Whether you are in Las Vegas on vacation or live here, you can be involved in an intersection accident. Usually, accidents are due to negligence and carelessness. Intersections are everywhere. Speeding, running signs, distracted driving, or failing to yield to the right of way are common causes of intersection accidents. Should an accident happen, you should speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can investigate your case and determine whether you have a valid case. At Dallas Horton & Associates, we can fight for you and the compensation you deserve so that you can pay attention to your recovery.
Common Causes of Intersection Accidents
An intersection helps prevent traffic jams by easing the flow of traffic. Additionally, it makes it easy for motorists to find their way. Unfortunately, some intersections are poorly designed, and they confuse motorists. It is especially true in intersections with turn lanes.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, about 2,500,000 intersection collisions happen every year. Intersection accidents account for forty percent of all accidents after rear-end accidents. Think of every time you have stopped at an intersection and seen an impatient driver making the light. It is known as aggressive driving. Below are some of the aggressive driving maneuvers that often cause T-bone or intersection crashes:
- Following too closely
- Erratic or improper lane changing.
- Dangerous and prohibited passing and merging
- Erratic and sudden speed changes
- Speeding or racing
- Failing to comply with traffic signs and control devices
- Failing to yield right of way
- Making an improper turn
Speeding is also a cause of intersection accidents and fatalities. It's because the more significant the car's speed in connection to your motor vehicle, the higher the transfer of force, the increased the possibility of sustaining severe impact injury as the tendons and muscles absorb the accident's impact. Often in T-bone accidents, the motorist will be accelerating to avoid a red light. They will either enter the intersection at an accelerated speed or try to slam on their brakes, causing a collision behind them. An accident happens when at least two of the below conducts are committed simultaneously:
- Unsafe or improper lane changes
- Exceeding the speed limits
- Following too closely
- Improper passing
- Failing to yield
- Breaking traffic control signs and devices
Distracted driving is another cause of T-bone accidents. According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted drivers cause about nine deaths and one thousand injuries in the U.S daily. Distracted driving involves any activity that takes the motorist's eyes, mind, or hands off the wheel or road. Distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous because it stops the driver from responding to a changing traffic situation timely. The most common driving distraction include:
- Using a cell phone while driving
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Applying makeup or grooming
- Adjusting car controls or stereo
- Tending to a baby
- Conversations with passengers
- Looking at billboards
A driving error is not always accountable for an intersection accident. A motor vehicle could have defective equipment that malfunctions and results in a crash. The faulty equipment could be a maintenance issue or a defect with the motor vehicle itself.
Poor visibility and slippery roads could cause an intersection accident. The driver might not be able to see if other vehicles are approaching, resulting in a crash. Also, heavy rains can gather in dips of roads, in potholes, or the middle of intersections, causing motorists to hydroplane as they negotiate the intersection.
What are the Common Intersection Accident Injuries?
A car intersection accident can cause injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic. Irrespective of the type of the injury, you might find yourself incurring substantial medical costs, unable to return to work and your daily life.
Some of the injuries you can sustain include:
Lost Limbs and Amputations
While amputation injuries are not common, the victim might face a lasting and permanent disability when they occur. Often the disability will negatively affect all aspects of the victim's life.
Amputation is performed after the victim's digits or limbs such as legs, arms, toes, and fingers are so damaged that they can't be saved. People recovering from amputation should learn to live with a prosthetic limb.
Whiplash occurs due to a sudden or forceful back and forth movement of your head. The sudden force can cause broken bones in your spine or neck, nerve damage, ruptured disks, soft tissue damage, and strained muscles or ligaments in the back or neck.
Some of the symptoms that you might experience immediately after sustaining the injury include:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
- Arm, back, and shoulder pain
- Experience challenges while concentrating or sleeping
- Ringing in your ears
- Blurred vision
- Numbness in your arms
- Loss of memory
Fortunately, whiplash is treatable, and most victims recover within a couple of weeks. The purpose of medical care is to manage pain during the recovery period, restore the range of motion, and resume your normal life as quickly as possible. However, not all whiplash cases are treated the same way, and more severe injuries might need more aggressive treatment.
Chest injuries are caused by the chest impacting the dashboard or steering wheel, the body being jostled about suddenly, pressing up against the seatbelt, or combining these factors. Chest injuries can cause bruises, chest pain, challenges while breathing, and rib cage, arm, and shoulder pain.
Traumatic Brain Injury
The CDC reports that traumatic brain injury causes about thirty percent of injury fatalities in the United States, killing one hundred and thirty-eight people daily. A TBI is a severe, debilitating, and life-threatening injury caused by trauma to your head.
Type of TBI
- Concussion - Brain trauma, both open and closed head injuries, could lead to concussions. More often than not, a concussion is due to an impact to your head, whiplash-type movement, or violent shaking of your head. It can cause post-concussion syndrome. The disorder can last for months or even years, significantly inhibiting the ability to perform your job responsibility. A concussion shouldn't be ignored and requires immediate medical care.
