If you’ve been in an auto accident in Las Vegas, and it’s more than a minor fender bender, you’re probably reading this in a state of panic and confusion, wondering what you need to be doing to get your life back on track and put this episode behind you.
You may have lost your car. You may be in pain from injuries sustained in the accident. You’re probably worried you’re never going to see a dime in compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and any other expenses, and you know you need to protect yourself from any issues of liability, if the other driver decides to sue, or the insurance company decides to deny your claim.
Risks with handling your own claim
With 25 years of experience handling auto accident claims on behalf of people just like you in the Las Vegas area, I can tell you that one of the biggest mistakes people make after auto accidents is trying to handle their claim on their own, and I will tell you why.
Minor fender benders are usually straightforward, open-and-shut cases. The insurance companies process these claims quickly. Outside legal advice isn’t often necessary.
However, if the accident isn’t a minor fender bender, then the claims process automatically becomes more complicated. Because sizable payouts are involved, insurance companies will be putting a lot of effort into disproving your claim, or finding ways to reduce your compensation by using common insurance company tricks. Intricate knowledge of insurance law becomes an extremely valuable asset in this scenario. Without it, you are going to be in way over your head, and the insurance company will have a major advantage.
Many people walk away from auto accident claims in a state of shock that their compensation was so small, or that the insurance company has denied their claim, for reasons they don’t understand. Don’t let this happen to you!
When to call an attorney
Here are scenarios when you need to bite the bullet and call a Las Vegas auto accident lawyer to discuss your case (take note: most reputable firms will consult with you for free, and won’t charge you a dime unless your case is successful):
- There are injuries involved. The more serious the injuries, the faster you need to run to an auto accident lawyer. A general rule of thumb is, if your medical bills are going to total more than $1000, and your injuries will take longer than a few days to heal, it’s a good idea to bring a lawyer on board to represent you.
- The accident resulted in a death. No further explanation necessary. If an auto accident was serious enough that someone died, you will want to consult with an auto accident lawyer to protect yourself should you be sued. If the death was of a loved one, you will want to discuss the possibility of filing a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death claims send insurance companies into sheer panic, as the payouts involved in these claims are usually large. Handling their aggressive investigation efforts on your own, when you should be healing from your accident and grieving the loss of your loved one, is unwise.
- It’s unclear who is at fault. An auto accident lawyer will go over every detail of the case with you to determine how best to negotiate with the insurance company, should they determine that you are liable for the accident. The lawyer’s job is to find those tiny details you would never think of to support your claim, when battling an unsympathetic and uncooperative insurance company.
- The police report describes the accident in vague terms or puts you at fault. If the accident is more than a minor fender bender, and involves injuries, and you’ve been determined the party at fault by the officers on the scene, you will want to protect yourself with a reputable auto accident lawyer in the event that you are sued. Again, most firms do not charge you a fee unless your case is successful – there is no excuse to not get expert legal advice on how to handle your claim.
- The accident involves pedestrians or multiple cars. These types of claims are complex – an auto accident lawyer will help you untangle the thread of what exactly happened and will navigate you through the process of ensuring you are compensated fairly by the insurance company.
- You are worried your insurance company isn’t playing fair with you. If your insurance company is dragging its feet on processing your claim, if they have stopped returning your calls or are otherwise giving you the runaround, it can be extremely helpful to have an auto accident lawyer take over your case. You will be amazed how quickly the delay tactics stop and your claim gets processed.
- You are unsure what types of insurance are available to you. Perhaps you have traveler’s or homeowner’s or another type of policy that covers you in the event of an accident. An auto accident lawyer can help you determine exactly what type of coverage is available to you, and how to file so that you receive the maximum compensation amount.
- You need someone to decipher the Legalese. Understanding insurance law and translating your policy into plain English can make an auto accident lawyer worth her weight in gold. Make no mistake – those policies are confusing for a reason, so that, in the unlikely event you have to file a claim, you will be at a disadvantage, as though you are travelling in a foreign country and don’t speak the language. Get an interpreter: an auto accident lawyer is fluent in the insurance company’s lingo, and knows how to communicate effectively and clearly that you won’t be taken advantage of, and expect to be compensated fairly.
Some auto accidents involve permanent, disfiguring injuries that prevent the person from ever returning to their former job. Your injuries may be less severe, but if you are missing time from work due to the pain and suffering from your injuries and are hoping to receive compensation for this, your case will not be considered “open and shut” by the insurance company.
They will be scrutinizing your claim for any possible way they can minimize your compensation amount, and you can rest assured they will have a claims investigator following you and tracking your movements both in real time and online to determine whether you are being truthful about the severity of your injuries. You may believe that the insurance company is looking out for you and is “on your side,” but I will tell you upfront that this is far from the case.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable and unprotected in the case of an auto accident.
My firm, Day & Nance, has been handling auto insurance cases just like yours in the Las Vegas area for 25 years. We will consult with you for free, and won’t charge you a fee unless your case is successful. The longer you wait to take action, the easier it will be for the insurance company to deny your claim, and the harder it will be for you to remember the details of the accident.