and a nudge from an attorney can get a quick response from the adjuster.

When insurance companies refuse to respond, legal action might be necessary. An attorney could file a bad faith lawsuit against the insurance company to seek compensation for an unreasonable delay or denial.

Talk to Valiente Mott about delays in your insurance case 

If you are dealing with a delay in your car accident claim, now is the time to get professional help. Our hardworking and experienced team at Valiente Mott is here to help you resolve your case and get the compensation you deserve. Reach out today to learn more during a free consultation. There is no obligation to hire us, and because we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees.

When a car accident lawyer takes on your personal injury case after you’ve been hurt and suffered financial losses, they handle every aspect of your case from beginning to end. While your Las Vegas car accident lawyers can serve many different roles for you, their ultimate goal is to help you get the financial compensation you deserve.

Contact us at Valiente Mott if this has happened to you. We are dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We are compassionate yet aggressive when advocating for our clients and their families. Schedule a free consultation with us. We’re happy to answer your questions and assess your case.

Investigating your accident

A thorough, comprehensive investigation is the first step in a successful car accident case. Your attorney reviews all of the facts of your crash before helping you pursue a claim for compensation. The investigation serves two essential purposes. First, your attorney can identify the party or parties that are responsible. Second, they can determine what your case is worth by reviewing your medical and employment records.

Developing a theory of negligence

You are only entitled to compensation if your car accident results from the other driver’s negligence. After investigating your crash, an attorney will develop a theory of negligence based on the facts. This theory will explain how another party carelessly, recklessly, or intentionally injured you in a motor vehicle collision.

Negotiating a settlement

Once your Las Vegas car accident attorney has a theory of negligence, the next step is to resolve your case through a negotiated settlement between both parties. Settlements happen frequently in car accident injury cases. In fact, it is often possible to settle a claim without ever filing a lawsuit.

However, negotiations in these cases can be complex. While settlement offers are common, fair offers can be more challenging. Your attorney can handle negotiations to ensure you are treated fairly while considering reasonable offers from the insurance company.

Handling litigation


When settlement talks fall through, your last option for pursuing justice after a car crash is through litigation. Your attorney could file suit and even take your case to trial. Remember that your legal counsel will continue working towards a settlement until the last possible moment—even after filing a lawsuit.

When a trial is necessary, your attorney will ensure you are prepared. For example, they will walk you through the process and prepare you for the questions you will likely be asked.

Contact Valiente Mott to schedule a free consultation

An attorney in your car accident case can assist you with every stage, from the investigation to the trial, while constantly working towards a settlement. Reach out to Valiente Mott as soon as possible to discuss your case during a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees. We look forward to hearing from you.

You can prove who is at fault for a car accident in Nevada by assessing the location of the damage to your vehicle.

If you have experienced property damage and severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence in an auto accident, you can fight back against claims that you were at fault. You will need a personal injury lawyer who understands how to use the location of damage to the vehicles to show who caused the crash.

The Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott have extensive experience in using the location and extent of car crash damage to show how an auto accident happened and who caused it. We use that expertise to recover the largest available insurance settlements and damages awards for our injured clients.

How can the location of damage determine car accident fault?

In some cases, vehicle damage very clearly identifies how an accident happened. In a rear-end collision, for example, damage to the negligent driver’s car will be on its front end, and the injured party’s car will have rear-end damages.

For more complex situations, an experienced car accident attorney will analyze the following:

  • A car’s undercarriage: Breaking immediately before a collision will push a vehicle downward and cause contact between suspension elements and the pavement. This information is crucial in understanding the sequence of events leading up to the accident.
  • Interior damage: Interior damage reveals important clues about a vehicle’s speed and direction at the time of an accident. By examining the impact on the interior components, attorneys can reconstruct the dynamics of the collision.
  • Tire damage and skid marks on the pavement: These also reveal a vehicle’s speed and direction at the time of the accident. The marks help establish the movements and actions of all vehicles involved.
  • The vehicle’s crumple zones: The severity of the crumple zones, which are designed to absorb impacts and spread their forces through the rest of the vehicle’s body, can provide evidence of the intensity and nature of the collision.

