Being in an auto accident often triggers a complicated chain of consequences. The insurance companies for the drivers involved in the accident typically will have a certain idea of what they are willing to cover and what they will contest. The drivers themselves may disagree about important facts. If someone has suffered a serious injury, medical recovery and the injury’s short- and long-term impacts on the person’s life may take center stage. In the midst of this complexity, it can be helpful for a person to understand what sort of compensation can be obtained by filing a lawsuit.
Insurance versus litigation
It’s important to note that not every auto accident leads to a lawsuit. One of the important rationales for requiring every driver in Nevada to have insurance is to provide a straightforward way to resolve questions of fault and financial liability after an accident. For relatively simple cases, where the only significant damage in a crash is to personal property (i.e., the cars involved), it may make sense to simply let the insurance claims process run its normal course.
Insurance companies prefer to resolve cases without litigation. For the insurer, this approach is cheaper and allows them to stay in control. A quick settlement offer is one way an insurer will try to manage its risk related to an accident. But in cases involving personal injury, the potential plaintiff needs to be careful about accepting a “deal” that is heavily lopsided in favor of the insurer.
Litigation can rebalance the distribution of power between the injured individual and the insurance companies involved in the case. Especially if the insurer for the at-fault driver is trying to escape liability for certain claims, filing a lawsuit can force it to negotiate in a fairer way. A lawsuit may also be required if there are complicated facts about the case that need to be hashed out through the litigation process. For example, if there is a serious dispute about whether the injured plaintiff bears some responsibility for the crash, it may be necessary to conduct discovery in a litigation setting.
Compensation available to car crash victims
The goal of filing a personal injury lawsuit following an accident is to recover financial compensation for the damages done by the at-fault driver. Damages fall into three categories:
- Economic damages are consequences with clearly defined financial parameters. They include the cost of property damage, including damage to a car and other personal property. They also include medical bills incurred by the plaintiff, both in the past and projected into the future, as well as lost wages and other career impacts.
- Noneconomic damages capture abstract consequences that get reduced to a dollar value through negotiation or jury deliberation. The value of an injured person’s pain, loss of enjoyment, and disfigurement are examples of common noneconomic damages.
Insurance policies are designed with economic damages in mind, in large part because they are fairly predictable, making them relatively simple to build into the cost of a policy. Noneconomic damages are different. They often need to be considered in light of a broad range of facts. An insurance policy may simply not cover such damages at all, leaving the at-fault driver personally liable for such damages. A plaintiff who wishes to pursue such damages needs to do so through litigation.
GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firm
The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in personal injury and auto accident cases for over 45 years. We can help you examine your case and devise a strategy for recovering full compensation for your injuries. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us at 702-388-4476 or through our website.