Las Vegas Metro Police Department announced that, starting March 3, 2014, they will no longer respond to car accidents if there are no reported injuries. So what should you do to preserve your personal injury claim if you were involved in a car accident and later discover that you were, in fact, injured? The police have now shifted the burden of documenting and reporting the accident to drivers, which could be problematic for a number of reasons. Here is a brief check list of things to do, starting at the scene of the accident:
Photo by Pedro Vera
1. Gather Information
Nevada law mandates that all registered vehicles carry proof of insurance with a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage. If a driver refuses to exchange insurance information, call the police and ask for assistance, as Metro has agreed to respond to these types of situations. Write down the at-fault driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number and a brief description of their vehicle. It is best to obtain the address from some form of identification, like a driver’s license. The more information, the better.
2. Take Photographs
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov
This includes photographs of both cars (especially the damaged areas), the location where the collision occurred and anything else that may have contributed to the accident. The more photos, the better. If you take pictures, you must preserve this evidence for your attorney. If you don’t preserve evidence, it could hurt your case.
3. Obtain Written Statements
Insist that the at-fault driver accept responsibility in a written statement that is both signed and dated. If the driver refuses to accept responsibility for the accident, call the police and ask for their assistance. You may also obtain signed statements from any witnesses at the scene of the accident. Make sure witness statements include names, addresses and phone numbers so they can be located and contacted at a later time. Preserve written statements as evidence for your attorney. If an insurance company later disputes your claim, these written statements can be used by your attorney to prove your case.
4. File A Police Report
Photo by Clarence Risher
You must file a police report at one of the many Las Vegas Metro Police Department area commands (except Downtown, Bolden, Southeast and South Central Area Commands) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays. It’s smart to avoid waiting until close to closing, as area commands take their last report of the day at 4 p.m. In the report, be sure to identify the cause of the accident (i.e., at-fault driver rear-ended my vehicle at a stop, at-fault driver ran stop sign and struck the side of my car, etc.). It is also important to document exactly what both drivers were doing at the time of impact, not just the at-fault driver. The more information in the report, the better.
5. Seek Medical Attention
If you are in any pain from your accident, please seek medical attention immediately. When you meet with your medical provider, explain that you were involved in an accident, experiencing pain and are seeking help. Your doctor will evaluate you, diagnose your injuries and recommend additional medical treatment. It is important that you make and keep all of your medical appointments. Insurance companies love it when a person waits to see a doctor, so the sooner the appointment, the better.
6. Contact Jon Remmel For A Free Consultation
Our office offers free consultations for injury victims, contact us today and we can begin helping you figure out your case. Remmel Law Firm can be reached at (702) 522-7707.
Featured image by Sgarton