You will face charges for hit and run when you flee after an accident in Nevada. The charges will attract extensive jail time and major fines. Regardless of the at-fault driver, you must stop and share your information with the other drivers after the collision. Several drivers usually panic after an accident and decide to flee from the accident scene immediately. Handling a hit-and-run case might be a challenging process that requires the legal services of a well-skilled attorney.
If you or your loved one sustained severe injuries in a hit and run accident in Las Vegas, you deserve to obtain compensation for the injuries and property damages suffered. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we have a track record of success in different cases we handle. Once you contact us, we will work aggressively and tirelessly to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
What Is Hit and Run In Nevada
Hit-and-run occurs when the motorist hits another person, another car, or someone’s property and leaves the scene without offering assistance, exchanging contact information, or reporting to the police. To face conviction for hit and run in Nevada, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- You were involved in the accident.
- You knew someone received injuries.
- You were aware an accident occurred.
- You failed to abide by the above Nevada laws.
The duties imposed by Nevada laws require all drivers to do the following after an accident:
- Stop your vehicle after the collision.
- Exchange your accurate contact information with the other motorist or the involved party.
- Render relevant assistance to the people injured in the accident, including providing transport and seeking medical help when someone is injured or calling an ambulance.
- When requested, show your driver’s license to the other motorist or Injured person.
- If you hit someone’s property, like a fence, you should stop immediately and look for the owner. Alternatively, you can leave a note with your name, address, and the vehicle owner's name(when the car is not yours).
When to Notify The Police After a Hit and Run Accident
The last Vegas metropolitan police department doesn't respond to motor vehicle accidents when no one dies, suffers injuries or no property of $750 or more was damaged. When the police come to the accident scene, gather information then later make a police report, you should not file a report. However, where nobody obtained injuries, and the police did not respond, the Las Vegas laws require each driver to report the accident when the damage was above $750.
As the driver, you want to submit the report within ten days of the accident. In the report, you want to attach your driver's insurance card, doctor statement In case of injury, and estimated repair costs. If only one driver submits the report and the other fails, their driver's license will be suspended by the DMV for one year. Again, you cannot be penalized until you recover when unable to comply or incapacitated. After recovery, you are then expected to file the report.
Nevada Laws and Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents
Like other driving crimes, hit and run come with severe punishment to the at-fault driver. The following are the legal penalties for hit and run in Nevada:
Failure to Provide Information
The law requires all the drivers involved in a crash to stop at the accident scene and provide their identification information, including full names, vehicle registration numbers, and drivers. They should exchange the information with the other involved drivers. Also, after the police officers arrive at the accident scene, the drivers must present this information to the officers.
When you are a driver in a single-vehicle accident that causes property damage, the law requires you to stop after the accident and locate the asset owner. However, when it becomes challenging to locate the owners, the driver must leave behind a note with their full names, contact information, and addresses. Leave the note in a secure visible area. Failure to share your information or leaving the accident scene before the police arrive counts as a hit and run.
Failure to Notify Police Officers
A driver involved in an accident that results in deaths, severe injuries, or damages amounting to $750 must notify police officers. The law enforcement officers will then arrive at the accident scene and take a police report. However, when the involved driver leaves the accident scene after causing great property damages and fails to notify the law officers within two weeks, they will become responsible for the failure to compile a police report. The case is usually common in cases where a driver collides with a fence, home, or mailbox. Although failing to notify the police is not an independent crime, it might attract license suspension, be considered a misdemeanor, and be punished by 12 months imprisonment.
Damaging Property or Injuring Others
The penalties for hit and run in Nevada vary depending on the injuries and the property damage in the collision. Collisions that result in property damages are considered misdemeanors, while collisions that attract severe injuries or even death attract a felony charge.
Therefore when a hit-and-run collision causes property damage, the liable driver will face a misdemeanor charge. When convicted of the misdemeanor charge, they will pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 and remain behind bars for six months.
In 2015, the state increased the potential penalties for drivers committing a hit and ran after, causing deaths and severe injuries. So, when a driver faces a category B felony, they will remain behind bars for up to twenty years. Apart from compensating the victim, the driver can also pay a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.
The above sentence and penalties apply to the drivers who cause deaths or great injuries due to drunk driving in Nevada. The changes in the penalties for hit and run crimes were imposed to ensure many drivers are careful with traffic rules and do not run away after causing property damages or great injuries.
What Happens When the Law Enforcement Officers Cannot Locate the Driver after a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Due to the nature of the accidents, it is more likely the police may not trace the involved driver. Under this situation, the law allows you to recover your damages through your insurance agencies under your underinsured/insured motorist(UIM/UM) policy. When you are unsatisfied with your insurance company's settlement, you may file a claim to obtain more damages until your policy limit.