- Blood clot or hematoma - A pronounced or mass of blood clot between your brain and the skull. Sometimes, it can happen in your brain.
- Penetration - A penetration injury occurs when a sharp object forces matter from your skull into your brain. In most cases, the injury leads to death.
- Diffuse axonal injury - Diffuse axonal injuries are manifested when your brain lags behind the skull movement, thus tearing your brain parts. It happens when your head moves forward rapidly and then a sudden stop or backward. The injury can lead to severe challenges like loss of consciousness or even death.
Due to the forceful impact of the accident and car occupants' proximity, especially the driver to the vehicle's dashboard and steering wheel, internal injuries are common in intersection accidents. The injuries include:
- Collapsed or punctured lungs
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Depending on the seriousness of the organ damages and the accident's nature, surgery and prolonged hospital stay are necessary.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
SCI involves a dislocation, fracture, compression, or damage to vertebrae or related nerves that affect the motor and sensory functions below the injury site. Spinal cord injury might lead to paralysis of your pelvic organs, legs, arms, and hands, depending primarily on the seriousness, completeness, or location of your injury
Common signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury include:
- Impaired breathing
- Intense spine in your spine
- Body spasms
- Loss of sensation to cold, touch, and heat
- Back, neck, or head pressure or pain
- Numbness in extremities such as toes, feet, fingers, or hands
- Distorted position of back or neck
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Understanding the Nevada Statute of Limitations Law
The Statute of Limitations is the law that has a stringent time limit to file a personal injury claim.
It is worth noting that the time limit doesn't apply to the car insurance claim. Every insurance provider, including yours, will need you to file a claim or notify the insurer of the incident that triggered your claim within a reasonable time or immediately. It should take a few days or weeks.
Per Nevada Revised Statutes 11.190, you should bring legal action to seek compensation for injuries or death caused by negligence or wrongful conduct of another person within two (2) years. In other words, if you were injured in an intersection accident and you plan to sue the defendant, you should do that within two (2) years from the date of your collision.
If the accident caused your loved one's demise, you could file a wrongful death claim within two years. The only variation between personal injury claim and wrongful death claim is that the latter's timeframe begins ticking immediately after the victim dies.
For property or car damage caused by the intersection accident, the claim should be brought within three (3) years from the date of your accident.
If you attempt to bring a claim after the Statute of Limitations’ time has elapsed, you can expect the at-fault party to highlight the discrepancy to the court as a motion to dismiss the case. Chances are the court will grant the motion (unless an exemption to toll the deadline exists), and you will lose the right to compensation. That is why it is essential to know the time limit applies to the case. Your experienced personal injury attorney should be able to assist you.
Even when you are sure that the case will resolve through a claim, you should give yourself enough time to bring a lawsuit.
What Happens if the Accident Victim is a Minor?
If the accident victim is a minor, the law requires the victim to wait until their eighteenth birthday to bring a lawsuit against the defendant. Then the alleged victim has two years to take legal action.
Nevertheless, the child's parent can seek court approval to bring a personal injury claim against the defendant. Should the court grant the request, the minor victim loses their entitlement to sue the defendant after attaining the majority age.
What is Your Average Settlement Amount?
Any experienced attorney will tell you that most intersection accident victims inquire about the average settlement amount in Las Vegas. While the attorney would love to give an accurate and applicable figure to the victim's unique case, it does not always work like that. As a result, the attorney will look at the case and then offer the victim an educated and informed opinion about how much they can recover. It is because every case is different. The settlement amount varies depending on the circumstances surrounding your intersection accident and the various damages suffered.
Damages refer to the amount of money or loss you have incurred due to the accident. Compensatory damages are designed to make you whole. Some of the commonly awarded damages include:
- Medical expenses include doctor visits costs, imaging tests like MRIs, surgeries, hospital stays, and ambulance costs.
- Future medical treatment costs - Some injuries might impact you for months or even years. If the injuries require medication, prostheses, physical therapy, or further surgery, your settlement should include the expenses.
- Loss of consortium - These damages are connected to your relationships, especially with your spouse. If the injuries are so serious that companionship or a sexual relationship is impossible, the damage could be awarded in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering - Not every injury sustained in intersection accidents in Las Vegas is physical. The victims might experience grief, fear, anxiety, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Property loss - If your motor vehicle was damaged or written off in your accident, or other items were destroyed, the cost to repair or replace the property should be factored in your settlement amount.
- Loss of income - Following the accident, you might not return to work for a while as you recover. You should be compensated for the amount of money you would have made during the absence.
- Loss of earning capacity - These damages are awarded if your injuries are permanent and cause you to miss out on future career advancement opportunities, being unable to work, or forced out of your career for good.
