Traffic Accidents

If you have recently been in a car accident you probably have dozens of questions on how to handle you claim; vehicle replacement, reimbursement of medical bills, reimbursement of lost wages, and a fair settlement for pain and suffering. The attorneys at Thompson Traffic Lawyers know exactly what you are going through and can provide you assistance.

What is a fair settlement on a car accident claim?

A: Car accident settlements can vary widely but the following is a general formula on how settlements are calculated. By adding together actual damages and general damages you can gather an estimate. Actual economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and other hard costs incurred by the accident. General damages include pain, suffering, disability factors and other hedonic dames. General damages are calculated by multiplying actual damages by a multiplier. It should be noted the contribution or comparative fault issues may adjust this estimate along with additional extenuating circumstances. If you have questions or concerns you should consulting with an accident attorney for a more accurate calculation.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

A: Not having health insurance can be a serious issue when dealing with an accident claim. Tens or hundreds of thousands of medical bills will need to be paid and without insurance you may not have access to proper medical treatment. Hiring attorney may help because attorneys can provide health providers with an “attorney lien” which provides assurance that your medical bills will be paid.

At what point should I file a lawsuit?

A: There are a few situations when you will almost certainly consider filing a filing a lawsuit; 1) If fault for the accident should not be disputed, but fault is being disputed by the insurance company, 2) When the insurance adjustor stops responding to discussions of a settlement. Most other situations will be less objective and consist of you in a back and forth discussion with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on a fair settlement. When the insurance company is denying liability or is not responding you almost have no option, but to file a lawsuit. In the other situation where you think a fair settlement is not being offered you might need to contact an accident attorney on whether or not to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits need to be filed before the statute of limitations expired an require an understanding of the legal process.

If I file a claim will my insurance rates increase?

A: Your insurance company may increase your rates after you file a claim. Rates are based on multiple factors like driver age, type of car, driving record and claims record. Your insurance company will include all moving violations and all at-fault accidents, to determine your rates. They may include non-fault accidents to determine your rate or discounts. To be sure you should contact your insurance agent.

My car was totaled and I still owe money?

A: Next to not having enough health coverage this may be the most concerning issue of a car accident claim. If the amount owed on the vehicle is less that the book value of your vehicle you may be looking at a deficiency. This often happens on brand new cars. You may have “Gap” insurance which covers the different between the loan amount and the book value. Alternatively, you may be able to try to get negotiate with the adjustor a higher book value on your vehicle.

What is the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence?

A: Both describe the standard in your state for settling damages and liability from an injury or accident. Contributory applies a percentage of fault to each party. For example 40% for driver one and 60% for the other driver. Comparative negligence is more concerned with which party was at least 51% at fault. Contributory negligence reduces your claim by the percentage you are found negligent, whereas comparative negligence, the driver found to be at least 51% at fault would be responsible for 100% of the claims. Nevada is a comparative negligence state.

What does “no fault” or “at fault” mean?

A: “At fault” is a term assigned to the person or persons who are found to be the cause of the accident. This term is related to the insurance carrier being financially responsible for the faulty party. “No fault” is a term that identifies neither party is being responsible for the others person damage or injuries and each person’s own insurance will handle their own claims. This type of insurance policy does not exist in Nevada.

What if I am at fault?

A: If you are the cause of the car accident, and you have insurance, your liability insurance coverage will pay for the other driver’s personal injuries and property damage up to your limit stated in your policy. If you have collision coverage then your insurance will pay for damages or the cost to replace your vehicle, minus the cost of your policy deductible.

What if the other driver denies being at fault?

A: This happens frequently and why we stress for anyone who is in a car accident to attain statements of witnesses. Without a witness, if a police report states which party is at fault or there are pictures of the accident scene that can easily determine who was a fault, you may need a court to actually decide who was at fault.

What if I have no insurance but the other person was cited?

