Fleeing the scene of an accident in Las Vegas, Nevada means you could be charged with Nevada’s Hit and Run laws. Whether the accident was your fault or that of another’s, if a collision occurs, and you flee the scene, it is a hit and run charge. Innocent people often find themselves injured at these scenes and then have the at-fault driver flee as they are afraid of facing possible criminal charges. Contact the law firm of Dallas Horton and Associates if you have been a victim of a hit and run crime. We can explain your options for receiving compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained in this accident and help you seek justice.
What Constitutes a Hit and Run Accident in Nevada
Under Nevada law, Statute 484E.030 a hit and run is defined as a driver of any vehicle involved in a collision or accident that results in death or bodily injury is required to stop their vehicle immediately at the scene and exchange information as well as render aid. If either driver does not make this stop or stops and then leaves the scene without rendering assistance or exchanging information can be charged with a hit and run.
The information that should be exchanged includes:
- Your name
- Your address
- VIN # of your vehicle
- Your driver’s license if requested
This information is to be given to the other driver involved in the accident as well as the police when they arrive on the scene.
Hit and Run When Car is Parked
If a vehicle is in a parking lot and has been left unattended when you hit or run into it, you are required under Nevada law to make an attempt to find who owns the vehicle. It is your legal duty to either find the owner or leave them a note with your contact information on it. You would also be legally responsible for letting the police know about the accident.
How a Hit and Run Accident is Charged in Nevada
If the accident or collision only causes harm to property, you would be charged with a misdemeanor. If, during the accident, a death occurred or bodily injury, you can be charged with a category B felony.
Penalties as a misdemeanor for a hit and run include up to six months in jail, a fine up to $ 1,000 and six points against your license.
- Nevada Point System for Driving Violations
The State of Nevada has created a point system for drivers. The goal of the system is to get traffic law offenders who repeat their offenses off the roads. The basics of the system are if a driver receives twelve points within twelve months, their driving license is suspended for six months.
The DMV in Nevada administers this program, and all traffic courts in Nevada report their driving convictions to the DMV. All traffic offenses are assigned point values and are based on the charge in which traffic court convicts a driver of, along with the appropriate number of points is then assessed against the driving record.
An example of this process would be if a person is convicted of driving 20 to 30 miles over the posted speed limit. This conviction results in 3 points being assessed to their driving record.
These are some of the more common traffic violations and the demerit points assigned to a driving record if the driver is convicted of the charge. Commercial Driver License has additional penalties for certain offenses, along with extra demerit points that are assigned:
- Reckless driving- eight points
- Careless driving- six points
- Failing to provide information or render aid at the scene of an accident- six points
- Following too close- four points
- Failing to yield the right of way- four points
- Passing a school bus when their signals are flashing- four points
- Using a hand-held cell phone for talking or texting- four points
- Not following a traffic signal or stop sign- four points
- Driving too slow or impeding traffic- two points
- Failing to dim headlights- two points
- Driving one to ten miles over the posted speed limit- one point
- Driving eleven to twenty miles over the posted speed limit- two points
- Driving twenty-one to thirty miles over the posted speed limit- three points
- Driving thirty-one to forty miles over the posted speed limit- four points
- Driving forty-one or more miles over the posted speed limit- five points
- If you drive too fast for the weather conditions or condition of the roadway- two points
Under this demerit system, more serious driving violations can carry higher point values. Reckless driving will get eight points assessed to a driving record, and running a red light assesses four points. DUI’s and more serious offenses are not on this list, as convictions for these charges will automatically result in driving privileges being revoked.
If a driver receives more than twelve points during a twelve-month period, their license is automatically suspended. Notice of suspension is sent by mail, and the driver is given the opportunity to attend a hearing on the issue at the Office of Administrative Hearings.
If the hit and run is charged as a felony, the penalties can include from two to twenty years in prison, from $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, and revocation of driving privileges. The penalties vary depending on the facts associated with the case. One factor that could seriously affect the penalties would be if a DUI conviction is on the driving record of the one charged with hit and run. Punishment, in this case, would most likely be enhanced.
There are times a hit and run accident becomes complicated. These involve multiple vehicles and more than one injured person. There could be numerous charges attached to this case, such as reckless driving, vehicular homicide, bodily injury, and other serious charges.