The importance of getting evidence

If possible, an accident victim should take photographs of the damaged vehicles and the accident scene to assist the car accident attorney’s analysis of the location of the damage. The vehicles themselves should be inspected soon after an accident because photographs can miss important clues that an experienced accident investigator will see in person.

In Nevada, to give yourself the best opportunity to assign fault to a negligent driver and to recover the largest available accident settlement or damages award, you should retain a knowledgeable Las Vegas car accident attorney immediately after the accident to complete that investigation before the damaged vehicles are no longer available for inspection.

Prove your innocence and win your case. We’ll fight for you.

The location and extent of damage after a multi-car collision can tell a detailed story about how the accident happened and who caused it. Understanding that story takes the knowledge and skills of experienced car accident lawyers and their teams of analysts who can assess and interpret the damage.

At Valiente Mott, we are car accident lawyers with decades of experience with these types of cases. Call our Las Vegas office as soon as possible after your car accident to give us the best opportunity to inspect the vehicles and to set up your claims for the largest available insurance settlements and damages awards.

Your initial consultation with our attorneys is always free. If you retain us and we accept your case, our fees are extracted from the settlement we win for you. You don’t pay anything out-of-pocket. 

Are Auto Accident Settlements Taxable?

Generally, you will not need to pay any taxes on the money you earned in your auto accident settlement. However, there are a few exceptions. Some components of your award can be taxable based on different scenarios, which we’ll discuss in the sections below.

In the rare case that you do have to pay taxes, it’s often applied to money intended to replace taxable income such as your wages, and any sums that reimburse you for matters other than the direct losses that are caused by your auto accident.

The Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott use their extensive knowledge and experience with U.S. and Nevada law to negotiate car accident settlements with the largest possible amounts that are free from federal or state taxation.

When you need a Las Vegas car accident attorney to represent your interests after a negligent driver has left you with large property losses and serious injuries, make sure that the attorney you retain has a thorough understanding of how taxes will affect your damages settlement.

What parts of an auto accident settlement are not taxable?

  • Medical Bills & Recovery Fees: A large portion of a personal injury lawsuit settlement will replace the costs and expenses of medical bills and fees for occupational and rehabilitation therapy.
  • Pain & Suffering: The funds you receive to compensate you for your pain and suffering are also exempt from taxation.
  • Damaged Property: Compensation for the repair and replacement of any damaged property with value.

In general, if a component of an auto accident settlement is intended to repay you for the out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a direct and proximate result of your accident, the IRS will exempt that component from your personal income for tax purposes.

What types of settlement funds are taxable?

If you are unable to work while you recuperate from your car accident injuries, you may be entitled to recover your lost wages as part of your settlement.

Money replacing a taxable income: Since your regular earnings are taxable, settlement amounts that are paid to replace your gross earnings are taxable as income to you. Likewise, if a portion of your settlement is characterized as a payment of interest on other settlement amounts from the date of your accident, that interest is taxable.

Ask your personal injury lawyer about how to report a settlement amount for lost wages, interest, and similar payments on your personal tax returns.

Do you need to pay taxes on settlement amounts for mental anguish and distress?

If your anguish and distress arise from your auto accident injuries, the settlement funds you receive on account of that distress are exempt from taxation. They are not exempt, however, if your distress is the result of your witnessing someone else’s injuries, regardless of how emotionally traumatic that experience might be.

The consequences of a serious auto accident are bad enough without having to pay taxes on any settlement award you receive for those consequences. In view of this, the car accident lawyers at Valiente Mott work to structure settlement awards for their Nevada car accident clients to minimize the tax burdens they may face.

Please call our Las Vegas offices to consult directly with one of our personal injury attorneys about the tax exposure you might face with an auto accident settlement. We offer complimentary consultations. If we accept your case, we will earn our fees as part of your settlement award and you will owe nothing out-of-pocket.