A: In Nevada, the law requires you have insurance. However, lack of insurance does not determine who is at fault in a car accident. If the other driver is at fault, the claim is normally handled the same way as if you did have insurance.

What types of incidents exist where the other driver is almost always at fault?

A: A driver who rear-ends someone and a driver talking a left turn are almost always considered to be at fault. Only in rare circumstances will these two types of accidents not cause liability.

Can a passenger file a claim against either at fault driver?

A: An injured passenger in an auto accident has the legal right to file a claim against the drive who is at fault. Whether the at fault driver is the driver of the vehicle the injured client was riding in or the at fault driver was the driver of the other vehicle.

Can you appeal a police report?

A: Yes. You will need to contact the police department who issued the report and file a supplement or alternative statement in order to file an amended police report. This is very useful in determining liability.

Who pays if I’m injured or my car is damaged?

A: This depends on who is found at fault, if the other driver and yourself have insurance, and what kind of insurance you both have. If the other driver is at fault, then the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your vehicle damage and injuries. If you caused the accident, then it depends on the type of insurance coverage you have.

What should I do if the other driver does not have insurance?

A: If the other driver is at fault and does not have insurance, your injuries can be covered under your policy if you have medical payments or uninsured motorist coverage which will pay up to the specified limits as provided in your policy.

What if other driver’s insurance is not enough to cover my damages?

A: If the at fault driver’s insurance is not enough to pay for all of your damages, your insurance policy may offer coverage through your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Not all policies have this coverage so be sure to discuss your coverage with your lawyer or your insurance agent.

Does the insurance carrier cover lost wages?

A: Lost wages can typically be reimbursed as a result of a car accident. Any vacation time used, unpaid time from work, or wages lost as a result of rehabilitation, medical treatment, or other appointments would be reimbursable.

What else can be reimbursed for from an accident?

A: Medical bills, future medical bills, permanent or partial disability, pain & suffering, and value of the vehicle, or vehicle repair are the common items that are reimbursed by the “at fault” drivers insurance.

What if I have medical bills?

A: If you have health insurance your health insurance carrier will be the primary insurance for medical bills. Your automobile insurance may also have medical payments coverage, which can pay the cost of necessary medical treatment for you and your passengers. If the other driver was at fault, then you may place a claim for reimbursement of medical bill from their insurance.

What is the significance of little or no property damage in the amount of my claim?

A: The amount of damage to either vehicle can be a factor that the insurance company uses in calculating the reimbursement amount. Claims where there is little damage to the vehicles are often disputed by the insurance carrier.

Is there a standard formula insurance companies use to settle pain and suffering claims?

A: There is no standard formula and the amount changes based on your circumstances and your injuries. For instance, a person who is confined to a wheel chair for a period of time will receive more than a person with who only needed stitches. However, the average formula is to multiply the damages that can be calculated such as your lost wages and medical bills by three.

How long does it take to be paid?

A: If the medical treatment you receive is quick, then it may only take two to four months to be reimbursed for your medical costs. If liability is disputed or your medical injuries require months of treatment then it will take longer for a dollar amount to be properly calculated. We will not negotiate an amount with the insurance adjuster until your medical treatment is 80% to 90% complete.

How much will I receive if my car is totaled?

A: The insurance carrier is only required to compensate you the cost from towing and storing the vehicle, the fair market value if totaled, and expenses for loss of use of your vehicle.

What is the time limit for filing a claim?

A: Although there isn’t a set time limit to filing a claim with the insurance company, there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. The two-year time limit is crucial because if the insurance carrier denies liability then your remedy for compensation is to file a lawsuit. If two years has passed since the accident, then you are barred from filing a lawsuit.

What are the general steps to resolving a car accident claim?

A: The general steps are 1) consulting with an attorney, 2) we send a letter of representation to the insurance company, 3) we work with the insurance company to accept liability, 4) you complete medical treatments, 4) demand letter for reimbursement of lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering is made.