Generally, a Las Vegas accident must be reported within ten days to the Nevada DMV. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Given the wide range of car accident types, including minor fender benders and fatal pile-ups, it is important to know how the rules apply to individual circumstances.
When Are Drivers Required to Report a Car Accident to the Las Vegas DMV?
Drivers are required to report a car accident to the DMV within ten days of the collision, barring any exceptions to the rule. Traffic accidents are a common occurrence on Las Vegas streets. Economically speaking, it would take an unlimited number of Las Vegas law enforcement resources to attend every minor collision while simultaneously preventing shootings, robberies, and other acts of violence.
Law enforcement has acknowledged that they may not be able to respond to every traffic incident. To increase efficiency, drivers are required to submit a detailed report of the car accident when it meets the following criteria:
- The police did not investigate the scene of the crash
- The estimated property damage is valued at $750 or more
- One or more persons have been injured
The Report of Traffic Crash stresses the amount of detail it needs to be processed. Ominous and boldly underlined lettering stating, “will NOT be accepted” and “MUST BE ATTACHED” is peppered throughout the two-page document. The report even threatens the suspension of driving privileges just underneath many of the bolded headings, so accident victims know the consequences of missing a document or detail.
There are five lines to describe the accident. Hopefully, the traffic collision is a straightforward incident whose details are agreed on by all parties.
Do You Have to File a DMV Report for a Minor Accident?
No, a DMV report is not necessary for a minor accident if no one is injured and the property damage is below $750.
However, Las Vegas was not founded on the belief that a city should be average. Instead, this beautiful city embraces extravagance and over-the-top everything. This includes fender-benders turn attempted homicide.
How Do I Avoid a Minor Accident Escalating?
Minor collisions may leave minimal damage, but motorists can escalate the situation.
Back in February, Justin Hadsell and Haleigh Godin were driving through the Walmart parking lot complex on the way to In-N-Out Burger when Patricia McDow bumped into the couple’s car. Following a short verbal exchange, McDow attempted to leave the scene.
Godin, rather than noting the woman’s license plate and phoning the police to report a hit-and-run, refused to be outdone. She brazenly stepped in front of McDow’s path with her best Gandalf, “you shall not pass” impression.
McDow not only passed, but she also accelerated and mowed Godin down. The 57-year-old woman channeled the spirit of Grand Theft Auto and came back around the parking lot to run over Godin again before driving off.
Miraculously, Godin suffered minor injuries. McDow now faces one count of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon.
Another way to respond to a minor car accident in a parking lot would be to calmly exchange information and assess any property damage that may require a DMV Report.
Drivers can mentally tally up the scratches and bumps and compare the estimated value against the DMV’s $750 property damage rule.
For example, if a Kia Soul bumps and scratches a Hyundai Accent, it may not meet the requirement. Conversely, if the same Kia Soul bumps and scratches a 2002 Chevy Impala, the insurance company could consider it totaled.
Whether the fender-bender is reportable to the DMV or not, drivers have other reporting obligations.
Do Drivers Need to File Other Reports After a Las Vegas Collision?
Drivers may need to file two other reports after a Las Vegas collision. Generally, reports should be filed for law enforcement and the insurance company.
Las Vegas Police must be contacted for an accident within 24 hours when one or more of the following circumstances have been met:
- Someone is injured or killed at the scene
- The accident caused property damage valued above $750
It is in the best interest of motorists to file a police report, even if the law does not require it. Having an official account of the accident protects all those involved from conflicting memories and views later.
Insurance companies have it in their policy when to report an accident. Most agencies require a driver to report all minor accidents. However, if the policyholder wishes to pay for the repairs out of pocket, the insurance premium should not increase.
Why Do Some People Fail to Report Their Accidents?
People fail to report their accidents either out of fear of the consequences or because they misunderstand their obligation to report minor accidents under Nevada law.
Las Vegas is a busy city where multiple accidents happen daily. With nearly 700 reported accidents in the last reporting year, members of the community typically know the protocol after the average traffic collision.
However, minor accidents sometimes land in a gray area. People may fail to report their accident, believing it does not meet the criteria for a DMV report. Others may fear rising insurance premiums and willfully do not report the accident.
Whether the failure to report the accident is purposeful or an oversight, there can be severe consequences.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Report an Accident in Las Vegas?
The penalties for failing to report an accident in Las Vegas can range from a license suspension to a felony charge.
The Nevada DMV and the Las Vegas police department are the two agencies that require an accident report by law. Unless the traffic collision fails to meet the criteria described in the above sections, the police must be notified within 24 hours and the DMV within 10 days.
The penalties for failing to report an accident will depend on the circumstances of the crash and may involve:
- 1-year license suspension
- Gross misdemeanor charge
- Up to 364 days in jail
- Fine up to $2,000
- Hit-and-run felony
In a worst-case scenario, failing to report an accident that results in the injury or death of another can result in a felony charge per injured person.
Most unreported accidents occur when both parties agree not to report the incident; then, one changes their mind later. Once the DMV gets an accident report for one driver, they can easily match up the records and suspend the license of the other driver.
If you are facing charges for not reporting an accident, the car accident attorneys of Gina Corena & Associates have years of experience helping the Las Vegas community. Schedule a consultation to discuss the strategies that may best resolve your case.