According to the 2010 Nevada Traffic Crashes Report from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDoT), a total of 51,664 automobile collisions took place in Nevada in 2010. Knowing what to do ahead of time can help you get through the unfortunate experience of a car accident. First and foremost, it’s important to know what the law requires Nevada drivers to do after an accident. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) says any driver who becomes involved in an accident should:
- Stop at the scene of an accident involving death or injury. (NRS 484E.010)
- Stop at the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle or other property. (NRS 484E.020)
- Give information and render aid. (NRS 484E.030)
In addition to these basic requirements, Lt. Tom Lawson of Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) offers these tips for the scene of the accident and for any reporting that needs to happen afterward:
- Check first for injuries and damage. Next, says Lawson, seek medical attention immediately if you have any symptoms of an injury—even if the symptoms are mild. A condition such as a brain concussion can be serious and yet its warning signs, such as fatigue, can be subtle.
- As much as possible, move vehicles and people to the nearest safe place, to help prevent additional injuries and accidents.
- Depending on the severity of the accident, report it either to emergency services (911), *NHP(*647), or your local police department (311). If more than $750 worth of damage is incurred, within 10 days you or the officer at the scene will need to file a report with the Nevada DMV. Law enforcement doesn’t always respond to minor accidents (damage under $750, no injuries) on private property, such as a parking lot, says Debbie Martinez, DMV Manager One.
- Exchange information with all parties involved, including names, addresses, driver’s license information, vehicle registrant’s name, insurance information, and vehicle details such as make, model, year, and license plate number.Information gathered at the scene of the accident will be necessary, whether you’re filing an accident report or an auto insurance claim. Record weather and road conditions, as well as the date, time, and exact location of the accident.
- Contact your insurer. The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following basic steps when filing an auto insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible, to notify him/her of even a minor accident.
- Keep good records—when you speak with your insurer, record the person’s contact information, as well as the date and time that you spoke with him/her. This form can help get you started with the basic information you’ll need to now.
- Ask your agent questions about the claims process to make sure you understand the procedure for filing an auto insurance claim, including any forms you’ll need to complete, and any deadlines for filing the forms.
While filing your claim, you can contact the Nevada Division of Insurance, a state agency that can help you understand who needs to do what under Nevada state law. Hopefully you never will experience an automobile collision. But in case you do, you can take action during and after the accident to reduce danger, expense, stress, and uncertainty. Recommended by the Editors:
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