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What Are a Passenger’s Rights After a Las Vegas Car Crash?

After being involved in an auto accident in Nevada, you may wonder about your next steps. For drivers, this can include notifying your auto insurance company, giving information to police, and contacting an auto accident attorney

After being involved in an auto accident in Nevada, you may wonder about your next steps. For drivers, this can include notifying your auto insurance company, giving information to police, or contacting an auto accident attorney. But when you’re a passenger in an accident, your legal rights and responsibilities are somewhat different from those of a driver—even though your injuries may be just as serious. Below, we’ll discuss the rights that passengers can exercise after a Las Vegas car crash.

Why Are Passengers’ Rights Different?

Generally, passengers who are injured in an accident can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If this driver’s coverage is insufficient to cover the damages the passenger has sustained, and another driver is partially at fault, the passenger may also be able to recover additional damages against the second driver—with some exceptions we’ve noted below.

Except for rare circumstances (like grabbing the wheel or throwing an object out the window), a passenger generally won’t be deemed at fault for a traffic accident. However, this doesn’t mean that passengers can’t be negligent—if you get into a vehicle with someone you know is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license, your own decision to travel with an unsafe driver could bar you from recovering any damages.

A passenger’s ability to recover damages from the at-fault driver may also depend on their relationship with the driver. If you’re traveling with another member of your household, like a spouse or parent, your insurance policy may not allow you to recover against this person if you’re also covered on the policy. And regardless of their relationship with the at-fault drivers, passengers can’t recover more than the total value of their claim from the drivers involved.

But if these situations don’t apply, you may be able to pursue damages from the driver or drivers who were responsible for the accident. Determining fault may be more challenging than it first appears, and the insurance companies involved in settling a claim will pore over the police report, interview witnesses, send out questionnaires to those involved, and take photos of the scene.

Passenger rights and laws may differ by state. For example, Nevada is an at-fault state. That being said, if you are in Nevada and a passenger in a car who, for example, is hit by a drunk driver, and you sustain injuries from the accident as a passenger, you may be entitled to recover damages from the responsible party. You would be able to bring a claim against the intoxicated driver, pursuing both economic and non-economic damages, and would be eligible for full compensation since in no way was the accident your fault or the fault of the driver operating the vehicle that you were riding in.

This is one reason it’s important to seek advice from a personal injury attorney before you take any concrete steps—though it can be tempting to accept a settlement offer, especially when bills are piling up, doing so could mean leaving money on the table. Insurance companies are interested in settling claims for as little as they can, as quickly as they can, and they know the effectiveness of putting pressure on those who have been injured in an accident.

What Steps Should a Passenger Take After an Auto Accident?

Regardless of your role in a traffic accident, there are a few important steps to take to protect your health and preserve any potential evidence.

Get to safety and call 911.

Nevada law requires the police to be notified whenever someone has been injured in an auto accident. After getting to safety (if you’re able to), call 911 so that police and EMS can respond quickly. The police officers who come to the scene may ask you for a statement—provide as much factual information as you can, as memories can fade quickly and the police report may become important evidence later.

Seek medical attention.

Even if you seem uninjured, there are several medical issues—from traumatic brain injuries to soft-tissue damage—that may not reveal themselves for days or even weeks after a car crash. And the sudden flow of adrenaline you experience just after an accident can also mask the pain of any injuries. By seeking medical attention, you’ll be able to spot and treat any issues before they develop into something more serious.

Take photos or videos of the accident scene.

If you’re transported from the accident by ambulance, you may not have much of an opportunity to gather evidence—and that’s fine. But if you’re able to, taking photos of the scene just after the crash and getting video of the damage can be critical when it comes to settling a later legal claim. After a crash is cleaned up, it can be tougher to prove exactly what happened.

It’s also important to take photos of any visible injuries you’ve sustained. Bruises, scrapes, and other contusions can quickly fade; by having photographic evidence of the physical harm you’ve suffered, you’ll be able to strengthen your claim for damages.

Do NOT Post on Social Media

Any and all documentation can be used in a legal case. Posting on social media is potentially putting yourself and your case at risk. Any post that you make after a car accident can be used both by insurance adjusters as well as defense lawyers against you. Doing this is a potential way to get out of having to pay out insurance benefits and any compensation for pain and suffering. Even though you may not realize it at the time, you don’t want to post any evidence that can be used against you down the line. 

