When car accidents happen in Las Vegas, the motorists involved are required by law to stop and render aid to anyone who is hurt. Motorists are also required to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives if someone is injured or if there is extensive damage to property.
Sometimes a motorist who is involved in the crash will flee the scene. That motorist may be leaving behind someone who is severely injured and in need of first aid. At the very least, the motorist is leaving the other driver without the essential information they need. Contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information are vital in the aftermath of a crash. A hit-and-run driver’s refusal to provide that information is illegal.
If you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, you should not have to pay out of pocket for your medical bills, repairs to your vehicle, and other expenses. Fortunately, an experienced Las Vegas hit-and-run accident lawyer from Sam & Ash, LLP can help. Our team will work to identify the at-fault driver and uncover all possible sources of compensation for you.
Contact us now to get started with a free consultation.
What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you can take steps to protect your legal rights:
- Report the accident to the police as soon as possible so they can begin investigating and attempting to locate the driver.
- Write down any details you remember about the fleeing vehicle, including make, model, color, unique modifications, and license plate number (even if only a part of the number).
- Take photos of the accident scene along with any damage to your vehicle. Try to look for any pieces that may have come off the vehicle that hit you that may be used to identify the hit-and-run driver.
- Speak to any eyewitnesses to the crash and get their contact information in case your attorney or the police later need to contact them.
- Get examined at the ER or by your primary doctor as soon as possible after the accident to identify any injuries you may have sustained. Make sure to follow all treatment recommendations and instructions you receive.
- Keep records of all bills and invoices you incur from the accident.
- Contact a hit-and-run accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights for pursuing compensation. Time is limited for filing a claim, so do not put off getting legal advice.
Why Do Hit-and-Run Accidents Happen?
Drivers may choose to flee the scene of a motor vehicle accident for many different reasons, such as:
- Drunk driving –Drivers may flee the scene to try to avoid a DUI charge, especially if they think that they can wait long enough for the alcohol or drugs to pass through their system before turning themselves in. Intoxication also impairs a driver’s judgment and critical thinking, so they may be more likely to think that leaving the accident scene is the best way to protect themselves from legal exposure. (In reality, a hit-and-run accident only makes it worse for them.)
- Uninsured drivers – Nevada law requires that drivers carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. A driver may flee the scene of the accident to try to avoid the criminal charges and fines that come from operating a motor vehicle without the required insurance. Uninsured drivers may also think that they can avoid personal financial liability for the accident by fleeing.
- Outstanding warrants or tickets – Drivers may choose to flee the scene of a crash to avoid entanglements with law enforcement if they know they have outstanding warrants or tickets. If they stay at the scene and police are called, the officers will run a background check and arrest the driver on their warrants.
- Other legal issues – Drivers with other legal issues may run from the scene of an accident to avoid getting involved with the police, such as if the driver is not lawfully present in the U.S., is on parole or probation, or has a suspended or revoked driver’s license (or never obtained a driver’s license).
- Panic – The shock of an accident can trigger a person’s “fight or flight” reflex. Even if drivers have no legal issues that would cause them to flee the scene, the moments of panic right after an accident may cause them to instinctually run away.
Pursuing Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Compensation in a hit-and-run accident case will depend on many different factors. One crucial issue is whether police and investigators can track down the person who hit you. If that driver is located, that person’s insurance may cover your claim. The driver may also be subject to criminal charges. If the driver is not found, a hit-and-run lawyer from Sam & Ash, LLP can help you explore other options, such as coverage under your own existing insurance policies.
- If the driver is found ─ When someone flees an accident scene, police will use all available evidence to track that motorist down and hold the driver accountable. When the motorist is found, the driver’s insurance policies should cover damages from the accident.
- If the driver is not found ─ In some cases, investigators cannot locate the person or the vehicle that hit you. If that happens, the Las Vegas hit-and-run accident attorneys at Sam & Ash, LLP can help you explore coverage under your own insurance policies. Uninsured motorist, collision, and other insurance coverages you have may be used to cover your accident.
How Much Is My Hit-and-Run Accident Case Worth?
Compensation in a hit-and-run accident will depend on the facts of the case and your injuries. Common types of compensation that could be available include:
- Payment for your medical costs, including the treatment you need after an accident and any future treatment.
- Money that is lost because of your time away from work. If the accident damages your earning potential for the future, that could be part of the claim, too.
- Pain and suffering compensation. As part of a hit-and-run accident claim, you can seek compensation for the trauma you go through because of your injuries.
- Punitive damages are part of hit-and-run laws in Nevada and may be available in some cases. To understand whether punitive damages may be available in your case, speak with a hit-and-run accident lawyer in Las Vegas today.
How Long Do I Have To File a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawsuit in Nevada?
If you’re injured in a hit-and-run accident, you’ll usually have two years under Nevada law to bring an action in court. In rare instances, your case’s specific facts may give you more time to file your case in court. If you miss those deadlines, though, you will lose your right to bring a hit-and-run accident case.
Talk to a lawyer from Sam & Ash, LLP today about the specifics of your case. We can get started right away to make sure you do not miss any important deadlines.
Nevada Hit-and-Run Statute
Hit-and-run laws in Nevada are clear: Motorists who hit someone and flee the scene can face criminal charges, prison time, loss of license, and fines. Key Nevada hit-and-run statutes include:
- NRS 484E.010 – Duty to stop when the crash involves death or personal injury
- NRS 484E.020 – Duty to stop when the crash involves damage to a vehicle or property
- NRS 484E.030 – Duty to give help and share information after an accident
- NRS 484E.040 – Duty if the property or an unattended vehicle is damaged
Hit-and-Run Laws in Nevada
Under Nevada law, every driver has a duty to stop at or immediately return to the scene of a motor vehicle accident they have been involved in, regardless of whether the driver caused the crash. Nevada’s hit-and-run law requires, at a minimum, that a driver involved in a crash render aid to anyone who has suffered injuries from the accident and that the driver exchange contact, vehicle, license, and insurance information with each motorist, bicyclist, and/or pedestrian involved.
The state’s hit-and-run law also requires drivers to stop when they cause damage to unattended property, such as a parked vehicle. Drivers are required to attempt to locate the property’s owner. If the owner cannot be found, the driver must leave a note with his or her name and contact information.
The driver should also file an accident report with the authorities. Drivers must contact law enforcement or file an accident report for any crash involving death, injury, or apparent property damage worth more than $750. Not filing a report may result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges.
Generally speaking, engaging in a hit-and-run is considered a misdemeanor offense in Nevada. A conviction will result in the imposition of six points on a driver’s license, along with a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, if the accident involves injury or death, a hit-and-run charge will be upgraded to a felony. A conviction for felony hit-and-run will result in the revocation of driving privileges along with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $5,000. Probation may not be considered as a sentencing option for felony hit-and-run cases.
How Our Las Vegas Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers Can Help
The Las Vegas hit-and-run accident lawyers at Sam & Ash, LLP firmly believe that you deserve answers and justice when a motorist flees the scene. When you choose us to represent you, our attorneys will:
- Work with police and investigators to identify the person who hit you
- Explore all possible compensation options for you
- Deal with the insurance companies on your behalf
- Fight for What’s Right and serve as your voice throughout the process
- Answer any questions you have about your case and be available to talk anytime
Car accidents are traumatic, and not knowing who should be held accountable can make the experience even worse. We understand, and we’re ready to step up and help you in your time of need.
You deserve support, and you need compensation. Sam & Ash, LLP has you covered. For a free case review, call us today or contact us online.