Hit and Run Accident with DUI
Many times, hit and run offenders have fled the scene due to their consumption of alcohol or drugs. They are afraid of being at the scene of an accident with alcohol or drugs in their system, as it will make the situation worse. By leaving the scene, they hope if arrested later, it will be hard to prove they were DUI at the time of the crash or collision.
The State of Nevada changed its laws in October of 2015 for a driver fleeing the scene of an accident. The driver will now be sentenced from two to twenty years in prison if convicted of this crime. This punishment is the same as a felony DUI. The driver convicted of a hit and run can also be charged or punished separately for each victim who suffered at the scene, whether it resulted in bodily injury or death.
Governor Sandoval of Nevada signed Senate Bill 245, which is intended to close a legal loophole that allowed drunk drivers to receive a lower penalty if they left the scene of an accident. The statute for hit and run had been designed to prevent drivers from fleeing the scene. However, there were too many drunk drivers who were doing the opposite.
The Senate Transportation Committee was concerned with the number of times officials could not prosecute a driver for felony DUI even though they suspected it was the case due to lack of evidence by the time the driver was arrested. The new law closes that loophole and makes a hit and run the same as a felony DUI. The penalty for both is now two to twenty years in prison with no probation, versus the previous sentencing of two to fifteen years with probation.
Can a Hit and Run Driver be Sued for Personal Injuries?
Hit and run accidents are common in Nevada, especially in Las Vegas. Many times the drivers are fleeing the scene in an attempt to avoid arrest due to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only is it a crime for the driver to leave the scene, but they can be held financially accountable for the damages caused by the accident.
It is not always easy to make a case for personal injuries sustained in a hit and run accident. It is often hard to track down the driver. Having the help from an experienced personal injury attorney from Dallas Horton and Associates will help find the compensation you deserve. We will help you file a claim against the driver and their insurance company to make sure you get the help you deserve to recover from your injuries.
The number of hit and run cases has risen in Nevada drastically in the last decade. This rise in numbers is alarming to both pedestrians and motorists who are at risk of sustaining serious injuries if involved in this type of accident. It is possible to collect compensation from at-fault drivers who have been involved in hit and run accidents, but it can be difficult to establish negligence.
If you are injured in a hit and run accident, contact Dallas Horton and Associates immediately to learn what your legal options are for seeking compensation. A few of the more common instances involving hit and run accidents are:
- A driver crashes into another vehicle but does not stop and exchange their information with the party they hit
- A vehicle strikes a pedestrian or cyclist but does not stop to call emergency responders
- A vehicle strikes a parked car and leaves the scene without notifying the owner of the vehicle they hit
Almost all hit and run accidents occur because the at-fault driver is trying to avoid criminal penalties or detection. They are either driving under the influence, have stolen the vehicle they’re driving, or they do not have auto insurance on their vehicle.
Collecting Compensation for Hit and Run Accident
In the State of Nevada, hit and run drivers not only face criminal penalties, but they are also responsible for compensating injured parties in the accident. Their responsibility can include:
- Medical expenses, both past, and future
- Loss of future income as a result of the injury
- Pain and suffering inflicted from the injuries
- Lost wages while the victim is recovering from injuries
- Property damage
- Funeral costs if the accident resulted in a death
If the law officials are not able to locate the hit and run driver, it will be difficult to collect this compensation from the at-fault party. Having legal representation during this time is critical. You will want to have the personal injury attorneys from Dallas Horton and Associates working with you to collect the necessary evidence to establish who was at fault during the accident. We are well versed in the state laws and will help to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident.
What You Should do if Involved in Hit and Run Accident
There are times when a victim of a hit and run accident is tempted to follow and apprehend the at-fault driver who is fleeing the scene of the collision or accident. This idea is dangerous, especially if you have sustained injuries or property damage during the accident.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident where the at-fault driver is leaving the scene, you should stay where you are until law enforcement arrives. Write down the details about the other driver, including:
- The make, color, and model of vehicle they are driving
- The license plate number of their vehicle
- Look for any distinguishing marks on the vehicle such as dents or stickers
- Make note if the driver was male or female
- Make a note of the direction they drove off in
If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, you should obtain their contact information as it will be crucial in establishing the identity of the hit and run driver. If there are other parties involved in an accident, you should render care if possible and contact emergency responders right away.
If your injuries allow you to move about, taking photos of your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident will help your case. Take pictures of the area as well to help establish the facts relating to how the accident occurred and who was at fault. When the police officers arrive, ask them for a copy of their report.
