The Nevada Vehicle Accident Reporting Process
Last Updated on September 27,2023
A vehicle accident can be traumatic, especially if it involves injuries or significant damage to automobiles. When things are relatively minor, drivers may be tempted to simply exchange information with the other driver and go about their day. However, it’s essential to understand the Nevada vehicle accident reporting process and follow it to avoid being charged with a crime.
Understanding the intricacies of the law is crucial, especially when it comes to negligence in personal injury law. Moreover, knowing how a ticket from an accident can impact your legal standing is equally vital. In some situations, an accident might even lead to a criminal case alongside an injury claim. Being well-informed can make a significant difference in the aftermath of an accident.
In cases where someone is injured or killed, or the property damage amounts to more than $750, a driver must report the accident to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or they could face a gross misdemeanor charge that carries a fine and possible jail time. The process is simple and can be carried out quickly using the Nevada DMV Report of Traffic Accident Report (SR-1) form.
What to Do After an Accident
When a car accident results in injuries or a fatality, motorists must notify the DMV about the crash. In all likelihood, the police or Highway Patrol will be called to the scene and complete a report. In this case, their description will go to the DMV, but it will be the driver’s responsibility to ensure that it’s received. If someone in the police department makes a mistake or fails to submit the report in time, drivers who do not follow up with the DMV could suffer the consequences.
Obey the Legal Duties After an Accident
Nevada law requires five legal duties of motorists who are involved in car accidents.
- Stop their vehicle and exchange contact and insurance information with all other drivers.
- Move their vehicle out of traffic, if possible.
- Provide help to anyone who needs medical attention.
- Contact law enforcement in the event of injuries or death.
- Submit a report to the DMV
Drivers must obey these duties in any situation involving a vehicle. This includes car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents and collisions with commercial vehicles or pedestrians. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident without performing these duties can be charged with hit and run (NRS 484E.010).
Be Honest With Authorities and the Accident Report
Regardless of what part a driver plays in a collision, it is vital to be honest with the authorities and on the accident report. Knowingly giving false information to the police or the DMV is considered a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. All parties should also provide accurate contact and insurance information to other drivers. Giving false information to them in the hopes of avoiding liability carries penalties of up to 364 days in jail and/or $2000 in fines.
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
Intentionally leaving an accident scene in Nevada constitutes a criminal act of hit-and-run. Even when the case is relatively minor, authorities will scrutinize a case if it appears there is more to the situation, such as DUI. When there is only property damage, leaving the scene is filed as a misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1000 fine. A driver will also have six (6) demerit points added to their Nevada license.
Failure to stop and perform the five legal duties when someone is injured or dies changes the charge to a category B felony, punishable by 2-20 years in state prison and a $2000-5000 fine. Those convicted of this crime do not qualify for probation and could be the target of a wrongful death lawsuit if another driver passes away due to the accident.
Protecting Yourself Legally After an Accident in Nevada
In addition to obeying the five legal duties, being honest, and remaining at the scene, motorists should consider how to protect themselves legally against possible insurance claims or lawsuits. In some cases, a driver may actually be at fault but attempt to deflect responsibility onto others, causing worry and financial burden. It is worth taking these steps to build a case for a claim and avoid liability when not responsible.
Notify Authorities Of the Accident
As mentioned above, those involved must notify Nevada authorities about any accident that injures or kills someone or results in more than $750 of property damage. This includes instances where a driver collides with an unoccupied vehicle. They must make an effort to find the owner or leave their contact information on the car for the owner.
Gather Contact Information of Any Witnesses
Witness testimony could become crucial to proving liability in a crash. In a minor accident, drivers can gather this information themselves. With more significant collisions, first responders will take down details from those involved and anyone at the scene. Despite this, each driver should try to get the contact information personally if physically able.
Document What Happened
Take photos and video of the crash scene, the injuries, the road conditions, the weather, the surroundings, and any property damage. Ask witnesses to share any photos or videos they may have when obtaining their contact information. Write down the details of what happened as soon as possible to have a clear record of the events leading up to the crash.
Don’t Admit Fault or Injury
It is critical not to speak to anyone at the scene beyond asking if they need assistance, providing that assistance, or sharing contact information. Do not admit any responsibility and do not apologize, which could be taken as an admission of fault. The other driver could have been driving while under the influence or driving recklessly, thereby causing the accident. An innocent driver could also discover later on that their car had a defective part that caused the accident.
Don’t admit any injuries or pain to anyone other than EMTs or first responders. There are many injuries that take time to appear to their full extent. If a driver says they only have a sore arm or chest, insurance companies could argue that those were the extent of their injuries. They may then refuse to pay a claim for any additional problems that arise.
Report the Accident to All Insurance Companies
Regardless of the circumstances, nearly all insurance carriers require their clients to file a claim to notify them immediately. There are some situations where a motorist may choose not to, such as if they hit a stationary object and are willing to pay for the repairs themselves. Also, a driver may forego a claim on the other party’s insurance if no one is injured, and the at-fault party will pay for damages to the other driver’s car.
If a police officer is called to the scene and files an accident report, it is wise for all drivers to get in touch with their insurance companies and let the insurance adjusters work it out with each other. If one party doesn’t report it and another driver files against their policy, it could raise the first driver’s rates or cause them to lose coverage. In all instances, it is best to report to both the authorities and each insurance carrier.
File a Claim in Time
Nevada’s statute of limitations requires that plaintiffs file a lawsuit in relation to a car accident within two years after the date of the crash. In wrongful death claims, the window is two years following the death of the victim. For property damage only, the statute allows three years after the accident.
Putting together a successful case takes time. Gathering evidence and developing arguments require expertise and research, services that a qualified attorney can provide. They can also help with filing insurance claims to seek a fair settlement.
Trust our Las Vegas car accident legal experts to thoroughly evaluate your case and provide the best possible representation.