Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident in Las Vegas? Take These 10 Steps
Most people may be fortunate enough to never be involved in a hit-and-run accident anywhere. If that is not your good fortune and you experience a hit-and-run car accident in Las Vegas, then we have steps you can take to protect yourself and your rights. Let’s start with learning about the laws that apply to hit-and-run accidents in Nevada. There are several of them and – a word to the wise – the State of Nevada takes its duty-to-stop laws very seriously.
First Things, First. If you look for a Nevada state statute regarding “hit-and-run” accidents, you won’t find it. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) create a “duty to stop” in the event of a vehicular accident. By definition, then, if you hit a vehicle and run, you failed to stop as required and you violate the law.
The law setting out the duty-to-stop in a vehicle accident appears in NRS484E.010 and the following sections. If you leave the scene of your accident without exchanging information with the other driver and without notifying police about the accident, police officers can charge you under the duty-to-stop rules. This is true even if the accident was not your fault.
Duty to Render Aid and Give Information. When you are involved in a car accident, all the drivers involved have a duty to provide aid to anyone injured and, if necessary, to get him/her to a hospital. This rule appears in NRS484E.030.
If the car accident results in death, bodily injury, or property damage, then the drivers must exchange their personal information, such as their names, addresses, registration numbers, and they must show their driver’s licenses (upon request). Nevada drivers are also required to give the same personal information to any police officer investigating the accident and to surrender their driver’s license if the officer makes the request.
Penalty for Failure to Render Aid or Give Information. If you fail to render aid to anyone injured in the car accident or if you fail to provide the required personal information, the police can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony. The seriousness of your crime depends on whether the accident resulted in someone’s death or bodily injury or merely property damage.
Hit-and-Run Involving Property Damage. If you are involved in a car accident and no one is hurt but cars suffer property damage, the Nevada statute requires that the drivers move their cars to a safe place where they won’t block traffic. There they must wait at the scene until they exchange personal information. The driver who leaves the scene without satisfying these rules may be charged with a misdemeanor under NRS484E.020.
Hit-and-Run Involving Other Property Damage. If you damage property (for example, a parked car) with your vehicle, then the law requires that you stop your car to try to locate the owners. If you cannot find out who owns the damaged property, you must leave a note with your name and address and then you must tell the police about the accident. If you are disabled to the extent that you cannot contact the police about your accident, then anyone else in the car must take the responsibility to notify them.
Penalties for Hit-and-Run from Accident Involving Property Damage. If you leave the scene of an accident in Nevada where the only damage was property damage and the police charge you with the misdemeanor (whether or not you were at fault), you face a punishment of a maximum 6 months in jail, and/or a fine of $1000, and 6 points will go against your license. So you can see that contacting an attorney would be a wise step.
Penalties for Felony Hit-and-Run That Involves Injury or Death. Leaving the scene after an accident that involves bodily injury or death without rendering aid, or providing personal information as required by law, is a Class B Felony. If you hit-and-run from such an accident, you face a punishment of imprisonment from 2 to 20 years plus a fine (between $2,000 to $5,000) and suspension/revocation of your license.
What kind of report do I have to give the police? If the police come to your accident and the officer files his report, you do not have to file another one. If the police do not come, and the property damage is more than $750, you must file a report within 10 days of the accident telling them:
- an estimate of damage from the appraiser or repair garage;
- name/address and policy number, and coverage dates for each insurance company involved.
If you are too injured to make a report, you can wait until you recover enough to file a report; however, if you do not own the car, and are too injured to make the report, the owner must make the report within 10 days after he learns of the accident.
If you file a false report, you face misdemeanor charges and jail time up to 364 days and/or a maximum fine of $2,000. If you willfully refuse to file an accident report, you face license suspension for up to one year.
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What steps should you take after the accident happens? We recommend you contact us immediately about your accident involving bodily injury or death. In addition, you should take the following steps:
- Take stock of the accident setting but do not get out of the car until it is safe to do so.
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call the police if you find any. Call 911 to request an ambulance if needed.
- If there is major property damage to the vehicles involved, call the police. Note: The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will not respond to minor, non-injury, motor vehicle accidents that occur on city and county roads in Las Vegas.
- Exchange personal information with other drivers involved, including name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, car registration number, insurance company name, address, phone number, and policy number.
- Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of passengers and other witnesses.
- Take photos/videos of the accident scene and of the damage to all vehicles.
- Write down your recollection of events while it is fresh in your mind.
- Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.
- File your claim with your insurance company and give them all pertinent information about the other drivers and cars.
- Send your report to the police within 10 days of the accident.
If you would like to talk more about hit-and-run accidents in Las Vegas, or another legal issue, please contact Gina Corena & Associates by calling (702) 680-1111.