When many people hear of hit-and-run accidents, they think of someone hitting a pedestrian or a motorist and fleeing the accident scene without calling 911. While these accidents occur, not all are devastating. You might face charges for hit and run even when the victim suffered a few bruises and scrapes. Nevada takes traffic accidents seriously and requires anyone involved in the accident to stop immediately and share their information.
Suppose you or your loved one suffered severe injuries and property damages in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident in Las Vegas. In that case, you want to seek legal help from a motor vehicle accident attorney. The attorney will help you file a lawsuit and receive the compensation you deserve. We are here for you at the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm. We will do everything possible to ensure you obtain the best outcomes for your case.
The Legal Meaning of Hit and Run Accident
According to the law, failing to stop after causing or being involved in an accident is illegal. Before you face conviction for the hit and run accident in Nevada, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:
- While operating your motor vehicle, you were involved in the alleged accident
- The accident resulted in the victim's injuries
- You knew you were involved in the accident and failed to stop
- After the accident, you did not share your identifying information with the involved drivers
Identifying information includes your full names, addresses, insurance, and mobile contacts. You should exchange the details willfully and purposely. Remember your duty to stop after the accident applies regardless of the party at fault for the accident.
Your Rights After Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident in Nevada
When you face a criminal offense, it is suitable for you to understand your rights. But it might be challenging to learn your rights on your own. Therefore, you want to speak with your criminal defense attorney to help you learn your rights. The following are the various constitutional rights you wish to understand.
Entitled to Keep Silent
The 5th amendment of the US outlines that the arresting officers or the court cannot force you to testify against yourself. Therefore when you choose to remain quiet, the judge or the prosecutor has no authority to force you.
Right to a Quick Trial
Under the 6th amendment, you have a right to a speedy trial. But the statute does not specify the time for your speedy trial. Remember, the court may delay your trial due to the facts surrounding your case. The judge considers the following to determine your speedy case trial:
- The impacts of the delay on your position
- The length of the delay
- The rationale for the delay
Right to Legal Assistance
Under the US 6th amendment, you are entitled to legal assistance. If you cannot hire an attorney, the criminal court judge should appoint you a public defender at the government's expense. Not every criminal case in Nevada is unique, and only a well-skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can help you obtain the best outcome for your case.
Right to Adequate Legal Representation
Under the US supreme court, you have a right to obtain adequate legal representation during your case trial and plea bargain negotiation. The attorney does a prime duty to defend your rights. But proper representation does not necessarily mean perfect representation. Specific circumstances where the criminal court judge may reverse the trial depending on the attorney’s incompetence are:
The judge hands your case to an intern lawyer and leaves the court while your case proceeds.
The lawyer decides you’re guilty of a less severe offense without allowing you to defend yourself.
Right to a Jury Trial
Under the 6th amendment, the jury can try you per the statute. Usually, the jury consists of 12 members who consider a unanimous verdict before they convict you. So, if there isn’t a hung jury, you go free unless the prosecutor chooses to retry you. Therefore, ensure you talk with your criminal defense attorney immediately after arrest. The attorney will help you understand more about your rights after the arrest.
Why Do Hit and Run Accidents Occur?
A driver may choose to flee the accident scene after the motorcycle accident for several reasons, including:
A driver might leave the accident scene to avoid facing DUI charges, especially when he thinks the alcohol level will drop before they appear to the police officers. Impairment affects the driver's critical thinking and judgment. So, due to impaired judgment, drivers commit accidents. After the accident, the drivers think the best way to avoid the charges is by leaving the accident scene.
Outstanding Tickets or Warrants
A driver may decide to flee the scene after the collision to avoid meeting the law enforcement officers when they have outstanding tickets or warrants. For example, when the involved driver remains at the scene and calls the law enforcement officers, the officers will conduct a background check and arrest them through their warrants.
The law in Nevada requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. The driver may leave the accident scene to skip the criminal fines and charges associated with operating the vehicle without valid insurance.
The shock associated with the motor vehicle might lead a driver to escape the accident scene. Even if you do not have legal issues to flee the accident scene, the nature of the accident and panic might make you run from the accident scene.
Other Legal Issues
Suppose you are a driver and have other legal issues. In that case, you might escape the accident scene to avoid being in contact with the law enforcement officers if you are under parole or probation or the driver has either revoked or suspended your license.