In some hit and run accidents, it is not possible to identify the driver. If you sustain injuries in a hit and run accident, but are unable to locate the driver responsible, you and your attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates will have to attempt collection of compensation from your insurance through an uninsured policy.
Insurance Coverage for Hit and Run Accidents
Getting injured in a car accident is a devastating experience, and often requires you to put your life on hold while you heal from injuries. The injuries and healing time are traumatic enough, but then you also have medical bills to deal with and the possible long-term effects of your injuries. Whether you are a passenger, driver, or a pedestrian injured from an at-fault driver who does not have adequate insurance, or who has left the scene, you may collect from your insurance company.
Most auto insurance policies include uninsured or underinsured motorist clauses. These clauses mean your insurance company will cover you if you are involved in an accident caused by another driver who does not have proper insurance. It also means you will have access to coverage if involved in a hit and run accident. A hit and run accident is viewed as the same as being involved with someone who does not have proper coverages.
All states are different regarding their insurance requirements for minimum coverage. The Nevada Division of Insurance states all Nevada drivers are required to carry at least $15k per person for bodily injury, $30k per accident for bodily injury, and $10k for each accident for property damage. These amounts are the minimum requirement and referred to as the 15/30/10 plan; however, drivers can purchase more coverage. These coverages are considered liability coverage, and liability coverage covers you if you are at-fault for an accident and will provide compensation to others who have been involved in the accident for bodily injury and property damage.
In the State of Nevada, uninsured motorist insurance is not a requirement, but it can be bought as an addition to your liability coverage. If you make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage after a hit and run accident, you will be required to pay a deductible. Deductibles are chosen by you and are factored into your total insurance cost.
Uninsured motorist insurance difference in coverage and cost depending on where you live, your driving history, and the insurance company you choose. These policies typically have three parts, and you have to select all three in order to be covered:
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
- Underinsured Motorist Insurance
In the State of Nevada, uninsured motorist insurance will only pay up to the policy limit for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical costs.
The property damage coverage from an uninsured motorist coverage will cover your totally destroyed or damaged vehicle caused by a hit and run or uninsured driver. The uninsured motorist property damage insurance coverage will not cover the cost of a house that has been damaged, any other building, billboards, or other road signs.
Pedestrians Involved in Hit and Run Accidents
If you were a pedestrian and injured during a hit and run accident or by an uninsured driver, you have limited resources for compensation. You need to contact a personal injury attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates to learn what your options are for seeking compensation. There are a few exceptions from the uninsured motorist laws which may help, but you will need legal representation to pursue those options.
Uninsured Motorist or Hit and Run Accident Victim Claims
In the case of an uninsured motorist or a hit and run accident where you have sustained injuries, you will want to collect compensation for your suffering. Your attorney will need to prove these factors in order to receive this compensation:
- The accident was due to another’s negligence
- The at-fault driver did not have insurance, did not have adequate insurance coverage to cover the expenses involved in your injuries, or it was a hit and run driver that cannot be identified
In most car accident claims, settlements are reached out of court, but if you and your attorney cannot agree with the other parties, you may have to sue the at-fault driver in a civil court to receive your compensation.
- Three different insurance scenarios that can occur with coverages:
- Policy limits sometimes affect the outcome of compensation amounts. If the at-fault driver has a contract with their insurance company, they are paying a monthly premium, which will cover them if they are sued. This coverage protects only up to the policy limit. Generally, this limit is enough to compensate injured parties for their medical bills.
- If the at-fault driver has a bad insurance policy, there may not be enough money available through their coverage to cover pain and suffering or lost wages.
- If the at-fault driver has cheap insurance, they may be unwilling to settle a case for a fair value. They will give low offers and often result in having to be taken to court for fair compensation. Trials are time-consuming, and there is no guarantee with these companies that they will pay medical costs, pain and suffering, or lost wages.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney from Dallas Horton and Associates working with you will allow you to learn about other options available to you for getting the compensation you need and deserve. Contact them if you or someone you love has been injured by a hit and run driver and need help with filing a claim.
Find Help With A Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, you need an attorney who understands the complexity involved with injury law. Call Dallas Horton and Associates at 702-380-3100 today and learn how we can help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve. We take on the difficult cases and provide positive solutions at the negotiating table as well as in the courts. We are ready to help you get through this challenging time so you can begin to heal from your injuries.