When you have recovered your UIM/UM damages from your company, and in the future, the alleged liable driver is located, the insurance company may sue the driver to obtain their damages. The procedure is known as subrogation.
However, they will face criminal charges when the alleged driver is located but not insured. It’s a misdemeanor to drive without an active insurance policy in Nevada. However, it will be a challenge when the driver doesn’t have enough assets to be garnished or seized in a lawsuit to recover your damages. Under this situation, you will proceed against your insurance provider under your UIM/UM limits.
That’s why it's critical for all drivers in the state to carry enough UIM/UM insurance. When your insurance has a low UIM/UM limit, it might not cover permanent or catastrophic damages. Remember, after the accident, you have 24 months from the collision date to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. So, when you fail to bring in your claim within the specified period, you will give up receiving compensation even when the liability is clear.
Therefore, you want to take quick action against the at-fault driver when you sustain injuries in a hit-and-run accident. The more time passes after the accident, the more eyewitness and physical evidence might be lost, weakening your claim. Ensure you hire a skilled attorney as soon as possible to help preserve the evidence and fight for your rights.
As the vehicle driver, you can face charges for hit and run. A skillful attorney will examine all the evidence against you and identify weaknesses in the prosecution case. The weakness will help in challenging the validity of your charges. The following are the legal defense your attorney can present to help beat your charges.
You Did Not Leave The Accident Scene Willingly
It could be the best defense if you didn't leave the accident scene willingly. For example, you are hit unconscious during the accident, and one of your passengers tensed, pushing you out of your seat and speeding away. Although the accident took place, you did not willingly fail to stop.
You Did Not Know of Any Damage
You may be driving your vehicle and then bump into another car. You stop over, and the driver and their passengers indicate they are not injured. If only your vehicle got damaged, you cannot face conviction for hit and run. Your defense attorney can argue that you did not know that the accident resulted in the other vehicle's damage. The defense works best when you do not feel the impact or when the damage is insignificant.
You Did Not Know The Accident Resulted In Injury
For example, You hit another car in a parking area, and no property is damaged. You and the other driver decide to move on. The following day, one of the passengers in the other car you hit starts claiming shoulder pains, visits the hospital, and discovers slight tears in the ligaments. Since no physical injury occurred, your attorney can argue that you were unaware that the accident resulted in injury. Again, it was not reasonable to know the passengers obtained injuries.
You Did Not Willfully Fail to Issue The Needed Information
When involved in an accident, you want to exchange contact information with the other party. The information includes name, vehicle registration number, and address. You have a valid defense if you could not exchange the information for reasons beyond your control.
For example, you are injured in an accident and become insane. One of your passengers drives away and rushes you to the hospital before exchanging the needed information. Your failure to provide the required information was not willful, and the defense works best for you.
You Were Not In a Position To Provide Reasonable Assistance
As per Nevada laws, all drivers involved in a collision must stop, provide identification and give needed assistance. However, you may fail to render assistance if in your vehicle someone died. Again, you could fail to assist when severely injured, becoming unconscious. At other times the accident might impact your car and become undrivable.
You Are Not The Driver
The prosecution must prove you were the driver during the hit and run. Being the owner of the vehicle doesn't mean you were the driver. Maybe you loaned your friend the car to attend a function. Again another person might have borrowed your car without your knowledge. Your vehicle might be stolen at other times, and a hit and run may occur. Since the vehicle was not in your possession, this acts as a complete defense. Your defense attorney can use this defense to dismiss your charges when you did not admit it to the police, and there are no eyewitnesses.
You Exchanged the Information Required
The Nevada laws require you to issue personal information like your name and address after an accident. When the other motorist is present, the law requires you to show them your driver's license. If the driver is not present, you want to leave your name, address, and a written note on the damaged vehicle. Afterward, you should call the police to make a report. Therefore, if you did as stated above, you have obeyed all the Nevada laws, and your defense attorney will help you out.
Can The Victim Of a Hit-and-Run File a Lawsuit?
Nevada victims of hit and run can file a lawsuit against the driver. However, receiving compensation after a hit-and-run case becomes challenging. By the Nevada laws, drivers involved in accidents are expected to pull over and exchange information with their victims. Unfortunately, in most hit-and-run accidents, the driver runs away. Who will pay for your vehicle repair costs without contact information, name, and driver's insurance information?
When a driver flees from the scene and is never caught, you may file a claim with your insurance cover to obtain compensation. Depending on the company's terms and policy, you may receive no-fault benefits, including Medical bill coverage. The benefits will not cover all the losses you suffered; they are limited to your policy.