The Legal Penalties for Hit and Run
When you commit a hit and run accident, but the accident does not result in injuries, you face the following penalties:
- A fine not exceeding $1,000
- Six months jail term in county jail
In some instances, the judge may award your informal probation. The judge has the discretion to inflict conditions of the probation. The conditions must also link with the crime. The following are the potential conditions the judge may decide to impose in your case:
- Attending court hearings
- Seeking lucrative employment
- Commitment to community service
- Participating in individual or group therapy
- Not violating further laws
What Happens When the Damaged Property Belongs to You?
The law allows you to leave the accident scene when the accident only caused damage to your property. But to be safe, you must capture the images of the accident scene to prove the damages happened. Stop and exchange the contact information if you are unsure whether the other victim sustained property damages or injuries. Common examples of invisible crashes include:
- Misaligned tires
- Broken light bulbs
- Reduced battery life
What are the Legal Defenses for Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Accidents?
The charges associated with hit and run cases in Nevada are severe. Working throughout the legal process alone can worsen your situation. Therefore, when the police charge you with the hit and run charge, you want to seek legal help. Working with a criminal defense attorney is highly recommended. The attorney will help you develop a strong defense strategy to fight the charge. Below are various defenses the attorney can employ to defend your rights.
You Never Caused Property Damages
One of the critical elements of this crime is that you did not stop after causing the accident. So, your criminal defense attorney can argue although you escaped the accident scene, you did not cause property damage. You can produce evidence to support your claim that no property was damaged in the accident. As a motorist and the cause of the accident, the prosecutor will not be interested in whether you suffered any injuries. If you convince the court that you never caused any property damage, the court can dismiss your case.
You Were Unaware of the Accident
Another critical element of the crime is you were aware of the accident. It might be possible you committed the crime but never knew. For example, if you had a radio on your motor vehicle, you might not be aware of the accident. But proving your knowledge about the accident might be one of the most challenging experiences. But if you win in convincing the court, the judge considers dropping your case.
Victim of Misidentification
In many hit-and-run accidents, the perpetrator runs too fast after the accident. So, it becomes difficult for any person to locate them. The prosecutor has limited proof about the identity of the at-fault driver. Therefore you might be mistakenly identified. For example, your physical appearance might match the offender leading to mistaken identity. So, You need to provide evidence showing the law enforcement officers mistakenly identified you.
How to Pursue Compensation After Hit and Run Accident in Nevada
Compensation after the accident might depend on numerous factors. One of the main things is whether the investigators or the law enforcement officers can track the perpetrator. When they locate the driver, their insurance covers can cover the victims. Also, the alleged driver can face criminal charges. Alternatively, the police may never find the driver.
When the Police Locate the Alleged Driver
After the at-fault driver escapes the accident scene, the law enforcement officers do everything possible to locate them and hold them liable. When the officers find the driver, their insurance policies cover the sustained damages.
When the Police Cannot Locate the Alleged Driver
In rare cases, the law enforcement officers and the investigators fail to locate the accountable driver. When this is your case, you can contact our attorneys to help you explore the coverages under your policies. We can use your uninsured motorist, among other coverages, to cover your damages.
When you or your loved one sustain injuries after a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, you have two years under the Nevada laws to bring a lawsuit. Under certain instances, the court may extend your time to file a lawsuit. You lose your hit and run accident if you do not bring your case within the specified period. Therefore the at-fault party will not cover your injuries and property damages from the accident.
What Hit and Run Lawsuit Can Cover
Compensation in these types of accidents varies based on the facts surrounding your case and the nature of the injuries suffered. The possible types of compensation available in a hit and run accident are:
Medical costs include the costs you suffer in your treatment and the costs you also suffer after the treatment.
Lost wages: When you suffer severe injuries in hit-and-run accidents, you are more likely to miss your work. So you will lose your earnings. The at-fault party is responsible for compensating you for the lost wages.
Pain and suffering: You might experience severe pain and suffering after the accident. Therefore you want to receive compensation for the pain and suffering.
Punitive damages: in some instances, punitive damages are available. You want to discuss your case with your attorney to help you understand whether punitive damages are available for your case.
Crimes Charges Alongside Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident
The judge may reduce your hit and run accident charge to another less severe charge. Also, the judge may decide to charge you with the crime alongside other related crimes. But every crime is unique and has its unique elements and penalties. Below are the commonly charged cases alongside hit and run in Nevada.
