Understanding the legal regulations for car accidents can be confusing. Who’s at fault? What are my rights? Which damages are covered?
Perhaps you’ve sustained property or personal injury damages and are looking to seek compensation. The steps and procedures that must take place between the car accident and receiving compensation are regulated by what is known as auto accident law.
Read on as we break down what the law is for car accidents, what your rights are after a car crash, and other pertinent details relating to car crash law.
What is car accident law?
Car accident law is an area of law under the broader category of personal injury law. This type of law seeks to determine who is responsible for the property or personal injury damages sustained from a car crash.
Auto accident law involves principles of negligence and liability—key concepts that must be proven in the courts to receive compensation. Four general principles related to negligence and liability, in particular, must be demonstrated by the plaintiff:
- Duty: Drivers have a duty to know and abide by all traffic laws while operating their vehicles in a safe manner. This means following all traffic laws, driving under the speed limit, not driving recklessly, etc.
- Breach: The plaintiff must demonstrate the defendant did not obey traffic laws in this car accident incident. They can do this by providing evidence such as CCTV footage, police report, eyewitness testimony, or admission of fault.
- Causation: It’s not enough to simply prove that a breach of duty occurred. The plaintiff must also demonstrate the injury was a result of this particular breach.
- Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must prove that harm resulted from this incident. ‘Near-miss’ incidents don’t count and will be dismissed in the courts. Harm is usually always in the form of injuries sustained.
Steps to take immediately following an accident
Below are steps to take immediately following an accident:
- Stop your car: Safety is your number one concern after an accident. Do not exit your car unless it’s safe to do so.
- Check for injuries: Check for injuries, even if the accident seems minor. If injured, proceed to step 3.
- Call the police: The police may take several hours to report to the scene after car accidents in Las Vegas. However, once the police arrive, they will create a written report of the accident which will help establish liability later.
- Do not admit fault: While speaking to the other driver, you should be courteous. You should not, however, admit fault.
- Report the accident to your insurance company (don’t admit fault): Call your car insurance company after the car accident and tell them you need to report an accident.
- Take pictures: Pictures of the scene will help the insurance companies, attorneys, and potentially jurors determine who was at fault for the accident.
- Gather information from all parties involved: You will need the other driver’s car insurance information, if nothing else.
- Contact a lawyer: After your car accident, you should contact a lawyer. Insurance companies will often try to contact you after a car accident to obtain a recorded statement. Do not give an insurance company a recorded statement.
What are your rights?
One of the first car crash rights is the right to protect yourself from any at-fault claims. Even if you believe you were the cause of the collision, do not allow the other driver or the insurance company to force you into admitting guilt. Leave it up to the insurance companies or courts to determine fault.
Abiding by car accident rules and protocols, another right is to obtain the other driver’s information, which includes name, contact, and insurance details. If the other driver refuses, record their license plate, vehicle description, and driver appearance to the police.
According to traffic accident law, you must not leave the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene of a car crash can result in penalties and even criminal charges.
Important terms to know
Below are some important terms to know in dealing with car accident liability law:
- Road traffic accident: The legal definition of a road traffic accident is when a vehicle collides with another car, person, animal, tree, or any other stationary object.
- Liability: Liability is determining who is at fault and, therefore, who is responsible for the car crash.
- Negligence: The act of careless or reckless driving resulting in injuries or damages to a person or property.
- Damages: Money awarded to victims to compensate for damages to the car, personal injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
- Comparative negligence: When multiple accident parties are at fault, resulting in injuries or damages to a person or property.
- Collision coverage: Whether it’s caused by you or another driver, collision coverage will compensate you for damages done to your vehicle in a car crash.
When should you seek legal help?
Whether you’ve sustained injuries or got your car damaged, you should always seek professional legal counsel right after an accident.
Have your personal injury lawyer speak with your insurance company following a car crash. Large insurance companies are notorious for forcing victims to settle quickly rather than looking out for their best interests. An experienced lawyer knows how to handle insurance companies, so you get the most out of your settlement claim.
Speaking with a lawyer also protects you from making mistakes, such as admitting fault or saying too much to the other party. A lawyer will help you collect evidence and navigate you through the legal procedures, while you recover from your injuries.
Here at Valiente Mott, we are experts in auto accident law. Whether you’ve sustained a minor or serious injury, our Las Vegas car accident attorney team will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation!
Valiente Mott is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We handle all personal injury matters, including, but not limited to, car crashes, defective products, and catastrophic injury. We are compassionate, yet aggressive when protecting personal injury victims and families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents. Learn more about who we are.
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