Can You Receive Punitive Damages in Your Claim?
The law allows the court to award punitive damages in personal injury cases.
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for their egregious conduct and discourage other drivers from acting the same way.
Generally, punitive damages in Las Vegas should not exceed:
- Three hundred thousand dollars if the amount of the compensatory damages is less than one hundred thousand dollars, or
- Three (3) times the amount of the compensatory damages if your settlement amount is at least one hundred thousand dollars.
Nonetheless, the above limits don't apply when an intoxicated driver caused your intersection collision due to the voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol. It also includes prescription drugs.
How Do Insurance Providers Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering amounts in Las Vegas are negotiable. Most insurance companies use computers when determining the acceptable settlement amount in a lawsuit. You could estimate the calculations using one of the following methods:
Multiply the Compensatory Damages
This method involves multiplying your compensatory damages by a number between one and five, hinging on the seriousness of your injuries. The more painful and severe your injury is, the higher the multiplier. Usually, damages proven with medical tests, photos, and imaging testing attract a higher number than subjective injuries like insomnia and depression.
Per Diem Method
Under this method, you will receive compensation for every day you experienced pain and suffering.
For instance, if you suffered a broken arm and it takes fifty days before recovering, you might receive one hundred dollars every day alongside other compensatory damages.
Will You Recover Damages If You are Partially Accountable for Your Accident?
Nevada follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Section 41.141, you will receive compensation if you are fifty percent or less accountable for your injuries.
In layman's language, if the court determines that the defendant(s) is fifty percent accountable for your injuries, then you will be awarded damages. However, if you are more than fifty percent liable, you are entitled to nothing irrespective of your injuries' severity.
If the jury decides you have a right to compensation, the jury will give the following verdicts:
- A verdict with your total damages without considering your fault
- A verdict with the percentage of negligence apportioned to every party
Provided your accountability is less than fifty percent, the judge will reduce your compensation amount by your percentage of fault.
Dealing With Insurance Adjusters in Your Intersection Accident
Whether you're involved in a severe or fender-bender accident, knowing how to handle an adjuster is vital to obtaining fair compensation. The section below explains how to stay ahead in the personal injury claim and deal with the adjusters.
Remember Whatever You Say Could be Used Against You
The defendant's statements could be powerful proof. If a plaintiff says something to the adjuster, the words can be used against the plaintiff in a court of law. The adjuster can twist or misinterpret your words. Remember, the adjuster does not work for you, and you need to be cautious about what you say.
Know that a Settlement Agreement is Permanent
You cannot go back and recover more compensation if you incur losses later after signing the settlement agreement. Therefore, do not fail to recover lost earning capacity and future medical bills by signing the agreement early. Your attorney should be able to assist you in analyzing your damages thoroughly.
Document the Losses
Insurance lawsuits are lost or prevailed based on proof. Keep records of the medical bills, lost income, and out-of-pocket losses. The more evidence you have of the losses incurred, the increased chances of outsmarting the insurer's attempt to offer a low compensation amount or deny your claim.
Remember to Negotiate
Your insurance claim is negotiable. All parties involved agree on the amount to resolve the personal injury claim. Outsmarting the insurer means knowing your claim's worth and persuading the company to give you a fair value. A good negotiation needs evidence, tenacity, and arguments. Your experienced attorney should ensure a fair settlement amount is reached.
Go for a Rental Vehicle
Often you have the right to acquire a rental car. The insurer might not offer this information. Confirm whether a rental vehicle is covered under the insurance policy so that you could get to school or work as you wait for your car's repair.
Correspondence is Essential
Another method to prevail in your case is keeping all records in one place. Whether the insurer attempts to underwhelm or overwhelm you with paperwork, having all documents in one place is critical. You can use a folder. Also, save copies of the records in a correspondence email.
Be Wise When Repairing Your Car
The insurance provider will attempt to direct you to a body or maintenance shop of their choice. Do not be fooled. Provided they charge cost-effective rates, you can use any shop.
Also, ensure you use aftermarket parts or original manufactured parts when repairing your motor vehicle. Original parts are similar to the components used in your vehicle. Although aftermarket parts aren't the same, sometimes they are okay. From time to time, they don't return your car to its value. Know the difference and explore what suits your case.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Intersections are inherently prone to car accidents because of the enormous traffic that converges in one spot simultaneously. A minor collision is frustrating, while a more severe accident can cause injuries that alter different life aspects. As you struggle to repair your car or the medical expenses pile up, you might wonder whether you should handle these challenges if the car accident was not your fault.
Luckily, if somebody else caused your injuries, you are entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit to compensate for the losses incurred. If you would like to know whether you have grounds to this claim, the initial step is contacting the legal team at Dallas Horton & Associates. We can work aggressively to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us now at 702-380-3100 for a case review.