Driving under the influence
Under Nevada laws, it is unlawful to drink and drive. In addition to the hit and run accident, if you are intoxicated during the accident, you might face additional charges for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. While drunk, alcohol can influence your physical and mental capabilities. Due to this, you might be unable to operate the vehicle well, leading to an accident. The penalties for driving under the influence include:
- Heavy fines
- Summary probation
- Compulsory DUI school
Driving Without a Valid License
In Nevada, it is illegal to operate a vehicle without a license. It is not necessarily for the license to be issued by the state. The jurisdiction won't matter provided:
- The license for the car you are operating is valid
- The state or the country of your residence issued the license
Under the state's law, you might face misdemeanor or infraction charges once you commit the crime. An infraction charge carries a fine of up to $250. Alternatively, a misdemeanor charge carries a fine not exceeding$ 1,000, and six months in jail.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
As a motorcyclist, you want to know what to do after an accident in Nevada. The following is a list of steps you want to follow after a motorcycle accident in Nevada.
Contact the Police
After sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident in Nevada, you want to contact the law enforcement officers immediately. When the police arrive, you want to file a crucial police report. The report enables you to share your side of the story. It also causes the at-fault driver to explain how they injured you. The report also allows you to document witnesses' names and contact information. The police report enables you to document the driver's insurance information. The data is essential when making a claim. After the police document the information, you want to request a police report.
Report Injuries and Symptoms
After a motorcycle accident in Nevada, you want to report all personal injuries suffered. You want to report all injuries and symptoms to the police. Report the information firefighters and doctors give at the emergency room.No matter how minor or significant your injuries seem. You want to report to enable the doctor to provide you with the necessary treatment.
Identify Potential Witnesses
Many times, the driver and other motorcyclists involved in an accident tend to deny liability. Worse, the law enforcement officers may not document any information about witnesses. After filing a lawsuit, you have no one to support your side of the story. You can avoid the situation by gathering information about witnesses while at the scene. If possible, you want to note their names, addresses, and phone number.
If you are not severely injured, you want to take photos of the accident scene and your injuries. Take plenty of pictures to help you when filing a claim. You want to take photos of the damage done to your vehicle from various angles. Again, you can use CCTV cameras from local businesses to gather evidence. For instance, if the local business had a CCTV camera aimed at the intersection at the time of the collision, it could provide footage of the crash. The CCTV footage would be critical evidence to undermine the motorist's version of events. You also want to take photos of the damage to all other vehicles involved. This will help in piecing together the events leading to the accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
You want to seek medical attention for any injuries or symptoms you are experiencing. No matter how minor the injuries appear, they can later result in chronic pain or long-term damage. The minor injuries which later result in chronic pain are referred to as delayed injuries. The injuries must be documented immediately to show they were caused by the crash and not any other cause. The sooner you begin your diagnosis test, the sooner you start the recovery process.
Do Not Give Statements to an Insurance Adjuster
You don't want to give statements to an auto insurance company or a defense lawyer after an accident in Nevada without talking to your lawyer first. The only reason that a defense lawyer will speak to you is to try to minimize your injuries or pain. Later, the defense lawyer will use the statement in court as proof against you. The lawyer then justifies the insurance company to deny you a claim for benefits. In low vehicle damage, insurance adjusters will use this tactic to claim no one could be seriously injured in the accident. If anyone insists on talking to you, you want to refer them to your lawyer. At times, insurance adjusters insist on looking at the damage. You don't want to allow them to do so unless your lawyer is present.
Notify Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible
Not all motorcycle owners have insurance. If you do, you want to notify your insurance company of your accident. When you fail to inform the insurance company, it may try to deny your claim. Your insurance company will also give you options of trying to fix your motorcycle. You want to provide your motorcycle insurance company agents with details you remember about the witnesses and the entire accident. You want to be as honest as possible when speaking with the agents of your motorcycle insurance company. However, you don't want to talk with the other party's insurance company.
What a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do For You
You have the right to a legal representative. Regardless of how well educated or intelligent you are, you require an attorney to represent you in court for favorable outcomes. Your defense lawyer performs the following functions:
- Questioning witnesses in the courtroom
- Negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution to help reduce your charges. It becomes challenging for the lawyer when the prosecutor is uncooperative.
- A witness is more likely to talk to your lawyer than you. Witnesses fear self-representing people.
- The lawyer dedicates enough time to speak with witnesses, review evidence, and conduct legal research.
- Acquitted the court procedures
- Your defense lawyer knows the best prosecutor to settle your misdemeanor hit and run case. Additionally, they know the arguments to appeal to the prosecutor.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Near Ne
Do not tackle the case yourself when you face charges for hit and run in Nevada. The consequences of the crime might be severe and leave you with a permanent record on your criminal record. Therefore you want to work with an aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the legal process.
At the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we will help you build a solid defense to fight the charges. Even if we find it challenging to prove your innocence, we will try to minimize the consequences of your case. So, if you are in Las Vegas, do not hesitate to call us. Contact us today at 702-576-0010 and learn more about your charges and the potential defenses.