Fortunately, the drivers can face conviction when identified or found after leaving the accident scene. You will file a lawsuit against their insurance company, and your case will proceed like other car accident claims. The driver will be liable for the injuries they caused. You are entitled to compensation for missed income, injuries, property damage, etc. A Las Vegas attorney with many years of experience will help you seek the damages you deserve from the negligent driver and their insurance company.
What to Do After You are Involved in Hit and Run
When involved in a hit-and-run accident, here are the steps you want to take:
Remain At the Scene
After a hit-and-run accident, you don’t want to leave the accident scene since it’s against Nevada law to go. You will only leave after receiving a go-ahead from the police. If you leave the scene immediately after the accident, you may not receive compensation for the accident. Again, leaving the scene attracts high fines and jail time.
Call the Law Enforcement Officers
Calling 911 will help you receive medical assistance for you, your passengers, and other people involved in the crash. The police will, in turn, send an ambulance or fire department if required. Even when not injured, you still want to call the police so you can report the hit and run case.
The faster the officers arrive at the scene, the more likely they will establish the cause of the accident. Again, the law enforcement officers will track down the motorist involved in the hit and run. When the officers arrive, give them all the information you remember about the driver, the vehicle model, and the direction they followed.
Speak With Witnesses
Hit and run accidents happen so quickly that you cannot see the involved driver. When not severely injured, you can talk with anyone around who might be a witness. You don’t have to interview the witness entirely. Be sure to ask them to give statements when the law enforcement officers arrive. Again, pick their contact information. The witnesses may provide car accident video footage. When the accident occurred near a business place, the security camera might have caught the video.
Take Photos of The Accident Scene
After an accident, you want to take photos of the scene. Although in hit and run, you may not be able to capture the motorist’s number plate in a hit and run, remember to take pictures since they may help arrest the suspect. Take photographs of the damage to your car, damage to the nearby property, any debris of the driver’s car, and skid marks on the road.
You also want to take photos of the location surroundings like the traffic signals. Take pictures of the emergency responders and the witnesses of the accident. Your photos include time, date, and location. Time and date stamps help investigators verify you took the pictures in the specific accident. When taken to the hospital. After the accident, take photographs of the scene. Again you want to take photos of your injuries to use them when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Ask for Police Accident Report
You want to request a police report from the involved officers. The report contains important information, including the accident's cause and witness report. Again, the report describes what happened, how the accident occurred, and who was at fault. It also contains pictures and videos the officers took at the scene, damages on the vehicle, diagrams of the stage, and information on who cited the accident. Without the report, it can be difficult to prove anything happened and more difficult to prove someone caused the accident. The report will help you file an insurance claim and compensation for damages caused.
Speak with a Las Vegas car Accident Lawyer
After being involved in a hit-and-run accident, you want to communicate with a personal injury lawyer before contacting the insurance company. Having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer at your side will make a difference between receiving compensation and losing the case. Having a lawyer at your side is important because evidence can disappear, witnesses' memories can fade, documentation of your losses should begin immediately, and you don’t want the statute of limitations to expire.
Once the regulation expires, you will not obtain compensation. Again the attorney will assist in managing the insurance company. After a hit and run, the at-fault insurance company will contact you. When they do, they will try to discount your claim. Your attorney will speak with the insurance company to ensure you don’t admit fault and the communications won’t interfere with your case.
Can I Expunge My Criminal Records?
Having a criminal record follows you wherever you go. According to Nevada laws, renting an apartment, applying for a job, and even a loan requires a background check. If you have ever faced arrest in Nevada, you have a criminal history, and it can affect your future.
Fortunately, there is a way to stop the criminal record by record sealing. Record sealing refers to making your criminal records undiscoverable to government entities, people, and companies. You can seal most misdemeanors and some felonies, depending on the nature of your case. When convicted of Felony hit and run in Nevada, you may seal the records five years after the end of your case. For misdemeanor hit and run, you can seal your records one year after the end of the case. After the dismissal of your charges.
The expungement will help seal records of your convictions, and you will be able to apply for a job with confidence as your record will be treated as if it never occurred. You can tell your employer you have never been convicted of any crime in your new job. Again, after an expungement, you will be able to vote and hold a public office.
Contact a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
When you or your loved one sustained severe injuries in a hit-and-run accident in Las Vegas, NV, you might be eligible for great compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage. However, negotiating the claim might be a tricky process. It might take months, if not years, for the law enforcement officers to track the at-fault driver. Therefore, you need to work closely with Nevada's experienced hit-and-run accident attorney. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, our attorneys are ready to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 702-576-0010 for a free case evaluation.