Get witness information.

If police respond to the scene to make an accident report, they’ll often speak to witnesses as a way to determine what happened and who was at fault. However, their interests are different from yours, and they may only get contact information from one or two witnesses—whatever is needed to settle the fault issue. But generally, the more witness information that’s available to someone filing a personal injury claim, the better.

Keep copies of your bills and other records.

If you intend to seek compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, or other losses resulting from an accident, it’s important to keep track of your losses. This means keeping your medical records, medical bills, communications from your employer, any photos or videos you have, and whatever else that may be relevant to the accident. Having these documents on hand can make it much easier to negotiate with the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

Contact a personal injury attorney.

After an accident, you may quickly be contacted by an insurance company with a settlement offer. And for those who are looking forward to moving beyond the aftermath of an accident, a settlement can seem like the best way to put this behind you for good. But insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind—while an auto accident attorney does. Having an attorney on your side can ensure you have the greatest chance of recovering the maximum compensation available.

Your Legal Options After an Auto Accident

After you’ve been involved in an accident, you have a few potential options to pursue.

Filing a claim against the at-fault driver.

As explained earlier, you may not be able to claim damages against the driver if you’re a member of the same household. But in situations where you’re not related to the driver at fault, you can file a claim against them with their insurance company. Their insurer’s liability coverage can pay your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you’ve sustained.

Filing a claim against other potentially at-fault parties.

In some accidents, no drivers may be deemed at fault—instead, the accident may stem from dangerous road conditions, defective highway design, or a piece of debris or cargo that has fallen out of a commercial vehicle. In these situations, you may be able to file a claim against a government entity, a company, or other involved parties. An experienced auto accident attorney can drill down into the causes of your accident and determine who may be at fault.

Negotiating a settlement.

Few auto accident cases ever make it all the way to trial—most tend to be settled at some point. But the amount and speed of settlement can vary widely, and having an attorney on your side can streamline the process. For plaintiffs who are facing a long, expensive recovery, delaying settlement can seem like a bad idea. However, settling too quickly can often mean giving up potential compensation. By putting pressure on the insurance companies, your attorney can maximize your compensation.

What Damages are Available?

The damages that are available under Nevada law can vary based on the circumstances of your wreck. In most cases, they can include:

Lost Wages

After being injured in an auto accident, you may not be able to work for a period of time. To recoup your lost wages, it’s important to document all days you are unable to perform your position and all wages lost for each day you have missed work.

Loss of Future Income or Earning Capacity

If your job is physically demanding in any way, and the accident damages you physically, you may not be able to work to your highest ability in the future. Even if your job is not physically demanding, perhaps you will have such debilitating pain from your accident that you will no longer comfortably be able to stand or sit at a desk all day. It’s important to consider not only what the immediate damage of the accident has done to you but also what it will continue to look like in the future.

Medical Expenses

What is the extent of your medical expenses from the accident? Will there be follow-up medical expenses in the future? Will you need physical therapy at some point? These are all things to consider when being compensated. It’s imperative to make sure that you are prepared not only for the immediate medical costs but for the future ones as well.

Future Medical Costs Stemming from the Accident (Example: physical therapy or future joint-replacement procedures)

As mentioned above, it’s critical to calculate your future medical costs. You may need follow-up appointments or additional treatments or procedures for which you do not want to be on the financial hook in five years. Do not accept any settlement until this has been appropriately calculated.

Pain and Suffering

Being in an auto accident is an emotionally draining experience. You may have physical pain, but you may also be suffering from being in the accident, recovering from what you saw in the accident, and all of the stress that goes along with being in an accident and working out all of the details post-accident. This should all be accounted for as well.

In some situations, your spouse may also be able to pursue a claim for “loss of consortium”—the loss of your love and companionship while you’re recuperating from injuries and adjusting to your new normal.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a passenger in an auto accident, the last thing you need to deal with now is negotiating with insurance companies. By contacting a personal injury attorney, you can focus on the things you need to while remaining assured that your legal rights are being protected throughout the process.

