In Nevada, where tort rules govern, the insurance companies must know who was at fault in the accident in order to determine who should pay the insurance claims. In some situations, this is relatively straight forward. For example, if you hit or damage a parked car, it is relatively obvious that your insurance company is supposed to pay for the accident caused by your fault or negligence.
However, if two parties get into an accident when they are both driving, it may not be so clear exactly who is at fault. If the two drivers have different accounts of the story, and each account blames the other driver, the insurance companies will have to determine which of the two drivers is liable in order to determine who has to pay.
Liability disputes generally begin with each insurance company investigating and gathering as much information as possible. For example, if the police came to the scene of the accident and gave one party a ticket, that may be a strong indication that the ticketed party did something wrong and was at fault. However, now that the Las Vegas Police do not investigate minor accidents this method of determining fault is not as clear cut as it used to be. .
Insurance companies generally employ investigators who are experts at determining liability or what happened in an accident. Insurance companies will first review any evidence available from the scene of the accident. Investigators may also interview all the drivers involved in the accident and any other witnesses. Accident photos and photos of damage to the vehicles will likely also be reviewed.
After the insurance companies investigate, each insurance company will make a determination on liability. They will then share that determination with the insurance company of the other party. If the two insurance companies agree, there is no liability dispute. However, if they do not agree, then the two companies will need to determine who is at fault and who has to pay.
Suggestions in preserving accident evidence to help determine liability:
- REMAIN SILENT- Speak only about the necessary, this rule will help you not admit to anything that you may or may not have done wrong.
- Take PHOTOS of EVERYTHING- Road, Traffic, Interior and Exterior of Vehicle, your Body, Clothes and the Weather.
- Get WITNESS NAMES and contact information.
- WRITE DOWN what just happened immediately (as soon as you can) after the incident. (Not only of the accident itself, but where you were coming from and going to before you were in the accident. Make note of what was happening in the car and your surroundings. Who was in the car with you and where and what they were doing or saying at the time of the incident. This journal may be your key to exonerating you of fault in an accident).
If you find yourself in an accident remember that your health and the health of those in your vehicle is the top priority. If the accident is serious, call 911. The Las Vegas Police still investigate serious accidents and they can help you in such situations.