If you were injured in a car accident, you have to deal with painful injuries, the perspective of being left with a permanent disability or impairment, and very high medical care bills. As you know, personal injury law in Nevada allows you to file an accident injury claim against the at-fault driver and recover economic and non-economic damages.
But how much money can you actually expect to obtain at the end of the negotiations? An experienced Las Vegas auto accident attorney explains the circumstances that influence the final car accident settlement.
It is not possible to give an average amount, because each case is unique, so any number you may read in an article would be irrelevant in your particular situation. Your Las Vegas accident attorney will explain to you exactly what type of damages you can recover and fight to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
Here are the key elements that influence the value of your car accident settlement:
1. The Extent of Your Injuries
If you suffered catastrophic injuries, such as extensive fractures, spine injuries, or traumatic brain injury, you will most probably need to spend a lot of time in a hospital and in a rehabilitation center.
You will be subject to specialized and expensive treatments, including surgeries, and will need physical therapy and counseling for months. Moreover, you may be left with a permanent disability, requiring assistive devices (walking frame, wheelchair) and modifications to your home.
All these aspects will be taken into account by the Las Vegas auto accident attorney. They will add up your current medical care expenses, as well as the estimated future costs with therapy and rehabilitation.
2. Your Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
While you are in hospital and undergoing therapy, you are not working, thus your monthly paycheck is stopped. This represents an economic loss for you and your family. Moreover, a permanent disability may leave you unable to return to your job. In this case, the attorney will ensure that the demand letter contains the lost wages, as well as an amount to compensate for your loss of earning capacity among other damages.
3. The Other Driver’s Failure to Comply with Nevada Insurance Requirements
According to the Nevada Division of Insurance, car drivers are required to carry the following minimum third party insurance coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damages.
However, not all drivers comply with this rule. As per statistical data collected by the Insurance Information Institute, 10.4% of Nevada drivers are uninsured drivers. Other drivers only carry the minimum insurance coverage required by the law, which may be insufficient to compensate you for your entire economic losses.
In this instance, you have two options:
- Recover your losses out of your own Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist policy (UM/UI), if you have it
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Your personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada will advise you on the best course of action to maximize your settlement.
4. Your Proportion of Fault for the Accident
The state of Nevada applies the comparative negligence principle in determining whether personal injury victims have the right to seek compensation for their losses. This principle states that the victim’s percentage of fault must be “no greater than the negligence or gross negligence of the parties to the action against whom recovery is sought” (Nevada Revised Statutes 41.141.1).
Even if you are found eligible to seek compensation, the actual settlement amount you will collect will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Thus, if you were 10% at fault and your total damages are evaluated at $50,000, you will collect $45,000.
5. The Mental and Emotional Impact of the Accident on Your Life
Being involved in a car accident does not result only in bodily injury. In the experience of a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, most accident victims are left with emotional trauma, recurring nightmares, and anxiety and may even develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
All these have a negative impact on your quality of life and ability to enjoy it. Thus, you deserve compensation for your mental anguish, as part of the non-economic damages allowed by Nevada law. An experienced personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough evaluation of your emotional state, together with your therapist and various expert witnesses, if necessary, to determine a fair compensation amount.
6. Whether You Sought Prompt Medical Attention
Even if you do not believe that you were seriously injured in a car accident, you promptly see a doctor for a full medical examination. If you delay seeking medical care by one or two days, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can argue:
- That you were not seriously injured in the respective accident
- That you may have sustained the respective injuries later, in a separate incident.
In short, the longer you wait before you see medical attention, the harder it will be for your Las Vegas car accident attorney to prove that you were injured in the accident. Since personal injury law relies on the principle of suffering injuries and economic losses due to another person’s breach of their duty of care, you may lose your case or win a very low settlement amount.
7. What You Say and Do After the Accident
As soon as you have reported a car accident and notified your insurer, the other driver’s insurance company will also find out about it. And they will send an insurance adjuster to close the case as quickly as possible. This may involve:
- Offering you a quick settlement amount (a very low amount)
- Persuading you that you do not have the right to file a claim and recover damages.
Even if you disagree on both counts, you may still make self-incriminating statements without being aware of it. Simple words such as “I’m fine” or “I’m getting better” will be duly noted and used against you at a later date. The adjuster will claim that you are not as severely injured as you claim because you said “I’m fine.”
For this reason, the best course of action is to refuse to discuss with the insurance adjuster and inform them that your personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada will contact them in a short time.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Law Firm in Las Vegas
We founded Christian Morris Trial Attorneys in 2003, after 30 years of combined experience working for insurance companies. Our mission is to make sure that personal injury victims receive professional legal assistance and representation and recover the damages they are entitled to.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so schedule a free case review with a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada as soon as possible after your car accident by calling 702-410-6329!