Common Injuries Suffered by Passengers in Car Accidents 

There are endless injuries that can occur in a car accident. The most common injuries seen in passengers in car accidents are both neck and back injuries, as well as brain and head injuries. These are all serious injuries that can occur in both the front and back seat of the vehicle. Other injuries that can occur are facial injuries or potential disfiguration, as well as soft tissue injuries and burn injuries. If the car accident is severe, there may be spinal cord injuries or broken bones from the crash. While not a common injury, post-traumatic stress disorder is also something that individuals may be affected by after an accident.

FAQs: Passengers’ Rights After a Car Accident 

Are you wondering about your rights after being involved in a car accident as a passenger? Keep reading to find out.

What Should I Do Immediately After Being Involved in a Car Accident as a Passenger in Las Vegas?

The first thing to do always after a car accident is to check for injuries. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you may need to call 911. However, even if your injuries are not serious enough to call 911, you still need to see a doctor. It’s important to have medical records from the start in case you need them later. It’s also important to call the police after an accident, especially if anyone else was injured in the crash. It’s also important after you have been in a car accident to set up a complimentary consultation with an auto accident lawyer. A seasoned auto accident lawyer is going to be able to help you through the insurance claim process as well as make sure that you receive a settlement that covers all bases, including loss of wages, loss of future wages, damage to property, medical expenses, and overall pain and suffering.

Can a Passenger in a Car Accident File a Lawsuit in Las Vegas?

A passenger in a car accident can absolutely file a lawsuit in Las Vegas. Contact an experienced car accident attorney for help.  

As a Passenger, Am I Entitled to Compensation After a Car Accident in Las Vegas?

A passenger is entitled to compensation after a car accident in Las Vegas. They are able to file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance or a personal injury lawsuit.

What If the Driver of the Car I Was in Is At Fault? Can I Still Claim Compensation?

As a passenger, you can claim compensation from the at-fault driver, regardless of whether or not it’s the driver of the car you are traveling in.

What Are the Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger in Las Vegas?

A passenger in the state of Nevada has two years from the date of the accident to file insurance and/or personal injury claims. After two years, the court will dismiss any claims and any right to compensation.

How Do I Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney as a Passenger in a Las Vegas Car Accident?

When choosing a Las Vegas personal injury attorney, choosing a lawyer with experience in your type of accident is important. A seasoned auto accident lawyer can work against insurance companies’ tactics and get you the compensation you deserve.

Are There Any Special Considerations for Passengers in Rideshare Accidents in Las Vegas?

Rideshares in Las Vegas are extremely popular. However a rideshare accident is slightly different from your typical auto accident. Some well-known rideshare companies employ drivers who are not technically employees but independent contractors. These drivers need to have their own car insurance in order to be able to drive. 

While all insurance policies vary, most policies do not cover “driving for profit.” If there is an accident rideshare companies generally have liability insurance in case of an accident. 

How does the claims process differ for passengers in a rideshare accident?

The claims process may differ for passengers in a rideshare accident because a variety of insurance companies may be involved. This can be difficult for the passenger because even though different companies may be involved, they all still work together to reduce their bottom line and offer the lowest possible payout. When you find an auto accident attorney to help you with your claim, they can help you navigate through the insurance companies to get you the claim you deserve.

Post-Accident Passenger Problems

The aftermath of an auto accident is complicated. You may be suffering from physical and emotional trauma, the stress of what you may have witnessed, the financial strain of being unable to go to work, as well as the physical damage to any property.

Hiring professional legal assistance to help you navigate the complicated insurance system can make a tremendous difference in your settlement amount. These experienced attorneys understand the tactics used by insurance companies and how to best avoid them so that you can ultimately receive the settlement that you deserve.

Contact Hale Injury Law for a free consultation on how their experienced attorneys can help with your specific case. This consultation is free with absolutely zero cost or obligation. A consultation can help answer any questions or concerns you may have from the accident. Timely legal action is extremely important in getting your case settled as quickly as possible.

Hale Injury Law is a firm that you can trust and feel confident in. Don’t do this journey alone. Let Hale Injury Law be your guide to securing the compensation you deserve. The firm is dedicated to helping clients recover physically, emotionally, and financially.